Restoring Traffic to Websites Operating in the Financial Industry

The financial sector is one of the most profitable and growing sectors worldwide – almost all large corporations have a financial arm nowadays. That’s why when a prominent potential client approached us asking for our help with helping their site get back the traffic it has lost.

Initial Steps

The loss of traffic happened over several months from late-2018 to early 2019, and the first thing we did was to check every algorithmic update Google has done in this period. Algorithmic updates happen frequently, and there is no guarantee a single algorithm resulted in the drop in traffic. That’s why it is important to check all the updates in the timeframe and ensure our SEO specialists have an accurate picture of what’s going on before continuing.
We noticed that the largest drop in traffic occurred in October, which made the August Medic update the primary suspect, and we started working off of that assumption.
After finding out the likely culprit, we set out to analyze our client’s main competitors during the same period to see how the update has affected them. This generally helps us pinpoint the exact cause of the drop by assessing which of our client’s competitors was affected and how much were they affected. Sadly, this time around, our analysis didn’t turn up anything. The client’s competitors had stable rankings and traffic during the period. Subsequently, when analyzing the competitors failed to turn up anything valuable, we decided to have a sweeping comprehensive audit of the client’s site and presence on the web.
  • Comprehensive link audit.
  • On-site technical audit.
  • Content analysis and audit.
  • Link profile optimizations and outreach.

Comprehensive Link Audit

What sort of websites link back to your site has a paramount impact on your ranking and subsequently traffic. Naturally, your backlink portfolio should be related to the themes on the site, coming from authoritative sources, and link to the site in natural ways. If anyone of these criteria isn’t present, Google might penalize your website if it is common enough in your backlink portfolio. That’s why we used our SEO tools to compile a comprehensive list of the backlinks, and then we created a report with bad backlinks that should be disavowed. This substantially improved the quality of the backlink portfolio of our client’s site.

On-Site Technical Audit

When the Google crawlers peruse your site – they technically analyze it and see how many technical errors it has, how fast it loads, how much metadata is implemented, how many devices and browsers it supports, and much more. This is all data the crawlers keep track of, and they also determine the ranking of websites. If your site takes minutes to load and only supports one screen size, you likely won’t rank high. That’s why we thoroughly tested the site and checked its code for any technical mistakes and oversights. We found quite a few:
  • Aggregate rating sections were incorrectly implemented making them ineffective and dysfunctional. They needed to be fixed.
  • Few structural data types were not aptly used, and they were corrected.
  • Author boxes were not implemented, which made blog posts less authoritative – hurting the site’s rankings,
Our web dev team ensured these were all promptly fixed.

Content Audit and Analysis

The medic update also emphasized the quality and authorativitiy of the content. That’s why it was important to check the content on the website, especially the pages that were most impacted and saw the largest drop in traffic. We decided to make the text in those pages sound more natural by removing keywords that were repeated too often, which might be viewed by Google as spam. There’s a great tool we use – SurferSEO – that allows us to analyze the content on the page by comparing it to the content on direct competitor’s pages. This helps you produce more natural-sounding landing pages that touch on all the important topics your competitors cover.

Link Profile Optimization

Changing the link portfolio doesn’t end with disavowing all the bad-quality links, however. Does Google check the composition of your backlink portfolio: how many are direct links? How many are indirect links? How many are using your brand? If the composition looks unnatural, you’ll be penalized for trying to abuse Google’s algorithm. After a careful analysis of the backlink portfolio, we determined that around 40% of the links pointing back at the client’s site need to change in nature. To that effort, we used an automated tool that helps us quickly fill pre-written templates to the sites hosting content linking back to the client’s site and asking them to change the nature of the link. After a few weeks, we managed to correct the client’s backlink portfolio by more than 70% making it look more natural.

Results

After extensive work for more than 6 months, we managed to help the site bounce back and restore its pre-update traffic.
Due to the robust SEO-base, we created for the site, we saw how its landing pages quickly jumped from ranking +20 for important keywords to ranking in the top 3.
By January, we had restored all the client’s organic traffic helping his business immensely.

Lessons for Business Owners

If your site is experiencing drastic drops in traffic you shouldn’t panic. You need to collect information and analyze them with a clear head to pinpoint the causes of the traffic drop exactly and move to remedy them. Start by observing how your competitors are fairing – are they also seeing reduced traffic? Re-audit your website – what are the possible technical and content issues you might be overlooking? Which landing pages were affected the most – what do they have the most in common? By clearly collecting data to answer these questions, you’ll be able to pinpoint the causes of the traffic drop. After pinpointing the causes, try implementing a coherent, consistent, and effective plan to get your website back on track. Don’t panic if you don’t see immediate results. SEO needs a few months to work its magic – be consistent and persistent.

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