Short Term Site Case Study: Geordie Shore

Short Term Site Case Study: Geordie Shore

By | October 27, 2011 at 9:08 pm | 8 comments | SEO | Tags: , ,

If you didn’t know already I am a Geordie, so the launch of MTV’s Geordie Shore had me both intrigued and fearful of the mockery they would make of a very proud City.  It also set off alarm bells in the internet marketer in me that there was an opportunity to be made with this so I followed my own advice of planning for an emerging market and decided to setup www.geordieshore.org.uk.

MTV: Creators of Geordie Shore

MTV: Creators of Geordie Shore

The Plan

Geordie Shore was to be launched on the 24th May 2011 and was announced around late April 2011 by MTV.  It was around this time that I bought the best TLD that was available in what I believe to be the order of priority for exact match domain names.

There were to be 6 episodes aired once every week so I had a timeframe of 1 month to set the site up and generate authority and 6 weeks to monetise the website.

Setting Up The Domain

On the 27th April 2011, I setup a simple WordPress installation with my preferred plug-ins and ensured that I had a fully working, professional looking website within a few hours that was optimised for several core terms I envisaged would generate traffic ahead of a TV launch:

  • “Geordie Shore News”
  •  “Geordie Shore House”
  • “Geordie Shore Cast”
  • “Geordie Shore Trailer”
  • Etc

Because of the vanity nature of the program, I created individual cast member pages and a photo gallery page.  Aside from those, the rest of the site was to be driven by News articles.

Setting up simple things such as Google Alerts for announcements in high authority publications allowed me to quickly research, write and post articles that were of interest to users to place on the website as well as adding images to a gallery that I configured with the help of Alex Moss.

And that was it – I was set to be reactive and watch the traffic come pouring in. I just needed to drive some interest and rankings!

The Geordie Shore Fan Site Facebook Fan Page

The Geordie Shore Fan Site Facebook Fan Page

Promotion

I setup a Facebook Fan group and a Twitter account to help promote each article that was published as well as calling in favours from friends to retweet/repost wherever they felt the need.

Due to the nature of the Exact Match Domain and the very low competitiveness of the searches I started ranking instantly for a lot of short/mid/long keyphrases.  I never built a single link to the website – I let these modes of promotion help initial traffic.

The Stats: Pre-Launch

The first episode for Geordie Shore was due to air on the 24th May 2011 and I had been working hard on populating the website and ensuring internal linking and anchor text was as optimised as possible.

I had also been posting several custom made news posts to provide stories that would be of interest to potential fans of the shows – all of course promoted via Facebook and Twitter.

Rankings

On the 21st of May 2011 – the weekend before the first episode aired, I had achieved several high rankings. These were amongst MTV’s official website for Geordie Shore as well as tabloid press websites.

Keyword April 28th
(Setup)
May 21st
(Launch Weekend)
Geordie Shore 27 9
Geordie Shore Cast 18 23
Geordie Shore House 7 6
Geordie Shore Trailer 100 2
Geordie Shore: Pre-Launch Traffic

Pre-Launch Traffic

Traffic

From the 27th April 2011 to 25th May 2011 (a day after the first episode aired), the Geordie Shore website received over 12,233 visits through all mediums, with a total of 933 different keyphrases via Organic:

The Stats: The Series

The series ran for a total of six weeks, airing every Tuesday night at 10pm.  Once the initial interest for the series had died down, traffic did drop considerably, only spike on or around show times.  This was, I thought, a little surprising, but none the less the website was generating traffic and interest from users.

Rankings

By the end of the series the competition had stepped up massively in terms of newspaper interest and celebrity magazine articles appearing in the SERPs.  This however, did not overly affect my target rankings.

Keyword June 30th (Last Week)
Geordie Shore 5
Geordie Shore Cast 28
Geordie Shore House 5
Geordie Shore Trailer 4
Geordie Shore: The Series Traffic Share

Series Traffic

Traffic

During the time span of the entire series (24th May – 28th June 2011), the website had attracted 50,282 visitors through all mediums, with a total of 3,799 individual keyphrases via Organic.

The Stats: The Aftermath

As you can imagine, once the series died down, the traffic began to dip heavily. Interest in the series began to dissipate along with interest in the cast despite two bonus episodes being aired in August.

Rankings

The rankings had time to really come to fruition and it’s fair to say that it is the perfect base for the upcoming 2nd series that is due to start in 2012.  Currently, the rankings are:

Keyword October 25th
Geordie Shore 5
Geordie Shore Cast 16
Geordie Shore House 6
Geordie Shore Trailer 1
Geordie Shore: The Aftermath Traffic

The Aftermath Traffic

Traffic

Since the end of the series, traffic has fallen considerabley (as expected); during the time period of 28th Jun 2011 to the 25th October 2011 the website had attracted 52,357 visitors through all mediums, with a total of 5,128 individual keyphrases via Organic:

Monetisation

As you can expect, maintaining a fan website like this was not much work. I spent around 10 hours on this website in total.

During the entire time that the website was live, I had chosen to monetise the website with good ole Google AdSense.  Whilst it’s not the best advertising network of choice, it is by far the easiest and most user friendly to implement.

One of the biggest things that people who setup AdSense do not do is create a specific Ad Unit and assign it to a channel.  The benefits of doing this allow you to see which advert area performs the best over a period of time and whether moving the ad unit to a better position may be more beneficial to you as a website.

Geordie Shore: AdSense Placement and Positioning

AdSense Placement and Positioning

Positioning

Following the advice of Google on how best to position Google AdSense, I placed several adverts around the site in prominent positions.

