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How did these successful SEO campaigns push Romania to the top of the European Search Awards
While more and more companies often rely on paid marketing channels like Google Ads to bring in sales, the Organic Search channel is often left ignored despite its great growth potential. Or worse, it's being used without any alignment to the business strategy.
Yet, Search Engine Optimization proves itself to be one of the biggest opportunities to scale a site's traffic and revenue numbers, as a recent study shows. The issue? An ever-growing competitive barrier to enter and rank in the top 10 search results.
That's why the SEO tactics used nowadays are so multidisciplinary - they involve technical site optimizations that adhere to search engines' best practices, search-based content creation to capture potential customers, and creative PR campaigns that discuss hot topics, present timely search data or eye-catching visuals. Implementing a successful SEO strategy basically means working together with the product team, the marketing and PR departments, and with the design and development ones.
Competitions like the European Search Awards analyze hundreds of campaigns every year, looking for the very best in terms of ROI, creativity, and innovation. This year, Romanian companies were strongly commended, with brands like Intersport, Mobexpert, and Veranda Mall showing up as winners on the virtual stage. Here’s how their campaigns, put together by the team of Romanian SEO professionals at Vertify, brought much needed results and stole the spotlight by winning multiple prestigious awards.
Enterprise e-commerce SEO using Machine Learning
One of the latest trends in SEO is to use machine learning when working with vast amounts of data, the type that large and enterprise retailers often have. It’s one of the innovations that Vertify, an SEO agency based in Romania, uses for complex e-commerce projects. Such was their work on reversing the negative effects of a large website migration for sports retailer Intersport.
Platform migrations for e-commerce sites tend to have a significant impact in organic traffic and sales if not handled correctly from an SEO point of view. Intersport’s site migration meant changing all site URLs to new ones without redirecting users from the old platform. This means that a lot of the product and category pages vanished from Google, and people could not find the retailer in the search results as much anymore. That is when the SEO agency stepped in.
“With Intersport, we had to recover a significant post-migration drop in users and revenue as fast as possible. We decided Machine Learning models, more specifically Natural Language Processing, would provide the right tools to overcome this, while significantly lowering execution time,” said Mihai Aperghis, Vertify's Founder and Head of SEO, who directed this project (in picture below).
Using BERT, an open-sourced machine learning language model created by Google itself to better understand what content is actually about, Vertify was able to semi-automatically predict what would be the best page on the new platform to redirect users and Google to.
This approach brought the SEO agency one of the five prizes at the European Search Awards earlier in 2021. They also shared the actual code in their published case study.
“Start to finish, the whole process took us around 20 hours to complete, an estimated 75% less than what we think it would've taken doing everything manually. More so, future such projects will actually take even less time, mostly because we'll be able to reuse at least part of the code that we developed here,” added Mihai Aperghis.
Content Marketing for a national B2C retailer
One of the most known Romanian brands, Mobexpert, active in the highly competitive online furniture niche, wanted to increase awareness for its locally-built Romanian products. The SEO agency combined a rich content strategy with PR campaigns and won the spotlight and an award for the “Best B2C SEO campaign” at the European Search Awards. Their aim for this strategy was to consolidate the brand as the 'go-to source' for inspiration for any home refurbishment or redecoration project.
The context: furniture shopping is typically expensive, with transactions averaging 500 EUR or more. Since most people purchasing these types of products are not only interested in their utility, but also their look and fit into an overarching design, the volume of informational searches on this topic is quite considerable.
The agency started with auditing Mobexpert’s blog, repurposing the content that had potential for search while publishing new guides detailing furnishing ideas by room, style, type of furniture, and budget. This plan has attracted over 10,000 users every month. They also promoted a visual asset that had shed light on what type of furniture Romanians bought during lockdown, which led to earning media coverage for the brand from around 40 highly visited publications. These all ultimately lead to increases in Google visibility, organic traffic, and sales.
Promoting a local shopping mall through earned media campaigns
Another campaign that won accolades helped a Bucharest shopping center, Veranda Mall, keep its brand awareness as COVID-19 restrictions and lockdown began back in March 2020.
While the shopping mall was temporarily closed and out of the public’s mind, the SEO campaign focused on creating content to answer what the people were searching for in real time, at home, during the pandemic. The topics were matching what people needed, using search data insights: from shopping ideas, what movies to see, how to decorate their homes and how to take care of their health and wellness, Veranda created content for its diverse audience.
The SEO strategy also leveraged the mall’s surrounding area, Obor, which hosts a famous market, and involved creative PR campaigns. One such campaign included launching a fashion collection created in collaboration with a local designer. The clothes featured unique cabbage prints and banana boxes, famously sold in Obor’s public markets, and cool prints that promoted the local neighborhood’s rich culture. This campaign alone gained significant coverage from both online publications as well as from national TV, keeping the Veranda Mall brand alive in the minds of their audience.
Another campaign promoting the neighborhood used an AR (augmented reality) filter for social media featuring the famous "mici de la Obor" local street food anywhere users pointed their cameras, earning over 30 media placements and a lot of Instagram videos.
This media strategy kept a high interest for the Veranda brand, which managed to give up only about 10% of its online branded searches during lockdown versus the mall's competitors, who experienced -50 to -75% losses.
With such campaigns under their belt, bringing 12 nominations and five prizes at the European Search Awards and two prizes at the Global Search Awards in 2021, the team at Vertify – currently 12 people – is looking to expand to 20 people in 2022, while capitalizing on remote work and the global market.
“Having access to the best talent across the country, and even world, makes it easier to scale - it means being able to grow our team faster so we can help bigger clients, as well allowing people to choose the environment where they want to work and feel they're most productive and creative,” said Mihai Aperghis, Vertify’s Founder.
Working remotely pushed them to improve documenting their processes which in turn helped them to become confident in hiring remotely. In fact, a large segment of their client roster is made up of international companies, mostly from English speaking countries such as the US, UK or Australia. In fact, that’s how Vertify actually started, as a Romanian company working with US clients and bringing SEO practices from competitive sectors, at global scale, applied for Romanian clients. They rely, among others, on two local advantages: lower fees than the ones agencies based in the US or even Europe and a good pool of specialists with excellent mastery of the English language or technical and marketing skills.
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Vertify is a creative SEO and Content Marketing agency that delivers business growth through one of the most scalable marketing channels for online brands -- Organic Search.
Whether local or international B2C and B2B companies, the agency collaborates with e-commerce retailers, service providers, publishers, product and SaaS firms to create data-driven strategies and bring meaningful results.
Through a mix of technical optimizations, content marketing, and PR campaigns, the Vertify team provides increased brand awareness, trust, and sustainable growth in organic traffic and sales.