We’ve officially moved to coop.co.uk

Since launching our brand in May, the web address we’ve promoted and printed on things has been coop.co.uk. For those of you paying close attention you’ll have noticed coop.co.uk just redirected to co-operative.coop – but not anymore.

All 11,647 co-operative.coop pages and pdf links now use our new web address.

coop.co.uk

Why coop.co.uk?

We need to acknowledge how our members refer to us and search for us. Most people call us the Co-op and search for us without the hyphen (83% of users). You can find out more in Nick’s post ‘Why we’ve moved to coop.co.uk’.

No lost links

Changing your web address is very similar to moving house. To make sure people continue to visit, you need to tell them you’ve moved.

Google and Bing are the most important people to tell. If we didn’t do this correctly our site would be a lot harder to find.

We also made sure our old URL co-operative.coop and our even older URL co-op.co.uk 301 redirected to our new web address.

So if you typed:

co-op.co.uk/about-us

Or

co-operative.coop/about-us

It would go to coop.co.uk/about-us

Was it a success?

Making any change to your URL is risky and will normally see a drop in visitors coming to your site via search. We predicted our website would take up to two months to recover.

It’s still too early to tell how successful the change has been and we’ll continue to monitor, but a good indication is how quickly Google and Bing has recognised the change. This can take several weeks but only took a week.

More changes to come

We’re building a new version of coop.co.uk which you can take a look at.

We’ve also started to change all our other website addresses to be subdomains of coop.co.uk. Subdomains let us add a word before our URL. For example our jobs site is now jobs.coop.co.uk. Any link we promote in TV, print and so on will start coop.co.uk. So for the jobs site we would promote it as coop.co.uk/jobs.

I’ll be explaining more about URL strategy soon but if you have any questions or comments let me know.

Peter Brumby
Digital Channels Manager

Creating content for a crowded market

Even for big brands, entering a crowded space can be difficult with lower chances of success. Just to put this into perspective, in December 1.7m blog posts were published each day on WordPress sites. In December 2015 we spoke about drink driving and championed road safety for General Insurance yet knew we needed a unique angle; something credible whilst interactive for users to take notice of and resonate with. We broke through and turned a famously negative story in to a positive one and developed a designated driver finder, encouraging users to designate a driver over the festive period.

Designated Driver Finder Hompage image 1Designated Driver Finder Wheel image 2

The simple functionality allowed 5 user names to be entered and a driver chosen at random. We added an engagement feature which rewarded the driver with an IOU, owed to them by their friends. This added humour and increased shareability.

As our main objective was to generate links we commissioned research to add credibility. Unique data partnered with interactive onsite content allowed us to attract links and brand mentions from top tier websites. We also tracked engagement on blogs who featured our content and found various angles such as Christmas mocktails and shared their stories.


Jen Bowden, SEO Manager – @jenbowden1

Engaging content marketing for complex industries

Delivering integrated content marketing campaigns in complex industries such as legal or financial services can often be challenging. You want to produce content which is useful but also engages with the user. Content marketing has seen a drastic change over the last few years where the direct sell is being avoided whilst appealing to your user’s interests and behaviours is key.

We decided to focus our efforts on a campaign around legal myths for Co-op Legal Services. Working with our PR and Social Media teams from the start was essential to deliver a joined up campaign. From commissioning research for the Press, working with the practice areas to answer common questions to defining a target audience for Facebook, all were vital.

Quiz_Cover

We knew legal misconceptions often divided opinion therefore a quiz felt like the appropriate tool to adopt. Appealing to people’s competitive sides proved to strike a chord as they instantly started sharing their scores on Social Media. Over 5,500 users completed the quiz overall which surpassed previous campaigns. 143,000 impressions were delivered on Facebook with 5,000 users engaging with the post.

A leading Legal IT website featured the quiz on their site as well as bloggers. All of which delivered traffic to the website.

A PDF download of the questions from the quiz with additional examples also achieved strong engagement with 40,000 views on Slideshare.

96% of the traffic from all sources to the campaign were new to the website. Put another way, we were engaging with people who had never visited the website before and we couldn’t think of a better introduction.

This proves that if you do your research, get under the skin of your audience and work collaboratively, you can deliver a results driven campaign. In this instance, the business was also presented to a new audience.

