Thursday, June 30, 2011...9:00 am

SEO Week: how Broadband Genie beats richer companies using unpaid search

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Companies like Broadband Genie live or die by visitor clickthrough – the site needs to be found and visited all the time to make its money. In the third in a series of videos filmed last year at UCA Farnham, editor Chris Marling talks about the tricks he uses to beat big Google advertisers and win business with natural search.
When Broadband Genie started in 2003, no one else was specialising in broadband comparison, so the site would appear at the top of the rankings for search terms such as “broadband”, “mobile broadband” etc.

“But once the paid search guys came in, we were in trouble.”

Broadband Genie’s competitors had more budget, so they could just buy those results.
Around the same time, others had the same idea – unfortunately they had more money and were bigger, so Broadband Genie could not deal with them in the same way.
The company could not compete on Google paid advertising search – the sponsored links that come up at the top of your search results. Any company can go in and bid for a term (eg “broadband”)
Drop-off in Google search between number one result and number two is 50%.
Search ranking vs clickthrough (approximate)

  1. 10,000
  2. 5,000
  3. 2,500
  4. 1,000

“Once you’re down to number 5 or 6 on a search term, you’re not getting any visits. That’s your income halved, halved, halved.”

The alternative to paid search is natural search. Google algorithm respecting websites in certain ways. If they respect your site you’ll be higher up the rankings. You need to fill your site with relevant, unique content that Google will find and rank highly. No matter how much people are paying, they will only get the paid slot.
How did BBG approach this?
The company started with guides and one-click search terms.
What does this mean? Optimise a page to be completely focused on one term that people search for. This means you need to know your market.
EXAMPLE: Chris created a page for mobile deals with “free laptops” – at the time of filming, the page ranked 3 or 4 on Google. This is pretty good considering everybody in this market is trying to promote these deals – it’s a massive part of the market. Broadband Genie doesn’t spend a penny with Google getting itself ranked for this term, but is constantly in the top 3 or 4 results. In this case, its competitors are retailers, companies that make the laptops and come up with deals.
How can you do this?

  1. The URL
    Once you know what people are searching for, put that term in the URL (eg:
  2. Use the H1 (headline) tag (NB, in WordPress this is the H2 tag)
    “Mobile broadband free laptop deals”
  3. H2 subhead (possibly H3 in WordPress)
    “free laptop” “mobile broadband” etc – all keywords

Scroll down the  page – all the top part of the page is trying to get you to buy something. At the bottom is loads more relevant content. “What is a free laptop deal?” – informative, tutorial information that all counts towards the Google result..

“You can’t copy stuff – you can’t cut and paste from other websites – Google will know. If you copy it, Google won’t give you credit for it.”

All content is written by journalists, but is keyword rich – you must get this right. Keywords often link through to other pages on the site.
If you have a popular search term in broadband, make a page for it.

“The key to success is unique, keyword-rich content.”


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