Case Study: Monster’s monster growth on Google

Juan Gonzalez
I studied Regional Studies of Latin American at the University of Cologne - Germany, majoring in "Business Informatics“. I also studied Business Administration and currently I’m doing a Master in International Business Administration. I feel a fascination with SEO and the people who make it possible.
3. June 2016 3 Comments
01 Visibility of Monster in Google USA and UK

Visibility trends for Monster.com on Google US (top) and Monster.co.uk on Google UK (bottom)

About two months ago, Monster changed quite a bit of their internal website structure for both their USA and UK sites. Although the website architecture for both domains is very similar – both before and after the change – the positive effect is much more visible in the UK.

Monster.co.uk increased its Visibility by 116%. In the chart above we can nicely see how they break their long-time sideways trend for Monster.co.uk at the end of April.

This is a great example which shows us how a domain can do much better on Google by adjusting a number of screws. If we wanted to figure out every exact change in detail, we would need to run a very deep evaluation, which would probably take a few weeks of time and we would likely need information that is only available to their SEO’s and webmasters. Nonetheless, I want to show you what we can already see.

Website architecture

Both Monster.co.uk and Monster.com used to employ subdomains as their structure for the important parts of the website. On the 21st of March 2016, the host career-advice.monster.co.uk was the most visible subdomain on Google, followed by www.monster.co.uk and jobs.monster.co.uk.

02 host names Monster.co.uk

List of hostnames for monster.co.uk with the Visibility values for 21.04.2016

(When you are in the Toolbox, you can also check out the other visible hostnames on the list by clicking on each hostname in the table, to analyse their contents in more detail)

Today, we can see that Monster moved from hostnames to directories, keeping with the same names. Now, /jobs/ is the most important directory with a Visibility 6 times higher than what the subdomain by the same name had before. The second most important directory is /career-advice/, with almost the same Visibility score as before:

03 Visibility Directories Monster.co.uk

Visibility for monster.co.uk directories for 30.05.2016

So what did they change?

They concentrated all the Visibility for much of their content into individual directories. It seems that they selected some of the URLs with the most links and redirected them to their counterparts within the new structure. Also, they changed the URL structure to be more “simple-to-understand” and decreased the depth it takes there from the homepage. Some examples of this would be:

(1) This URL has 371 Links from 113 domains: career-advice.monster.co.uk/salary-benefits/pay-salary-advice/uk-average-salary-graphs/article.aspx is now redirected to monster.co.uk/career-advice/article/uk-average-salary-graphs

(2) This old ULR (career-advice.monster.co.uk/job-interview/job-interview-questions/what-are-the-most-common-job-interview-questions/) ranked for 79 keywords on March 21th 2016 (click here to check out the entire list) and the new URL (monster.co.uk/career-advice/article/what-are-the-most-common-job-interview-questions) ranks for 89 keywords now (click here to check out the entire list).

(3) They moved the Visibility for multiple hosts into the /jobs/ directory:

jobsearch.monster.co.uk –> monster.co.uk/jobs/search/
jobview.monster.co.uk –> monster.co.uk/jobs/search/
jobs.monster.co.uk –> monster.co.uk/jobs/

With this, they have now concentrated of all the links, user signals and content from multiple parts of the old site into fewer directories on the new website. This increase in Monster.co.uk’s Visibility is much larger than if we simply summed up the Visibility scores of the individual hosts, etc. on the old version.

visibility-comparison-monster

The /jobs/ directory has a much higher Visibility than what the previous subdomains had together

And while it is not uncommon in the SEO-industry that 1+1 > 2, this increase is so much larger than what you might expect. As I said before, I do not have access to Monster’s internal data.

Conclusion

It could well be that Monster also improved their internal link strategy, or consolidated more additional domains into the main one (as they did with Hrdepartment.com for Monster.com/career-advice/). I can also see that they improved the titles for many of their job-listings as well as their meta-descriptions (which have a large impact on the user’s click behaviour on Google’s search results, even though they are not a direct ranking-factor). All in all, these improvements could have helped the domain rank for more keywords with less indexed pages.

The number of keywords of Monster.co.uk has actually doubled, from 6,740 to 13,530. They managed to increase their keyword-count on the first two pages of Google’s search results. And they keep sending keywords from the second page to the first.

Bildschirmfoto 2016-06-02 um 17.26.32

Ranking distribution for monster.co.uk on Google UK from 25.04.2016 through 30.05.2016.

This last chart summarises the idea of this article. While monster.co.uk has never ranked well for the keyword “office receptionist”, suddenly they managed to get into the top 10. Please take a look at the old URLs, the new ones and the results in the rankings:

Bildschirmfoto 2016-06-02 um 09.46.07

Ranking history for the keyword “office receptionist” on google.co.uk for the domain monster.co.uk

I hope you liked this little evaluation and I wish you a great weekend!

14. June 2016, 12:56

Hi Juan, interesting article!

What do you think the reason is why the Jobs section is performing a lot better after moving the content, while the Career Advice section continues to perform the same as before? Consolidating more subdomains in the Jobs section perhaps?

Juan Gonzalez
14. June 2016, 14:07

Hi Steven,

thank you for your comment. As far as the Career Advice directory is concerned, I want to come back to the above URL with quite a few links (career-advice.monster.co.uk/salary-benefits/pay-salary-advice/uk-average-salary-graphs/article.aspx). What’s interesting here is that they seemingly decided to get rid of other content from the old subdomain. This shows that you can rank as well, if not better, with less content, as long as its higher quality.

Cheers,
Juan