Christmas Blogger Event Wrap-up Video

In the run-up to Christmas last year, we held the Co-op’s first event to engage specifically with bloggers. Over the past year, we’ve built on from that first event, collaborating with the bloggers on campaigns and product reviews – working with them to build long-term relationships and turn them into partners and brand advocates.

The 2nd Christmas blogger event was held a few weeks ago. The invited bloggers took to social media to talk about the event, causing it to trend in Manchester. Watch the video to get behind the scenes…

Blogger Engagement Event – Christmas Showcase

According to Nielsen, 92% of consumers around the world say they trust recommendations above all other forms of advertising. In the digital landscape that ‘word of mouth’ role is often played by online influencers.

The strategy to build a network of influencer advocates has been ongoing over the past year. Now, we have a community of highly engaged influencers, opted-in to help us share stories about our products and brand through their networks. During 2015, the Digital team have worked with this community to promote campaigns across Food, Funeralcare, Estore and Legal Services, ranging from large campaigns to smaller product reviews.

The 2nd annual Christmas blogger event – the highlight of the Co-op’s influencer engagement calendar – was held last Friday. Before our very eyes the restaurant in 1 Angel Square (our support centre) transformed into an elegant Winter Wonderland to host 75 bloggers who braved bad weather and worse traffic to attend.

Caption Setting the scene in the 8th floor restaurant
Caption Setting the scene in the 8th floor restaurant

The format was very different to last year. Our guests were seated in tables of 10 and treated to a 4-course tasting menu featuring Co-op own-brand products and award-winning wines. They were taken behind the scenes to gain exclusive insights from product developers, updates on campaigns, a blogger panel Q&A… all nicely rounded off with cheese and some very special cupcakes.

We engaged with the bloggers on a deeper level because, for us, the events provide a unique opportunity to really connect – to get to know the people behind the blogs and from there, decide how best to work together in 2016 and beyond.

Guests tuck in as the starters are served
Guests tuck in as the starters are served

And the bloggers responded – taking to social media before, during, and after the event, reaching over 200k accounts with close to 400k impressions. Over the next two weeks we’ll follow-up with the attendees and reach out to those who couldn’t make it to increase brand noise over the Christmas period.

rsz_1annette_-_image_32

blog - tweets 3

blog - tweets 2

I’m currently working on finalising the strategy for Influencer Engagement for 2016. I can’t yet reveal exactly what’s coming up, but expect to see our relationships with our blogger partners grow and become more intertwined – helping us to stay visible and relevant in the digital landscape.

Personalised cupcakes were a special treat
Personalised cupcakes were a special treat

Influencer Engagement: Progressing from the first date

Hi, I’m Annette, the SEO Manager for our Food division. I started at the Co-op last April and attended the annual ‘Christmas in July’ Press Event. I hadn’t met any of the product developers before, but I was blown away by their passion as they explained how and why each product had been carefully crafted.

And so, a few weeks later, I started on my first outreach campaign – eager to share these fabulous stories and products with the blogosphere. I remember sending out carefully constructed emails to chosen bloggers and… absolutely nothing. I couldn’t understand it, I thought that bloggers would be lining up to work with a brand as established as ours, but it turns out that we had never worked specifically with bloggers before.

Never one to shy away from a challenge, I decided to build a blogger database for the team. I knew that sending out a couple of products just wasn’t going to cut it, We didn’t just want a couple of random guest blog posts or product reviews. We needed a connection – a new way to work with bloggers that would produce advocates and partners – excited to work with us and enthusiastic about our brand… And so the Christmas blogger event was born.

That 1st event was compared to a first date – an exploratory evening for us to find out more about each other.
1. Co-op-Blogger-Event-Paul-Dempsey

We introduced them to our sumptuous food and drink, and they told us what their challenges were. The feedback from the event was very positive – some even said that it was one of the best blogger events of the year. Not bad for a 1st effort!

Blogger Event

We’ve been building on these relationships for a year – sending updates, hosting smaller events, including bloggers in campaigns and sending out occasional products for review. The invitations for this years Christmas event at 1AS on 27th November, went out last week and the response was amazing – RSVPs increased 300% over last year! Not only is this event bigger and better – there is more involvement from across the business than last year with PR, Food Digital Marketing, Food Product Developers, Taste Team and Sodexo in the trenches along with us in SEO and Social – working to bring it all together.

