Beyond Academy is a firm that organises international internships for young professionals. They’re passionate about offering them the work experience they need to start off their career, combined with pastoral care and a sense of genuine community.
A large part of the appeal of international internships is their globe-trotting nature. So, never one to make things easy for myself, the challenge facing us was to make international internships appealing in the middle of a worldwide pandemic; with most countries having shut their borders and with international travel practically non-existent.
A tricky situation, you’ll probably agree, but a fun problem to get my head around.
There was an extra dimension, too. Beyond is a firm that operates across multiple countries, taking on applicants from all over the world. So local SEO is a no-go – we had to get things working in a truly global sense.
How do you make sure that a firm appeals equally to audiences in the UK, US, and Japan?
In the middle of a pandemic, expecting a firm that relies upon international travel to go gangbusters is pretty unrealistic. This was more a case of laying a foundation so that when international restrictions finally eased, we could put our pedal to the metal.
First was a chat with Ryan, Beyond’s CEO, to work out what his priorities were. Ryan wanted somebody he could work with as an equal. He wouldn’t be outsourcing everything, and he wanted to understand every facet of what we were doing, so trust between us was vital. Most importantly, he wanted to work out the best way to beat his competitors.
That worked for me. As such, the first step in the process was a deep dive into their website and position in the market, reporting my findings back to Ryan and working out how best to tackle this challenge.
I discovered that Beyond’s content was pillared around a few non-specific location and industry pages. But it made more sense to create individual pages for each industry in each location, tailoring the content to each particular experience. This would allow us to start ranking for specific keywords and increase conversion rates in the meantime.
Beyond Academy offers 18 industries across 14 locations. The initial plan was to tackle eight of those locations, as well as a page for each industry. In other words, that was 162 pages to write! It was a hefty undertaking, but we had time – we were aiming for a 2022 launch, when things had settled down more.
To save our copywriters time – all that uploading adds up! – we also devised a process to make it as painless as possible. We decided to outsource uploading to an exterior team, with a rigorous sign-off procedure in place to avoid mistakes. This would let us upload a lot of content quickly and at scale.
Speaking of content, we also had a large number of brochures to produce – 152, to be precise. This would be a way of collecting email addresses from interested parties, allowing us to get into contact with them with offers and sign-up enticements. That’s why we built a system to deliver a chain of emails that would change depending on which industry and location the customer was interested in.
Because it was going to be difficult to rank for keywords, backlinking became even more important to help boost Beyond’s Domain Authority. So we also decided to undergo a targeted backlinking campaign, focusing on small blogs that would be quicker to rank.
Lastly, I also wanted to build out a complete data dashboard. With so many different types of information being brought in, there was no one place where it all could be seen at a glance, and it could have a major effect on decision making.
So, using Agency Analytics, I pulled in as much data as I could – including application rates, countries of origin, newsletter sign-ups, brochure downloads – in order to build a comprehensive picture. This gave us a great birds-eye view of things; the more data we had, the better and more targeted our decision making could be.
With a huge amount of effort, and with work still ongoing, we got a huge number of landing pages and brochures done – and it paid off.
From a standing start, we started ranking for our targeted keywords within four months. In addition, Beyond Academy shot up the ranking distribution in comparison to its main competitors, placing it now in a strong position going into 2022.
And Beyond’s conversion saw an increase too, through the use of targeted brochures and email chains. In fact, we were able to increase their conversion rates by 38%, with 30% of their total conversions in 2022 coming from brochures alone.
On a personal level, it was great to work with Ryan and the Beyond Academy team. We really integrated our teams together to get the best possible result, even offering guidance and support to the interns he had hired to produce the bulk of the content. It was a really rewarding experience, and I think we all learned a thing or two from each other.
All in all, a fantastic result.