The payday loans algorithm continues to challenge search engine optimization (SEO) practitioners across the world, notably in the US and UK – the two largest markets for payday loans.
In 2012, UK’s payday loan market was worth around £2 billion and was so sought after that Google’s entire first page for payday loans was dominated by black hat results.
In response, the tech giant created a dedicated algorithm – which was revised in 2018 – known today as ‘payday loans 2.0’. The purpose of the algoritm was target what Google deemed “spammy queries”; never before had Google devoted an entire algorithm for one particular product or service.
Payday Loans Algorithm Update 2022
The payday loan market in the UK is now heavily regulated and no longer as lucrative. But SEO professionals looking to help promote payday loan companies are still hoping to land on a search engine’s first page in order to access very high converting products with over 100,000 monthly searches.
Drawing on Tudor Lodge’s findings from the 2019 and 2021 algorithm, we look at how the payday algorithm has developed in the UK and US, and what techniques are succeeding in 2022.
Frequency of updates
Payday loan companies looking to rank their sites higher on search engines may fine they are struggling to make progress, even with the help of SEO practitioners. When this progress will appear, may also seem uncertain.
In the UK, Google infrequently updates its SEO algorithm which means a company with ‘good’ SEO could result in it ranking highlight for months or even a year, without having to change very much. This means companies can ‘ride the wave’ of their previous good SEO work.
There is an age-old SEO assumption that Google takes the techniques used by websites on page 1 of its search and uses these techniques as the basis for the algorithm. Therefore, companies which copy the links and style of content of page 1 should be successful.
In the US, however, the frequency of SEO changes for payday loans is significantly quicker, with the search results changing far more regularly and competitors having to be consistent to maintain those results.
This could reflect the more competitive environment in the US and how state-specific lenders, such as those from Florida or Ohio, might suddenly start to rank higher due to demand in those areas.
Role of exact match and partial match domains
Traditionally, having the word ‘payday’ in a business’ domain name was a strong ranking signal to secure a page 1 position, but this seems to be less relevant as time goes on.