The Q4 2023 benchmarking report for UK mortgage brokers has just been published. Learn how the top 8 UK mortgage brokers perform across the digital space.
The latest Q4 2023 benchmarking report for UK mortgage brokers has just been published. It covers the largest 8 national mortgage brokers, including Meridian Mortgages, Molo, Just Mortgages, Mojo Mortgages, Mortgage Advice Bureau, London & Country Mortgages, John Charcol - Independent Mortgage Expertise, and Habito.
The research gives an inside track on who is winning the biggest share of voice online, and quantifies the gaps, risks and missed opportunities for other mortgage brokers to win brand exposure, drive site visits, and generate online enquiries. The report highlights quick wins that will improve enquiries from your online strategy and identifies the barriers that may be reducing your site’s ability to optimise digital performance.
To see a preview and contents page of the Q4 report, click here. To get a copy of the full report and the key takeaways, please complete the enquiry form or schedule a call.
Q4 2023 WINNERS LEADERBOARD
For a glance into just 6 of the metrics we evaluated these top 8 mortgage brokers on, check out our quick-look table below;
Continue reading for further detail on this quarter's top and poorest-performing mortgage brokers, or request a copy of the report for the full review.
What The Industry Research Report Covers
The 70+ pages of research benchmarks each site based on 50+ metrics and indicators of successful digital strategy, including organic visibility, domain authority, paid media ads, conversion performance, technical performance, site speed, universal search, content, social ads, accessibility, and mobile performance.
Driving Optimal ROAS from Paid Media Channels
Some of the leading players in the space are high spenders on paid media channels such as Google, Bing & Facebook - but have a poor or sub-optimal conversion improvement strategy. Without an optimised, sophisticated conversion strategy that maximises the conversion rate, the return on investment is unsustainable or will underperform. Scaling spend on paid media is not achievable unless the conversion rate delivers optimal performance in the sector. Some in the space have paid media spend levels from 30k+ per month but dedicate minimal resources and budgets to conversion testing. Given the cost per clicks on ad networks will continue to rise, we recommend spending at least 10% of your paid media budget on ongoing conversion optimisation testing schedules to ensure your paid media ROI maintains long-term viability, competitive advantage, and sustainability.
Technical Website Compliance
Savvy digital marketers know that having a technically sound website is an essential component of a successful fully integrated digital strategy - plus a site capable of maximising conversion performance. Mortgage brokers have the benefit of not needing to maintain large sites with a high volume of product pages, so should find staying on top of their technical compliance easier than our clients in e-commerce sectors.
In Q2, we noted that Mortgage Advice Bureau had reduced its level of 4xx errors to 149, down from 4,220 in Q1. Looking at Q4 performance, Mortgage Advice Bureau has reduced this further to 108. Though this is still the highest level of all 8 brokers, continuous gradual improvements will bring the brand in line with the competition.
Site Speed & Conversion Rate Performance
When 62% of consumers are less likely to convert if they have a negative mobile site experience, ensuring that your site is quick and easy to load makes a significant improvement on your overall conversion rates. As with ensuring key pages are not blocked by error codes, mortgage brokers will want to ensure their site is quick, and that customers have a great experience from every touchpoint, to instil trust in their service.
John Charcol is the only mortgage broker to surpass the 'okay' benchmark of 50, with a mobile page speed score of 55. The poorest-performing broker for mobile page speed is Habito, which has scored 28. However, this range of scores is much narrower than in other sectors we specialise in, and Habito need only make a few, strategic changes to meet competitors' performance.
Building Competitive Advantage with Domain Authority
Domain authority is an essential metric for measuring the effectiveness of SEO performance, and helps create a reliable overall gauge of how effective your site is at achieving organic traffic, i.e. ‘free’ traffic that isn’t gained through sponsored ads. Mortgage brokers can look to creating digital PR campaigns across the full spectrum of home ownership, to generate engaging press coverage that links back to their site and improves referral traffic, as well as domain authority.
DAs for mortgage brokers now sit between 18 to 70. Meridian Mortgages are still the lowest-performing broker when it comes to DA, and could look to a link reclamation strategy as an initial way to improve their backlink profile and increase their authority.
