Financial SEO Case Study

Big Wins for a Long-Term SEO Strategy


 Increase in Organic Session to Target Pages


Increase in Organic Sessions Overall


Increase in Organic Users


Competing with Financial Giants

The online student loan refinance company knew from the start that they had a steep goal —  to become a top presence and contender in a highly competitive landscape that includes large long-term players such as Credible and NerdWallet.   

COVID & the Cares Act

Not only was the digital landscape a challenge, but the real world presented disruptive obstacles when COVID-19 presented additional difficulties. Of the many COVID impacts on businesses at large, the student loan refinance company faced a unique challenge. When the Cares Act paused student loan payments, it has taken a massive toll on companies focused on student loan refinancing. 

Instead of merely rolling with the punches, the student loan refinance company chose to commit to a long-term SEO strategy so that when the pause lifts, they will be highly visible online and in the best position to offer their services to students in need of loan refinancing. 


Sure Oak began campaign work with the student loan refinancing company in December 2019 to lay the foundation of site content and earn quality backlinks. To do so, we utilized a strategic combination of technical SEO, content strategies, on-page SEO, and link building. This combination of work allowed us to begin making strides towards their goals with a vision of future growth possibilities. 

Even though a rugged time with a competitive landscape and downtrends of conversions due to the pandemic, the online refinance company remained committed to their SEO campaign and began seeing improvements in rankings for high-intent key phrases.  With their dedication to set up for success when the pause is lifted, their fantastic content team, and an openness to top-funnel content to reach and attract their audience by serving valuable information, the online student loan company not only endured but rose to the challenge. 

We worked in collaborative partnership with their team to provide strategic insight, planning, and consultation and to ensure that their content was highly targeted and valuable for their audience. We dug deep with research and identified valuable keyword phrases and content opportunities. We were there every step of the way, providing consultation when new pages and content were developed to ensure that their content and website architecture and structure remained optimized. 

In addition, we focused on off-site SEO. Our link building agency experts crafted a fully customized link building campaign, focusing on competitive long-term keyword goals and securing faster tangible wins with low-hanging fruit opportunities.


To compare the impacts of our long-term SEO strategy, we looked at the earned results from the last six months of 2019 before our engagement began to the last six months of 2021. In this time frame, we monitored and continuously tracked the results.  The work on the site made a clear statement. Our long-term strategy produced significant improvements and valuable wins that continue to bring the online student loan refinancing company closer to its ultimate goal.  


Top-Funnel Editorial Content Performance
Organic Sessions

We focused our efforts on top-funnel editorial pages and saw an increase of 814% in organic sessions, from 1,169 sessions before our engagement, up to 10,679 sessions.

814% increase in organic sessions to top of the funnel content

Website Overall Performance
Organic Sessions

Organic sessions for the online student loan refinance site increased overall by 204%, starting from 4,373 before the engagement to 13,297 in reviewing the same period.

204% increase in organic sessions

Organic Users

When looking at the same period, organic users increased 288% from 3,363 to 13,031.

288% increase in organic users

Goal Conversions
26% Increase in Visitors Applying for a Refinance

Completion of the refinance process includes when a user fully completes the refinance process from start to finish. This includes completing each step of the process, providing their information, applying for their refinance rates, and selecting a lender. As a result, goal completions increased by 26% during this volatile time period.

increase in organic conversion submissions

19% Increase in Outbound Clicks to Lender Website

Part of their strategy is also to deliver clicks to partner lender sites. The outbound clicks increased 19% from 118 to 141.  

Increase in outbound clicks to lenders from organic visitors

15% YOY Increase in Organic Impressions

Optimizations to the site and gains in keyword rankings catapulted organic impressions from 262,000 to 305,000.

15% increase in organic impressions in 1 year

About the Online Student Loan Refinance Company

The student loan refinance company offers online services to students looking to check their refinance loan rates from top lenders. The streamlined service provided by the company allows students to quickly receive personalized and prequalified rate comparisons with no credit score impact for free as well as the ability to apply to refinance all in one location. 

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