Article
June 16, 2019

How Top Gear and BBC Good Food completely negated social decline and report an 130% Year on Year uplift on key RPM pages.

Article
June 16, 2019

How Top Gear and BBC Good Food completely negated social decline and report an 130% Year on Year uplift on key RPM pages.

Alexander Royle, as Head of Search for BBC Studios, shared with us his experience on BBC Good Food and Top Gear as he saw impressive user acquisition using SEO, Content Marketing and other non-traditional marketing methods.

Alexander is a leading search marketing professional with over ten years’ experience. In his spare time, Alex runs his own Marketing Agency and works with a lot of household brands on everything from Chatbots and Search to PPC and Social.

The results

BBC Good Food:

  • 78% uplift YoY on updated video content
  • Most popular day ever on pancake day.
  • Consistent 25% YoY organic growth

Top Gear:

  • Social decline completely negated by organic and Google News referral traffic.
  • 130% uplift YoY on highest RPM pages
  • Consistent 40% YoY organic growth

The Challenges

Rank tracking ten thousand keywords:

One of the main issues they have as BBC Studios is rank tracking. With over two-thousand recipes and up to ten news articles being created on a daily basis, there’s a lot of keywords that need to be kept an eye on. For most tools on the market, tracking upwards of a ten thousand keywords is expensive.

Competitor Analysis of a constantly changing landscape:

With the digital landscape constantly changing, it’s imperative to keep up with and understand how their competitors are improving. Both brands are market leaders in their respective fields so they need to easily be able to spot gaps they need to fill or what articles they don’t perform as well as they’d like on.

API access for keywords and trends at a ludicrous price:

Alex has built and developed complex automated reports for both brands. These range from the simple weekly, monthly and yearly reports but he has also developed an automated forecasting module which uses machine learning to predict how well an article/recipe will do. Alex needed API access for keywords and trends to make this work perfectly. Most marketing tools provide API access, but it comes with extra monthly fees.

Multiple users, that way editors can track their own sections of the website:

The editorial staff at BBC Studios love to know how their articles have done, how they can be improved and the what are the best keywords to use. They also use various tools to see what gaps they are missing, trends and contacts to stay ahead of the news cycle. He needed the ability to have unlimited users, that way editors can track their own sections of the website. I.e. car reviews, recipes, guides. Most tools on the market charge for extra for each user, he needed something that fit their needs.

The Solution

Rank tracking ten thousand keywords:

Smart grouping by verticals or keywords with SERP features helped us track performance and perform lots of controlled tests.

What makes SEOmonitor the ideal rank tracking tool for us is the ability to track the things that are important to us and to group things together. By linking in with their GSC account the majority of not-provided keywords in GA are uncovered.

Smart groups are also revelation, they can track only keywords where they are in the SERP features i.e. carousels, top news or featured snippets, only first page rankings, top three rankings, second page rankings all done automatically by the tool. This saves a hell of a lot of time getting editorial up to speed on what needs prioritising. See below:

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The ability to separate keywords into groups is also a lifesaver. With a large editorial team, there are vertical leads. It’s incredibly useful to be able to group their content together into a single group i.e. reviews, recipes, news etc. and be able to see how changes they made impact visibility and rankings. The ability to have this reported in weekly emails and daily Slack updates saves a lot of time. See the daily Slack update below:

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Another feature they make great use of is the SERP tracking feature: on a news site it’s both interesting and also very useful to see when the SERPs change from a standard SERP to a Top Stories SERP. You can estimate when user intent shifts as a result of news as well as how long they have to write a news article before the top stories carousel disappears and reverts back. See below:

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API access at a ludicrous price:

On both brands they do a lot of controlled tests. they needed the ability to simply add the 10-20 keywords into a group to be tracked. They then make the change and use the SEOmonitor API to pull the data automatically into an automated spreadsheet with both GA and GSC data. They can then monitor rankings, search volume, trends, CTR from Google and traffic to page all automated reported into their email inboxes daily or weekly. Their biggest win was a controlled test on 10 videos, within 30 days they were up 85% compared to the same date last year.

Due to the complex automated reporting they do at BBC Studios, they use SEOmonitor API to integrate into both their monthly, yearly and forecasting sheets.

“I have now created a exclusive forecasting module so an editor can simply enter an article type and a keyword. This then uses machine learning along with a number of variables to work out estimated traffic based on multiple variants. It currently has less than 5% error rate on over 100 articles. Without SEOmonitor API access, this simply would not be possible.”
Alexander Royle, Head of Search for BBC Studios

Multiple users, the way editors can track their own sections of the website:

This way editors can track their own sections of the website. I.e. car reviews, recipes, guides. He needed something that fit their needs and adding multiple users with no charge for extra for each user is exactly what they were looking for.

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As well, allowing the user to have restricted view for only a certain website or just to have view-access is allowing them to use the information available across the entire company at no additional cost.

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“For rank tracking there’s no better tool on the market. The ability to track and group keywords how you want to, track any SERP changes and track how your changes have made a difference makes a huge difference in the ever changing Search landscape.” Alexander Royle, Head of Search for BBC Studios

The Conclusions

  • 130% YoY uplift on highest RPM pages
  • Consistent 25-40% YoY organic growth.
  • 78% uplift YoY on updated video content
  • API access allows us to create an exclusive and extremely accurate forecasting module
  • Versatile rank tracking allows editorial to see only what is important to them
  • Social decline fully negated for Top Gear which is unheard of in the world of Publishing
  • Most popular day ever on pancake day for BBC Good Food.


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