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Case study brief: SEO, PPC, and social media support for Accessibility Services

Shaw Trust Accessibility Services are a social enterprise organisation who audit the accessibility of websites using disabled user testers.

After discussions with Shaw Trust about delivering an accessibility product together, they identified the need for increased outreach to push their existing services out to organisations.

As a digital agency, who has worked previously on search engine optimisation (SEO) for clients such as Confirm A kill and social media for Gedling Leisure, HeX proved to be a good fit for Accessibility Services. They had identified customer acquisition and retention as the main focus of the support they needed. With only one salesperson, they knew they needed to increase the output on social, blogs, and accompanying SEO and PPC input.

HeX's digital marketing expertise made this case study unique

HeX worked with the Head of Projects, the Sales Manager and the Technical Manager to devise a collaborative approach to their marketing strategy.

HeX understood that the team needed support with all aspects of digital marketing, bridging the gap between discovery and enquiry with the use of social media and blogs. We also saw a gap in Accessibility Services’ content output and identified the need for keyword-driven content to help drive forward a robust SEO and PPC strategy. HeX also acquired the social output for the brand, sharing relevant tips and tricks for those with a desire to be accessible, as well as disability rights informative posts. SEO and PPC was managed with a content driven approach, utilising niche search terms to help create solid rankings for Accessibility Services in areas where it mattered.

an orange hexagon with the accessibility symbol inside

Digital media support delivered

Understanding the needs of the client to devise a clear and actionable digital marketing strategy

HeX came together with Shaw Trust initially to speak about the accessibility testing of one of our clients’ websites. In this discussion, they alluded to the fact they needed support with their digital marketing and we had many great ideas on how to boost their brand awareness. From further conversations, and thanks to our shared passion for accessibility, we were in agreement that HeX was best placed to help them with their digital marketing. 

HeX met with the entire team, including managers, to further understand what was needed. We soon realised the sheer collective experience of the managers and the disabled user testing team at Accessibility Services. It was very apparent that their expertise and dedication to accessibility was their unique selling point. We devised a strategy that would boost the brand awareness and drive potential customers to specific keyword-driven blogs and web content. We carried out extensive research on the key topics and gleaned experience from this amazing team of experts. 

We also devised a social media strategy that was built around sharing valuable advice on accessibility and speaking out about disability rights on the web. We set the key members of the team up on Trello to help manage the project in a way that was transparent and collaborative. The plan was developed so that Shaw Trust Accessibility Services were able to suggest their own ideas, alongside the ideas we had provided as part of the plan.

Researching and writing keyword-driven blog posts to compliment an SEO strategy

three people sat around a table looking at metrics on a tablet on printed graphs

Devising a robust SEO strategy

Having reviewed the site, the HeX team knew that the Shaw Trust Accessibility Services needed a robust SEO strategy that was backed up by some keyword-driven articles. SEO stands for “search engine optimisation”. It relates to the process of improving a site to increase its visibility on search engines, such as Google. It is different to paying for search engine rankings. Instead, SEO relies on the organic result of a search engine. 

High ranking organic search engine results are determined by the search engine algorithm. The full details of algorithms and how they work are protected by Google and other like-for-like search engines. It’s proven that high organic search rankings rely on a many number of things, for example: 

  • good information architecture on a website allowing search engine crawlers to go through and categorise pages on your website easily
  • unique, well-written, keyword rich, accessible content
  • good overall website performance speed (good load times) 
  • websites that are optimised for mobiles. 

Organic search results are the websites that are seen underneath the paid ‘ads’ returned by Google.

Organic search result showing Shaw Trust blog post ranking number one in Google

SEO was vital for Accessibility Services, as more than 53% of trackable website traffic on the internet comes from unpaid, and organic search results.

