Award-Winning School Strengthens Their Digital Standing

Queen Margaret’s (QM) is an independent all-girls school located in beautiful, rural surroundings on the outskirts of York, that welcomes students aged between 11-18. QM is renowned for their horse-riding facilities and has won many prestigious awards, such as being deemed ‘Excellent’ across all categories in a recent ISI survey

Challenging changes in testing times

Traditionally full boarding only, QM recently introduced a more flexible structure, which includes places for day girls and flexi-boarders as well. The goal behind the change was to increase admissions, but QM wanted some support in getting their message out there. 

They knew the more familiar format would have broad appeal, yet they were mindful of potentially alienating their full-boarding audience. QM also needed to continue ranking for existing full boarding keywords whilst simultaneously becoming visible for new search terms related to day schooling.

QM had a new website built around these changes with brand messaging designed to communicate the day schooling option. Despite their strong brand, QM did not have the expertise in house to manage the site migration and needed help to ensure traffic levels to the site were healthy.

QM were also keen to ease the path from enquiry to registration by improving the micro-conversions at the top of the funnel, such as requesting a prospectus or signing up for an open day. Customarily, these were only really pushed at specific times of the year, and QM were keen to move towards a more 365-24-7 approach. 

In addition to the restrictive timeframe, QM typically only utilised traditional marketing methods such as printed advertising to get their message across. They knew they were behind the times and were keen to broaden their reach by embracing new platforms like SEO and PPC.

Oh, and as if these challenges weren’t enough, they were all set against the backdrop of COVID-19, a period of uncertainty.

Queen Margaret’s find their Edge

Edge45® was recommended to QM by Jo Pickering of York Professionals networking society. Jo knew our founder, Colm Docherty, through several impressive talks at York Professional networking conferences on SEO subjects such as ‘SEO: What it isn’t, what it is, and how to use it to grow your business effectively’ where he captured the imagination of the crowd.  

Jo felt Edge45® would be the ideal partner to solve QM’s challenges due to our attention to detail, proven track record of diagnosing and resolving other failed site migrations, and growing brands’ online presence.

Increase in page 1 monthly search volume (10,740 to 30,310)

Working on a scholarly solution

Before Edge45® could begin implementing a plan to retrieve any lost traffic following a complex site migration and begin improving the route to registration admissions (and, in time, increasing them), we had to educate ourselves on a number of key issues first:

  1. Why had the new website launch resulted in a reduction of organic traffic?
  2. How do we convey the new brand messaging regarding day schooling without impacting the online visibility of the website or alienating existing parents looking for full boarding options?
  3. How do we identify new markets and expand our reach?

Edge45®’s team of experts got to work.

Manufacturing a multifaceted masterplan 

Here’s how we compiled our strategy:

Technical SEO Audit

As a strong technical seo agency, we kicked things off with an extensive technical SEO audit of QM’s website, which unearthed some key findings. Chief amongst these was a conscious reduction of content that was designed to improve both brand perception and user experience.

While the thought process behind this was sound enough, the execution meant that traffic reduced, and so too did the amount of online enquiries QM were receiving.

Despite not having a copy of the old site to work with, Edge45® was able to identify what specific content had been lost from the old website, retrieve that content, and then repurpose it for the new website in a way that dovetailed seamlessly with the new site design and brand messaging.

This ultimately allowed the website to start ranking again for keywords it used to, which in turn raised the existing website traffic levels and QM’s online enquiries.

Paid Ads

We knew time was of the essence, so paid ads were high on the agenda. Setting up paid ads immediately would allow us to work behind the scenes on resolving the problems QM had. We were well aware that the changes we’d be implementing would take time to filter through to SERPs, but paid ads would put QM front and centre straightaway.

In addition to speed, paid ads would also give us control. We were able to perfectly tailor our messaging, allowing us to cater for specific open days, which wouldn’t be easy to achieve organically in the short term.

Finally, we also wanted to utilise paid ads for fact-finding, too. Our team of paid ads experts were able to gather insights on QM’s target audience that would have otherwise been unobtainable, thus strengthening future campaigns, both organic and paid.

UX Review

User experience is a key component of any modern website, and our review identified areas where QM was underperforming.

Several key landing pages with crucial value propositions were ‘buried’ too far down the page. These were getting overlooked and missed by QM’s target audience as a result.

To rectify this, we cleared the bottlenecks, streamlined the copy, and strengthened the calls to action in order to improve conversion rates. This, in turn, boosted the potency of our paid campaign, as visitors were now far more likely to engage once they landed on the site.

Content Marketing and Online PR

Edge45® partnered up with QM’s Admissions Team to explore insights that would precisely dictate where their budget would best be allocated. We were able to identify which channels were worthwhile and would achieve greater reach for all the content pieces we produced.  This positively impacted the quality of user engagement considerably.

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
Edge45® Finds

Use paid search to immediately give the site visibility whilst we worked to further analyse, understand, and resolve why the website rebrand and launch had caused traffic to drop.

A glowing report
YOY increase new organic users
increase in keywords ranking in top 3 positions
increase in page 1 monthly search volume
increase in paid leads
reduction in cost per paid lead
increase in booking open day visits

“The insights that Edge45®’s six month delivery roadmaps have provided have really helped all stakeholders understand how important digital is in our growth strategy and how we need to position ourselves as a school. 

Not only are we now ranking on page one for many of our offerings including our day school options, flexi- boarding and full boarding in our local and regional areas overtaking our main competitors, but we’re also rethinking and reshaping the way we communicate to a broader audience, ensuring we appeal to their needs and wants which is a new challenge/opportunity for us. 

Thanks to our collaborative efforts with Edge45®, we are confident we are now in a much stronger position digitally and our learnings have now also reshaped our broader marketing strategy for 2022 and beyond.”

Start talking to us today