Search Engine Optimization

How I Improved SERP Visibility by Over 1400% in 4 Months?

Problem

This client is in the small business lending space. They offer small business loans, working capital, equipment loans, merchant services and more.

Their business had been taking off quite well through various direct mail campaigns, paid ads, etc… but one problem they had was the fact that organically they were practically invisible to the consumer. In fact, out of their hundreds of target keywords only six of them were ranking in the top five within Google’s SERPs.

To give you more of an idea of how invisible they were, they had eleven of those ranking in the top ten and only twenty three ranking in the top fifty. In comparison to their direct competitors they drastically needed something to change. They had the desire to be found so it was my mission to make sure that they accomplished that.

Goal

The goals of the SEO campaign were to increase organic traffic to the website and ultimately increase organic traffic revenue by improving keyword rankings to their target keywords. In doing this, the overall goal was to eventually increase conversions and conversion rate for the business.

Strategy

In performing a complete site audit and diagnostic I came across some on-page issues that I knew we could get some possible quick wins with. For one we needed more content. The client had numerous pages, especially local pages, which had very thin content. We all know that today Google sees content as king, so one of the first implementations I sought out was to build out content for these thin content pages.

This involved strengthening the content of over 100 pages within the site. Not only does this satisfy Google’s content needs but this is also signaling to the search engines that the client is updating and refreshing their content, an immediate ranking signal.

The client had also previously neglected to target keywords accurately on their pages. They had several over optimized meta data on some pages and others they had meta data that simply hadn’t been optimized to target the keywords that the pages attempted to target. This was all changed and optimized. To really improve rankings you have to get the basics down first.

Many people these days are skipping the basic elements of on-page SEO and going straight for the link building and other aggressive tactics. SEOs need to realize how much you can accomplish by simply optimizing what’s on your current pages.

Once the on-page elements were optimized and the thin content issues were resolved we sought to create more content for keywords that weren’t currently being targeted. If you are targeting a high search volume keyword like small business loans, you need a page high in your hierarchy targeting that keyword.

The client previously didn’t rank at all for the term small business loans. Their small business loan page on their site was low in the hierarchy embedded in the subfolder of their working capital section. This was also the case of several of their target keywords. They were embedded deep down in the site’s hierarchy buried in subfolders that didn’t need to be there. We came up with a strategy to elevate that content. We brought the small business loan page from being /working-capital/small-business-loans/ to /small-business-loans/.

We also did this for all the other pages that we wanted elevated in the hierarchy. Google has told us that having the keyword high up within the URL has no ranking advantage. However, simply do a Google search for any highly searched keyword and you tell me if this is true or not.

Optimizing your URL structure alone can lead to several ranking wins. We then refreshed the content, submitted the new sitemap to webmaster tools and waited to Google to index our fresh new pages.

I had built out well over 100 pages within a keyword map that was delivered to the client. These recommendations were made after intensive competitive research and landscape analysis. There is no better strategy than to look for competitors who are ranking for what you rank for, see what they are doing, and imitate that strategy while making it better, more up to date and unique. I was able to implement several of these strategies for the client and some we are doing on an ongoing basis.

Some of that strategy has been to build resource pages and hubs, glossaries and libraries of terms in the industry, loan calculators – if a high ranking competitor was doing it, we would as well.

Another big part of my strategy was to optimize the architecture of the site through the navigation bar and internal linking. You have to be sure that Google is accurately crawling your site and crawling it the way that you want them to crawl it. So I made sure that all our high valued pages were in the navigation and received a proper amount of internal links from high authoritative pages so that Google could designate what pages on the client’s site were important and what pages that I was telling Google to rank.

An optimized site architecture is one of the biggest wins you can make as an SEO. However, be careful, playing around too much with your site architecture can mess up your rankings just as quickly as it can help.

Result

In less than 4 months, we increased the volume of targeted keywords within the top 5 rankings in Google and Bing/Yahoo by 93%; we also increased the TOTAL volume of targeted indexed keywords by 91%.The client has gone from 6 target keywords in the top 5 in Google to over 90. They have gone from having 11 keywords ranking in the top 10 to over 130, from 23 target keywords ranking in the top 50 to over 270. As you can see in the organic traffic chart above, since taking over the client in late June, we saw constant and consistent improvements in organic traffic. The chart below shows the steady improvements of rankings. We have also seen an increase in organic conversions from lead forms throughout the site.