Discover how we doubled organic traffic for non-branded keywords to a YMYL website in the financial services sector.
Our aim was to focus on increasing non-branded keyword rankings (keywords related to the business that don’t include its name) and organic visibility for this financial website.
Our client is an independent insurance broker based in and serving the UK market.
Issues Holding Website Back
- Lacking in E-A-T (Expertise, Authority, and Trustworthiness) signals - As a website in the financial niche, it comes under the YMYL umbrella, and certain expectations from Google needed to be met in order to rank.
- Backlink profile lacked authority - Compared to other websites in the same sector, the website lacked high-authority links from other trusted, relevant sources.
- Core landing pages were missing valuable informational content - The site's most important pages didn't offer enough relevant information that potential customers might have found beneficial. This also made it difficult for Google to determine its relevance and credibility for specific search queries.
Course of Action
E-A-T (Expertise-Authority-Trust) Optimization
Let's start by defining what a YMYL site is and also explain E-A-T.
YMYL or Your Money or Your Life refers to web pages that could potentially impact a user's financial well-being, health, or safety. Google has made it clear that these pages must satisfy certain criteria in order to rank well.
A few examples of YMYL topics include:
- Financial or investment Information
- Health and medical advice
- Legal advice
- Education and career development
- Information on government benefits and services
E-A-T, an acronym for Expertise, Authority, and Trustworthiness, is the criteria Google uses to evaluate websites and determine their relevance and credibility for specific search queries.
Let's briefly look at each component.
- Expertise - The content should convey a high level of knowledge and experience on the relevant subject matter.
- Authority - The website should demonstrate that it is a credible source of information, for instance, financial content written by a certified Chartered Accountant.
While any website can benefit from having E-A-T qualities, it is especially important for YMYL websites because of the potential impact that incorrect information can have on readers' lives.
As our client's site is in the Insurance sector, we needed to ensure that it had the necessary E-A-T signals to rank.
The strategies we use to establish E-A-T include:
- Add contact information
- Build authorship
- Build topical authority
- Ensure old content is updated.
Add Contact Information
Having all the relevant contact information on your site is a no-brainer; transparency is a key factor when it comes to E-A-T.
Visitors to a site with complete contact information can easily reach out with any inquiries about a service or product. And Google looks for websites with up-to-date contact information to ensure their users have the best experience possible.
So adding contact information not only makes it easier for potential customers to reach you but also increases the credibility of your website in the eyes of Google.
Contact information should be prominently displayed on your site so that it is easy to find.
For instance, the 'Contact Page' for the UK Motley Fool site is below. You can see that they provide three ways to contact them - email, telephone, and post. They also provide a physical address for their office and the hours you can phone them.
If you take a look at the footer of our website, you'll see our contact details, which appear on every page.
The importance of having good website authorship cannot be overstated and is a critical E-A-T ranking factor. Having an about page or 'meet the team' page and an author linked to every article is an easy way to build authorship.
The author section should aim to contain the following:
- The author’s full name
- A short bio
- Any relevant expertise, qualifications, or certifications they may have
- A link to their social media profile(s)
Here’s an example that ticks all the boxes:
Having verified authors on your website is a given if you want to increase your E-A-T score. If you have high-quality content from reliable sources authored by experts in their fields, this will increase your score even further.
And if you can show that these same authors are active in other online areas, such as social media sites or industry-related websites, even better!
Build Topical Authority
Topical authority is all about how your website covers specific topics related to the services you offer. You want to show Google that your site has a wealth of knowledge on a particular topic and that its content meets its guidelines for quality.
We did this by creating comprehensive guides and articles on insurance and other financial services. We also cross-referenced all our content with reliable external sources, including outbound links where relevant.
One effective strategy for establishing yourself as the top authority in your niche is keeping an eye on your competition. Identify any topics they have covered that you have not, and take the time to research and write about them.
Ahrefs Content Gap tool is incredibly useful and can greatly aid in this effort by providing insights into your competitors' content and showing you areas where you can expand your coverage.
All you have to do is enter a few of your competitor's sites, and the tool will reveal the topics they have covered that you have yet to address.
Refresh & Review Old Content
Keeping your content fresh and up-to-date is vital for SEO, user experience, and reputation management. It's very easy to let things slip; constantly adding new content is great, but reviewing your existing content is equally important.
Google's algorithm continuously evolves to ensure high-quality search results, and outdated or low-quality pages on your website can negatively impact your rankings in the SERPS. Outdated information is also not helpful or relevant to users and can harm your reputation as a source of trustworthy information.
