Lyle & Scott uses traditional PR to boost search rankings


By Chris Lee

Due to its role in building relationships with influential online media, the public relations industry is in an ideal position to build authoritative and diverse links back to websites and therefore improve that domain’s ranking on search engine results pages (SERPs).

When it comes to search engine rankings, retail is one of the most competitive sectors. Scottish fashion brand Lyle & Scott realised that it had a big issue with low rankings for its range of jumpers so it turned to PR consultancy Grayling to help. New Media Knowledge spoke to Grayling’s digital consultant Stacey Beattie to understand how the campaign was executed.

Jump to it

Beattie explained that Lyle & Scott’s jumpers hub page was receiving very little traffic from search, chiefly because it was ranked lower than 70th in Google search results.

“The page is a central hub for all Lyle & Scott knitwear,” Beattie explained. “No budget was available for promotion or significant outreach. A typical problem faced is that any coverage gained online normally results in links going to the Lyle & Scott homepage or a specific item of clothing, rather than the hub page for jumpers.”

To solve this problem, Grayling engaged in a blogger outreach campaign, asking three bloggers to participate, giving each a one-word clue, which they had to include in a blog post with a link to the hub page where the answer – all three words – needed to be entered.

Participants had to visit each blog, collect the three words, and then follow the link to the hub page to enter for a chance to win £300 worth of Lyle & Scott vouchers.

“We specifically asked suitable men’s fashion blogs that have a good page rank and receive good traffic, which meant the links would be valuable for SEO,” Beattie added.

Search party

Grayling used a combination of the search software Raven and checked the results manually with a clean browser to ensure they were accurate.

Within approximately three weeks the hub page was ranking second on Google for “Lyle and Scott jumpers” searches and derivatives, received 400 entries, generated 20,000 impressions, and most importantly gained three links to the jumper’s hub page which resulted in it ranking second to the Lyle & Scott homepage for searches for Lyle & Scott knitwear and related phrases.

“The significant uplift in traffic on the day of the promotion lead to 162 per cent increase in revenues compared to the previous three weeks,” Beattie explained. “Due to other promotions launching the following week and the start of a sale makes it incredibly hard to measure uplift in sales to this specific campaign over a longer period.”

High maintenance

To maintain the hub pages position Grayling continuously reviewed search volumes to ensure the metadata on each page reflected what people were looking for.

“We also continued with online PR activity, generating links from blogs to the Lyle & Scott hub page to maintain good search performance,” Beattie concluded. “The competing sites are very aggressive where SEO is concerned, which shows the real value of the few, high quality, contextual links we gained, putting us above the competition.”

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