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SEO & Content Marketing for DeFi: 5x growth in organic traffic
In November 2021, I was hired by a decentralised finance startup.
I was hired to help the client transform their website which only had one page, to a website with service pages that fully explained their value proposition and to improve their rankings on Google (none of the keywords they wanted to rank for was on position 0-100), while some competitors were ranking on Search for the desired keywords.
Furthermore, the authority score of the client’s website was quite low compared to its competitors: 12/100 vs competitors who had an authority score ranging from 38 – 50. This meant that we would have to compete for rankings with websites that had a backlink profile ranging from 2,000 to 30,000 backlinks, while the client only had 99 backlinks.
Client’s authority & backlink profile at the beginning of the project:
Client’s authority & backlink profile after the project was completed:
Since December 2021, using a combination of SEO and content marketing, I was able to help the client achieve the following milestones:
Organic Traffic & Keyword growth following SEO
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Result 1: Defeating the competitors with a 67% increase in average ranking position
Within three months of the migration taking place in March 2022, the main keywords had an average position of 25 which was an increase of 75 places, this was an improvement of 66.6%. On average, this ranked above all the major competitors (See Fig 1).
Fig 1: DeFi Client in blue vs main competitors for main keywords.
Result 2: Continuous organic growth with a 538% uplift in traffic
From 10 December 2021 – 15 August 2022, the website traffic increased by 538% (See Fig 2).
Fig 2: Organic traffic between 10 December 2021 – 15 August 2022.
Result 3: 218% Organic traffic increase post-migration
The overall organic search traffic on the website increased by 218% following the migration (See Fig 3 vs Fig 4). Since the migration, 48% of the total traffic has been generated by organic sources (See Fig 5).
Fig 3: Pre-migration organic traffic
Fig 4: Post-migration organic traffic
Fig 5: Traffic breakdown post-migration
Result 4: From 0% to 18% increase in visibility
Since the migration took place, the visibility of the website on SERPs has increased from 0% in March to 18.56% in mid-August. This ranks far higher than competitors who are experiencing a major decrease in visibility (See Fig 6).
Fig 6: Visibility of Client (blue) vs competitors
Result 5: Seven keywords ranked in position 1 on the SERP, with a total number of 11 ranking in the top ten positions.
By the time the project was completed, there were a total of 7 keywords ranking at number one on the SERP. In addition, 11 keywords were ranked in the top 10 on search engines worldwide (See Fig 7).
Fig 7: Breakdown of keyword distribution
Result 6: Increase in non-branded traffic: From 0% to 64% of the total organic traffic
Since the migration took place there has been a major increase in non-branded keywords (See Fig 8). In total, 64% of organic search traffic is generated by non-branded keywords.
Fig 8: Graph of non-branded traffic
Result 7: Ranking for featured snippets within a month
Within a month, we were able to rank for a featured snippets for the client’s main keywords. This included ranking above much more authoritative competitors and industry leaders, such as ConsenSys.
Fig 9: Featured Snippet of “uncollateralized loans crypto”
How did we achieve these results?
Product positioning workshop
As the website started from scratch, it was imperative to undertake a product positioning workshop with the client to better understand what keywords should be targeted. I held a meeting with the team to better understand the product, detect areas of improvement and analyse competitors.
Next, I undertook a comprehensive competitors’ benchmark in addition to keyword research.
I compiled and presented the findings to the client to make sure our strategy was aligned with the product’s value proposition.
Strategic content creation for products with SEO in mind
As a result of the previous step, we established how the website should be structured, defined the main and secondary pages, and created content briefs.
The content briefs included various SEO adjustments to headings, sections, content, questions to answer, image metadata, and schema markup.
PageSpeed is considered the best practice in google to improve the ranking of a website.
For that purpose, I undertook a PageSpeed audit and suggested that the website should be optimised to ensure that it worked as quickly as possible.
As a result, the Mobile PageSpeed Performance score improved from 34 to 70 out of 100 (105% increase). Furthermore, the Desktop PageSpeed went from 89 to 97 out of 100 (9% increase).
