SEO TAKES SAA PLACES
NP Digital was contracted by Havas to address the SEO requirements of South African Airways. The airline industry globally continues to be hampered by slim margins. Despite being their largest client, booking aggregators typically charge a high commission in this highly contended online vertical, thereby reducing the margins even further.
As one of the biggest local e-commerce websites, SAA had to try and increase direct bookings on flysaa.com. The website was built on legacy technology, lacked keyword-rich content and the URL structure was not easy to work with.
To focus on how travelers search within Google and which keywords resulted in most conversions. The answer appeared to lie in routes and destinations e.g. ‘flights to Johannesburg ’
An extensive website audit was conducted which inter alia interrogated the user journey. Utilising proprietary software and other contracted solutions, the comprehensive strategy among other things, addressed the technical health and link structure, which were re-aligned to better position destinations to both users and search engines. Keyword-rich content was optimised or re-purposed and original content was also developed for the destinations section.
Over-indexation was reduced from 1.8m to a more manageable 120k and meta data, page titles and other onsite content were optimised.
Despite SAA’s hugely negative media exposure which affected consumer confidence; the rand being at an all time low and a new, hyper-low-cost carrier (Safair) entering the market, organic traffic increased by 15% to ensure well over 2m additional organic visitors from Nov 2015 – Oct 2016.
Keywords showed an 80% improvement in rankings to an average position of 3.32 (from 16.24 in 2015) – which delivered organic traffic of, on average, 1.9m monthly.