The panel of bloggers – taking questions from the audience at this year’s event will feature-

rsz_blogger_-_louise Louise Hegarty of birdsandlilies.com
Louise is a Parenting and Lifestyle Blogger from Nottingham. She’s been blogging since 2012, and it has a blossoming readership and a large social following. Lou has an honest and open writing style, and is happy to share her experiences of IVF, Parenting and life in general. She has a 3 year old daughter, and loves making lists, talking too fast and eating lots of cheese.

rsz_blogger_-_janeJane Arschavir of HodgePodgeDays.co.uk
Jane Arschavir has been blogging since June 2013. She stumbled into blogging following a life-changing injury and her blog grew from there. Jane writes about a whole range of topics (hence hodge-podge), and her hobbies include getting brain freeze from eating ice pops too quickly, writer’s block and shouting at the television.

 rsz_blogger_-_sianSian Russell from HelpfulMum.com
Siân’s blog has been established for over four years. She writes about parenting, days out, travel, food, product reviews, lifestyle and the Yorkshire Dales. She has presented at BlogCamp events on video editing techniques and YouTube. In July 2014, she graduated as a mature student in Philosophy, Politics and Economics and now manages a Bed & Breakfast in the Dales

We’re so excited! Keep your eyes open for the post-event round-up!

3. Co-op-Blogger-Event-Masterchef
We even had some extra special guests – Masterchef anyone?

SearchLove London – 2015

Hello, I’m Jen, and I’m a SEO Executive at the Co-op.  SearchLove is arguably one of the best search events of the year,  I attended this years event and learned far too much for one post so I’ve decided to highlight a few gems.

The Future of Queries

Tom Anthony, head of R&D at Distilled sees queries changing a lot in the future, one trend being implicit signals over explicit as users expect us to know the context of their query. The explicit aspect of a query would be ‘co-op store’ while the implicit aspect would be for us to know that they are on their iPhone on Balloon Street, Manchester. As we look to the future we will be using the data gathered through wearables and beacons to enable us to delivery hyper local results depending on whether the user is walking or running, or simply stood on the other side of the road.

This data will then influence another future trend, compound queries. Google no longer deliver results from each query independently and instead use previous searches and user intent to deliver a more accurate result. If marketers start thinking about the users intent rather than keywords they will soon be able to cut out competitors and serve the user direct. Great example using Google’s voice search below

An SEO Approach to Content Marketing

Anum Hussain, Growth Marketer from HubSpot tried and tested a few tactics when building a content strategy for new website, Sidekick. Her tactic began traditionally; producing SEO site pages, building high quality relevant links and increasing social shares, yet her results really began to change when they updated historical content with related site links and doubled down on one topic across all content. This is a simple tactic that reminds us how effective some onsite fundamentals can be, and one we definitely plan to start increasing.

Be a Unicorn

Larry Kim, founder and CTO of WordStream taught us his best Facebook and Twitter advertising hacks of all time reinforcing the phrase we’ve used a lot over the past 12 months, “you’ve got to pay to play”. He suggests to only promote content that would work organically and so if it takes off organically then promote it, it’s all about being reactive. Not only will it save you time finding good content (unicorns) it will also save you money if you promote it to the correct audience, or retarget users for an extra push.

Larrys Pyramid Scheme

Accelerated Mobile Pages

Will Critchlow, CEO and co-founder of Distilled shared some practical advice on a topic that has been a talking point of late, download sizes (his diagram explains the industries’ issue pretty well).

Will downloading content


AMP (
accelerated mobile pages) has launched to combat this with many top tier publishers on board. Try it out here (on your mobile) or use this guide to start creating an AMP page.

Chasing “perfect

Ian Lurie, CEO of Portent stressed we need to start chasing the human algorithm, it’s the only one that doesn’t change and the one we should already understand. Understanding what humans want from our content instantly moves us closer to perfect. Things to consider;

  • Content delivery
  • Rational navigation
  • Correct targeting
  • Broken links
  • Speed

…plus many, many more.

The Algorithm

Rand Fishkin, founder or more preferred title, Wizard of Moz, shared some fascinating data on where the algorithm is moving and reinforced many of our theories. Our perceptions have been that the algorithm is flattening and he produced the data to prove that. However, as more ranking factors are added to the mix, links are just as important as they were, meaning we need to stick at what we’re good at and continue building great links while incorporating the rest. I’m sure you’ll want to read all about search ranking factors 2015 in full.

I hope you found this round up useful, as I said there was so much information that I didn’t manage to squeeze in but you can find it all here, let me know what you think below or find me @jenbowden1