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How UK agency makes SEO the leading revenue-driving channel for clients

Success story

"SEMrush helps us show our expertise and demystify SEO, presenting a logical plan to a client.”
Paul Culshaw, CTI Digital SEO Manager

About CTI Digital:

We are CTI Digital. Our award-winning team of 150 digital strategists, designers, marketers, and developers put digital at the heart of your organization. Based in the UK, we deliver digital transformation, build, and growth-based services for companies ready to champion their market.

Business Challenge

Since the inception of the marketing division at CTI Digital, the company had been looking for a comprehensive solution for their SEO needs: making data-backed proposals, keyword research, site and backlink audits, content creation, landing page optimization, and more.

Solution:

Proposals

CTI Digital puts SEMrush to use from the first stage of the client process - proposals. Here is the agency’s workflow with prospective clients:
  1. Gain a picture of the site’s issues with the Domain Overview tool.
  2. Set up an SEMrush project to do a site crawl and see the site health issues.
  3. Analyze their backlinks with the Backlink Audit tool.
  4. Look up what terms the client is ranking for and if there are featured snippet opportunities for them in the Organic Research tool.
“It’s useful to show prospective clients where they are in terms of performance, where their competitors and opportunities are,” says Paul Culshaw, SEO Manager at CTI Digital. “Sometimes our clients are not aware of toxic links, or discover new competitors they weren’t previously aware of. SEMrush helps us show our expertise and demystify SEO, presenting a logical plan to a client.”
According to Paul, keyword trend reports impress prospective clients the most: “I’ve had a client who migrated their site to a new domain a few months ago that lost ranking on the new site. I was able to look at the rankings pre-migration, what terms and how many terms they were ranking for, and compare them with the new site’s statistics: which rankings were inherited, lost, or maybe new ones that appeared.”
SEMrush SEO Writing Assistant tool helps CTI to justify content marketing investments, says the agency’s Content Executive, Sacha Crowther: “The best thing about the SEO Writing Assistant is that its content score (for readability, SEO, tone of voice and originality) allows me to quantify an otherwise qualitative task. It can be difficult to encourage buy-in for content marketing - particularly for outsourcing content creation - but the numerical data available helps to solidify our service offering.”

Site and Backlink Audit

Once CTI starts working with a client, Paul and his team use SEMrush Site Audit to detect and fix technical problems: “The tool gives great insights on why an issue needs to be fixed and we present this information to the client.”
In February 2018, the agency started working with Little Greene, a high-quality paint and wallpaper retailer. CTI created a project in SEMrush and ran a site audit to understand the level of technical health on the Little Greene website. The tool highlighted a site health score of 59%, with 6,258 high-priority errors existing across the site, such as:

Duplicate page titles
Missing meta descriptions
Broken internal and external links
Hreflang tag conflicts
Robots txt and XML sitemap optimizations
High priority technical errors on Little Greene’s domain: from 6,258 to 239 errors
“We used the insights of the technical issues provided by SEMrush to create a technical SEO project for Little Greene. It consisted of our own project sheet with tasks ordered by priority. The site health graph kept going up between crawls thanks to the methodical use of the tool and implementing the suggested changes,” explains Paul.
Little Greene’s site health score: from 59% to 71%
In 2020, SEMrush improved its Backlink Toxic Score and made it more precise than ever. CTI utilizes the Backlink Audit tool, reviewing links marked toxic and potentially toxic and assigning them to the project’s whitelist or marking them for disavow in Google Search Console. The current status of Little Greene’s backlink profile has zero linking toxic domains.
“The Backlink Audit tool is very user friendly and straightforward, it usually gives us a quick win. We repeat the process on a quarterly basis and keep an eye on the link spikes during that quarter,” says Paul.
Little Greene’s organic traffic trend in the UK

Content Creation

SEMrush plays an essential role in content creation and optimization at CTI Digital. Here’s how the agency’s Content Executive Sacha Crowther describes her workflow:
“When it comes to creating or updating content, we always start with the Keyword Magic Tool, to validate the specific search terms that we should target when writing. Once we have defined our primary and secondary keywords, we plug those into the SEO Writing Assistant (attached to Google Docs) and aim for a ‘perfect’ score throughout the edits and revisions chain.”
If a client prefers writing their content in-house, the CTI team uses SEMrush tools to guide their optimization. The agency provides keyword research, extrapolates it into content recommendations, and reviews and suggests amendments once the client has written a new content item.
“The Writing Assistant Add-On is invaluable, as it allows us to quantify the seemingly subjective changes that we make or recommend,” Sacha says. “It can be challenging to edit content when it has been written by our clients, as they are the experts in their own field; having a clear 0-10 score, before and after, really helps to solidify our SEO suggestions.”
CTI Digital’s Content Process Diagram
CTI Digital has successfully used Keyword Magic Tool and SEO Writing Assistant for rewriting existing content: “Working with clients like Alton Towers and Thorpe Park, we saw some incredible results from our targeted approach to content optimization. We saw higher search rankings and increased click-through rate (particularly for non-branded search traffic), leading to new organic users. As dwell time increased, bounce rate reduced and, ultimately, we saw impressive growth in organic revenue and conversion rates,” says Sacha.
CTI Digital worked with Alton Towers resort and theme park on a monthly retainer throughout 2019 in preparation for a new site migration. The CTI team redrafted a large part of their site and created new pages to fill content gaps. Aiming for a 5% increase in revenue, the SEO campaign actually achieved 8% more revenue year-on-year, representing the largest channel for growth.
As a result of content optimization, the Season Pass page rose 46 places in Google rankings to reach position #1 for the search term "season pass". Alton Towers saw a -26% drop in bounce rate and an +85% increase in organic revenue for the page (or a +177% increase in organic eCommerce conversion rate).

Results

12% site health increase for Little Greene
Using SEMrush Site Audit insights, CTI easily put together a technical SEO project for Little Greene and achieved a dramatic drop in critical errors.
Zero toxic domains linking to Little Greene’s website
CTI maintains a clean backlink profile for their clients with SEMrush Backlink Audit and its updated Toxic Score.
Higher search ranking and increased CTR of Alton Towers’ content
SEMrush SEO Writing Assistant delivers quality insights and quantifies subjective changes. The tool’s Google Docs add-on makes the edit and revision process at CTI effortless.
SEO becomes the leading revenue-driving channel in 2019, resulting in 8% YoY revenue growth for Alton Towers
As a result of content optimization, Alton Towers saw a -26% drop in bounce rate and an +85% increase in organic revenue for the Season Pass page.
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