The purpose of this positioning was to ensure that the adverts were well above the fold of any user visiting the website and were in such prominent positions that a user could easily identify them and visit the websites if the adverts were of interest to them.  Remember, don’t covertly blend your adverts, entice the user to click the advert or other tricks that may jeopardise your AdSense account.

Summary

  • Over the course of a 6 month period, I drove over 112,000 visitors to the website through various marketing channels such as Twitter, Facebook and Organic search mediums including Google Image Search.  Small compared to other sites, but a decent return on time investment.
  • Average Page views per visit were around 3.03%, helping serve over 790,000 adverts throughout the website. The average bounce rate was around 53% due to the high vanity elements involved through the website.
  • The most popular page on the website was the Geordie Shore Nuts Magazine Photoshoot page.  This received over 71,000 pages views equating to 21% of the websites total page views.
  • Facebook received over 300 fans, despite being a fan website.

What Would I Do Differently?

Looking back over the campaign, I wish I had spent more time on it during the six week period the show was on.  I watched the show and, unfortunately, I was not a fan once I watched the first episode – this made me lose passion in the project.

Ideas for growth would have been:

  • Episode reviews. These would be written the very same night along with targeted distribution to take advantage of easy rankings and QDF signals.
  • In depth biographies
  • Targeted affiliate campaigns. My idea was to have a permanent Sky TV affiliate advert present to promote Sky TV since Geordie Shore was only viewable on MTV – a Sky only channel at the time. (Sky actually refused my request to join their program as I did not match their brand criteria).
  • A much stronger link building campaign.  Due to little-to-no budget, I was limited in avenues, but blogger outreach and article distribution
  • Paid Advertising. Possibly through the AdWords or FacebookAds could have yielded better results. I do think the website was not strong enough for that kind of investment
  • Google News syndication.  I had toyed with the idea of guest writers – people who had more passion for the show. Again, this was limited due to budget.

I hope this gives you an insight into how to quickly set up a reactive website, plan a strategy and to monetise the website. All you need is to act upon the ideas that we all have when we see something announced – don’t leave it to someone else!

** UPDATE **

Due to clause 8.1 of the Terms Of Service for Google AdSense, I have removed all facts and figures of my CTR for AdSense. Apologies, but I kind of like my AdSense account.

About the Author

Kev Strong

Kev Strong is an online marketing consultant at Newcastle Upon Tyne based digital marketing agency, Mediaworks. A lover of all things search and an ex-web developer, Kev Strong (a.k.a Goosh) is a specialist in advanced search engine optimisation.

8 Comments

  1. Illiya Vjestica (3 years ago)

    A really interesting read Kev, thanks for sharing your experiences and results with us all.

    It is really interesting to see the affect of click through rates on Google Adsense banners depending on their positioning on the site.

    Good stuff.

    • Kev Strong (3 years ago)

      Illiya,

      Thanks for stopping by. I had fun writing this post. It helped me understand ad placement a little better. Something I have carried over to this website too.

  2. Nichola Stott (3 years ago)

    Nice one Kev. Some really interesting learnings in there and some pretty impressive stats. What do you mean by this bit when you talk about bounce rate being attributable to “due to the high vanity elements involved through the website.”???

    • Kev Strong (3 years ago)

      Cheers for the comment Nichola.

      With regards to the bounce rate, I was referring to how this was higher than a normal information website due to the nature of the visitor. A lot of the visitors to the Geordie Shore website were vanity or image related. For example, several of the visits were through Google Image Search – one in particular (The Nuts Photoshoot). This led to a higher bounce rate than, say, an information blog with how-to-guides; visitors simply wanted to see the pictures.

  3. Jonathan Walker (3 years ago)

    Hi Kevin

    Thanks for posting, it took me down memory lane a bit to be honest! When I was starting with SEO (2005) I did the same thing as you, but with Big Brother contestants (celeb and regular) for a few years and from memory recall the dips and peaks that you found.

    I stopped a few years ago when the earnings were very low compared to previous outings and I couldn’t justify running multiple websites that I didn’t really have an interest in to myself any more :)

    I really liked your “what I would do differently”, potentially you could have been using twitter to tell people to visit your website if they were using the hashtag? I liked the affiliate marketing idea as well.

    I’ve bookmarked your site, I’ll be returning!

  4. Kev Strong (3 years ago)

    Cheers for the comment Jonathan. I know several people who do the Big Brother thing (and more recently X-Factor) and I thought the TV show angle would be better for the broad topics surrounding the show as opposed to a single person.

    I did jump on the hashtag a little, but I agree, I could have done it a little more forcefully to yield better traffic.

  5. Tara Dee west (Koozai) (2 years ago)

    This article has been very helpful thanks Kev! I’ve recently created a site based on Millie Mackintosh of Made in Chelsea reality TV fame, and it’s doing great from a strong social presence and lots of traffic via image searches (I haven’t done any link building for it yet). I know what you mean about vanity searches bringing a high bounce rate – I’m experiencing that already, no matter how much content you put there some people just want to look at the pictures and then leave! I’m about to look at monetizing the site before the new season starts so reading your experiences has been really helpful, thanks!

    • Kev Strong (2 years ago)

      Glad you enjoyed it Tara.

      If there is one thing I have learnt, it is get in there when the peak is about to happen. I did absolutely nothing for Season 3 of GS and my rankings have literally plummeted – I suspect through QDF.

      Gonna give it a big push again for season 4 and see how that works :D

      If you need any help, just give me a DM on twitter.

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