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How do you compete with travel giants and make it to the 1st SERP?

Success story

“Any new release is associated with problems and only the crawling tool can detect them. With SEMrush you will always be able to see the current situation and avoid any broken pages. The tool enables us to maintain the website in a proper condition. It shows correct progress when errors are being fixed or reappear.”
Alyona Dvornikova, Senior SEO, Content and Digital Marketing Specialist Norwegian Airlines

About Norwegian Airlines:

Norwegian Air Shuttle is a Norwegian low-cost airline and Norway's largest airline. It is the third largest low-cost carrier in Europe and the ninth-largest low-cost airline in the world, the largest airline in Scandinavia, and the eighth-largest airline in Europe in terms of passenger numbers. It offers a high-frequency domestic flight schedule within Scandinavia and Finland, and to business destinations such as London, as well as to holiday destinations in the Mediterranean and the Canary Islands, transporting over 30 million people in 2016. The airline is known for its distinctive livery of white with a red nose, with portraits of distinguished Scandinavians on the tail fins of its aircraft.

Business challenge

As surprising as it may seem but only about a year ago Norwegian Airlines did not do much in terms of SEO and Content Marketing. Scandinavian market was performing well due to the brand’s local popularity and the entire online strategy has always been based on brand keywords.
Eventually, the expansion to other countries has started and the company moved to German, Spanish, French, Italian, UK, US, Polish, Dutch, Canadian and even Argentinian markets. All that organic traffic that came via brand and paid campaigns stopped, as, unfortunately, the website lacked content. There were no landing pages, no destinations for when a user would search for a flight and more importantly no one knew about the necessity of having those.
There was no SEO strategy, and homepage alone is not a content yet. The company was just an e-commerce and certain countries missed brand recognition. Then the question of purchasing a tool has arisen.

Solution

“We needed a tool that could have given us everything: the technical part solution, the content part, crawling, error fixing, duplicate content. I used SEMrush in the past, it allows to conduct quality crawling and detect all mistakes, so that was an easy choice,” - says Alyona Dvornikova, Senior SEO, Content and Digital Marketing Specialist at Norwegian Airlines.
Alyona feels safe with SEMrush: “Any new release is associated with problems and only the crawling tool can detect them. With SEMrush, you will always be able to see the current situation and avoid any broken pages. The tool enables us to maintain the website in a proper condition. It shows correct progress when errors are being fixed or reappear.”
Norwegian Airlines started with website health check. There were incorrect h-hreflang tags; canonical was implemented incorrectly. Using Site Audit a lot of mistakes were discovered on closed destination pages. “As the business is very dynamic we close certain pages due to seasonality or if destination pages don’t perform well. Consequently, all pages that lead to content that doesn’t exist should be updated or redirected. In the absence of the tool that wasn’t even a routine process,” - highlights Alyona.
Indexation was poor hence the website’s visibility suffered. After working with SEMrush health check showed a significant increase from 40% to 59.8% and that is already a great success for Norwegian Airlines.
There are business competitors and there are those who’ve strengthened their organic traffic really well. “Companies like E-dreams, Skyscanner produce a lot of content and organic search is their key channel,” - continues Alyona. Norwegian Airlines took really hard keywords such as ‘flights from London to Prague’. They have really high search volume, very high competitiveness and difficulty. “Being realistic you can’t expect to rank first after only a few months here,” - concludes Alyona.
She then proceeds to describe the way SEMrush is used most: “SEMrush is mainly used to create new content, i.e. landing pages. In our business, the most essential would be flight + destination (e.g. flights to London) - middle of the funnel; then origin + destination (flights from Moscow to London) - end of the funnel; and there is a third logic here when people search for destination only, e.g. flight to Poland, flight to Krakow. Only a year ago such content was missing completely and we started building it with the help of SEMrush.”
SEMrush has really helped to analyse the market. At Norwegian Airlines, they have almost 16 regions to cover and the way customers search differ a lot, hence landing pages shall be modified for organic positioning too. “We couldn’t even position ourselves in organic search for a huge number of keywords because we simply lacked relevant landing pages.”
For example, thanks to thorough keyword and competitor analysis in SEMrush Norwegian Airlines have created a well-structured page called ‘flights to Croatia from the UK’. There you can see all call to actions, general overview, where to travel, what to do, etc. “We are ranking on the 2nd SERP now, but you can hardly compete with British Airways who create 10 such pages. So, this is a great achievement for us,” - says Alyona.

Results

Norwegian Airlines have streamlined their SEO process
Thanks to effective use of SEMrush Norwegian Airlines have cleaned up entire website and fixed all technical errors, bringing website’s health up by 20%.
In-depth keyword research enables Norwegian Airlines to develop very specific targeted content
With the help of SEMrush, the customer could now see what exactly its clients were looking for and was then able to build landing pages such as ‘flights to Croatia from the UK’ that bring high intent visitors to the website.
Only after a few months a journey from lack of online visibility to ranking on the 1st SERP
With competition being extremely tough Alyona is excited to note what an amazing achievement it is for Norwegian Airlines to rank organically on the 1st SERP having outscored such giants as Lufthansa.
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