Last year, we analysed the business finance sector to see who was performing the best online. One brand shone above the rest.
Startuploans.co.uk (SUL) was achieving incredible visibility scores, beating all their competition. With a total score of 5867, they were amalgamating almost double the visibility compared to second place.
We were curious to what SUL were doing to create such a high visibility score. What strategies were they deploying? How were they managing and creating content? Were they executing an effective category structure?
We challenged ourselves to see exactly what they were doing. We performed a fly-by audit of their site, digging deep into their pages and assets. Below, you can see the output of this analysis. By applying even just one of the below tactics, your site could see a geometric boost in online visibility.
The Ultimate About Us Page Strategy
With E-A-T swinging into the SERPs last year, making sure you’re conveying expertise and authority on your site is essential. This is even more relevant for sites operating in the finance space – Google called out finance sites specifically when releasing this update.
One of the best ways a finance site can create the trust signals needed to achieve better rankings on Google is to flesh out their ‘about us’ page. Here, they should be talking about their history, achievements, awards, charity work, sustainability efforts, and anything else which conveys trust.
SUL have done a superb job at fleshing out their ‘About Us’ page, ticking all the boxes for Google. They have a brief description of the company and a complete history discussing its conceptualisation and development. They also have an essential outbound link to the British Business Bank to show Google their trusting affiliations.
As well as the basics, SUL have also produced an extensive achievements hub with fancy graphics and practical stats to display the impact their business has on start-ups and inspired entrepreneurs.
This page not only becomes a trust booster but also becomes a backlink magnet. Their achievements and impact page has spawned 13 new referring domains. They’ve ultimately turned their ‘about’ page into a backlink generator, as companies and journalist can link to these stats when a reference is required.
The big takeaway?
Flesh out our About Us page and make sure to give as much information as possible. Anything that will boost your market authority will produce positive signals for Google. Also, remember to link out to authoritative bodies and let Google know you’re a site to be trusted.
The Content Professionals
A solid content strategy can save a site from complete isolation on the SERPs. If you find that your main money pages are struggling, producing content to support them is a good way to instantly gain trust in the eyes of Google.
We advise clients to build a comprehensive content base which ranks, attracts backlinks, and supports existing categories to drive revenue and visibility. It works wonders and can have a profound effect on your websites capability to produce profit and convert customers.
SUL has kitted-out their content centres to support their application page and bolster their site, achieving record visibility scores. Here are some of the practical ways SUL builds content that knocks their competitors out of the park and gets them in front of the right people.
Complimentary Articles that Bring in Dream Customers
SUL knows who their audience are and exactly what they need to write to attract them. First time business owners will be unaware of the road ahead and they’ll need all the help they can get. It’s for this reason why SUL also offers mentoring services alongside their loans, offering additional value to their customer-base.
Aside from additional services, finding the right information is essential if you’re about to dive into the uncertain world of business. SUL make an active effort to attach an array of information to help start-up businesses achieve success. It’s a scary adventure to embark on but with effective guidance, SUL’s guide can point you in the right direction.
These guides also rank especially high for their head terms. Thousands of visitors are brought in as a result of these guides and, more importantly, they are SUL’s ideal customer. If they’re looking for small business advice, they’re probably going to be inexperienced and are probably in need of a loan to get them started. With the right CTAs and funnels, these prospects could be turned into applications.
As well as new traffic wells, these articles make SUL appear as an authority in the industry, especially in the eyes of Google. Google looks at all the content on your site when deciding how it will rank articles. If you have a ton of supporting information around your main page, Google may favour your page over others in the SERPs.
For consumers, all this content builds perceived value, meaning they may come back in the future if they’re looking for a loan.
The big takeaway?
Create a foundation of high-quality, helpful content that your dream customers are searching. Rank these pieces and turn them into traffic-generating wells which you can dip into for extra applications and visibility.
Internal Links to Aid Indexability
For Google to effectively crawl a site it must understand how all the content relates to each other. It can achieve this via internal links which webmasters can implement in their content. These links point to related content on the same site – hence the name ‘internal links’.
These links keep link equity flow continuously throughout the site and add context to certain pages. For example, if one page is being linked to internally via the anchor text ‘loans for mechanics’, you can make a rough guess as to what that page is about. Google can too.
