- Relaunch Hult Business School’s main website Hult.edu with minimal organic visibility and traffic losses
- Set up the new Hult website with maximum organic search potential through optimal technical SEO provision during build
- Teach the internal Hult content team key search fundamentals to enable them to take steps towards keeping the site optimised and growing on an organic traffic front after the relaunch was completed
- Partnered with Puglet Digital for organic marketing and technical SEO support, PK took the lead on helping Hult get to grips with the project in its entirety
- Initial audit of current site and workshop presentation to key Hult stakeholders in order to bring the SEO state of the site to life for the leaders of the business
- Core technical and content specifications for use by Hult internal development team, all prioritised by necessity for organic traffic preservation and growth
- In depth keyword research for development of a search-informed site information architecture and URL structure for the various programs on offer at the school
- Multiple rounds of testing and consultation during the design and build process, liaising directly with Hult’s UX and development teams
- Half day training session with the Hult internal content team to introduce them to the core elements of onsite SEO with a content focus, including
- How basic SEO considerations can make content work harder
- Editorial research and planning through a search lens
- Spotting spam and naughty tricks (i.e. how not to do it!)
- Measuring the impact of content on a site’s overall performance
- Onsite working in-house at Hult’s London offices for launch day for live testing and verification during the deployment process to ensure minimal possible SEO risks
A lossless site launch that maintained visibility and organic traffic levels
without so much as a blip during the deployment.
Meet The Brand
Hult Business School, a private business school based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, which also has international campuses across London, San Francisco, Dubai, New York City, and Shanghai. The only US business school to be fully accredited in the USA, Europe and the UK, Hult is also famous for the Hult Prize and its relationship with the Ashridge Program of exe.
What They Needed
A replatform from an old and sprawling SiteCore website to a more modern and streamlined one built on React technology, with minimal to no organic visibility or traffic losses, and technical SEO setup ready for growth.
This had to include migration of the Ashridge Executive Education website, already built in as a subfolder on the main Hult.edu domain.
Training for in-house staff to bring the Hult content team up to date with core SEO knowledge and empower them to take ownership of basic optimisation efforts in-house.
What We Did
This hybrid site launch and training mission had our lovely boys at Prospect Knight in the driving seat. They handled all the project management with Hult while also supporting with ongoing comms and the training efforts. Big pug hugs to Luke and the rest of the family, and don’t forget to have a chat with them if you’re after any help with your direct marketing efforts!
The first thing we did was run a comprehensive audit on the current Hult.edu site to identify strengths, weaknesses and what should (and shouldn’t) be carried over onto the new incarnation as it developed. This was presented to key Hult stakeholders in a workshop format at their London offices, giving key team leaders a good grasp of the kind of focus areas for launch and subsequent organic growth.
As is normal for migration projects, we then focused on getting in-depth technical and hygiene content SEO specifications nailed down. Time and budgets were tight with many stakeholders at Hult, so everything was strictly prioritised from critical non-negotiables down to the SEO equivalent of bonus window dressing. We worked closely with Hult’s fantastic in-house development team to get everything tailored to their needs as a business, ensuring that everyone was working towards the same goalposts.
A key aspect of this was Hult’s wish to integrate search-led thinking much more into their core site architecture, which led to us diving into in-depth query and market research to draw up the recommended structure for all the school’s programs so that they were all SEO friendly. We had to do some careful balancing between optimisation and business/brand demands here, but with flexibility on both sides a good middle ground was arrived at after only a handful of iterations!
As the project progressed we undertook multiple rounds of testing, advice and consultation with the Hult team, from creative and wire frames through to code built, staging and pre-launch UAT. Hult bravely took on the task of doing their own 301 planning (with our guidance of course) and we supported with pre-deployment testing to make sure nothing went astray that could endanger the visibility of any big ticket terms for Hult. On the day of launch everyone sat in one of the big conference rooms in Hult’s offices at Education First in Chelsea, working through deployments, testing and QC processes together to make sure nothing was missed and keep an eye on realtime analytics.
Prospect Knight and Puglet also ran a half day training session for the internal Hult content team, giving them a taste of all the organic marketing content streams from query discovery and editorial planning to core optimisation, multimedia and even hashtag research! Everything was kept as lighthearted and accessible as possible so nobody fell asleep, and technobabble was banned from the room so that the content team could focus on learning what was really relevant to their everyday roles at Hult and making their existing efforts work harder for organic search purposes.
We even covered some of the core basics of measuring the success of content marketing to show how they could prove their team’s ROI to the business, and gave them some fun examples of popular SEO misconceptions and horrible content spam so they could also see how not to go about doing it…
How Well Did It Work?
The site launched in January 2019. Can you see it on the organic sessions graph?
That’s a pretty good start to a successful launch – not knowing without the GA annotations where the durn thing happened!
In fact since launch, and (thus far) without any significant additional SEO work, Hult have seen decent YoY growth of their organic traffic. So not only did we not lose any traffic, we actually gained visibility for the site in the longer term by having a more sound and optimised site. Not too shabby at all!
Massive kudos to Prospect Knight for their lead role in the project and, of course, to the lovely devs and the rest of the team at Hult for so expertly implementing everything to spec so we could get these juicy results. Result!