Case Study

Client Overview

This client is a finance focused company aimed at helping customers manage their personal finances. They are based in the US and provide a number of services within the financial space.

Business Type: E-Commerce

Services:

Content MarketingLink BuildingFull Service Orchestrated SEO

The Situation

We started working with this client in the middle of 2018 at a minimal level. At that time, the internal focus of the larger corporation was on other brands, and our client was not receiving much internal SEO love. In 2019, that changed. Improving organic search performance for our client increased in priority and our role grew.

For most of 2018 and 2019 the profile was down approximately 50% from its peaks in 2013 and 2014. After taking a deeper look at things, we started to identify the drivers behind performance issues; quality-related core algorithm updates released by Google in 2018-2019. These core algorithm updates target sites that struggle with content quality problems, site performance issues, and indexation troubles. After analyzing the data and formulating a plan, we knew we had a long road ahead of us to turn things around. We were up for the challenge.

What Happened

As our role grew in 2019 to a full-service SEO partner, we were responsible for driving strategy, content, and authority. Most importantly, it was our job to own performance.

We already had a good understanding of the core strategies we needed to implement and the problems we needed to solve from being involved in the account for a year. With additional resources we were now prepared to execute on a variety of high-impact initiatives.

Through our previous research we had identified lowquality content prevalent across all editorial areas of the site. Just like many established businesses who have had sites for 10+ years, our client had content that was written for search engines from the past.

Google now necessitates an extreme level quality of content to rank in the top position for any competitive query, and generally content written 5+ years ago not only lacks any fresh signals, it also doesn’t have what it takes to rank against the top websites in the world that have created strong, new pieces.

Strategy 01

Content Refreshes

Knowing that we wanted to improve content quality overall, we completed a thorough content audit to determine the best opportunities across the site. The content audit not only identified the highest value posts to re-work, it also gave us a roadmap for where we should cut outdated content that was not helping the site, and potentially even harming it.

After finding the top posts that needed to be revamped, we began updating the highest opportunity content on a monthly cadence.

Our Process

Content Ideation

The SEO Strategist presents possible topics based on an understanding of the business and livelihood of revenue impact. Then, the SEO Strategist and client agree upon a topic or multiple topics to build a content calendar

Content Strategy

The SEO Strategy team documents the necessary elements, including meta data. This is delivered in a ‘content map’; some of this is completed by the SEOs and some by the content team

Content Creation

The content team utilizes the direction from the SEO Strategy teamto create the content. The design team contributes graphics or a mockup if necessary.

Live Content

The content piece is delivered, revieed and approved. The client or our internal content team posts the piece of content onto the live site.

Our content process starts with a map created by the SEO team. Every piece of content we create stems from research around what is already successful. If the search engines rank a piece of content #1 for a competitive query, we know we can deconstruct it, make it even better, and steal that ranking. Competitive analysis is at the core of our services.

This strategy is still in progress, although we have already refreshed 40+ pieces of content.

Strategy 02

JavaScript SEO Improvements

Prior to 2019, Googlebot crawled the web using an outdated version of Chrome (chrome41 to be exact). This meant that the browsers we use today were far more advanced in understanding and rendering JavaScript than Googlebot was. In 2019 Google confirmed that Googlebot would be updated to the latest version of Chrome and become “evergreen.”

JavaScript SEO issues can stump the most experienced SEOs. We believe a true technical SEO must have a deep understanding of JavaScript, Googlebot, and Google’s indexer, Caffeine. Without these skills, SEOs will undoubtably overlook key site issues- especially in a day and age where site performance problems are solved through client-side rendering and JavaScript frameworks.

Our client has Marketplace pages that have the potential to drive extremely valuable traffic to the site, with keywords such as “credit cards” or “best credit cards”. When we discovered that the new Evergreen Googlebot was still having problems understanding the content and internal links on the page due to JavaScript usage and client-side rendering, we knew we had a problem to solve.

Although not completed yet due to the sheer size of the undertaking, the client’s internal development team is reconstructing the primary marketplace pages based on our recommendations. We are confident the adjustments being made will set the pages up for success long-term.

Strategy 03

New Content

The vast size of the personal finance industry lends itself to limitless opportunities at the keyword level. In an effort to expand the site’s overall keyword relevance we identified editorial topic opportunities, including some interactive pieces, such as calculators, calendars, and more.

These new opportunities were well received by the internal team. Since 2019 we have created 20+ new pieces of content, many of which are driving traffic and continuing to grow.

Results

Key KPIs (Aug 2018):

  • +135%

    non-brand visibility since July 2019

  • +318%

    y/y blog traffic

Other Clients

Griffin Funding is a mortgage lender specializing in non-QM loans.

Rothy’s is a fashion company based in San Francisco, CA.

License Locators is a California liquor license broker and consulting company.