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Genie Lending: SEO Case Study

Genie Lending have been working with Optus Digital since July 2016. They are a NAFCB accredited commercial finance broker helping all types of businesses get finance. This includes helping raise funding through peer to peer lending, unsecured loans, asset finance, crowdfunding and other business loan solutions. Based in Bournemouth with an office in London, they were incorporated in 2013 and have grown into a highly trusted source for business finance.

We first met the company Director at our exhibition stand in the Excel, when he explained that their SEO agency at time were not filling himself or the rest of the team with much confidence. They were not impressed with the level of communication or the reporting being undertaken by this agency, and were concerned that certain practices being done by the agency were potentially harming the site from an SEO perspective. Given this, Optus Digital were asked to take a look at the site and see whether their concerns were merited. Read on to find out what we discovered and how we helped Genie Lending back onto the path to organic traffic success!

What We Found

– Thousands of spammy backlinks: Due to poor backlink practices or a lack of attention to the backlink profile, the domain had attained thousands upon thousands of negative links coming from sites with poor authority and no relevance.

– High Duplication: The previous agency had used a poor localisation tactic of using multiple duplicate pages with different localities to help rank locally. This was an extremely bad tactic – not only did it not work but it set the rest of the site back in terms of content quality.

– Inefficient Crawl: Despite being a small site, web crawlers struggled with the pagination, duplication and poor internal link structure. The crawler found thousands of internal directions, duplicate pages, broken links, redirection loops, server errors and thin content.

– Unoptimised On-Page SEO: Page titles were not targeted, meta descriptions were too long and on page content was over-optimised, using the same target keyword multiple times in an almost spammy manner.

– Site Speed: All these issues were coupled with a load time of 12 seconds+ for each of their pages. A crawler and user’s nightmare, especially on mobile.

SEO Actions, Results and Organic Traffic Growth

Once we analysed the problems, we then set out a strategy to tackle some of the deep lying issues that the site was facing. Genie Lending wanted to increase the number of enquiries for finance through their online forms and telephone enquiry line. Our first port of call was to ensure the correct tracking was in place to measure these key KPI’s. We set up goals for form completions and phone click tracking to measure the impact of search engine optimisation work. 

Once we had cleaned up the backlink profile, fixed all of the technical problems and optimised the content, we began to start seeing the tide change:

The site barely ranked for anything beforehand but started to see massive improvements for some key terms:

genie lending ranking changes

Given the competitive market, it was essential that a proper strategy was put in place to help the site rank for higher relevance, lower demand terms to help drive relevant high converting traffic to the site. We analysed the competition and reviewed their current strategies to find any key opportunities. Genie Lending’s main competition are banks and larger financial institutions who often have large budgets and spend it on the higher demand terms. We saw that finance terms and a term directly related to business loans had much lower competition but still very strong relevance. We began updating the content to include a spread of semantic terms and also worked on updating content which had been over optimised.

We fixed a lot of the crawl issues and technical problems, including speed:

Site Speed Before:

old genie site speed

Site Speed After:

genie lending new site speed

The site dropped 20% off page size, over 35 requests and 8 seconds off the original time after the first round of speed improvements.

What did this mean for organic traffic?

organic traffic metrics for genie lending

Comparing when we took on the site vs. the previous period we saw incredible results with Sessions up almost 70% and New Users up over 80%. This traffic also converted much better with almost a tripling in Enquiries.

Organic search alongside Paid Advertising is now one of Genie Lending’s highest value channels and continues to grow. The site now benefits from a proper content outreach strategy, a content marketing strategy which provides value to users, a correct technical structure and a much quicker site!

Conclusion

We can see from these results that regardless of your industry, there is still a lot of value in ensuring that your site is optimised for SEO and that with a proper strategy in place you can see great results and a very positive ROI. Genie Lending are continuing to invest in their digital marketing, which is bringing them great results and the site is only going to improve and build even further.