Case Study:
SEO & Digital Strategy
for Saddle Skedaddle

The UK’s leading cycling holiday company, Saddle Skedaddle offers over 230 guided and self-guided tours across 32 destinations (and counting!), with a mission to get as many people as possible to travel the world on two wheels. 

We’ve been working with their lovely team since 2017. 

Key achievements:

Search traffic growth:

from -18% to +10%

(year-on-year traffic  over key seasonal periods)
SEO #1 ranking:

"UK cycling holidays"

(achieved and maintained, plus hundreds of variants)
PPC campaign expansion:

286% leads increase

(increase in non-brand leads whilst maintaining target CPL)

Finding the right fit

“We chose to work with Cameo because we felt they understood us right from the start.”

Adam Walker
Head of Sales and Customer Experience, Saddle Skedaddle

Skedaddle originally came to us looking for help with their SEO as well as holistic support with their overall digital strategy, having approached a couple of other digital marketing consultants and not quite found the right fit for them.

Our approach as a collective meant we were able to offer Skedaddle the combination of flexibility and senior support they were looking for, with direct access to our consultants when they needed it, the ability to vary spend across different channel areas depending on need, and the option to have us complete tasks directly or provide training to their in-house team as required. 

Streamlining a legacy web platform

 

With a strong brand and an established online presence, Skedaddle already had strong SEO visibility for a wide range of key phrases, but had hit a plateau and were struggling to develop their strategy further. We started with the basics, and spotting an opportunity for some quick technical wins, took them through our comprehensive technical audit process.

Right off the bat we were able to identify some technical SEO issues involving a large volume of duplicate pages which had been growing steadily in Google’s index over the previous months, and which were on the verge of causing Skedaddle some serious search ranking problems.

While duplicate content is a common problem, Skedaddle’s expansive and aging web platform combined with a team making regular changes to on-site content meant that new URLs (and their associated duplicates) were popping up regularly, and with few patterns in how URLs were being generated it was increasingly hard to predict where they might appear  next. 

It was important that we got this sorted quickly –  Skedaddle were in the process of migrating their website from a .co.uk URL to .com, and adding indexation problems on top of the normal disruption associated with site migration would have posed an unacceptable level of risk to the site’s traffic levels.

 

“We just wouldn’t have found that without Cameo, it’s not something we would have been able to do in-house.”

Adam Walker, Saddle Skedaddle

 

Rather than taking part in a game of SEO whack-a-mole, waiting for new duplicates to appear and reactively blocking them, we decided to implement a more permanent fix. 

Working with Skedaddle’s development team, we  implemented a custom ‘whitelist’ module at server level, creating a list of the URLs search engines were allowed to index, and automatically applying a “noindex” tag to block any URL not on the list. This allowed us to control exactly which pages of the site Google was indexing, giving us full control over any surprises Skedaddle’s web platform might decide to throw at us.

We were able to exclude over 13,000 duplicate pages, preventing a potentially catastrophic decline in SEO performance, ensuring a smooth migration to the new .com domain, and growing SEO traffic year-on-year. Through the migration process, we used targeted PPC to fill any temporary visibility gaps caused by the technical disruption, growing enquiries generated by Google Ads significantly whilst maintaining Skedaddle’s target CPL. 

Building an international presence

In 2019, Skedaddle launched their brand in the USA, with a regionally-targeted website to accompany their new international presence. Cameo’s task was to ensure that the new site was in a position to perform well within the US search results, setting the stage for future growth – without affecting the performance of the UK site.

By working closely with Skedaddle’s developers through the build and launch of the US website, we ensured that the new multi-region structure was aligned with SEO best practice, as well as future-proofing to make sure that the structure would be able to support any additional regional sites Skedaddle launched in future.

We also consulted on developing a regionalisation strategy – identifying differences in terminology (what we in the UK call “cycling holidays”, Skedaddle’s American customers call “bike tours”) and advising on the best way to adapt content and meta data to maximise visibility in the US market.

Planning for 2021 and Beyond

We’ve continued to work with Skedaddle to improve and develop their website portfolio, keeping pace with developments in their marketplace whilst maintaining technical integrity. 

We’ve also broadened our scope to consult on user journey, call-to-actions and navigation to improve website engagement and overall user-to-booking conversion rates, installing upgraded Analytics tracking capabilities, developing improved page layouts and conducting A/B tests to keep Skedaddle at the top of the search results, and at the head of the pack in their industry. 

Heading into 2021, we have a lengthy to-do list, and can’t wait to get cracking on some exciting future plans!

“We’ve created quite a close bond and we’re able to crack on and create some great things.

Anyone who’s looking to really take that digital strategy to the next level: I think Cameo are the people for you.”

Fran Wilson
Marketing Manager, Saddle Skedaddle

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