Building SEO Value for a Catering Marketplace

ezCater is a marketplace for office catering. In 2018, ezCater was well into their growth stage and approaching their soon-to-be-achieved unicorn valuation. The company had long relied on paid marketing and member referrals to grow their business. With increasing competition in the office catering market, ezCater wanted to build SEO value to defend its position in the market. I was contracted by the growth team to build several microsites and landing pages to help build SEO value.

Ezcater mobile wireframes

Reviews Microsite: Using a rough sketch from the marketing team, I started on some mobile wireframes of the new reviews microsite.

Design Challenges

ezCater had a network of tens of thousands of catering providers in hundreds of towns and cities throughout the country. Despite having the largest catering network of any company in the space, ezCater frequently did not show up at the top of the search results for “office catering [CITY NAME]” and similar search queries.

The goal was to build templates that would allow us to launch hundreds of pages, each tailored to boost SEO value for a particular metro search query.

Project #1: Reviews Microsite

We scoped out two projects to build SEO value. The first project was a microsite that displayed the top ten best-reviewed catering providers in a given city. I designed and built a template that allowed us to launch pages for hundreds of cities throughout the country.

Ezcater city wireframe

Reviews Microsite: There was quite a bit of back and forth with the team to get this page right. These city pages were the pages that we hoped would index high in the search results.

Ezcater city visual design

Reviews Microsite: Once the team and I were aligned on the content of the page, I brought the wireframes up to a visual layer.

Project #2: Metro Landing Page

The second project was a redesign of the existing metro pages. The marketing website already had landing pages tailored for most of the major U.S. cities (for example: https://www.ezcater.com/catering/ca/san-francisco), but the existing pages didn't clearly communicate ezCater's value proposition, to users or to the search engines.

The marketing team and I partnered on a redesign of these metro pages that aimed to better communicate ezCater's value (and boost the pages' search position). I started with a basic template that could be used for hundreds of smaller towns and cities. For larger cities, this template also allowed us to override parts of the default content to feature other content, such as articles that the marketing team had written about that particular city.

Ezcater metro page

Metro Page: The marketing team and I moved through several iterations of the design and content of this page template, and then applied the template to hundreds of U.S. cities.

Outcome

The new metro page was put head-to-head against the old design in a six-month long A/B test. Once the test reached statistical significance, we were able to conclude that the new design far outperformed the old design. Results:

  • Page one search rankings more than doubled the control
  • Average blended rank of all keywords tracked was 6.33 (page 1) vs. 33.3 (page4) on the control
  • Daily visits were triple those of the control pages due to increased search visibility, also driving increased conversions

This was clearly a win. The reviews microsite, on the other hand, never quite caught on and failed to drive significant new traffic.

Team