Our SEO expert, after lots of research, came up with a number of keywords that could be leveraged in Accessibility Services’ favour. This meant researching keywords that provided quality leads, that would be niche enough to benefit from Accessibility Services’ offering. These keywords were then signed off by the team at Accessibility Services, to ascertain whether they approved that the identified keywords described their services accurately. 

Writing well-researched content to compliment the SEO strategy’s goals

From the SEO strategy, HeX’s content expert devised blog titles and a structured approach of writing blogs on accessibility-centric subject matters that related to specific industry  keywords. The devised content focused on expert pieces delving into the technicalities of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, as well as legal and moral arguments for accessibility.

Once these blogs were written, they were sent off to the technical team at Shaw Trust to verify their accuracy as cornerstone content pieces on the websites, as well as the Head of Projects. This meant that the website now had a number of blog posts that were well researched and related to accessibility to help drive their SEO strategy forward. 

a desktop monitor displaying the Accessibility Services news and blogs page. With an orange hexagon in the background.

In addition to these cornerstone blogs, a number of opinion and perspective pieces have been written by the team at Shaw Trust. The strategy behind this was to give the disabled user testers an outlet to voice their views and experience, letting the industry know why accessibility is important to them. Once written, HeX’s content experts edited them for readability and clarity purposes before publishing.

A combination of these opinion/perspective pieces produced by the team at Accessibility Services, and the researched accessibility articles produced by HeX, meant that the Accessibility Services website had remained consistently updated with quality content, contributing positively to search engine rankings. 

In 2020, the top two most visited pages on the Shaw Trust Accessibility Services website, were two blogs produced by HeX that formed part of the initial SEO strategy. These blogs have a call to action for users to request an accessibility snapshot. The accessibility snapshot page was the third most viewed web page in 2020.

Using Google AdWords grant to fund a PPC campaign 

Utilising the blogs written as part of the content and SEO strategy, a PPC (pay per click) strategy was created, taking advantage of the Google AdWords grant for charities. Pay Per Click is the process of paying for search engine rankings, ensuring you are found using a specific keyword search. 

scrabble tiles spelling out adwords

An example of pay per click would be, if you search “Buy a car”, a number of results appear at the top with an “Ad” icon on the left of them. These companies have paid for their business to appear in these results. Pay per click (PPC) means that you pay a certain amount each time a user clicks on your “advert”; Paying for your company to appear above your competitor. This, in-turn, can boost your organic rankings because your website is being visited more often.

The Google AdWords Grant gives charities and social enterprises (such as Shaw Trust Accessibility Service), a budget of $10,000 a month to spend on Google Advertising. It restricts the bid price of keywords, so in-depth analysis was needed to ascertain what keywords best fit the requirements of the grant. The bid price is the cost per click. With the grant, the maximum bid price is fixed. This rules out bidding for the most popular keywords as other brands, without grant restriction, will have bid more than the grant allows. This meant heavily monitoring the keywords and bid rates to catch the keywords on the edge of the bid price.

With very little budget for PPC themselves, the Google AdWords grant has been incredibly useful for Accessibility Services. Having taken over the PPC campaign in August of 2018, we were able to assess what was working and what wasn’t. From there, our PPC expert added, removed and exchanged different focused keywords, and landing pages, to make the most of the search terms being found within the bid budget constraints. We compared the results from the previous supplier in August, with those results produced by HeX in September, and were proud to report a 233% increase in paid traffic in just one month. 

A screen shot of a paid search result for Shaw Trust

This PPC campaign is constantly evolving along with the most relevant keywords to promote the Accessibility Services. Every month we monitor the successes of keywords and aim to alter and improve these for the month ahead. This consistent approach to PPC means we’re able to stay on top of the game for Accessibility Services, putting them up high in the search result with major competitors. 

Devising a social media strategy that would connect the brand with the right people

HeX adopted the Shaw Trust Accessibility social media accounts with an existing, but dormant following. They had been using Twitter and LinkedIn as a means to promote their business. We agreed that these were the most effective places for them to post but recognised that we could add value to their social media strategy.

