Damac Properties Case Study

January 14, 2016

Logo of Damac Properties

DAMAC Properties is in the growing but the highly competitive real estate market in Dubai. The company sells high-end homes and is up against stiff competition in the form of Government owned developers and established real estate agents.

The DAMAC Properties team signed up for the SEO Sherpa Elite package and over the next several months achieved some very strong results with search engine optimisation.

  • 467% growth in visitors from organic search results.
  • 510% increase in new visitors from organic search results.
  • 150% increase in page views per session.

About DAMAC Properties

DAMAC is a premium private residential, leisure and commercial developer firmly established in Dubai since 2002. DAMAC Properties is synonymous for projects built to the highest standards in the most desirable locations.

Image of Damac Properties website homepage

Since inception, the group has expanded rapidly and its integrated community focussed residential, commercial and leisure facilities can now be found in North Africa, Jordan, Lebanon, Qatar and Saudi Arabia. DAMAC has delivered more than 14,000 units to date with a further 38,000 units in progress.

Challenges

Before working with SEO Sherpa, DAMAC Properties had employed another Dubai-based SEO company but with less than satisfactory results. Whilst a few of their target keywords ranked well, overall the site generated relatively little traffic from organic search results when compared to the high number of searches being made for real estate and property in Dubai.

At the time of engaging SEO Sherpa, DAMAC Properties were about to commence redesign of their website. Whilst the creation of a new website can allow for improvement of search engine ranking factors, it can also bring up its own set of challenges.

When switching from one website to another, due care must be given to addressing all URL, sitemap and content changes to maintain user experience and so that search engine crawlers can quickly index the new website without loss of impressions and clicks.

Aside from the difficulty of migrating DAMAC’s large website which has 6,440 pages, we also faced the challenge of cleaning up a dirty backlink profile.

Manipulative tactics employed by DAMAC’s previous SEO company had caused an over optimised backlink profile made up of many low-quality links.

The links built were mainly targeting the keyword “dubai real estate” in the anchor text. This resulted in 41% of total links being for this term. Anything more than 1-2% will appear unnatural to Google’s algorithmic filters.

Graph of backlinks to Damac Properties website

These low-quality links built mostly through paid submissions and now-banned Private Blog Networks made the site very volatile to algorithmic changes.

How SEO Sherpa Helped

We started working with the client and their web design agency in October 2012. Over the course of the following 15 months, we completely re-structured the DAMAC website to optimum SEO standards, launched their new site successfully, then implemented an ongoing and fully-managed search engine optimisation campaign that drove significantly improved results for our client.

The project incorporated three main phases:

Website Architecture and On-Site SEO

We played an integral part in the design and planning phase of the new website. Our role was to ensure that the site was built with SEO top of mind. That involved planning everything from the sitemap to the layout and structure of the content on each page. In addition to content planning and optimisation of all technical SEO components, we also handled the localisation and translation of website content into 4 languages.

Website Migration and Launch

This is a make-or-break phase for a website. A poorly planned and executed launch can result in a loss of traffic and business. In advance of the website going live in January 2013, we had carefully mapped existing page URL’s to their respective new URL’s so that search engine crawlers were re-routed to the new pages without interruption. In the days following launch, we closely monitored crawl errors via Google Search Console and immediately fixed any issues Google had indexing the site.

Off-Site Promotion

As soon as the site had been launched we then set about increasing the website’s authority through targeted content promotion. We used article, video and press release content distributed to a broad portfolio of category specific websites to build a rounded and natural link profile to damacproperties.com.

Related: Sample content used in our SEO campaigns.

We were able to balance out the unnatural link profile that we inherited from the previous provider by replacing artificial links with high-quality content placements. The site increased in authority resulting in higher rankings, more impressions and clicks.

Results

We were able to increase the organic search traffic from 14,544 visits in October 2012 to 69,920 visits in January 2014.

This represents a 467% increase in organic search traffic to the website.

Graph of Damac's clicks from organic search results

Due to the high concentration of low-quality (spammy) back links built by the previous SEO supplier, the website was negatively affected by the Google Penguin 2.0 algorithm update in May 2013. By increasing the overall percentage of high-quality organic links to the DAMAC website we were able to recover the site’s position within only four months.

Related: What does organic SEO really mean?

Graph showing Damac monthly search engine clicks

In addition to increasing the overall number of visitors from organic search results, we were also able to increase the number of new visitors from organic search results.

When we took over the website’s SEO in October 2012 the site attracted 8,863 new visitors from organic search results. By January 2014 we had increased this to 45,488.

This represents a 510% increase in the number of visitors who found the website for the very first time within one month.

Graph with Damac's new visitors from organic search results

Due to better mapping of target keyword terms to pages, and an overall improved website experience including better layout, deeper content and relevant internal linking between pages, we were able to increase the average number of pages visitors from organic search traffic visited per session from 4.44 in October 2012 to 11.58 in January 2014.

Graph showing average number of pages visited on Damac Poperties Website

This huge improvement in page views and subsequent drop in bounce rate meant visitors explored deeply throughout the website. The average visitor would view multiple property pages.

Although we don’t have specific data available, we are told that our SEO efforts had a very positive impact on sales (perhaps in the region of multiple million Dirhams).

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James Reynolds

About the author: James Reynolds is passionate about helping you get more traffic and sales from search engines.

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