CariDestinasi Blog SEO

CariDestinasi is a local Bahasa Melayu travel niche site. From November 2020 to July 2021, I was responsible for its SEO strategy and content strategy.

Client: Date: November 2020 Services: SEO Strategy

Launch Project

Before And After

Before I breakdown my process, first, some results:

I started working on CariDestinasi in mid-November. We spent about a week migrating themes, and in doing so also restructured taxonomies and some content. For the most accurate SEO results, we will start our analytics date range at the beginning of December.

On 1 December 2020, 2 weeks after I started working on, we had a daily traffic volume of 1,944.
By the end of the month (31 December 2020), we saw a 400% increase in users, to 9,837.

So what happened there? Several things happened at once. To start with, it was the end of the year and the government had announced more lenient MCO restrictions. Travel had a brief surge in popularity. As a result, traffic increased. Two, I had hired our first few writers and started producing new content for the website. In my research, I concentrated on close-to-home content that I predicted would grow in popularity in keyword searches (ex: parks, golf, hiking trails). Lastly, the theme overhaul and UX improvements contributed to higher audience retention and session duration.

Overall, all three factors contributed to our SEO performance.

The Breakdown:

From Holidaygogogo, I moved on to my second SEO project:

The site’s content is in Bahasa Melayu. There was an extra layer of complexity (I was not at all fluent in BM), but it was a welcome challenge. In terms of SEO, it worked in our favor because there was less competition for BM content. This gave us more freedom to utilize the domain’s age and authority to expand our topic coverage. We could talk about any topic, even those beyond conventional travel due to Google’s regarding the site as a credible authority.

My SEO task list at CariDestinasi was as follows:

  • Improve UX and loading performance by changing to a magazine WordPress theme (Newspaper theme)
  • Handle all theme migration, taxonomy edits and page structure optimization tasks
  • Hire, train and manage freelance writers for SEO content
  • Perform keyword research and content optimization
  • Identify and audit existing content that can use a revamp
  • Manage in-house employee to revamp said content

Note: At CariDestinasi, I was in charge of the SEO and content strategy. However, I didn’t write any articles for the website. My BM content was not up to par (I couldn’t write well in Bahasa Melayu).

Forming A Team

We saw the need to scale content creation quickly. The pandemic was snuffing out what little traffic we had left. At the end of November 2020, we hired our first freelance writer. In the next few months, we would go on to hire a total of 14 freelance writers. I was responsible for their hiring (job ad, vetting process, interview), onboarding as well as training.

A Change In Direction

Initially, CariDestinasi only covered travel-related topics. Best attractions, food, places to visit etc. However, the site’s traffic dropped dramatically during the pandemic. As evidenced by Google Trends, this was expected (due to lockdown and Covid problems). As all of the site’s content up to this point had revolved around travel, we saw the need to think of a way to get alternative sources of traffic.

Remember when I mentioned freedom to expand on topics? During the pandemic, my partner saw an opportunity. It was time to look beyond travel.

CariDestinasi could also be a site introducing other places of interest: Shops, facilities, or other travel-related subtopics.

We planned an SEO strategy that revolved around such directory posts. Using keyword research tools (UberSuggest/Moz) we created content that centered around geographically specific keywords and places. (For example: Kedai Perabot Di Selangor)

While Holidaygogogo focused on long-form, actionable content, CariDestinasi seemed to benefit short, straight-to-the-point content that could answer user queries without going into much detail. We took a directory approach to articles for a few reasons:

  • They were ridiculously easy to write, even without SEO experience
  • They took very little time to produce and quickly helped build authority for a particular subject
  • They were very useful to users
  • They allowed tons of keywords opportunities and answered multiple search queries at once (keep in mind that this was all in BM, where competition was less and keyword opportunities were many)
  • They were not subject to public interest in travel trends

For a more detailed breakdown of the SEO strategy I used here, please contact me privately.

Content Audit

While working on CariDestinasi, I realized that we were losing great potential by not updating our older content. These content still ranked decently (page 1 or 2) and were pulling in traffic regularly.

So aside from creating new content, I also focused on content pruning and optimizing existing assets. I called it a content audit. The goal was to revamp outdated/old articles that were still performing well so that they offered even more value to users. In turn, we hoped that Google would reward us by ranking them higher.

The process was as follows:

  1. Do an in-depth content audit. Identify posts with great potential to revamp and re-publish them with updated text and images (without removing any existing content).
  2. Update the publish dates.
  3. Insert %currentyear% tag in article title, where applicable.
  4. Go through existing content and added internal links with optimized anchor tags.
  5. Do keyword research for additional content, identify content and keyword gaps.
  6. Focused on adding valuable, well-optimized content to the existing article.

As usual, for a more detailed breakdown of my SEO strategies, please contact me privately.