Breakout Manchester SEO Case Study

breakout manchester

Breakout Manchester is a live escape room game based in Manchester city centre. The concept is similar to all escape room lovers – you’re locked in a room faced with specific puzzles and you have an hours to solve them and escape.

I do not have any access to their website nor have I had any conversations with them at this time. I simply wanted to have an initial look over their website and identify any areas that could perhaps be worked on.

Below is simply a very top-level analysis of the Breakout Manchester website.

Breakout Initial Findings

To do this I will only be using information that is publicly available and the tools that I personally have access to.

Mixed Case URLs: 

A small number of the URLs have mixed cases which can cause some issues for Google. If there are multiple versions of these same URLs that are getting crawled and indexed by search engines then there may be duplication issues. For example, if the URL in question doesn’t redirect and resole to a version without capitalisation and links have been shared that do include a capitalised version then there would effectively be 2 versions of the same content.

It is for this reason that it is generally always recommended to use lower case URLs. The main culprit for this on the Breakout website is https://breakoutmanchester.com/blog/post/Can-your-family-breakout.

Blog Posts URL Structure: 

The blog content is not under the URL structure I’d expect. For example, despite the fact that the blog is set up as https://breakoutmanchester.com/blog, the posts are set up slightly differently.

They are under the structure of https://breakoutmanchester.com/blog/post/a-day-in-the-life-of-a-game-operator.

While this is fine, I would expect to see domain/blog/title, without the addition of the /posts/ directory. This is adding another step into the website structure that is not actually adding any value.

Website architecture is important to help Google understand the importance of pages on a website, as well as how equity should flow. It’s also helpful to users to help them navigate through the website.

On-Page SEO Opportunities: 

Some page titles and meta descriptions are missing from the blog section which can cause issues when search engines try to understand the topic of the content. Although this is from older content, they do look to still be receiving traffic so would be worth looking into.

There are instances where the lengths of some page titles and descriptions could be optimised though to ensure they are not cut off in SERPs and are making full use of the available space to encourage clicks. Some H1 and H2 headings could also benefit from being looked at to ensure content is being used and set up correctly to aid both users and bots.

Many images are also missing alt text which is something used by screen-readers and bots alike to help them understand the content.

Duplication and Canonicalisation: 

There are no canonicals that I can see used on the website at the moment. This could be part of the reason why we are also seeing duplicated titles etc.

Canonicals help search engines to consolidate duplicate and conflicting content into a single more authoritative URL.

Self-referencing canonicals are also used, and while they are not critical they are beneficial as they stop Google from picking up versions of this content that have parameters and UTM tags.

As it stands, no self-referencing canonicals are in place on the Breakout Manchester website.

Site Speed Opportunities: 

The page speed is looking good, with a fully loaded time on GTMetrix of 2.5s and a total page weight of 913 which is great and much better than others I’ve seen in this same industry.

Page speed is a known ranking factor, especially on mobile, so to ensure Breakout Manchester stay ahead of the competition some images could be optimised.

SEO Recommendations for Breakout Manchester

breakout manchester exteriorHaving analysed the problems, the following solutions could be considered. It is entirely possible that some, if not all of these could be in the pipeline, or there could be other reasons why these issues remain.

In regards to the mixed case URLs, you should 301 redirect to the lower case URL version or use the rel=canonical tag to indicate to search engines which that the lower case version is the preferred version.

For the website structure, updating the posts to remove the /posts/ directory should be doable with a small amount of developer involvement. However, redirects would need to be added once done. Once implemented this would also help with the crawlability and internal linking of this content.

It would be worth spending time to improve the on-page areas that were flagged earlier, especially those that are missing. Structuring content correctly goes a good way in helping search engines understand your content as well as helping users to navigate their way and read through it. Adding alt text to images would also contribute towards this.

Self-referencing canonical tags should be added and would take some developer work to help meet the website meet best-practice as well as mitigating the risk of further duplication issues.

To improve the images, image compression could be used especially on those that are larger than 100KB (30+ of which were found by Screaming Frog – some of which are in excess of 1MB and are very unnecessarily large). Optimising these images would definitely reduce the overall time it takes for the specific landing pages to load.