Smashing SEO Traffic by More Than 228%

Last year was a breakout year for Absolute’s growth in Digital PR. Usually, when you see agencies speaking about the results of their PR campaigns it’s all about the links and mentions.

While we fully recognise that those results are what drive bottom line growth, I wanted to call out the results that our clients really care about; SEO traffic growth.

In this post I’m going to break down the nitty gritty details of 3 of our best performing campaigns, across 2 of the most difficult industries in all of SEO; loans and CBD.

The client campaigns I’ll be breaking down are:

Fast Loan UK is a leader in fast and easy loans across all of the United Kingdom. Through coordinated efforts across content production, some serious link building, and navigating a pretty basic CMS we were able to deliver a 398% increase in organic users.

QuidMarket prides itself on offering the most flexible options for short-term loans. When QuidMarket first engaged Absolute it was to assist with UX-focused design components aimed at increasing the site’s conversion rates. What soon followed was a follow-on engagement for SEO and PPC that resulted in new user growth of over 114%.

Eden’s Gate CBD is widely considered to be the UK’s #1 destination for CBD health products. Eden’s Gate was a follow-on project from an existing client who was impressed with the results the Absolute team had delivered for his other business, and asked us to create a scalable content strategy, link building campaign, and corresponding UX enhancements to propel this new brand to the forefront of the CBD space. What resulted was a 171% increase in new organic users to this Shopify store.

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    The Results Speak for Themselves.

    398% (Fast Loan UK) + 114% (QuidMarket) + 171% (Eden’s Gate) averages out to just over 228%, which is how I came up with the metric total for the title 🙂

    But who needs another post highlighting the end results of strategic marketing campaigns without showing the strategy – no one.

    The online loans industry perhaps couldn’t be any further away from selling CBD online, except they are both ferociously limited in terms of available marketing channels, and are mostly dominated by large incumbent brands.

    For those reasons, the design of the strategies we employed to deliver these kinds of results were actually pretty similar, and I’m going to take you through the whole process across all 3 brands.

    Our Strategic Process

    Every company is different, but the one thing they all have in common is competitors. We like to move fast, so the first place we start is identifying holes in the client’s current keyword targeting and content mapping. 

    This is best achieved with a competitive analysis of the current ranking websites for the most commercially valuable keywords.

    This starts with benchmarking the clients’ current online visibility and traffic performance. For the purposes of this case study I’m going to blend snapshots of process deliverables across all 3 brands.

    Benchmarking

    We start every client engagement by first benchmarking all performance metrics of the client’s site, including domain authority, current organic rankings, index rates, links, content, revenue, conversion rates – pretty much everything that correlates to online visibility and performance.

    Then we compare our findings to the top 3 closest competitors in terms of keyword overlap and any large gaps.

    This approach means that metric outliers across the group of sites we’re profiling can be quickly diagnosed and leveraged for campaign design and resource planning.

    Once we’ve diagnosed the weakest and strongest areas of the client’s site relative to their closest product or service competitors, we move on planning for fixes to technical elements of the website (redirect chains, bloated resources – usually large images or videos, and internal link architecture). 

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      This is where we lay out the specific sprint action items, and for these 3 client website there was a bit of nuance between each, but the main focus across the board was:
      • Manual and tool-led technical audit and prioritisation of critical errors.
      • Review of site speed and core web vitals.
      • Keyword mapping of existing pages and cannibalisation analysis.
      • Review of page-level targeting of metadata.
      • Content gap analysis and prioritised content calendar.
      • Intern link analysis.
      • Link gap analysis and identification of target URLs for new backlink acquisition.
      • Indexation and rendering.
      To sum this all up into 3 core focus areas, it’s:
      1. On-Site SEO
      2. Content marketing, and
      3. Authority link acquisition

      So I’d like to dive a bit deeper into each.

      Technical Fixes & Site Speed Performance

      Like any good SEO, we immediately start with a full site crawl and look for any potential issues with either indexing or rendering of priority pages:

      This includes running simple, top-level checks for mobile friendliness:

      The next steps are to push all the data into a force-directed graph to get a sense of the site’s page’s click-depth off the root:

      Where we’re specifically looking for priority pages or content that lives more than 3 clicks deep off the root folder:

      Then it’s onto page speed and rendering time averages across the site as a whole:

      The main items we’re looking to diagnose here are:
      • Time to first byte
      • Time to first contentful paint
      • Largest contful paint
      • First input delay
      These factors alone can bring a site’s SEO impact to a screeching halt, and usually involve a mix of the following solutions to remedy:
      • Optimize slow server response times (you can use Time to First Byte to measure server response times)
      • Apply server caching, serve full or partial HTML pages cache-first, use a service worker
      • Use rel=”preconnect” to establish third-party connections early
      • Reduce JS blocking time and minimize critical JavaScript
      • Minify CSS, defer non-critical CSS, and inline critical CSS
      • Minify JavaScript, defer unused JavaScript, minimize unused polyfills
      • Optimize and compress images
      • Preload important resources
      • Compress text files
      • Use server-side rendering or pre-rendering

      Then it’s onto the more exciting aspects of optimizing for organic search.