Organic Performance – Mobile & Desktop
A strong organic performance is strategically important as it ensures your site ranks above competitors for key, transactional keywords. When 93% of your customers won’t go past the first page of Google, your absence or lack of targeting for essential keywords will cost you conversions. With high house prices and worrying mortgage rates, mortgage brokers will need to ensure their organic strategy is considerate of changing consumer habits, in order to maintain traffic.
All eight mortgage brokers are now seeing a reduction in organic traffic year on year. The biggest loss has been seen by Meridian, which has lost 55% of its digital footfall, compared to 2022. London and Country is the closest broker the maintaining traffic, only seeing a 3% reduction.
Universal Search Opportunity
Google Universal Search Results is an evolving opportunity to make your pages visible on a SERP (Search Engine Results Page). Universal results often appear before traditional listings and are eye-catching for users. Universal search results refer to rankings on a SERP that are not the traditional ‘blue line’ Google link, and a site can appear for universal search results without being strong in standard rankings. 'Reviews' are a great Universal Search result to optimise for, as it will help mortgage brokers build trust with potential customers directly from the SERP.
While 'reviews' remains the most used opportunity in terms of volume of results (with John Charol remaining ahead of the pack with 3,600), 'people also ask' results are the most widely used of all mortgage brokers, with Land and Country making the most appearances, with 773. 'People also ask' results are a great way to build authority on a subject, and usually points to great performance for longtail keywords too.
The Longtail Keyword Opportunity
Longtail keywords are often considered high intent and potentially more likely to convert as a searcher is being more specific. Optimising for longtail keywords also puts your content strategy in a strong position to rank for brand new search terms as they enter Google’s index. For mortgage brokers, they'll want to identify not only high-traffic longtail keywords, but phrases showing high intent to enquire (potentially including specific details such as ages, occupations, salaries, and locations).
Meridian Mortgages is still ranking for very few longtail keywords, and only appearing in the top three positions for one phrase. While we would usually point brands to their existing, poorer ranking keywords as a first port-of-call to improve, Meridian will need to complete a full review of longtail keywords and adapt its content strategy to be better optimised for organic activity.
With the number of Facebook users in the United Kingdom (UK) forecast to hit over 42 million users by 2022, it is not surprising that companies have jumped at the opportunity to advertise on the social media platform. Facebook’s UK digital advertising revenue has been estimated to have breached 2.6b GB pounds in 2019.
No mortgage brokers were running any Facebook ads in Q4. This is a missed opportunity to improve brand awareness and reach targeted audiences.
Top Social Shares & Content
When it comes to social media and on-site content strategies, it is important to release content that has a longer shelf life. An article is considered 'Evergreen' if it has maintained its relevancy to an audience for longer. It's great for your brand engagement, but great for Google too, who will recognise content which achieves traffic over a long period of time. Mortgage brokers can expand on their work with 'people also ask' and longtail keyword optimisation by identifying common questions users ask, and developing shareable content that will be widely engaged with.
Habito has the largest total following across Meta's platforms, including 6,800 Facebook likes and 9,300 Instagram followers. London and Country, however, has secured the largest amount of Facebook likes, with 12,200. This represents an audience more likely to engage with organic social posts, reducing the need to rely on paid social campaigns to boost posts.
Website Readability & Accessibility
20% of people in the UK have a disability – 2 million of which are people living with sight loss. In addition, 1 in 12 men and 1 in 200 women have some degree of colour vision deficiency. When websites are not designed to meet these needs, brands lose customer interest as they turn elsewhere. As housing is a universal need, mortgage brokers must ensure their websites are fully accessible for all potential customers
John Charcol have made no improvements on their accessibility, still returning 170 alerts in our audit. Many of these alerts are due to redundant links and title text, which can cause particular challenges for site visitors using screen readers.
GET THE FULL 79-PAGE Q4 2023 REPORT
To get a copy of the full report, please complete the enquiry form. If you want to talk to us about accelerating your digital performance, please call us on 01543 410014 or schedule a call with Mike Movassaghi.