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SEO for FinTech: 13x increase in leads
In March 2020, I was hired by SME Loans as their Head of SEO. SME Loans was a FinTech startup which provided financial services for small and medium enterprises in the UK.
I was hired to improve the website’s ranking on the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) and improve traffic and conversions. During this period I worked with a small team of digital marketers.
Many of their competitors were more established so I also needed to improve the site authority on SME Loans so that we could compete with other businesses in the industry.
Result 1: 790% increase in Organic Search traffic
Compared to the previous year, SME Loans saw a 790% increase in organic search traffic in 2020.
Increase in Organic Search Traffic
Result 2: 1,315% increase in conversions from Organic Search Traffic
Organic search traffic generated the most conversions out of any source and resulted in a 1,315% increase in the amount of application forms completed and submitted
Increase in conversions by 1,315%
Result 3: Domain rating increased by 57% in 2020 thanks to a 404% increase in ‘DoFollow’ backlinks
In 2020, there was a 404% increase in ‘DoFollow’ backlinks directed towards SME Loans, which helped improve the domain rating by 57%. Overall, there was a 175% increase in backlinks.
Domain rating (top) and total referring domains (bottom)
Result 4: Implementation of FAQ schema generated 39,000 clicks in less than a year
Implementing FAQ schema to all product and industry pages on SME Loans, helped to generate +39,000 clicks and 3,630,000 impressions within less than a year.
How did we get these results for SME Loans?
Since Google’s E-A-T algorithm update in 2018 and the implementation of Your Money or Your Life guidelines, writing high-quality content and building trust has become more important than ever before for FinTech companies.
Well-optimised content takes factors that appeal to both Google’s bots and users’ search intent, which can have a huge impact on a website’s rankings in the SERP.
When I started working on SME Loans, many of the pages consisted of content but were not optimised for SEO. The lack of an SEO marketing strategy was reflected in the pages not ranking on the SERPs and that they generated very little traffic.
I decided that it would be best to start by developing a product-focused content marketing strategy that would mean that every page would be fully optimised for SEO. The recommendations that we implemented included:
-Writing content to an optimal length.
-Using jump links to improve user experience and SEO.
-Optimise for featured snippets.
-Utilise structured data to enhance SEO.
Optimisation for Featured Snippets
One of the areas I decided that we should focus on when we first arrived was to develop content that would trigger featured snippets. This was because it allowed SME Loans to compete with more authoritative competitors.
Using known tactics to improve the chances of triggering a featured snippet, such as tables, bullet points, and concise but informative answers we were quickly able to receive 15 featured snippets within a month which increased organic visibility by 10%.
At one point, SME Loans had the featured snippet for the highly competitive keyword ‘startup business loans’, which allowed us to rank above the UK government website.
‘Startup business loans’ featured snippet on Google SERP
Implementing FAQ structured data
FAQ Structured data is really useful for increasing the amount of space that a website takes up on SERP. Furthermore, it also encourages users to click on a website if the FAQs answer their questions.
Therefore, I decided that FAQ-schema should be implemented on every product and industry page on SME Loans to aid with ranking especially as none of our competitors were utilising structured data.
As a result of implementing the FAQ-schema, we quickly saw a huge increase in clicks on Google Search Console within a week. Within 7 – 8 months, FAQs had helped to generate over 39,000 clicks for SME Loans.
Supplementing a growth in organic backlinks with internal linking
During 2020, there was a 404% increase in DoFollow backlinks to SME Loans from many high-authority websites such as tide.co, squareup.com, thenextweb.com, and more.talktalk.co.uk.
The problem was that many of these backlinks were directed to our blog pages rather than our product pages. The product pages were more important for the business as they generated more traffic and conversions.
Therefore, I decided that it would be important to implement an internal linking structure to ensure that link equity was directed to our most important product pages to improve their rankings.
As a result, we were able to improve our domain rating by 57% which helped improve and maintain the rankings of keywords on the SERPs.
Working with a custom CMS
One of the major problems was that the SME Loans website operated on a custom CMS. This was a major obstacle as it was not very SEO friendly and would take time for changes to be made by the development team.
For instance, the CMS did not initially have an automatic internal linking function, meaning that changes had to be undertaken manually which took up valuable amounts of time. Eventually, an internal linking function was added, but it took a while.
However, the SEO team were able to work with the CMS effectively despite the limitations.
No folder structure on the website
One of the major issues with the website was that it sat on a flat folder structure, which meant there was no way to tell the difference between a product page and a blog page. This was very problematic when it came to trying to track and report on how different areas of the site were performing.
Consequently, I decided that the site needed to be migrated into a more organised hierarchical folder structure to help improve tracking.
In the end, the migration was a success and the tracking and reporting became a much easier process. Furthermore, within a month of the migration, the domain rating increased from 35 – 41.
Taking over during a pandemic
One of the major problems which happened at the very beginning of my time working at SME Loans was that the UK had just been put into lockdown. As a result, it meant that I was unable to meet or work with the digital marketing team in person.
This was difficult as it meant that I had to organise a way of getting to know my colleagues in a virtual environment. In the end, through regular meetings, I was able to develop a strong working relationship with the digital marketing team, the development team, and the management team.
Why is SEO important in FinTech?
As we have shown through the case studies of SME Loans, a good FinTech SEO strategy can help improve a number of different metrics that aid established and new Fintech companies, including:
- Greater Organic Search Volume
- More conversions for a company
- Increase a company’s visibility to new audiences
- Compete against well-known competitors
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