Case study: comdirect bank AG

Applying SEO expertise and specialist financial knowledge to achieve high Google rankings

There are hundreds of blogs in Germany dedicated to finance, savings and brokerage. Users can find everything they could ever want to know on the topic, from investment tips for beginners to detailed market analyses. This makes achieving relevant visibility and high rankings in organic search results a very challenging proposition. These blogs include high-quality expert articles precisely tailored to the target audience’s search intents and the information they need. This is exactly the type of user-focused content we have produced for comdirect bank AG since 2018. In this case study, we’ll explain how we approach it.

: Screenshot of the comdirect online magazine

Services provided by Kolibri for the comdirect online magazine

  • Topic research and content audit
  • Keyword research and analysis
  • Producing briefings with appropriate SEO requirements
  • Content editing for SEO-compliant advice pieces
  • Image research
  • Creating a graphic concept & producing graphics
  • SEO review of existing content
  • Project management
  • Quality management

The company: comdirect

comdirect was founded in 1994 as a subsidiary of Commerzbank AG, and the brand has been retained since its merger with the parent company in November 2020. comdirect offers innovative and intelligent products and services that enable its customers to manage their financial affairs easily and conveniently, anywhere and at any time. As an online broker, comdirect offers smart services for saving, investing and trading securities. With solutions like cominvest (comdirect’s robo-advisor), themed investing, a wide range of securities (saving plan) services and consistently attractive offerings, comdirect targets customers new to securities as well as experienced traders.

Alongside successful podcasts and live formats, the comdirect Academy learning platform, financial education services offered in partnership with Stiftung Rechnen and the finanz-heldinnen initiative specifically aimed at women, comdirect also has an online magazine that regularly publishes articles on financial and brokerage-related topics. Editorial articles provide people new to the world of finance as well as subject experts with details of the latest stock market developments, information on digital banking and informative advice pieces. In addition, comdirect presents the comdirect finanzblog award every year.

The challenge: Combining SEO and financial expertise

The articles on comdirect’s online magazine have to live up to high professional quality standards. Pieces are written by various partners and internal comdirect experts before being reviewed by specialist departments and in-house legal experts. When the magazine was launched in 2018, content SEO was a relatively low priority and was not integrated into the magazine’s strategy or workflow. As a result, comdirect was searching for a partner agency to combine user-oriented, technically sound content with SEO expertise to supply users in the inspiration phase with carefully edited content, create trust and raise awareness of the comdirect service offering.

In addition, comdirect wanted to integrate internal links to reinforce product and topic-specific pages on the main part of its website. Its overall aim was for keywords and content to complement one another rather than causing keyword cannibalisation.

In terms of the internal approval processes, it was important to raise awareness of SEO considerations among employees in specialist and legal departments and other agency members in order to ensure that key SEO parameters were considered and implemented in review phases.

Screenshot of the comdirect online magazine

Challenges in a nutshell

  • Achieving high visibility in organic searches using hotly contested keywords in the fields of banking, investment and securities trading
  • Building an internal link structure to reinforce product and topic pages without causing cannibalisation
  • Producing technically sound SEO content aimed at users
  • Training internal specialist departments and employees at partner agencies on the topic of content SEO
  • Convince upper management of the performance and importance of high-quality SEO content

“Gaining a holistic view of the website and ensuring targeted structuring and linking of informative and product-oriented copy was a considerable challenge.”

Peer Lorenz

SEO Manager, comdirect bank AG

Yellow comdirect Logo on a grey background

comdirect bank AG

The solution: Expert financial articles geared to the target audience

Kolibri Online has been producing content for comdirect’s online magazine since 2018. Working closely with comdirect’s SEO department every month, we identify topics, draw up SEO briefings and produce informative advice pieces that convey financial knowledge. We focus on two key points: firstly, the texts and topics need to be precisely tailored to user intents; and, secondly, the magazine articles should underpin the product and topic pages on the main comdirect website. This is made possible through precise keyword analysis and internal links.

SEO-compliant financial advice pieces

Kolibri Online provides services to comdirect by working with a fixed team of internal and external content editors with deep expertise in the world of finance. All our content editors also have expertise in the field of content SEO, undergo regular training from Kolibri and receive a specific SEO briefing for each piece of copy. Kolibri produces these briefings in close coordination with comdirect’s SEO and specialist departments. We examine the SEO relevance of different topics on an ongoing basis. Kolibri conducts tool-based, data-assisted analysis to identify suitable keywords, W-questions and proof terms. We also examine search intents and analyse search results.

