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Creating effective content for YHA (England & Wales)

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Creating effective content for YHA (England & Wales)

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Budget accommodation provider and youth charity YHA (England & Wales) wanted to reach a new audience of families with autism, to let them know that YHA’s accommodation is suitable for them.

Our brief was to provide written content for their blog which could draw attention to the hostelling accommodation as autism-friendly and to rank on Google search for related search terms and keywords.

This project was part of wider inclusivity work by YHA to further promote their accommodation as suitable for all, as it has been since the heritage brand was founded in 1930.

They are committed to promoting accessibility both in their accommodation and through their website.

YHA knew that their accommodation was inclusive, but they didn’t have the content available on the website to promote this, or the expertise in house to create it.

Creating content for search

Working closely with YHA, as an extension of their Digital Marketing team, we scoped out the requirements for this content project and got to know the brand, including the complexities of their accommodation.

In YHA’s case one size doesn’t fit all. They have over 150 hostels across England and Wales, all of which are unique.

They also have a number of roles. Not only are they a budget accommodation provider but they also provide school trips and Exclusive Hire holiday rentals. They are one of the UK’s leading youth charities, providing young people of limited means with amazing experiences which improve physical health, mental well-being and life skills.

We researched key search terms in this niche and bench marked the top search terms. We also analysed competitor pages to see what they were doing to perform well.

We then came up with a list of topics to cover, all targeting longer tail, more segmented search terms and staying true to YHA’s ethos of creating real adventures for everyone.

We provided five pieces of long form content, each targeting different keywords and search terms, in order to meet the needs of the user.

These blog posts were designed to target the top of the purchase funnel, aimed at users who were first doing research.

The content was hosted on YHA’s content hub site LiveMoreYHA.org.uk.

The content then filtered users towards the hostel product pages so that they could book. 

We ensured that not only was the content written for SEO, but that it was also engaging, informative and helpful for the user, encouraging them to choose YHA as their autism-friendly accommodation of choice.

Once the content had been published on YHA’s content hub, we provided the Digital Marketing team with a list of top ranking autism organisations so that the team could outreach to them and hopefully gain some high authority back links.

The results

We saw incredible results from our content within just two weeks of going live.

From not ranking for any autism-related keywords at all, YHA soon saw their content become top of Google’s search results.

Two of our articles made it onto Google’s featured snippets (otherwise known as position zero), within a few days of going live and have stayed there, thanks to continuous monitoring from the YHA team.

SEO is an ongoing process and so once the content had been created, it needed to be monitored and tweaked for best results.

Samantha Wragg, Digital Marketing Manager at YHA during the project, praised The Content Marketing Team for “delivering expertly written content and being so easy to work with. They helped me to analyse the results of the work they’d done, as well as being on hand whenever I had any questions around the project.”

Feedback from YHA customers was just as glowing, with one family commenting:

“I just wanted to say how pleased I was to see these new articles, so sensitive and beautifully-written, about the warm welcome the YHA extends to young people and adults with autism. They make many good points… Please pass on my thanks to the person or people who wrote them.”

Further opportunities

Like most activities in digital marketing, this content creation wasn’t an independent, one-off activity and it led to further opportunities across other channels.

Although this content was provided with the objective of driving quality traffic through organic search, it also goes hand in hand with Google PPC (pay per click) advertising.

Now YHA can bid on autism related search terms as they have these tailored blog posts to direct the user to, as well as re-targeting to anyone who has visited these pages already with more focussed sales messaging. 

As well as this, the content was produced in time for 2020’s World Autism Awareness Week, which meant that there were lots of opportunities to promote the content further across YHA’s social media channels.

As part of their 90th birthday celebrations in 2020, YHA expanded on their inclusive content, working with an ambassador family who have a child with autism.

In addition to providing content for the YHA blog and tying in brilliantly with our project, the family also had articles published in the national press, raising more awareness of YHA and the work they do.

SEO advice for YHA (England & Wales)

Alongside work on this content project, we also offered YHA advice on some of their existing content.

And thanks to the changes that The Content Marketing team suggested, YHA saw some significant ranking improvements to their winter blog posts.

Some blog posts improved from not ranking for their desired keyword at all to achieving first page rankings on the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages).

Their Christmas markets round up post also became one of their most viewed blog posts, achieving over 10,000 views.

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