Search Engine Guide Case Study: Virgin Vacations Flies High With Optimization Effort

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One would think that with a name like Virgin Vacations, there would be no need to compete. But travel wrestles for the title of being the Web's most competitive consumer and business category.


Virgin Vacations executives, noticing that they were not receiving the number of desired hits on their site at www.virgin-vacations.com, did the best thing that must be done for a traffic-conscious brand: They invested in some good, old-fashioned search engine optimization.


Here's what we did to help them get to the top of the search engine results pages:


The first step was identifying the right keywords, especially ones that would equal sales. After surveying past customers, we found that many associated Virgin Vacations with "travel deals" because of the packages the company can put together. We focused on its European packages, choosing terms such as "London travel deals" and "Paris travel deals" - terms that would convert.


The next step was getting the site to be search engine friendly, which is a big obstacle with the current dynamic ASP setup. Because of company restriction, we were unable to completely rewrite the system. So it took a combination of site maps and removing "spider blocks" to get it completely crawled.


Then, we enhanced the site's current content with helpful articles that would appeal to the spiders and to visitors.


Another important step was standardizing the client's Web addresses and how other Virgin properties were linking to them. We also carried this logic into the link-building phase of Virgin Vacations' project.


Within just a few weeks of the initial optimization, the Virgin Vacations Web site ranked high in the SERPs for a number of its main key terms.


It currently ranks highly on all major search engines with more than 53 top-five rankings for its top keywords. This has lead to increased traffic and sales.


For more articles from The Direct Marketer's Essential Guide to Search Engine Marketing, visit www.dmnews.com/search .


A PDF of the guide is available at: http://www.dmnews.com/pdffiles/semguide.pdf


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