It was briefly discussed whether alternative channels should be set up, but our social media expert advised that this would not be an immediately valuable strategy. With an existing following, it was important to harness them, as opposed to diversify into other channels where a following would have to be built from scratch.

In the past, Shaw Trust Accessibility Services had been infrequently posting about news and events in the Accessibility Services team, with very little emphasis on the disability aspect, and the technical accessibility services. We identified, through gap analysis, that Shaw Trust Accessibility Services were uniquely placed to talk about disability rights online, with references to technical accessibility practices. 

Our first strategy was to follow and interact with micro-influencers in the disability and accessibility field, whilst posting relevant and thought-provoking posts. The strategy initially in place was to reassemble the community of dormant accounts and create a thriving community on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Shaw Trust Accessibility Services Top Tweet:

Subtitles are great for hearing impaired and Deaf users. But, they are also great for those who:

– Speak another language
– Are in a noisy environment
– In a quiet environment and don’t have headphones.

Accessibility goes a long way in helping everyone. #SignLanguageWeek

This post earned 26.2k impressions – receiving 49 shares, and 112 likes.

Over the first month of managing their social, we were able to increase engagement on both platforms, and increased the followers by more than 50% on LinkedIn and 7% on Twitter. We recognised our strategy of posting in regard to disability rights online, gained significantly more traction than other posts. 

Since managing their accounts, we’ve been able to see consistent growth in followers and engagement on both LinkedIn and Twitter. We have been able to share news stories and blog posts, alongside thought-provoking informative tweets showcasing the team’s expert knowledge

An ongoing collaborative approach to ensure digital marketing success

We love working alongside Shaw Trust Accessibility Services to deliver digital marketing services and continue to help them grow from strength to strength.

Throughout our tenure working with Shaw Trust Accessibility Services, we have been in constant communication with them. We understand that the key to a successful approach is to ensure the entire process is joined-up, from discovery and awareness to sales and completion. 

In our conversations with Accessibility Services’ sales manager, we learned that before our involvement he was finding it challenging to get high quality leads. Now, Shaw Trust Accessibility Services is busier than it has ever been. The company is in the process of hiring 5 additional members of staff to help support the number of usability tests they’ve been asked to complete on behalf of public and private sector organisations. 

All aspects of our digital marketing is run as a fluid strategy, with the ability to change and pursue avenues that would result in higher success. We continue to rely on the expertise of Shaw Trust Accessibility Services’ disabled user testers to author opinion/experienced based content to share on social media. We also communicate constantly with the management team in order to share any events or webinars they are attending or hosting. 

In 2020, compared to 2018, we have seen: 

  • 69.9% of users come to the website as a result of paid Google ads. This is compared to only 35% in 2018
  • 323% increase in users on the website
  • 304% increase in total sessions on the website 
  • 232% increase in page views 
  • 7% consistent growth across social media channels 
  • 22,000 views on a blog produced as part of our strategy
  • The top two most popular pages on the website are blogs produced as part of our initial strategy. 
a screenshot of google analytics, from the statistics in the bulleted list.

Overall digital marketing project outcome

Shaw Trust Accessibility Services are one of HeX’s longest standing, accessibility related, SEO clients, and we’re proud to be working alongside them to consistently improve people’s awareness of their services.

a mobile phone with a graph displaying, next to a keyboard and a cup of coffee

Accessibility Services are now ranking at the top of a number of key search terms. Their social platforms have consistently grown with a constant number of people actively engaging with posts on a regular basis.

HeX has written and published a number of cornerstone content pieces, educating users on web accessibility, the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines and other international accessibility legislation; Germany’s BITV code of practice, and the USA’s Section 508 and Americans with Disabilities Act. HeX has also worked with contributors within Shaw Trust’s team to help create blogs from the perspective of disabled users.

Overall, we’ve helped to bring Accessibility Services’ digital marketing to the next level.

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