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SLP Case Study

SEO Success Story: Growing a Brand with Student Loan Planner

Company Name: Student Loan Planner
Industry: Financial Services
Total cost of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) services: $3000*

*Student Loan Planner is a current client, so this is the total amount spent as of January 2018

Case Study Background

Student Loan Planner is a financial coaching business, where advisors help clients develop plans of action for paying off student debt. The founder and chief student loan consultant, Travis Hornsby, had many accreditations and guest features to his name, including Business Insider and US News.

Other than great content, Travis really didn’t have a solid SEO plan on how to best leverage that content. Furthermore, he wanted to capture clicks that his competitors were getting.

This is where we stepped in to help him

SEO Success Summary

We began working with Student Loan Planner in November 2017. In less than 3 months, we were able to increase Student Loan Planner’s traffic by 47.80% and gained top-20 Google rankings for the majority of the company’s most important keywords.

The company is now receiving regular leads from the web and has closed new clients. Student Loan Planner is also receiving 22% more affiliate clicks, which are worth around $10 per click. Most importantly, Travis’ team has seen a 44% increase in consultation requests, with a 138% increase in consultation requests initiated by a Google search.

 

Source: Google Analytics

Source: Google Analytics

Before completing the SEO optimization, Student Loan Planner’s average monthly website traffic was around 13,804 visits. After optimization, it rose to 20,072 visits and continues to grow (45% growth rate).

Unique Visitors

Unique visitors also grew during the same time period, from 33,374 total U.S.-based visitors in August to October 2017 to 49,088 in November 2017 to January 2018 (47% growth). A growth in unique visitors is often indicative of search engine optimization success as opposed campaigns to boost client engagement through email newsletters and social media, which would often increase visitors to a website, but not necessarily unique visitors.

Source: Google Analytics

Similarly, the number of organic searches that brought new visitors to the website grew from 12,279 to 20,394 (66% growth). 

The estimated value of this increase in website traffic if it were to be purchased via Google AdWords is over $45,400 per month (see cost-per-click data below). 

Top Search Engine Keyword Rankings

Our top-15 ranking keywords are highly competitive as demonstrated by the high cost-per-click rates to purchase traffic for these keywords via Google AdWords:

Source: Google AdWords

Here are the keyword rankings and number of average monthly searches as of 1/20/18.

Before SEO Optimization

Before we started working with Travis, Travis’ SEO presence was still in its infancy. He was hitting good targets with leads and affiliate sales from online efforts. By working with us, we have been able to unleash the full potential of Student Loan Planner’s online presence.

After meeting at the 2017 FinCon in Dallas, Travis decided to hire us to help him gain new business from search engines.

How We Helped

These are the services we have provided Student Loan Planner:

Thorough Research

We began by analyzing Student Loan Planner’s Google Analytics account, reviewing sources of traffic and traffic trends. We also reviewed competitors, looking at what they were doing to realize success with organic search. We then moved on to keyword research. Using the Google AdWords Keyword Tool, we compiled a list of a few hundred possible keywords to target and prioritized by traffic volume and competitiveness.

Focus on Targeted Website Content

We optimized Student Loan Planner’s website content around the most important keywords, being sure to use proper page titles, meta descriptions, and SEO-friendly markup and linking techniques.

Strategic Link Building

We researched relevant and authoritative backlink opportunities and performed outreach to build Student Loan Planner’s backlink profile. This helped build website authority and topical relevance, helping them in the Google rankings and organic traffic.

Transparent Reporting

As we do with all client engagements, we began tracking and sharing the results of the SEO campaign. We regularly provided clear reports that highlight Google and Bing rankings for our keywords, website traffic growth, and competitor comparisons. Based on those reports, we tweaked our optimization to maximize our search engine rankings and push some of our top keywords into the first page of search results.

In addition to these reports, we also hold monthly calls to discuss the data and address any questions.

Why You Can Expect Similar SEO Results

Student Loan Planner isn’t the only company that we’ve helped to succeed in our first year of business. We are having similar initial success with our other clients. In fact, we have yet to have a client that didn’t land top-10 rankings within 3 months of optimization for at least one or two primary keywords that we’ve targeted.

The time frame for success will greatly depend on the level of authority that you already have on your website. Longstanding sites with a strong social media or blogging presence and/or a few high-quality inbound links may be able to land top rankings almost immediately following the initial optimization of the site. Less authoritative sites can take 6 to 8 months to obtain top rankings for moderately competitive keywords. But it’s important to remember that strong SEO won’t guarantee you new business. It will get you in front of new prospects, but it’s up to you to close the deal. Work on your initial presentation and make sure you have a strong value proposition. We’ll get you up to bat, but you still have to hit it out of the park.