JA Resorts & Hotels SEO Case Study

March 20, 2019

JA Resorts Logo

JA Resorts & Hotels operates at the intersect of the United Arab Emirates two most competitive market-sectors, luxury and tourism. The hotel chain has five properties in Dubai with an additional two overseas.

JA Resorts & Hotels chose the SEO Sherpa Elite package. After 5-months of signing up they had already achieved some exception results:

  • An increase of 895,410 monthly impressions.
  • Growth in monthly organic clicks from 6,710 to 34,271.
  • Increased revenue from organic search by 863%.

About JA Resorts

JA Resorts & Hotels is a 5-star hotel brand that manages a unique portfolio of hotels, resorts and hospitality operations in Dubai, Maldives and Seychelles.

JA Resorts & Hotels Birdseye View

Their operations include restaurants, event catering, golf, horse and camel riding, gourmet dinner cruises, fishing trips, a marina, a shooting club and sports facilities such as full-sized football and rugby pitches.

The SEO Campaign Objectives

The primary objective of the campaign was to increase direct traffic and revenue.

Like many hotels, JA Resorts relied heavily on Online Travel Agencies (OTAs) for bookings and revenue. OTAs like Booking.com, Expedia and Agoda dominate the search results and whilst they are a valuable source of bookings, sales through the OTAs come at a cost; hefty commissions.

In order to drive greater profitability and reduce their reliance on third parties, JA Resorts tasked SEO Sherpa with increasing direct bookings through the jaresortshotels.com website.

To support this JA Resorts launched a new website in October 2017 which SEO Sherpa oversaw.

The SEO Campaign Strategy

JA Resorts & Hotels were making their best attempt to maximise opportunity online through an investment in a new website. Much hope was riding on its success.

Even with a new and improved website, there was potential for a loss of traffic if the SEO migration was not handled effectively.

Our first priority was to plan a new site structured for SEO success – then manage its launch whilst minimising loss of organic traffic. This involved a full site re-structure.

Our second priority was to optimise user and usage signals by delivering content to meet the demanding requirements of users familiar with robust OTA websites – we planned this through data-driven keyword research and user interviews.

With the site’s content and UX optimised, we would then focus on link acquisition via email outreach mostly to popular travel blogs and websites.

The Execution – Website Migration

Successfully managed the website migration with an immediate uplift in organic traffic. Here’s how we went about it:

  • Structured the new website into silos to pool location-based keywords in directories that would maximise thematic and topic relevance through the site.
  • Developed page templates using studies into searcher task accomplishment, customer surveys and competitor research.
  • Conducted user interviews plus in-depth data-driven keyword research to determine pages and content sections to be included on the new website.
  • Crawled the old website and mapped existing URLs to the new URL structure we developed in order to conserve link equity and user experience.
  • Implemented a custom 404 page, updated robots, XML sitemap, Search Console and monitored closely during the migration and fixed broken links that arose.

The Execution – Technical SEO

We focussed on fixing crawl and indexation issues caused by parameters and redirect loops:

  • Implemented robots.txt directives to block parameters caused by the website’s search function. The directives aided proper indexing and conserved crawl budget.
  • Updated internal links which were causing redirect loops when the old content was migrated across to new pages.
  • Improved critically slow page speed by eliminating render blocking javascript. We also compressed large images and enabled browser caching.
  • Developed Href-lang attributes for English, Arabic, German, Russian and Chinese pages to ensure the proper serving of location and language specific content.
  • Implemented Schema.org markup throughout the site focussed on geo-location, sales and contact types.  

JA Resorts Schema

Image: Schema.org markup language

The Execution – Content

We delivered a 2-phase content optimisation strategy to leverage fresh index data following the new website launch. These are the steps we went through:

  • Optimised the content for all pages on the website prior to launch based on our user and data-driven keyword research, TF-IDF and LSI keyword analysis.
  • Rewrote page titles, descriptions and core content for the top 50 URLs in February utilising current (post website launch) Google Search Console data.  
  • Implemented expanded 300 character meta descriptions on URLs being served for queries with long SERP snippets.
  • We also identified pages with lower than mean CTR for their average ranking position and reworked snippets with more compelling copy to lift CTR and rankings.

The Execution – Promotion

Through link building, we increased referring domains by 510 of which 156 were a direct result of our email outreach:

Here’s how we went about it:

  • We targeted mainly travel bloggers, and destination guide websites with guest posts and other content contribution pitches.
  • We also discovered numerous brand mentions for JA Resorts that were not attributed with links. We contacted these websites and secured links to JA Resorts & Hotels website.
  • Additionally, we implemented several PR based campaigns to leverage the events happening at JA Resorts such as JAX30.
  • The link acquisition process was conducted via email outreach. We used an email account set up in the name of a company spokesperson to leverage JA Resorts brand equity and maximise pitch to conversion ratios.
  • Built local citations for each one of the seven JA Resorts Hotels. We also fixed many citation inconsistencies.

JA Resorts & Hotels Linking Domains

Ja Resorts & Hotels SEO Results

The migration to the new Ja Resorts & Hotels website was a success with search engine visibility climbing quickly immediately after it’s launch in October 2017. It continued to grow strongly over the next several months:

JA Resorts Organic Impressions

Organic clicks deriving from the increased visibility in search engine results pages also climbed dramatically. From the new website launch in October 2017 to March 2018 organic search engine clicks grew 511%:

JA Resorts Organic Clicks

This had a huge impact on JA Resorts & Hotels sales. By March 2018 revenue from organic traffic had increased 863% and transactions by 1000%.

The SEO campaign contributed an additional $95,499 per month in revenue over the period pre-SEO and did so at 15-20% higher profitability than bookings via Online Travel Agencies.

JA Resorts Organic Revenue

From the 5th month of the campaign, JA Resorts made at least $25 for every dollar invested in SEO.

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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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