Few mainstream manufacturers are as fascinating Website positioning-wise as Clever.

Previously often known as TransferWise, this fintech firm providing multi-currency accounts and fast worldwide cash transfers with truthful charges at present will get an estimated 6.4 million natural visits per month:

That’s particularly spectacular contemplating they moved domains in early 2021—a migration so well-executed that it made waves within the Website positioning neighborhood. Add to this that they’ve a customized CMS to scale their Website positioning efforts, and you’ve got a model whose Website positioning technique deserves investigation.

On this one-of-a-kind case research, we’ll discover 5 the explanation why Clever’s Website positioning technique rocks:

  1. Touchdown web page templates that may be scaled up
  2. A customized CMS constructed round their Website positioning wants
  3. Content material optimized for featured snippets
  4. A number of methods of attracting and buying hyperlinks
  5. Flawlessly migrating hundreds of thousands of pages with numerous threat

1. Touchdown web page templates that may be scaled up

Conducting key phrase analysis is often the better a part of making a content material technique, so it’s no shock that Clever displays what their (potential) clients seek for with the content material they produce.

The problem comes when your key phrase analysis tells you to make tens of 1000’s of touchdown pages. How do you create and optimize a lot content material to rank excessive in Google? 

Clever tries to be current within the search outcomes all through the entire buyer journey, and there’s numerous content material to cowl—particularly on the high of the funnel.

For instance, they’ve almost 12,000 touchdown pages about swift code mixtures focusing on US guests alone:

And it’s not simply the swift codes subfolder that has so many touchdown pages. There are different subfolders with 1000’s of pages about issues like foreign money converters and routing numbers:

Information by way of the High Subfolders report in Ahrefs’ Web site Explorer. It exhibits the subfolders on smart.com sorted by natural site visitors from excessive to low.

These fairly top-of-the-funnel pages contribute to a overwhelming majority of their natural site visitors throughout a number of nations and languages. Right here’s an instance from their German site visitors:

The trick to creating so many optimized touchdown pages like that is to make use of templates—and that is what Clever did. They realized that individuals trying to find particular SWIFT/BIC codes or routing numbers needed very comparable info. The primary variable was simply the code itself.

From a content material perspective, all they wanted was one completely crafted touchdown web page for a particular financial institution. From there, they may use the template again and again for various banks. 

Creating such a superbly crafted touchdown web page requires nice copy, design, UX, and alignment with the search intent—offering all the data the customer may want. An instance of what searchers are searching for may be discovered of their FAQ sections (which additionally maximize Website positioning alternatives by way of FAQ wealthy snippets):

All in all, Clever nailed scaling up their content material creation with a deal with Website positioning. Their natural site visitors grows with the variety of listed pages:

2. A customized CMS constructed round their Website positioning wants

Scaling up content material creation to such a level requires developer assets. You may’t efficiently produce a lot content material in a number of languages utilizing your customary CMS choices.

On this presentation, Fabrizio Ballarini, the particular person accountable for Clever’s natural progress, outlines a number of the most important Website positioning options of their customized CMS, Lienzo: 

  • Utilizing templates and boilerplates to create 1000’s of latest touchdown pages shortly
  • Managing correct inside linking
  • Producing and updating meta tags and structured knowledge at scale
  • Dealing with hreflang attributes and canonical tags era and updates
  • Cloning, updating, or deleting current pages at scale
  • Testing adjustments in an area atmosphere earlier than pushing them to manufacturing
  • Constructed-in platform monitoring to detect and repair points ASAP
  • Constructed-in cut up testing capabilities for Website positioning experiments
  • Seamless integration with databases and APIs
  • Assigning person roles, so crew members have entry to all of the instruments they want

That is likely to be quite a bit to ingest, so right here’s an instance from its UI:

Whereas it might appear dangerous to push a lot content material from the technical perspective, Clever managed to choose up increasingly more curiosity from Googlebot over time:

Getting Google on their facet right here may need been a bit difficult. First, each single web page needed to be distinctive, precious, and align with the search intent. Then they needed to replace inside hyperlinks and sitemaps to make sure good crawlability and well timed indexing.

Lienzo seemingly does all of this a lot better than any out-of-the-box CMS.

3. Content material optimized for featured snippets

One factor that amazed me about Clever’s Website positioning efficiency is what number of featured snippets they personal. Nevertheless it wasn’t clear whether or not it is because they do a a lot better job than their opponents or whether or not it’s simply the character of finance SERPs. 

So, I checked out their competing domains:

The Competing Domains report in Ahrefs’ Web site Explorer exhibits web sites that rank within the high 10 for a similar key phrases as the web site you’re investigating.

Then I selected a couple of of them with typically excessive natural site visitors and plenty of overlapping key phrases. I needed to know what number of “featured snippet triggering” key phrases they rank for within the high 10 and what number of of these they personal.

Right here’s how I did this in Ahrefs’ Web site Explorer for every web site that I needed to research:

  1. Entered the area
  2. Navigated to the Natural Key phrases 2.0 report
  3. Filtered for key phrases in positions 1–10
  4. Filtered for key phrases that set off featured snippets, wrote down the variety of outcomes
  5. Filtered for key phrases that set off featured snippets the area owns, wrote down the variety of outcomes (this step is pictured under)

And listed here are the outcomes. Clever dominates in each absolute and relative numbers:

It’s clear that Clever does featured snippet optimization very well, and it drives them various site visitors. I’m fairly shocked that their natural opponents don’t do a greater job with such easy alternatives like this one, for instance:

You is likely to be questioning how one can make a desk stand out. It have to be a lottery which desk Google chooses for the featured snippet, proper? Nicely, right here’s what the desk seems like on Chase’s web site:

They positioned it inside a collapsible block that’s collapsed by default. It’s not the principle content material on the web page. Plus, the desk might have higher column names, and it wouldn’t harm mentioning that these are certainly Chase routing numbers someplace within the context of the desk.

