SEO & Content Marketing
Increase in non-brand organic traffic (YTD)
Priority keywords ranking higher on Google page 1
Increase in organic sessions to Alton Towers Hotel
Increase in non-brand visibility (1st page results)
Alton Towers Resort is one of the UK's most established theme parks, set in the grounds of a country estate in Staffordshire. Part of the global Merlin Entertainments Group, Alton Towers has developed far beyond a traditional theme park. The resort now offers a water park, six themed hotels and accommodations, as well as a spa, crazy golf and conference facilities.
Alton Towers came to us with the challenge to build upon impressive traffic and rankings the year after a major advertising campaign.
2018 saw the opening of Wicker Man, the world’s most immersive rollercoaster experience. This campaign included TV advertising and digital billboards nationwide, as well as a dedicated microsite and a major publicity stunt in London.
For 2019, Alton Towers needed to boost traffic without a major new rollercoaster ‘secret weapon’ to unveil. They chose to invest in SEO to improve upon the previous year’s web traffic and conversions. We set out an SEO strategy to achieve the following goals:
As a well-known brand, Alton Towers already dominate search engine results pages (SERPs) for branded terms. However, to reach a wider potential audience, we aimed to target generic search terms related to theme parks, roller coasters, short breaks and days out.
We performed detailed Keyword Research, to identify the most valuable search terms with realistic potential. We then mapped these keywords, associating certain terms with specific landing pages, to avoid keyword cannibalisation across the site.
A clearly structured Keyword Map helps to arrange content strategically, so that users are always presented with the most relevant results. From this mapping exercise, we also crafted optimised Page Titles and Meta Descriptions, to kick off the on-page optimisation.
Our Content Marketing strategy incorporates different tiers of content: from updating existing landing pages, to producing informative guides and major creative campaigns.
With each ‘top tier’ creative content campaign, we intend to create a buzz. By encouraging users to engage, each content feature drives organic and referral traffic, whilst earning valuable backlinks.
Collaborating between our in house Creative Designers, Umbraco Developers and Search Engine Marketing (SEM) team, we built a shareable, interactive content feature: Rollercoaster Travel. Visitors to the website were invited to journey to Alton Towers on a rollercoaster of their choice, resulting in immersive video footage and unique fun facts about their favourite rides. We worked closely with the Digital Marketing, PR and Social Media teams at Alton Towers, to produce a successful, cohesive campaign.
As part of our research and recommendations, we identified a number of Content Gaps on the Alton Towers website. In some cases, the resort’s popularity has spawned a number of fan sites that rank highly in search results for certain queries. We aimed to reclaim the authoritative voice on these topics.
After agreeing key priority areas with the client-side team, we curated a manageable calendar for new content production. In line with business objectives, we focused primarily on ‘Short Breaks’ at Alton Towers Resort. We created new pages dedicated to previously overlooked offerings, such as B&B packages or Summer Holidays. After our focus on optimising content related to ‘Short Breaks’, the Alton Towers Hotel landing page saw a 61% uplift in organic sessions.
Whilst Alton Towers only unveil a major new roller coaster every few years, each season brings new smaller rides to the resort. As such, they need online content to introduce the latest additions to the theme park.
Therefore, we wrote and published informational content pages about the latest attractions at Alton Towers for the new season. For example, to celebrate the opening of the Alton Towers Dungeon, we produced additional landing pages to grow the new brand. The newly written content introduces visitors to ‘The Characters of the Dungeon’ and warns them ‘What to Expect’ from the attraction.
As a long-standing giant in the leisure industry, the Alton Towers website was primarily focused on creating visual impact through imagery. As such, there was very little descriptive content on each page.
In order to help search engines to understand and promote each area of the site, we rebuilt each main landing page to incorporate more descriptive copy. Each page now includes relevant keywords, search terms and answers to FAQs. Beyond improving relevance in search results, this extended written content helps the user to find answers to their queries more directly.
Beyond the on-page and creative content marketing campaigns, our Digital Marketing experts also improved the site’s technical SEO performance.
Google regards links as an important indicator of domain authority. A thorough Link Detox of the Alton Towers site helped us to identify areas for improvement. By assessing relevant links methodically, we cleansed Alton Towers’ backlink profile to maintain an authoritative, trustworthy domain.
We also began an outreach campaign to reclaim links wherever the brand name is mentioned on external sites. Off-page SEO is an important consideration for boosting a website’s perceived credibility, to search engines and users alike.
By targeting generic, non-brand search terms, such as ‘youth days out’, we helped Alton Towers to rise 96 places in Google search results! In fact, we increased the website’s ranking for 101 priority keywords, resulting in a 13% increase in visibility. Gaining impressions in front of new audiences has helped to drive organic search traffic and conversions on the website.
Between January and April 2019, we saw a 129% increase of non-brand organic traffic, just in time for the beginning of the theme park season. This overall improvement in traffic led to 48% more sessions on the pricelist page showing an increased intent to purchase.
We are continuing to work with Alton Towers, producing new content campaigns for the rest of the year ahead.
We have enjoyed a great start to the year, showing that we are still the UK's number 1 theme park. We are impressed by the great results from the SEO work delivered by CTI and are excited to see the outcomes from the rest of the campaign.
- Alton Towers Management