This makes it possible to produce specialist blog content that responds to users’ questions, answering them in a comprehensive and solution-focused manner. Supplemented with practical overviews, infographics, checklists and links, the highly informative advice pieces we produce convey knowledge of the financial world and help readers to make decisions about securities trading, wealth building and saving for later in life. The topics range from practical issues – such as “What do I need to bear in mind when refinancing?” and “How can I save money as a student?” – to more general articles on topics like mobile payment methods, impact investing and instant payments.

Kolibri is also involved in efforts to optimise the bank’s product and topic pages, including development of an internal link structure spanning the magazine, other content hubs and the comdirect website.

Screenshot from an article in the comdirect online magazine
Screenshot from an article in the comdirect online magazine

Image SEO and infographics

Financial topics can be complex and users are increasingly searching for easy-to-consume formats that allow them to identify ideas and content at a glance. Infographics are therefore an effective means of visualising processes and ideas to help readers grasp them quickly. We therefore work with our in-house graphic designers to create easy-to-understand yet content-rich infographics that reflect the comdirect corporate identity. When supplemented with suitable alt text, title tags and captions, infographics become hugely important in terms of image SEO.

We also take care of image editing for the magazine articles. This is another area in which it is important to stand out from the myriad other finance blogs online – using images that contrast with the kind used in typical banking blogs, and which therefore create a fresh, innovative impression. At the same time, however, these images obviously have to meet comdirect imagery guidelines and fit in with article topics.

Infographic from an article in comdirect’s online magazine about TAN procedures

Defined processes thanks to SEO-trained project managers

The process of creating content for financial institutions involves numerous parties – and our work for comdirect is no different. Kolibri therefore assembled a fixed project management team made up of dependable contacts to ensure processes run smoothly, managing day-to-day activities and acting as a key connecting link between all parties involved in the project. In addition, Kolibri maintains the editorial plan, monitors all deadlines and thus ensures articles are published with the desired frequency.

SEO workshop for internal knowledge development

Having numerous parties involved in a project also means numerous opinions and many different needs. The presentation of sensitive topics from the financial sector – particularly as this relates to financial education – needs to be legally and technically sound while still being understandable for lay people. When it comes to content SEO, that’s not a contradiction. After all, the primary objective of SEO content editing is to produce copy that presents topics holistically and understandably. Nevertheless, there are certain SEO elements and requirements that need to be observed and incorporated. With this in mind, to make proofreading and review processes more efficient and to develop an understanding of SEO, we held a workshop for employees of comdirect and other external partner agencies involved in the project. The aim of the workshop was the show that SEO-compliant writing and user-oriented writing are not mutually exclusive. We also used the workshop to explain:

  • how search engines actually work;
  • the objectives of search engine optimisation;
  • the guidelines and standards to bear in mind in relation to content SEO, and
  • how we conduct keyword and subject research.

We also translated the workshop outcomes into a briefing template that was reviewed and approved by comdirect’s SEO and specialist departments before copywriting work began.

Kolibri Online content editors at work

The result: Many #1 rankings and appearances in featured snippets

Efficient workflows, close and collegial collaboration with the comdirect SEO department and a well-oiled content editing team combine to ensure that informative advice pieces are published in comdirect’s online magazine on a regular basis – and achieve the desired results. The magazine’s organic search visibility continues to rise, as do its ranking positions. Evidence for this can be found in the high number of rankings on page 1 of Google’s search results. In total, magazine articles now rank at #1 in searches for 54 significant information keywords at #1-4 for 143 informative keywords (source: Sistrix, correct as of July 2020). What’s more, information from magazine articles regularly features in featured snippets and PAA boxes, which further boosts the magazine’s visibility.

After engaging intensively with comdirect’s corporate culture and product portfolio, Kolibri can also easily support the bank in other business segments. As a result, in addition to advice pieces, we also regularly produce content for comdirect Versicherungsmakler AG, for specialist magazine articles aimed at newcomers to the world of finance and for the comdirect Akademie learning platform, as well as reviewing product and topic pages.

Extract from Sistrix on interesting keyword rankings for comdirect magazine articles.

“Our close collaboration ensured a smooth and target-driven process. Combining search engine optimisation and classic copywriting made it possible to satisfy the demands of various departments (SEO, marketing, legal & specialist departments).”

Peer Lorenz

SEO Manager, comdirect bank AG

Yellow comdirect Logo on a grey background

comdirect bank AG

Are you looking for a content agency for your next project? Maybe you have questions about developing long-term content marketing strategies or how to implement high-quality, SEO-compliant online content in practice. We’d be happy to talk it over with you. Call us on +49 40 5247774-0 or email us at info@kolibri.online.

About the author

Jana Finklenburg
Project Manager and Content Marketing Editor
+49 40 5247774-22
j.finklenburg@kolibri.online

Kolibri Online GmbH
Bernstorffstrasse 128
D-22767 Hamburg