Case Study
Marks and Spencer

The importance of stakeholder buy-in


Client challenge

Marks and Spencer had two challenges; they needed to increase organic visibility of key commercial search terms and efficiently execute tactical link building for overall organic growth. But first, M&S had to identify and overcome internal challenges around building a new workflow within the business – including senior stakeholder understanding and trust.





Working together with the M&S SEO team, we quickly identified the need to create a business case to educate senior stakeholders if our organic strategy was to be a success. Digital PR was unknown within the business by many of the internal departments. We knew we needed to collaborate with lots of different teams, such as content, creative and PR, and planned to build awareness and education from scratch. By holding a number of deep dives and training sessions over the course of three months, we successfully ensured that our direct teams at M&S understood the importance of M&S’ organic growth through digital PR activity.

After a detailed onboarding period, Journey Further began deploying an ongoing workstream of technical link building activity and PR campaigns across 5 core business units. Building rapport with the internal PR team at M&S, we were able to approach various media outlets outside of their brand remit, therefore diversifying new links and coverage to aid SEO benefit. Our Digital PR team’s strategy utilised SEO opportunities with search peaks and customer buying behaviours to create evergreen angles for our stories, ensuring maximum coverage within authoritative press titles such as Cosmopolitan, Huffington Post, The Sun and The Times. The wider link building activity also included adding to the process for supplier links as well as fixing broken, missing and redirected links to drive organic performance with minimal resources needed from M&S.

“Establishing link-building and Digital PR as a new focus area in such a large business like M&S took some time – onboarding Journey Further took nearly a year. Together, we educated, and built relationships with stakeholders as Digital PR was a new work stream at M&S, our priority was establishing a good relationship with the in-house PR team first. We slowly established workflows across different departments, including the various design and marketing teams.”
Michael Bass, SEO Manager at Marks and Spencer

Control Group Analysis

To ensure a fair assessment, we conducted a Link Building Control Group analysis, carefully pairing categories with similar starting link profiles, organic traffic, keyword count, organic visibility, live product numbers, and keyword competitiveness. 

By comparing the performance of sections targeted with link building to untouched control sections, we could accurately measure the difference in growth rates. Armed with this valuable data, we were able to estimate the incremental traffic and revenue generated by our link building activities, unveiling the undeniable success of our strategic SEO initiatives.

The relative growth comparison between the target and control groups over the latest quarterly period is as follows:

  • Organic Visits: On average, the target group had higher relative growth than the control group by approximately 2.71%.
  • Organic Revenue: On average, the target group had higher relative growth than the control group by approximately 4.71%.


  • 3 k+
    Keyword rankings moved to Page 1
  • 87 pieces
    Campaign coverage
  • 3.24 m
    Estimated total coverage views for DPR activity

As well as this, it resulted in:

  • Womenswear Page 1 keyword growth of 44.7%
  • Secured 200+ links on authoritative websites including The Guardian, Glamour, Huffington Post, The Independent and
  • 100% of womenswear coverage included category page links and spokesperson commentary
  • Average coverage DA66 for DPR activity
  • 240+ pieces of linking coverage from technical link building activity



“Through continuous and steady dialogue – and a lot of patience, effort, and meetings – we were able to build a successful partnership, with the agency feeling like an extension of our team.”
Michael Bass, SEO Manager at Marks and Spencer