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Sodexo Sports & Leisure SEO Partnership

Sodexo, the global leader in professional services, partnered with POLARIS to increase their SEO performance for 4 of their UK business units within the sports and leisure portfolio. POLARIS partnered with Sodexo to manage the SEO and drive performance for,,, and


Sodexo historically had little awareness and investment in SEO, but with a number of business units requiring a digital sales and marketing strategy SEO quickly become an evident channel of focus.

Solution Delivery

The initial driver for the partnership was to focus on the generation of Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs) which would then in turn become Sales Qualified Leads (SQLs). With an initial primary focus on, our goal was to determine how to improve the business website so that more leads were generated for event bookings.

We worked with the client to determine who the different target buyers were, what types of businesses they represented and which sectors too. A target persona matrix was devised detailing all learnings that were derived from within the business and also competitive landscape and independent third party research.

This matrix then became the guiding principle used to organise quarterly campaign initiatives, content pieces, and SEO optimization works on the website.

Content strategy and ongoing content production

To service the partnership successfully, there were two key focuses with regards to content production. The first was to fuel the SEO strategy, for which a full site architecture review was conducted, comparing the hospitality and events management website with leading competitor sites for an SEO gap analysis.
By going through a detailed landscape analysis, an onsite content strategy was devised that targeted

- Event category searches at a category and feature level
- Location specific venue searches

From a technical SEO perspective, an internal linking strategy was detailed that would connect category pages to location pages within a single, highly efficient, highly crawlable site structure.

As a part of our partnership, a number of paid campaigns were setup and trialled on Google, Facebook and LinkedIn networks. The purpose of conducting these campaigns was to drive an uplift around key seasons such as Christmas, and to target venues and locations that required additional focus to hit lead targets.

Campaign strategies were created based on sales goals from the business, and then these campaign strategies were presented back to internal sales teams to educate them on the opportunity search marketing could offer and the estimated performance we would be able to achieve.
Pilot campaigns were run over a 12 month period, which resulted in data being collected, leads being generated and paid media becoming accepted as a lead generation channel of consideration by the sales team.

Considering SEO value attribution across business units

Being a global organization with a considerable reputation, the Sodexo portfolio offered a great opportunity to consider how each Business Unit could be utilized to share SEO value, internally powering each brand independently for search engine success.
We set about carrying out a benchmark SEO performance audit of each of the 4 sites within the portfolio, and then by measuring key SEO metrics determine how value could be distributed through an internal linking strategy.

Key metrics that we analysed included:

- Domain Authority
- Trust Flow
- Citation Flow
- Number of Rankings

Complimenting this, fresh content was produced on a regular monthly basis around agreed topics and seasonal events, including key events such as Ascot, Chelsea Flower Show, and Henley Royal Regatta.

Guided content was produced aimed at business professionals interested in learning about how to book and arrange a corporate event. This included:

- Listicles
- Recipes
- Seasonal features
- Event guides

Content was produced in line with brand guidelines, and search engine optimized so that content could surface itself and reach desired target audiences.
Lead capture forms were also setup to motivate users to downloaded gated content so that users could be targeted at various stages of the customer lifecycle, from awareness (exploring venue options and planning an event) to conversion (enquiring about a specific venue and packages).

Sodexo Graphic 1

Delivering quarterly technical SEO insights and health checks

As a part of the partnership, regular technical audits were conducted to determine the health of all 4 destination websites on a quarterly basis. The reason for this was to ensure that the destination websites were being managed efficiently from a technical perspective for both user experience and crawlers.

Regular page speed audits, crawl simulations, user journey flow audits, and mobile experience audits were carried out to inform the client of SEO opportunities and how to improve search engine compliance.

Solution Delivery

In the first quarter of 2021, POLARIS successfully managed the migration of a new website for Bateaux London.

A new website was launched, and taking Pre migration works into consideration, a 2nd stage process was followed by POLARIS to monitor the changeover on a daily basis.

For the first 10 working days of the changeover, a POST Migration report was delivered providing daily insight into the project stakeholders, detailing SEO performance and general site performance too.

During this 10 day period, a POST migration technical audit was also conducted to analyse page speed performance, usability, and indexation and crawl rates to ensure the transition was as smooth as possible. This was delivered into the web agency to ensure the process of migration was seamless from a technical perspective and that the objective of improving user experience was also achieved.

50% increase in keyword rank positions

Priority keywords increased their rankings helping to drive valuable traffic to 4 business unit sites

3 stage successful migration process

Seamless migration for the client's new site, retaining keyword and link equity to make the transition as smooth as possible

"Polaris are great to work with and help to create a collaborative and innovative SEO environment within which to work."
Theo RogersDigital Marketing Manager, Sodexo

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