SEO Case Study – Chefs Catering NorthWest


I’ve been working with Chefs Catering NorthWest on a monthly retained basis for over a year and a half now.

Watching their business go from strength-to-strength using a small budget, agile working methods and a prioritised strategy has been amazing, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic when catering searches fell off a cliff overnight.

This campaign and working relationship is testament to the fact you can still do SEO and get results, no matter how much you have available in budget, if you hire the right people and have patience.

The Client

Chefs Catering NorthWest came up on my radar in April 2020 after a mutual friend put Freelance Designer Claire Keep in touch with me. She was about to commit to building the new website.

The business prior had been running on a very basic holding page for a website, instead utilising it’s Facebook page for leads, marketing and coverage.

Chefs Catering NorthWest is a catering contractor for both B2B and B2C niches, serving both businesses who need outsourced catering on-site and your typical big events such as weddings, funerals, festivals and more.

Gemma, the MD, was having a FUCKING NIGHTMARE as you can imagine, being a catering business at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Challenge

Planning to launch their website in June 2020, the following issues needed to be addressed…

  1. How do we build a site that covers everything we do catering-wise in search results? Gemma knew what SEO was and that she needed it, but Claire needed an extra layer of experience by her side to ensure the right boxes were ticked.
  2. Gemma, thinking on her feet, decided to pivot the business model towards food delivery during lockdown. As this was largely the only area they could make money, they needed traffic and fast.
  3. We were literally launching from ZERO. There was very little branded search traffic due to the business being in its infancy and the local catering space is competitive.
  4. The budget available for the website project was limited.

The Strategy

Our first step was keyword research. We needed to understand how users were searching for services and have landing pages in place for all core areas.

From this data we were able to determine an initial sitemap, which Claire then built whilst I ran SEO good practice checks in the background.

This included technical SEO quality baked into the build, metadata optimisation and setting up all forms of data tracking in Google Analytics/Google Search Console.

Once the site was live and we had a foundation for traffic to start coming in, we used a day’s worth of monthly SEO retainer with yours truly to gradually improve landing page content in core service areas.

We prioritised the Homely Meals and Takeaway/Delivery services to ensure the business was covered for SEO landing pages during lockdown and then worked our way through the rest of the site. All-in-all this took around a year of montlhy content briefs and creation to get all pages optimised.

As lockdowns started to ease and we knew opportunities were ripe to get customers back into CCNW’s serviced restaurant locations, so we rolled out seasonal pages to target events like Christmas, Mother’s Day and Valentine’s Day to ensure we could gain visibility and traffic for bookings.

This also involved management of Google My Business and Bing Places for Business listings, which expanded throughout 2020 and 2021 as the business gained more catering contracts in the Lancashire and Cumbria regions.

The results

From June 2020 to September 2021 organic traffic has been responsible for…

  • 5,944 visits to the website.
  • 763 visits to delivery and takeaway service pages, resulting in 151 leads.
  • 285 visits to seasonal booking pages, resulting in 29 leads.
  • 1,004 total leads via the website for phone calls, emails, booking links and contact form completions.
  • 305 leads via Google My Business for directions, phone calls and messages.
  • 1,540 clicks and 130,000 impressions for non-branded keywords in Google search results.
(Screenshot via Google Analytics).

We also saw a huge spike in organic traffic over the months of January to March 2021 from seasonal “Afternoon tea” keywords in line with Mother’s Day booking trends.

Comparing September 2021 to September 2020…

  • Monthly non-branded clicks are up by 1,166% in Google Search Console.
  • Organic traffic is up by 111% in Google Analytics.
  • Organic leads are up by 336%.

Off the back of all the hard work and results, Gemma upped her budget to a day and a half in March 2021. Based on conversions and the average customer value to the business, we estimate CCNW has seen a 362% return-of-investment from SEO since the new website was launched.

(Screenshot via Semrush).

What the client says…

Without Dan’s expertise, we would not have grown throughout the pandemic. He identifies where we should drive our services which enhance our sales.

I cannot recommend Dan enough, when we started it was just me in the business. Now less than two years on and we have 44 staff and we are still growing thanks to Dan and his expertise.

– Gemma Gardner, Director of Operations @ Chefs Catering NorthWest.

Want to find out how I can help YOU grow your revenue by 362% as well? Get in touch!

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