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        On-Site SEO Performance

        Let’s first have a look at the situation we were presented with Fast Loan UK, starting first with the architecture of the website:

        Which identified a number of opportunities for us to reduce cannibalisation while remapping keywords and identifying content gaps:

        This mapping exercise allowed us to identify the most immediate priorities before moving onto finding where there were holes in Fas Loan’s current content strategy:

        We utilised an impact/effort ratio process to assess which areas to resolve first, prioritising the indexability, content and loading time issues.

        We paid specific attention to core web vitals, and assessed which resources were the “worst offenders.” Using a version control system, we implemented a series of fixes which, when deployed, significantly improved the site’s performance. We began to see an uplift in visibility almost immediately.

         

        We also implemented both FinancialProduct and FAQs schema onto the site having conducted a series of competitor analysis with the intention of improving CTR and taking up more real estate in SERPs whilst providing users as much information as possible on the SERP to improve traffic quality.

        Our opportunity analysis specifically looks for pages that are underperforming for their targeted keywords, or better still, pages that are not targeting the “best fit” keywords according to their current page content.

        We do this by looking at the existing term overlap of the respective keyword footprints of the client vs. their closest SEO competitors.

        Once we’ve identified and prioritised the largest SEO opportunities, we move into an aggressive process of designing a content strategy, calendar, and keyword roadmap.

        Content Marketing

        Promoting responsible lending through creative content.

        Fast Loan UK operates in an industry once tainted by bad practice, which is the reason why the business was founded. 

        Their commitment to responsible lending remains a core value for the team and one that we wanted to continue to promote throughout the campaign. We knew that the content on the site needed to reflect this and the sensitivities of those facing a financial emergency, whilst remaining in line with FCA guidelines. With this firmly in the forefront of our minds, we needed to make sure that our marketing efforts only targeted individuals who would not overcommit themselves.

        It’s no secret that the payday loan industry is becoming increasingly competitive, with the average customer taking out up to 6 loans in a year. 

        As Google’s algorithm continues to focus on providing users with detailed information, we needed to make sure we produced high-quality, optimised content that supported this. 

        We began by conducting a keyword mapping file on the existing site pages to determine areas of cannibalisation which highlighted the need for future content optimisation. Utilising our knowledge of the industry, we then mapped out a further keyword mapping file to highlight new opportunities across a variety of both short and long-tail keywords. 

        This allowed us to disperse new content pages that would effectively encroach on the client’s competitor’s market share, supporting the campaigns overall performance.

        We also provided users with further information about the payday loan product which focused strongly on well-researched, unique FCA compliant content such as that regarding how short-term loans work and the eligibility of low credit score loans. 

        We knew that, by producing said content, we could be confident that users were fully informed prior to committing to borrowing a loan. As per our initial strategy, this included the creation of additional pages overtime, all of which are displayed at the bottom of the site, helping to ensure they are always easily accessible to users.

        With the content engines up and running at this point in the campaign for each of these 3 brands, we move onto Absolute’s bread and butter; links.

        Link Acquisition

        Each of these 3 brands, in their incredibly competitive niches, came with its own unique challenges when it came to acquiring topically relevant, trustworthy, equity-passing links.

        To ensure that link equity was effectively distributed across the sites, we conducted a full internal linking structure analysis which supported us in equally distributing link acquisition across the site’s main pages. This included the home pages, whereby we focused on targeting terms and natural variants as part of the anchor text strategy. 

        As part of this strategy, we also designed our offsite strategy with the new content pieces we had produced. This allowed us to achieve our required link objective of enhancing the brands overall online visibility and the ability to compete for competitive industry terms.

        TL;DR

        SEO isn’t easy, but it is straight-forward. Clean up the foundational elements of your website’s architecture with respect to performance (speed), navigation, click-depth, and internal links. Fill gaps throughout your content marketing funnel with content that effectively targets your priority keywords, and then crush your link building efforts ramping up your new inbound link velocity until you fill the link gaps against your competitors.

        Like I said, straight-forward 🙂 

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          For more information or to discuss your own digital marketing requirements, call one of our expert team today on 0800 088 6000.

          Jasmine McKenzie
          Jasmine McKenzie
          Marketing Manager

          Jasmine has been a member of Absolute Digital Media’s team for almost five years now, having started her journey at the agency as a Digital Copywriter and progressing onto become read more.

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