Palawan Pawnshop Services (PPS) is among the fastest-growing and most reliable pawnshops in the Philippines. Its two main services are pawning (Palawan Pawnshop) and money remittance (Palawan Express Pera Padala).
After more than 30 years in the industry, PPS is now offering more products and services such as foreign currency exchange, bills payment, e-loading, and basic accident insurance.
But what really sets PPS apart are two things: quick, hassle-free transactions and the cheapest rates.
Those two unique traits are where Propelrr anchored its campaign to boost the online presence of Palawan Pawnshop. The plan was to increase the company’s organic traffic to its website, where visitors are introduced to the brand and given access to its products and services.
Palawan Pawnshop has opportunity in the online search market. Based on our conducted keyword research, there are 240k estimated search traffic in Google search engine per month. However, Palawan Pawnshop only gets 15% of these estimated web traffic. This gives us an indication that we can improve our current traffic we are receiving per month.
Moreover, upon looking at our closest competitor, we have noticed that 80% of their traffic are coming from organic channel. This suggests that apart from the estimated search traffic volume—similar to our perceived competitors—Palawan Pawnshop can also maximize organic search as their traffic-driving channel.
Since we hit the ground running in March 2017, there has been no other way but up, up, up.
In three months, the organic Google traffic for PPS increased by 45.75%. After six months, the numbers were up to 68.32% by August. And there could be no sweeter way to end 2017 but with a 91.46% increase of organic traffic. All it took was 10 months.
When it comes to increasing organic traffic, there are a lot of variables to consider, and the struggle goes beyond keywords. Organic, mostly driven by SEO, is earned. A significant improvement in traffic in just three months is by no means an easy feat.
How did we do it?
To achieve significant progress in traffic, here are the bold and strategic steps we took:
First: Technical SEO Audit and Implementation
The website. This is an important phase before you start optimizing off-site. It is only after completing a technical SEO audit of a website that you can do anything of impact off-page. Identify errors and implement fixes. Focus on technical performance and other on-site factors.
Page Speed Optimization
Welcome to the fast lane. If you want to be on top, you got to hurry up.
Speed is one of the things that Google considers when ranking. This means you have to optimize your website page speed, and not just the homepage. Consider images, encryption, and server cache to enhance your website’s speed on every page.
Tip: Use Google Pagespeed Insights to check your website page speed.
Optimizing Web Page Structure
At the core of SEO is a good site structure, which is anchored mainly on relevance.
When a page’s structure is optimized, one question should be asked: what would the market want to see?
At a glance, the PPS website asks: what can we do for you?
Crawling through the page, you will find its services, a loan calculator, how to do remittance, and how much it costs to send money to various parts of the country.
Tip: It is best to put important keywords first and avoid repetition of the same keyword. Optimize meta descriptions for click-throughs.
Google Search Console Issues
If you want Google to like you, you must know what it wants to see in you.
The Google Search Console (GSC) is a big help in this department, as it is a tool that resolves issues that Google may find as it crawls through your website. It also helps monitor how your website behaves on the Google Search Engine.
Tip: Before checking your crawl issues on GSC, you might also want to check your page templates if these are crawlable by google bots.
Second: Link Cleansing
This is where purging happens. You want the bad links out of the way.
Removing bad backlinks that lead to the website is an essential component of SEO strategy. While link building is also important, there are spammy links that are harmful and not consistent with your business. These links are toxic and you should get rid of them, or Google will penalize you.
Checking the PPS website’s historical traffic, we didn’t notice any signs of being penalized by Google. However, there were spammy links to be purged.
Tip: You may identify spammy links by page level (specific page pointing to your website) or domain level (whole website).
Third: HTTPS Migration
In June 2017, Propelrr migrated the PPS website into an HTTPS page. It used to be just Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP), but this time, an “S” was added. “S” stands for “Secure.”
In a nutshell, the migration makes the website a secured website, which of course Google factors in when it comes to ranking. And since PPS involves money and transactions, having a secured website is a must.
HTTPS migration ensures a private and secure online experience for users. And who doesn’t want that especially when the website deals with personal details and money?
Tip: Make sure your site migration will not create redirect loop.
Fourth: AMP Implementation
Next up was implementing AMP in July 2017. AMP means Accelerated Mobile Pages, which basically deals with page speed on mobile devices. It speeds up the rendering process, which in turn makes load times faster as opposed to HTML. The median load time for AMP is one second, four times faster than HTML, and a thousand times better for your users.
Fifth: Competitor Benchmarking by Page
Know your enemy! You can’t go to war without knowing who you are fighting. You have to keep tabs on competitors and know where you stand by using benchmarking tools.
We created a sheet to benchmark success factors and analyze the competition. The objective is to gain a level of insight so that we know how to move the digital campaigns of PPS forward.
We compared all the pages’ ranking for a specific target keyword. What did we find out? For the keyword “pera padala,” PPS ranks 6th. Competitors were ranking better. Why? We asked. The No. 1 website had nine backlinks compared to only three for PPS. Knowing what we knew at this point, we worked on task items for the specific keyword.
The result? We are now ranked No. 2.
Six: Targeted Link Acquisition
Now that we already have an insight on which pages needed links, the next step is to find ways for an impactful link building.
The practice of targeted link building is deeply rooted in SEO and remains to be a valuable factor in Google ranking. For a time, the success of SEO was dependent on how well you do link building.
This is the practice of reaching out. It is the process of getting other websites to link back to your website. Backlinks tell Google that your site is of good quality; so good that it is worthy of citation than other websites.
But not just any link. PPS worked on backlinks related to spending, investments, insurance, and remittances.
Seven: Answer Box
People have a lot of questions, and Google seems to be the know-it-all genius for this generation. So when users ask questions, wouldn’t you want to be able to answer them immediately?
Enter Answer Box. They provide users with answers in a manner that is quick and hassle-free. The challenge is optimizing an answer box for your website that can best address the needs of your clients. They are usually in the form of paragraphs, tables or lists. In the case of PPS, users want to know how much would it cost to send money across the Philippines. The best format is to list amounts of remittance with corresponding fee.
SEO is beyond a rankings game. Its real value is defined by how relevant you are to your target market. Sure, they see you on the search results, but what happens after?
These SEO techniques, carefully implemented, did more than just increase traffic to the PPS website and improve its ranking in the Search Engine Ranking Pages of Google. What it did was to establish its website as a useful tool for customers who want to avail of the company’s products and services. It brought in new customers who get to try PPS for the first time, and eventually decided to stay.
All these we did in 10 months. Imagine what we could do in a couple of years.