SUL has internal links dotted around all their articles, linking effectively to associated content with keyword-rich anchor text. Not only does this tell Google what the page is about, it also passes any link equity from the referring page and connects the two contextually, improving the perceived quality in Google’s eyes.
Additionally, internal linking also has the benefit of improving indexability, especially for those blog posts that exist in the deeper sections of your website. If pages aren’t attached to a linear category structure, they could be orphaned, meaning they’re undiscoverable by search engines. Internally link to them to ensure Google finds and indexes them.
The big takeaway?
If you have a content-base, make sure it is internally linking to both the content within and the categories outside. It will help add context and links to profitable pages and will improve the overall indexability of the site.
Backlink Attracting Assets
An indirect benefit of content production is the generation of backlinks. Backlinks have been a staple in Google’s algorithm since the birth of the search engine, so creating as many high-quality links as possible is a good strategy to follow.
If you’re creating high-quality, practical content that people want to read, it will naturally pick up links overtime. Of course, if you want to boost your chances of landing a link, outreaching your content is the way to go.
Nonetheless, SUL have created assets and information that get shared and linked to across the web. After all, they do produce top-notch content, so this is no surprise.
They also have downloadable PDFs which get a lot of attention from backlinkers. Their downloadable business plan template has over 85 referring domains. Not only is the plan getting linked to, but it also has the ability to generate email leads, which SUL can then market to at a later date.
As a result of hard work and exquisite content production, SUL has managed to accumulate backlinks from BBC, Forbes, and .gov domains.
The big takeaway?
Aim to create practical, valuable assets which people will want to share with their audience. A business plan template is an actionable item which can help a new business owner, and people are clearly willing to share and link to it. Aim to create similar pieces and outreach to relevant sites for potent impact.
Success Story Secrets
Raving about your customers is an excellent strategy, whether it’s online of offline. It can improve brand trust, demonstrate your biggest wins, and can also generate backlinks. This is especially true when your customers may be running a website of their own.
SUL has a huge section on their customers’ success stories, ranging from large enterprises to small local cafes. These short pieces tell the brand’s story and explain why they need funding. It goes on to explain how the loan helped the company to prosper and expand – without the loan, the company may have perished.
These short stories of brand success create huge amounts of perceived trust for new applications. Some also pick up backlinks from the brand’s they mention. After all, SUL’s customers are business owners and are likely to have a website to link from.
The big takeaway?
Collect as many testimonials and as much social proof as you can to demonstrate the results your company gets for customers. These short success stories improve trust, help conversions, and have a profound impact on visibility as they pick up relevant backlinks from the people they praise.
Pristine Category and URL Structure
Category structure and URLs are important, there’s no way around it. A clear structure helps both your visitors and Google navigate your site, and a clear URL path helps explain exactly what the page is about.
Ideally, you’ll want your site to have categories which brand out into sub-categories. The main categories should target your head terms, whereas the sub-categories should target smaller, more specific terms. Additionally, you should have supporting content for each category, creating depth and semantic relevancy – at least from Google’s point of view.
With only one main application page, SUL creates other small categories which answer customers’ burning questions when it comes to loans. They also have a category dedicated to the amazing content they create, as mentioned above.
In all instances, their URL structure is also simple and direct, informing you and Google what the page is about. Google prefers short, to-the-point URLs, so SUL is executing this preference perfectly.
The big takeaway?
Make sure your categories follow a common-sense, logical path. Have a main category for head terms and then spiral off into small sub-categories which discuss relevant but different topics. For example, you may have a main category for loans, and a series of sub-categories from this to dictate business loans and personal loans.
Summing it all up…
SUL is a superb website and ticks a lot of the boxes when it comes to SEO and online strategy. With a clean site and an extensive content library, obtaining a high visibility score should be a walk in the park.
Of course, we only scratched the service with this brief audit. We didn’t have access to analytics and Search Console. Who knows what else we could have found if we had unlimited access? I’m sure there’d be something we could improve on…
We audit sites all the time and discover huge potholes that need filling. So, the real question is this:
When can we audit your site?
Get in touch with us today and get a free audit to reveal where your strength and weakness in your online strategy. Call now on 0800 122 3530.