SEO case study
Horse & Country

The challenge

When leading equestrian media brand, Horse & Country, approached us at the beginning of 2020, they were facing a serious drop in organic traffic. Although the brand was a well-respected authority in the world of equestrianism, the site had been experiencing a substantial decline in organic search performance since August 2019. At that time, the site had lost 83% of UK keywords since July 2019, with a 93% drop in front-page rankings.

The brand wasn’t sure what was behind this drastic drop. They asked our Organic Search team to provide answers and a resolution that would bring traffic and revenue back to pre-August 2019 levels — fast.

Our results

596% (+3,507)
additional non-brand UK keywords
1,194% (+382)
additional non-brand UK front-page keywords
3,243% (+17,155)
increase in non-brand UK estimated traffic
188%
YoY increase in UK organic sessions (Year 1)
167%
YoY increase in UK organic sessions (Year 2)
446% (+571)
SEO visibility increase

Horse & Country had a strong, well-recognised brand, and had expended a lot of time and resources into quality content and outreach efforts over the years. But, an issue with location-based (IP) redirects meant that these changes were not having the desired effect.

Our technical solutions effectively removed this roadblock, allowing search engines to crawl the site and register all the good work that had been done over the years. This tech work was supplemented with quality optimised content and link-building to further boost the Horse & Country domain authority.

The result was a transformative increase in search visibility, keyword rankings, and organic sessions on both the UK and US domains — reversing the downward trend that had been holding the site back for so long.

Awards and Shortlists

Our solution

Tech

Our first step was to work out exactly what had caused Horse & Country to lose rankings so suddenly. After carrying out an in-depth audit, our Technical SEO team soon found the culprit: location-based (IP) redirects, which meant that Google was having difficulty finding and indexing the brand’s UK-based content.

Our audit revealed that the site was set up to redirect users to their respective international version if they landed on a page that wasn’t intended for their locale. For example, a visitor from the US would be redirected back to the US sub-folder if they’d landed on a UK-related page, and vice versa. If no US version of a page was available, then users — and by extension, search engines — were redirected to a 404 page.

We shared our findings with our client, who confirmed that the redirections had been set up in mid-2019 — around the same time that the drop in rankings began.

We had the problem in our sights. Now, all we had to do was pass on some technical recommendations that would resolve the redirection issue and ensure Google could efficiently crawl and index their UK content. We worked with the client to eliminate forced redirects, ensuring Google could crawl and index all international content, no matter where they were crawling from.

Resolving this issue would be the turning point in Horse & Country’s organic search performance, allowing the site to benefit from all the content and outreach efforts they’d expended over the years. Our technical fixes also helped to create a strong foundation for the rest of our organic search campaign.

Content

Now that Google could efficiently crawl the site’s UK content, Horse & Country’s content could really thrive. So, the next part of our strategy focused on improving their relevancy and driving new traffic to the site via content marketing.

Over the following months, our expert SEO copywriters created high-quality, bespoke content that would appeal to equestrian enthusiasts. Guides ranged from long-form articles about racing, jumping, and cross-country events, to in-depth horse care guides. Our content was driven by search, using the latest SEO tools to populate each article with SEO-rich text and keywords, helping to drive that all-important traffic to the client’s site.

All written content was supplemented with informative, eye-catching imagery and diagrams, courtesy of our in-house design team. The client loved our graphics, which also gained traction and shares on their social media channels.

Our team also took care to promote Horse & Country’s media subscription packages in all content, to help drive conversions and maximise revenue for our client.

Outreach

Last but not least, we utilised ethical, effective outreach tactics to improve Horse & Country’s backlink profile and domain authority. As part of our targeted link-building service, we secured links on equestrian sites and magazines, as well as national publications and lifestyle sites.

Throughout our campaign, we built links on highly relevant domains, such as Pets Mag, Equestrian Escapes, Crave Mag, and R&R Country.

Where We Built Links

Want to achieve results like these?

Get in touch today to find out how our content, outreach and technical SEO specialists could help you improve your Google rankings.

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