Nationwide’s SEO challenges are mainly focused around increasing the brand exposure, traffic and conversions (online applications, etc.) through generic (non-branded) keywords.

Another SEO challenge was to look into relationships between natural and search paid performance and optimising both campaigns in order to maximise the performance of both campaigns.

During the keyword and competitor analysis stage, we discovered that the site already gets a lot of ‘quality’ links from many authority websites like BBC, Times Online, etc. However, majority of these websites were not using targeted keywords in the link’s anchor text (very important link building factor).

We also noticed that the rankings for key business search terms can be improved fairly quickly by optimising the content and other on-page elements which were not using all target keywords or their synonyms and that.

Another outcome of the initial research was the seasonality of different types of search terms. We noticed that the general interest in some products tend to fluctuate throughout the year, e.g. ‘isa’ related queries peaking in March and April. This has been incorporated into the SEO strategy and SEO delivery plan.


The SEO strategy, key elements, activities and objectives were agreed internally and then presented back to the client. The strategy involved necessary account takeover steps, devising long and short term activities plan based on prioritised list of tasks (quick wins first), scheduling regular reviews and monitoring results.

In order to resolve the first challenge (increasing the traffic and conversions from natural search) following activities were / will be undertaken: keyword research, competitor analysis, a complete review of all key on-page SEO factors, URL re-structuring, content / copy recommendations and advise on how to write search engine friendly content, online PR distribution, content syndication, hosted content placement, reviewing links from existing business partners, analysing the back-links profile and leveraging brand mentions.

The second challenge was to look into relationships between natural search performance and paid search costs in order to maximise the results and minimise spend. This was achieved by communicating SEO results with the paid search team, making necessary amends and monitoring results.

The third challenge (increasing exposure for ’information request’ type queries) was achieved by providing recommendations and feeding back into the build of the new informational section of the site which provides fresh and unique content to search engines and users. The success will be measured when this section of the site goes live.


Month on month (May 2011 compared to July 2010):

  • We delivered a 25% increase in organic traffic to the site
  • We delivered a 39% increase in conversions from organic search traffic to the site
  • 76% of the total number of organic search conversions came from non-branded search terms
  • The increase was mainly due to the site starting to rank at No. 1 for the vast majority of branded keywords and also ranking better for many generic keywords which convert well, e.g.
  • ‘bank accounts’ up to No. 3 in Google UK
  • ‘open bank account online’ up to No. 2
  • ‘current accounts’ up to No. 7

SEO campaign performance was also influenced by seasonality. In order to maximise seasonal trends opportunities, the site was reviewed and the keyword focus changed for that period. For example, optimising the site for ‘isa’ related queries in February increased the total number of monthly conversions from natural search by 72% (March on February).

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