The team at 4Ps have been working successfully with Jamie Oliver for over three years now. We have used search marketing, content-led best practice and research to identify recipe and content gaps, which the Jamie Oliver team have been filling. This strategy has been working successfully, leading to a continual year on year traffic growth. However, from around May 2016 we began to see a decline in organic traffic. This was the first time since we began working with Jamie Oliver in 2013 that there had been a decline in year on year traffic.
We faced an array of under-performing channels, site performance problems and different technical issues including tagging, server errors and session timeout changes. This meant that discovering the potential cause became quite the challenge.
The majority of Jamie Oliver’s traffic comes from organic search. So, of course, the changing landscape of the SERPs and the rise of paid advertising within the food industry were factors to this gradual decline. However, visibility remained steady and rankings didn’t show any visible fluctuations. With this in mind, our research took us to the conclusion that the rise in featured answer snippets and Jamie Oliver’s lack of visibility in this space was the underlying factor.
The rise of featured snippets is a recent phenomenon with sources showing a 100%+ growth in queries triggering snippets compared to 2015. Looking at this year in particular, July saw around 15% of all queries triggering featured snippets compared to only 9% in January. We expect this trend to continue throughout 2016/17.
We determined that Jamie Oliver needed to make a concerted effort to be in this space. Being number 1 was no longer good enough: we needed to be ‘position 0’!
From our research, and using handy tools like STAT and Google Analytics, we determined a list of 40 priority recipes that we would target. We decided to make structural changes to the site as well as changes to the site’s content to achieve these featured snippets.
These changes included;
- Optimising recipes further for machine readability while achieving the right balance for the brand and its audience, as Jamie Oliver’s recipes follow a writing style specific to him.
- Breaking up the steps to make them more concise and user friendly, as well as improving on structure.
- Changing the wording of the content to start steps with verbs – we had noticed that the majority of recipe related snippets were starting with verbs.
- The aim of this was to help Google easily find the content they would deem worthy of being a featured snippet.
- Changing the heading structure and adding ordered lists to the recipe method.
We began making this changes in mid-August and have seen a positive effect since. At the beginning of August, Jamie Oliver had 150 keywords triggering featured snippets. After our changes were implemented we saw a peak of 225 featured snippets at the end of October. With our improved presence in this space, we have seen Jamie Oliver’s historically top performing recipes have once again increased their sessions and we are back to seeing sitewide YoY growth.
The graph below shows the number of rich answer boxes seen in organic search results for JamieOliver.com growing as our changes were implemented.
With our research and adaptive strategy, we have seen success. Now we have plans to roll out these changes across the site. We hope to continue to achieve more featured snippets as the strategy is implemented and hope to continue to grow traffic for Jamie Oliver for many years to come.
Here’s an example of a rich answer box showing Jamie Oliver at the coveted “position zero!”
This is just one of the reasons why 4Ps isn’t just another SEO agency. To discuss how your brand could use content driven search landscape knowledge and technical SEO insights to boost your bottom line, give us a call on +44 (0)207 607 5650 for a no-obligation coffee and chat about data, marketing and technology across all inbound channels. What could a 4Ps search marketing consultant do for you?