P&O Cruises

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  • The challenge
  • What we did
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Driving more holiday-makers to set sail on cruises

Our ongoing SEO strategy with P&O Cruises – to improve site-wide performance and increase visitors and bookings from organic search – has led to a year-on-year growth of 1,200% in traffic to their newcomer pages as a result of optimisation, new content and content recommendations.

Complex website with huge data challenges

When we began working with P&O Cruises many years ago, its website had thousands of indexed pages, was visible for hundreds of thousands of search terms and was the target domain for more than one hundred thousand backlinks. The initial priority was to gain a clear understanding of the state of the website which involved analysing significant amounts of data.

Working at scale has never been a problem for us thanks to our intelligent automation platform, Apollo Insights. Using data analytics collated and analysed every possible data point about their digital footprint, and provided us with a prioritised list of threats and opportunities about their search marketing campaigns. This would have been impossible to achieve manually, and very quickly unearthed some really powerful quick-wins such as a forgotten-about page, buried deep in the navigation and not working properly (404-ing). Apollo identified it as a high revenue opportunity and flagged it for our attention. We immediately fixed the page, which led to a significant increase in what had been lost revenue.

COVID brought new and significant challenges

When COVID struck, the cruise industry was hit very hard. All of P&O Cruise’s ships sat empty on the horizon and they had the additional headache of two brand new ships having just been built. Fast-forward to post-pandemic, they had two very clear missions:

  1. To fill the two new ships and recover to pre-pandemic levels
  2. To attract more ‘newcomers’ ie people new to cruising

With these objectives in mind, and working closely with their other marketing agencies (PR, social, content etc), our main focus has been to drive the SEO strategy through extensive keyword research, market and competitor research and content recommendations to increase visibility amongst ‘new to cruise’ audiences. This has led to a strong newcomer content hub, and in October 2022, we were the only agency to smash their newcomer targets, by 139%.

P&O Cruises SEO case study header image showing inside of a cabin

Content remains a huge priority

Another area of focus has been content marketing, creating a new blog strategy for 2023 to revamp their previously-named ‘moments’ section on the website, now called ‘blog’. As with the newcomer content hub, we have provided the overall direction and recommendations to ensure the content is discoverable by all of their target audiences, and influential in the booking process. We’ve been working closely with their CMS  team to build the features we recommend, and with their content team on three streams of content (some of which we are producing ourselves).

And finally, still on the content mission, we have provided strategy and recommendations to improve their port pages, adding important content such as FAQs and local information. These are key pages for achieving visibility in search results for people who are interested in knowing exactly where the ship will be stopping during the cruise, and hence the places they will get to explore.

P&O Cruises ship

Some recent results

  • In November 2022, as a result of the on-page optimisation of their port pages, we saw visibility increase by nearly 20% and traffic by nearly 85%.
  • In October 2022, we reported year-on-year growth of 1,200% in traffic to their newcomer pages as a result of optimisation, new content and content recommendations.

Learn more about our travel experience

“P&O Cruises is the market leader in the British cruise market and is a household name brand. Guests are at the centre of what we do, so creating a website which is easily discoverable in Search Engines is a high priority for us. Vertical Leap partnered with us to overcome the scale of our website and provide a better online guest experience for the thousands of guests that holiday with us every year. Vertical Leap is a valued partner, and we are proud of our ongoing relationship.”
P&O Cruises
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