PageSpeed performance increase for mobile and desktop
As part of the SEO strategy, we used internal linking to generate a better flow of link equity throughout the site. This was essential as the client’s website was competing with other websites with much greater authority. Therefore, using internal linking provided a way of maximising the authority of the main pages which boosted the website ranking.
Adding the blog section on the main domain instead of relying on Medium
I decided that any future blog posts that were going to be created should be built on the same domain rather than relying on Medium as a blogging platform.
This was because posting content on Medium (before posting on the blog) does not bring substantial benefits to the site meaning the website loses out on link equity, potential traffic, backlinks, and mentions.
We agreed that all future blog posts would be published on the client’s own blog and then imported on Medium for syndication (to expand the reach of users), in this way Google would interpret that the “owner” of the content would be the client’s domain and attribute all the SEO benefits to their website rather than Medium.
I held meetings with the client to discuss OKRs and turn them into measurable results. Based on this we would create a Google Data Studio dashboard to enable automatic reports from Google Analytics and Google Search Console to measure SEO progress including metrics to track overall progress, for example:
- Overall traffic
- Organic clicks
- Organic conversions
- Rankings in Top 3
- Rankings in Top 10
- Domain Authority
As part of our retainer, we committed to tracking performance with custom dashboards and fixing on-page and technical issues resulting from weekly audits. This ensured that the website remained healthy and continued ranking in key positions.
Complimentary SEO training
I also provided SEO training to the marketing team.
SEO training is a key part of helping improve the performance of a website, as it provides the client with the basic tools and knowledge needed to undertake SEO.
Not only does it make it easier for the client to understand basic SEO concepts that I use, but it also aids their professional development.
Much like any SEO assignment, multiple challenges unfolded during my time working on the project. However, by putting the right strategy in place, we were able to overcome those challenges.
1. Starting from scratch
The first big challenge was that the website had only one page and there was very little organic traffic being directed toward the site. Starting from scratch has its benefits and challenges.
The benefit was that it meant that there were no SEO bad habits that needed to be fixed. The challenge was that the website needed to be built from the ground up, this meant that I had to work alongside the client to define the core pages and propositions that the website would focus on.
2. Competing against high authority established websites
The client’s website had a total of 99 backlinks and was looking to compete against competitors who had between 2,000 – 30,000 backlinks. This is always challenging as we were competing against already established websites with higher authority.
Client’s Backlink Profile:
Competitor’s Backlink Profiles:
3. Choosing the right tech platform.
One of the main challenges when running a website is choosing the right tech platform. When I arrived the client had one page which had been custom built on React, this was problematic as the marketing team was unable to access it, create new pages or launch new content.
Although they intended to build a custom CMS on top of React in the future, this was going to take considerably longer as the client’s small development team was already time-constrained by the fact that they were also building their own product.
I suggested that WordPress should be used as the marketing team had previous experience using it and it was a proven solution for SMEs. Initially, there was some pushback from the dev team who were hesitant about using WordPress. This was in some cases expected as WordPress is often overlooked for more specialised CMS platforms in the Crypto industry.
I made the case that by using WordPress it would help to save the developers time and resources as it would allow the marketing team to quickly get on with tasks. As a result, we reached a compromise to have the marketing website in WordPress and the client’s app on React.
4. Proving SEO is worth it
Another challenge that I faced was that most of the client’s competitors did not use SEO on their websites. As a result, I had to prove the merits of SEO and how this can improve the business’ visibility and conversions.
5. The rebrand and migration.
A few months following the website launch in November 2021 and just as we started to build momentum, there was a rebranding and a new domain. Consequently, I had to undertake a major migration of the website to a new domain and refocus the branded SEO. The migration was ultimately a success which resulted in a growth in traffic (See Fig 9 vs Fig 10).
Fig 9: Pre-migration traffic.
Fig 10: Post-migration traffic
Final thoughts & reflection
When reflecting upon my time working with this client, I was incredibly pleased with what I was able to achieve within less than a year. Especially considering that the website had little to zero traffic in addition to a non-existent backlink profile when I first arrived.
Ultimately, it showed that if on-page optimisation is used efficiently and effectively, it can really take a business to the top within the DeFi sector within a fairly short space of time.
SEO metrics when I started the project:
SEO metrics after the project was completed:
New to SEO for Web3 Projects? Check out my webinar:
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