A new report by Linkdex has revealed that NerdWallet, a personal finance information website, outperforms all major financial institutions and publishers when it comes to answering consumer queries in organic search results. Here’s a closer look at what makes them such a great success.
According to Linkdex’s report Market Analysis: US Personal Finance, 2016, NerdWallet captured a 22.3 percent share of all personal finance related queries in the US, with long-tail blog content making a considerable contribution (81.5 percent of their media value from all organic search content) to their overall success. As the report identifies, long-tail consumer searches have proved incredibly valuable for NerdWallet, and has been one of the most important factors in helping them gain a market-leading share of search in their industry. So why haven’t more brands leveraged long-tail opportunities to win much coveted organic search share? The likely answer is that it is no easy feat to identify, resource for, and then create and scale the quality content which can satisfy demand for large number of low volume keywords, while managing all the necessary operations to form a sustained revenue-generating channel. When it comes to resources, however, NerdWallet are well positioned. In 2015, they raised an incredible $64 million in their first round of funding – just the ninth U.S. startup to raise more than $50 million at the initial round since 2014. As revealed on Inc.com, the company have also managed to attract an impressive selection of Silicon Valley talent, recruiting product managers and engineers from the likes of LinkedIn and Twitter. Personal finance is a highly lucrative industry, with high volume search terms around “credit” often demanding notoriously high CPC values, and as a result there has naturally been pressure mounting for brands to seek a more cost-effective way to reach consumers. NerdWallet have clearly capitalized most effectively on the organic search opportunities, and are reaping the benefits as a result. Here are six reasons why NerdWallet have risen above their competitors and rules the U.S. personal finance market.
1. They Capitalize On Small Opportunities At Scale
NerdWallet’s long tail includes all manner of keyphrases, terms such as “highest interest rate savings account”, “best money back credit cards” or “top online savings accounts”. Singularly, these terms may not elicit the highest search volumes, but together they represent a number of moments at which consumers are searching for answers. As the following chart shows, the cumulative value of all these small opportunities can have a huge impact on a domains overall media value. In total pages catering for long-tail searches have an estimated value of $2.45 million; 65.7 percent of the total estimated value of pages serving NerdWallet’s entire keyword set ($3.73 million).
(From Linkdex’s Market Analysis: US Personal Finance, 2016)
2. Focusing On & Understanding Consumer Intent
NerdWallet have an extremely successful USP in which they allow consumers to freely compare financial products, and in many cases end up directly connecting them with a chosen financial provider. Where NerdWallet really excels is in interpreting intent. When a consumer searches for “best credit cards” it represents a desire to research and compare different products, and NerdWallet pages are optimized to fulfill this need.
NerdWallet’s pages allows users to compare both types of, and ranges of credit cards within a particular category.
Understanding and interpreting the nuance in search language is important. It allows brands to tune into and provide for these needs. Consumers’ needs can vary and often require specific answers. For example, a search for “no foreign transaction fee credit cards” may indicate a desire to learn about the benefits and potential charges that can be incurred by those cards. Ultimately, providing the best content and answers for these queries will be rewarded by high visibility in the search engines.
3. Amazing Author Network Of Capable Writers
One of the most impressive things about the NerdWallet operation is their incredible author network, which enables them to scale their content marketing so well. Often companies who attempt to scale their content strategy are unable to maintain a high standard of quality throughout all content. Invariable, to do so requires a large network of capable writers. How many? Well, here is a visualization of NerdWallet’s writers from Linkdex Entity Search:
NerdWallet’s writer network, where the size of each bubble represents estimated traffic for each author.
Building such a network is no easy feat – it requires considerable investment. It’s a testament to NerdWallet’s commitment and belief in organic content to have managed to build such a community. Many of these writers contribute to the NerdWallet blog, home of the long tail content, and a cursory look at the blog shows the consistent high level of quality that the authors create.
4. Grasp Of Technology & SEO Tactics
NerdWallet clearly has a great command of organic search, but and there are examples of where they have really optimized their presence in the search engine. For example, there are a number of queries in which NerdWallet content appears prominently in Google “quick answer-boxes”. In these cases the search engine recognizes that the content is going to be the most informative for users, and increases the visibility significantly so users can find it easier. The search “balance transfer credit card” (a highly valuable term!) returns the following result: That’s an awful lot of above the fold visibility afforded by that quick answer-box. Incidentally, for the same search, a little further down the page: NerdWallet win the quick answer-box for the popular search term, and also happen to be the current featured news story at time of writing — all in all a pretty impressive first page presence. This in particular is a great example of how NerdWallet simply obliterate the competition for an individual term.
5. Talent & Recruiting
Excelling in the above areas naturally requires some serious digital talent. This is one area where NerdWallet has committed sizable investment. “I really think that winning in this market is about attracting the best talent out there,” CEO Tim Chen told Inc. “The more talent, the better.” As with their author network, investing in capable digital teams is crucial to winning the market.
6. Authenticity & Reputation
On a simple level, there is one notable difference between the general experience a user has on NerdWallet, and that which they might have on the site of a financial institution. As Linkdex’s report highlights:
“Any cursory look at the website of any major financial brand reveals highly utilitarian, functional pages, copy and content. In contrast, the affiliate pages are much more ‘human’ – full of content that is emotive, responsive, supportive, in-depth and comprehensive in it’s coverage, and also exuding trust and authenticity signals that users are seeking.”
Authenticity is the key word here, and NerdWallet score much higher than banks may do: User-generated reviews, for example, which are easily navigable throughout the site for all the products featured are a great authenticity signal, and add massively to the overall content value of the site.
Undoubtedly, there are many reasons why NerdWallet performs so well. This article covers just a few of them. Overall, NerdWallet serves as a great example of the power of capturing individual moments. Long-tail search queries are essentially an example of such a moment. Equally, reviews represent and fulfill a moment in which consumers are seeking reassurance about a product. What NerdWallet shows us is that understanding and meeting the needs of consumers at these moments can be a highly successful strategy for brands.