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Improvedcredit is a not for profit counseling agency located at Medford, Southern Oregon. Improvedcredit wished to reach out to the households facing financial distress due to COVID 19 in its area of operation (Southern Oregon), so as to help such households manage their finances and debt through credit counseling. While digital outreach was the only feasible option to reach out to a large number of people across a huge geographical area, the website of Improvedcredit was not primed to efficiently take on the task. The challenge was that the website was built on an old architecture and was not SEO optimized. Improvedcredit was ranked very low for the relevant search queries which distressed households were expected to make in search of financial and debt management advice. Zivanta Marketing‘s approach was to optimize the website from the SEO perspective and incorporate relevant tracking to understand user behavior, make any required course corrections to the website and incorporate a SEO strategy that might emanate from the analysis of behavior data. 

The Problem Statement

The SEO audit of the Improvedcredit website revealed two major challenges:

  1. Designed with redundant technologies
  2. Disrupted site architecture

The Suggested Solution

  • Site redesign & optimizing site architecture
  • Keyword research & planning
  • Site audit & on-page optimization
  • Sitemap creation, validation & submission
A. Site Redesign

The website design was revamped using latest UI/UX standards and suitably merged with the existing design philosophy of the site.  The design revamp was so done as not to compromise with the site load speed. The redesigned website was tested across all popular device view ports and optimized till the desired parameters in terms of site operation and aesthetics were achieved.

B. Optimizing the Site Architecture

The existing website did not have a hierarchical structure and had many disparate information bunched together without any alignment to a central theme. Such a site design is not amenable to high search engine rankings for the most sought after keywords, since the search engine bot in absence of a categorical structure is unable to interpret the content of the site efficiently. We optimized the core hierarchical architecture of the website in such a manner so as to enable Google find the most essential content which pertains to what is the site about and what service is on offer.

C. Keywords Research & Mapping

Deciding on the right keywords which the target group of customers are likely to use, was the cornerstone of the entire exercise. It was incumbent on us to understand the operations of Improvedcredit well in terms of services on offer, the customers to be targeted and the process of engagement. We sought answers to the following questions to narrow down the keyword list:

  • Who are the targeted customers?
  • What are their most sought after services?
  • What sort of queries they usually face from the customers?
  • What is the catchment geography?

All the information was put into a proprietary software to generate a keyword list which was then manually vetted. The shortlisted key words were mapped to the most appropriate pages of the site.

D. Site-Wide Audit Before Sitemap Submission:

Completion of the site development/revamp was followed up with a site-wide audit to figure out redirection issues, problems in the sitemaps etc. These errors were fixed which in effect sanitized the site of any SEO bloopers. XML sitemap was also thoroughly tested before uploading to Google server. To our satisfaction every page of the website has been interpreted by Google without returning any error.

E. On-Page Optimization

We ensured that all the content elements on individual page are thoroughly optimized in accordance with the targeted keywords.

F. Implementation of Event Tracking 

We have implemented event tracking at all the major customer interaction points across the website. This includes:

  • Contact form submissions
  • Business Calls
  • Click on ‘Call to Action’ Buttons
  • Brochure Downloads
  • Users who have visited more than 3 pages in each visit

Outcome of our Optimization Efforts

A. High Ranking

We were able to bring remarkable improvement in site rankings in Google Search for some of the most important keywords:

  • Credit counseling Medford : Rank 1
  • Consumer credit counseling southern Oregon: Rank 1
  • Southern Oregon credit counseling: Rank 1
  • Southern Oregon credit counseling: Rank 1
  • Budgeting skills: Rank 1

NB: Work is ongoing on potential keywords to maximize relevant traffic to the site

B. Actionable Insights

The user interaction tracking process introduced in the site provides us data on user behavior and do course corrections. For instance form submission rate was low, which prompted us to redesign the form, make it shorter and more user friendly. The submission rates have since improved.

C. We can now take informed decisions

With the integration of analytics suite to the website we have rich data to answer some of the key performance metrics:

  • Where we are lagging behind?
  • Why are we performing this way?
  • Which optimization efforts proved to be successful?
  • Does the data from event tracking indicate to bottlenecks in the event flow of the site?
  • What factors affected the user navigation through the site?
  • What’s the main source of acquisition?
  • Which contents are acquiring maximum engagement?
  • What variables can help predict conversions?

Lessons Learned

  • If we follow the SEO theory and Google SEO guide while optimizing a site, the results are quick to follow.
  • SEO is not a one time work, the data has to be analyzed regularly and the site accordingly calibrated.
  • Knowing the customer and the business and thereby selecting the right keywords is the magic bullet.