For example, finance sites must stay updated with regulatory changes, market movements, and relevant news to provide accurate information to their users. If you write about the "Best Savings Accounts" but neglect to update your content with the latest interest rates, you risk providing incorrect information that can impact the user's financial decisions.
It's important to regularly review all your old articles to ensure they are up-to-date, relevant, and accurate. The "Last-Modified" header can help demonstrate your commitment by showing that you provide the most current information to Google.
Having an editorial calendar to track when your articles were published and when they need to be reviewed will help you keep organized, especially if you publish multiple posts weekly.
FAQ Content Optimization
No matter what sort of site you have, e-commerce, affiliate, or otherwise, there will be informational keywords that you wish to rank for. These keywords often appear in search queries as questions, so a great way to increase your organic visibility is to answer those questions directly on your website.
People Also Ask
An excellent resource for uncovering potential FAQs for your website is Google’s 'People Also Ask.' This feature displays a list of questions related to a particular search query that users have asked on Google before, making it easy for you to find relevant topics to include in your list of FAQs.
All you have to do is type in a keyword or phrase related to your business or product and see what questions pop up.
If you click on any of the questions, it will reveal an answer and further questions; this can be done ad infinitum, uncovering more and more related topics that you can include on your site.
Where to Place Your FAQs?
You can take a few different approaches, depending on what makes sense for your site.
A dedicated FAQ page answering commonly asked questions about your product or service typically makes sense.
Including an FAQ section for an article, product page, or guide is also a great way to provide more detailed information and make it easier for users to find the answers they need without having to navigate away from the page. This can improve bounce rates and increase engagement.
By checking the SERPs, you can ascertain if other pages rank for entire articles based on a specific question. If so, it's worth dedicating a page to answer that query in full.
How to Optimize Your FAQs
Let’s briefly look at how you can optimize your FAQs for the search engine.
The Featured Snippet, also known as the zero position, is an informational box situated at the top of SERPs that directly answers a user's search query.
With the right optimization and some luck, you can secure a coveted spot in Google's featured snippets. To do this, you'll need to structure your page in such a way that Google can identify which questions on the page should be given priority for featured snippets.
Using headings with questions structured as H2 or H3 tags is a way to make it easier for Google algorithms to find relevant questions and answers. Also, use short, concise sentences to answer the question to make the information easily digestible - keep your responses brief yet effective.
Additionally, you can use Structured Data Markup to highlight specific questions and their answers on your pages.
How to Write FAQs
Last on our list of YMYL optimization strategies is link building. Link building can be challenging, but with the help of a competitor-based approach, you can easily find new opportunities to target.
Start by analyzing your competitors’ backlinks and looking for opportunities that are in line with your content strategy. Use tools like Ahrefs or Majestic SEO to identify which sites are linking out to them; this will give you an idea of what kind of outreach might work in your own efforts.
We like to use Ahrefs, specifically their 'Link Intersect Tool.'
To begin, we need to find the top competitors; this can also be done on Ahrefs. Go to Site Explorer, enter your domain, then click Organic search.
On the Organic Search page, scroll down a little, and you'll find your top ten competitors listed.
From there, you can identify which sites to reach out to. Look for high-quality, high-DR sites to boost your E-A-T profile.
Social-Proof Link Building Strategy
Now that you have a list of potential sites, we can implement the social-proof link-building strategy.
To get started, we need to find the webmaster's contact details. The quickest way to do this is to look at the site's About Us page or contact us page, most of the time. You can also search for their social media profiles like LinkedIn and Twitter. Ideally, you'll want to reach out to individuals rather than generic business accounts.
Once you have the details, it's time to craft an outreach message. The social-proof link-building strategy is about leveraging 'social proof' - this refers to people's natural tendency to go along with everyone else. For instance, if a movie star endorses a product, fans will mimic the behavior and buy the item.
So with social-proof link building, you could reach out to a web admin and offer to review their service in exchange for a link.
The client’s domain authority saw steady growth as a result of our lin building campaign.
This case study proves that a well-thought-out YMYL optimization strategy can result in impressive gains.
We more than doubled organic traffic on our client's site by implementing these strategies. Over a year, organic traffic for non-branded keywords skyrocketed by 121.16%.
When we started the campaign, keyword visibility for the site was just 35 keywords in the top ten positions of Google. A year later, they ranked for 353 keywords; that's a 908.50% boost!
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