Brief

  • Subject: online money transfers
  • Region of promotion: UK
  • Domain age: 6 years
  • Work start date: 10 August 2018
  • Case renewal: 10 January 2019
  • Minimum goal: increase positions for certain phrases in Google UK.
  • Maximum goal: increase positions for the entire semantic core.

The customer was looking for a new contractor. They weren’t satisfied with the contractor’s approach to website optimization. The main problem was in the content the optimisers strongly encouraged the customer to publish. The customer was primarily concerned with their reputation and not texts for the sake of key phrases.

Website condition

Multilingual site on its own CMS with minimum internal optimization. Good loading speed and mobile device adaptation indicators.

What was done

We conducted an initial audit. The first thing that drew our attention was the link profile. We noticed an increase in negative backlinks through the ‘Ahrefs’ service (while Google showed no data for the links in the console):

Since 20 April 2018, negative redirect links of this type began to appear in large numbers:
www.site.co.uk/en/goto?url=https://badsite.com
Where www.site.co.uk is our site;
badsite.com is a site of a casino, spam catalogue and other toxic topics.

So, it turns out that you could take absolutely any website and place a link of this type on any website, and move it through our website in this manner.

How did this happen?

There are partner links on the promoted website. The previous optimizers advised to make an internal redirect through them in order to keep the link weight. This move led to the generated ‘hole’, through which domain spammer can easily make mailouts and promote their websites in a ‘dirty’ way. And they don’t have to hack into anything.

Ultimately, we deleted the redirect script and fully open to indexation and following through the partners’ link. Those are quality, trustworthy and subject-related websites, that’s why it’s only going to be beneficial for us.

As time passed, Google indexed those links, and the problem we eliminated lead to a large increase in 404 errors. Because such redirects created lots of additional pages with server response code 200. Four months later we observed an increase in redirect links, but on a much smaller scale and without 404 errors, because they don’t have time to index.

We compiled a semantic core through Keywords.io and Ahrefs.com.

We created a list of competitors, analyzed their popular pages, traffic, backlinks.
We took the initial positions.

We created recommendations for website improvement and did the following:

  • According to the semantic core, there were too many queries of ‘send money to {country}’ type. For that purpose, we had a suitable module to optimization of those queries on a map and links with an anchor to a certain country, but leading to a subdomain with the transfer form. Ultimately we changed those links to landing pages.
  • On the website map, the links had ‘:80’ in their contents and not all pages were displayed. We set up the display of all pages and automatic map generation when deleting/adding a new page. We made it available only via that link and replaced its incorrect double in robots.txt.
  • Removed broken links.
  • Removed the incorrectly multi-regional setup through hreflang.
  • Added a module with Trustpilot reviews and micromarking. As a result, we had a star rating displayed in Google.
  • Moved all the counters to GTM. Several different analytics codes were wired in. We put things in order.
  • Deleted <a> tags where unnecessary.
  • Wrote new meta tags for every language with edits by the customer and translators.
  • Created a template for the regional pages’ text. The following could be altered: list of banks, region, commission, etc. In this fashion, the managers and translators created required content for the pages.
  • ‘Help’ section neede optimization in order to promote by certain information queries. We offered a structure, showed competitors’ successful examples and composed an approximate list of required traffic questions with a cluster of queries for them.
  • A decision was made to redo the blog and begin its promotion through additional information queries. It was a news type of blog and it failed to pass moderation to be included in Google News. It was the customer’s specific desire to be listed there. We compiled a list of recommendations for publications.
  • We placed links on existing Wikipedia pages. Additionally, we edited the offered article according to the requirements, so that it would have a high chance of passing moderation.

The result

Consumer activity dynamics

Google visibility dynamics

Position dynamics