Developing an SEO strategy over time is a crucial way to ensure that your site is able to compete in search and achieve its goals in the long term. The tactics that earned you success two years ago might not work in the present, and the needs of your site will evolve as the business grows and changes.
Kerstin Reichert joined the RankUp podcast to talk about her own experiences with managing the SEO strategy for Tide, a business bank account provider which has rapidly gone from being considered a startup to its current state as an international business with hundreds of employees. Kerstin’s role at Tide has given her an ideal perspective on how to adapt a strategy to stay competitive over time.
As always, you can listen to the interview right here on this page or on any podcast player of your choice. Or, if you want to see a few key points, keep reading for highlights of the interview. You can also follow all of us on the podcast on Twitter, at @Frau_Reichert, @EddJTW and @BenJGarry, or find Kerstin on LinkedIn.
Ben: How did you get to where you are in SEO today?
Kerstin: I started my career at a software company in Germany, and there I looked after a number of different marketing channels including paid search and organic search, but the main focus of the company was organic and I also found it to be the most interesting part of marketing.
I enjoyed working in SEO and decided that it was what I wanted to specialise in. That was about 12 years ago, so from there I had a different SEO roles in-house and agency-side.
Most recently, I’m in the UK, where I am now at Tide. I always loved the fast pace of agencies, but I wanted to have full ownership of my channel and being a well integrated part of the marketing team. I found the perfect place at Tide, where now I have a very fast pace, but I’m still able to own all of SEO and be integrated into the marketing team and the business in general.
Tide’s example of changing SEO requirements
Ben: Could you give us a quick overview of the SEO requirements of Tide and how they’ve changed over time?
Kerstin: When I started at Tide, we were a very small marketing team. The whole company was roughly 80 people, whereas we’re now nearly 700. When I started in that small team, my role was much broader. I would go to trade exhibitions, and even worked on the first TV ad.
In regards to SEO, starting out was all about establishing the foundation: setting the strategy and finding the right tools and partners to work with, then working with our developers to make sure that my SEO requirements were built into everything that we launched.
That’s generally still what we do, but the requirements have become more complex. Now it’s a matter of how we scale and how can we do more while becoming more efficient, because there’s always more to do.
As we’ve grown as a company, we now have this whole business finance platform that needs to be surfaced and promoted, so naturally the SEO requirements and efforts have to scale with the rest of the company.
How much of the strategy is set and how much is experimental?
Edd: Was it the case that when you first joined the company you had a strong vision of what the strategy needed to be, or were you quite experimental in certain areas?
Kerstin: We’re doing more testing now that we actually have the time and foundations to do it. In the beginning, it was more about building the real estate we needed to rank.
When I started, the website was very, very small. We had one product – the business account – and then just a few pages that were the typical startup editorial content, like team and company updates.
In the beginning, it was all about trying to find ways to attract the right audience. We had to expand on our online real estate, talk more about the product, create content around its features and functionality, then ramp up our editorial content production.
How do the technical requirements of a site change over time?
Edd: How did the technical work required for the site change over the years?
Kerstin: It’s still changing and becoming more complex. In the beginning, because it was a small website, we didn’t have any of the legacy issues that I’ve seen on older, larger websites, when it’s hard to get the fixes done. Working on a new website is different because you’re starting with a blank sheet.
We were able to build in the functionality we needed so that editors and copywriters can be aware of the SEO elements they need to consider in their content, like metadata, schema markup and optimised images.
From there as we were growing, it was a question of how we scaled it, including templates and the website structure.
One of the challenges in working for a new business is that you don’t know what’s coming. You want to make sure that your content stays visible and accessible to users and search engines, but trying to anticipate what you’re going to have is difficult.
When I started on the website, I didn’t know how many different products we would launch, I didn’t know how many partnerships we would have with other companies and I didn’t know what type of content we would be producing – and now we’re also expanding internationally!
In the beginning, it was basically a matter of doing what we could to have a good setup. Now there are different requirements, so the site is getting more complex and still requires constant work. We also need to be aware of not only how we build new things, but also how we don’t make the site too clunky and slow in the process.
How do you make your content stand out?
Ben: There are so many different sites trying to create content about business and finance, so how do you make Tide stand out and actually attract clicks?
Kerstin: It’s a long-term effort. There are many platforms out there talking about similar things, but don’t let that discourage you. I know from experience that there’s still so much scope for you to do something that’s really great. The situation is probably not as bad as it looks.
For us, while there are similar companies, we position ourselves as truly the thought leader in small business finance. Some FinTech competitors focus on personal finance and business finance, but we are 100% focused on small businesses and their needs. That’s at the core of all of our content.
We also work with our partners – we have a lot of accounting partners and members doing very interesting things. Some of our members are experts in starting a business because they’ve done so, so we work with them and they contribute to our content.
There are some topics where we have the experts already, because we’re finance experts, but there are other topics which our accounting partners or members are better suited to talk about.
We also run surveys with our members to better understand what they would like to read. What matters to them? Where do they struggle and need guidance?
And it’s not just informational or educational content. We also work on data sources to create insights about the small business landscape in the UK, for example, then tell stories about them.
And we are always, always looking at news and government announcements. We actually have people dedicated to keeping informed so that as soon as there’s an announcement, I can update our members, and we create content around that for our readers, whether they’re members or not.
Anything our readers need to know, they can find it on the Tide website. That makes us very relevant as a source of information for small business owners and, hopefully, Google will feel the same way over time.
Join the on-page conversation
To hear all of the content from Kerstin’s interview, listen to the podcast episode at the top of this page, or find the RankUp SEO Podcast channel on your podcast app of choice.
If you’re interested in being a guest on the show, please reach out to us on Twitter or via email.