Clever does all of this higher, annotates the desk with a transparent title, and interlinks every row with its respective touchdown web page:

I’m not saying such optimization would guarantee getting a featured snippet, however Clever deserves it right here.

Really useful studying: Learn how to Optimize for Google’s Featured Snippets

4. A number of methods of attracting and buying hyperlinks

Even the perfect on-page and technical Website positioning setup, processes, and execution doesn’t guarantee success within the SERPs in case your content material lacks a stable backlink profile. Hyperlink constructing is the a part of Website positioning which you could management the least, so it’s all the time a good suggestion to make use of a number of link-building approaches and techniques. Clever additionally does a superb job at this.

Product-led firms naturally entice hyperlinks

Your finest link-building asset is arguably one thing you don’t affect a lot as an Website positioning: a very precious and standard product. This usually comes with a robust model. I, myself, am a glad Clever buyer, and I knew about them lengthy earlier than I transformed.

Having the perfect product within the business lets you naturally construct a robust backlink profile with out actively constructing hyperlinks by way of outreach. The truth is, Clever didn’t have an Website positioning crew till 2015 and so they’ve managed to attain nice hyperlinks with just a few PR actions and promoting.

Reaching a Area Ranking (DR) of 75 with no Website positioning within the crew is actually spectacular:

Use of artistic PR campaigns

When researching how Clever grew into the corporate it’s right this moment, I encountered many examples of them utilizing nice PR campaigns to get nice protection and hyperlinks.

Clever PR campaigns vary from advocating what they stand for in a reasonably customary means:

To pure PR stunts that additionally strengthen their positioning:



These PR stunts received them some wonderful hyperlinks early on:

It’s clear that PR and promoting helped them construct a robust model and hyperlink profile earlier than they began taking Website positioning severely:

Slide taken from Fabrizio Ballarini’s deck.

Referral & affiliate applications as predominant acquisition channels

Clever’s incentivizes their customers to ask buddies with a financial bonus, and this turned certainly one of their predominant acquisition channels early on:

Clever additionally has an associates program that incentivizes web site homeowners to earn commissions by sharing their affiliate hyperlinks with their viewers.

Certain, the Website positioning worth of referral or affiliate hyperlinks is questionable at finest. Clever at present has near 9,000 affiliate-related backlinks with no hyperlink attributes, which ought to technically move PageRank:

Filtering for “adopted” backlinks to smart.com utilizing the Backlinks 2.0 report in Ahrefs’ Web site Explorer.

If we (Ahrefs) can simply determine such hyperlinks, I’m certain Google can too. They doubtless devalue or utterly disqualify these hyperlinks when it comes to PageRank.

However the level right here is completely different. A by-product of individuals sharing referral and affiliate hyperlinks is extra customary hyperlinks and protection. The larger your referral and affiliate applications are, the extra you reap the advantages. There’s a snowball impact to it.

5. Flawlessly migrating hundreds of thousands of pages with numerous threat

Migrating a big web site to a brand new area is a frightening job by itself. Add to {that a} huge buyer base that depends in your service 24/7 to deal with their cash, and also you’ve received a problem that may stress out any Website positioning.

Clever at present has over 4 million listed URLs in Google, and the quantity will nonetheless be doubtless going up as they migrated from transferwise.com not so way back (March 2021):

They managed to efficiently switch their natural site visitors with none noticeable losses to their new area inside 4 months of the migration. Should you’re new to web site migrations, this is a superb consequence as a result of many migrations find yourself dropping a stable chunk of natural site visitors.

Right here’s the natural site visitors graph for transferwise.com:

And right here’s how that translated to smart.com:


I’d attribute the newest site visitors drop which you could see above to the June and July 2021 core algorithm updates. I doubt it’s something associated to the area migration. 

Migrating hundreds of thousands of pages, maintaining your service up through the course of, and never dropping site visitors due to it’s merely successful. However even in the event you get all the things proper, you possibly can nonetheless encounter points which can be exhausting to elucidate and repair:

Fabrizio offered additional insights about their migration preparation in this Twitter thread:

Two bits of recommendation stood out to me:

  1. Correctly inform your customers and viewers about an upcoming area migration. This was particularly essential for Clever as a result of nature of their enterprise. Instantly touchdown on a brand new weblog area is just not corresponding to logging into your cash account on a distinct area with out understanding about that prematurely.
  2. Take a look at your redirects on a smaller a part of your area and monitor server logs to know how crawlers behave. That is undoubtedly good follow earlier than you 301 (redirect) the entire factor. 

Remaining ideas

Clever stands out when it comes to how invested they’re in Website positioning throughout groups. This highlights the significance of sentimental expertise in Website positioning. It’s essential to correctly talk the worth of Website positioning and your wants with others within the group to succeed.

I encountered a couple of extra facets I might have mentioned right here, however the 5 above had been probably the most attention-grabbing and provoking for me. When you have any questions, concepts, or perhaps even requests to investigate the Website positioning of different firms, be happy to ping me on Twitter.

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