In spring of 2019, insurance tech startup Lemonade received $300 million in additional funding. They’re putting that money toward growth as they continue disrupting the renters and homeowners insurance marketplace in urban areas. (And they’re quite disruptive indeed: they made CNBC’s Disruptor 50 list in spring of 2019.)
If you’re not familiar with Lemonade, here’s their deal in a nutshell:
- They take a flat monthly fee out of your premium
- They pay claims out of the remainder of premiums
- Once a year, the unclaimed money goes to charitable and social causes
Or in their own words:
Most high-growth startups put a great deal of money into advertising and neglect organic search. But Lemonade isn’t like most startups in this regard. They’ve also invested in writing educational content on the topic of insurance—which means their website’s traffic sources are pretty evenly spread out across direct, search, and social.
Let’s take a look at a few good SEO lessons disruptors can learn from Lemonade.
A quick map of Lemonade’s content
At the time I write this, Lemonade’s website gets about 50,000 visits a month from organic search (per Ahrefs data) …
About 91% of that organic traffic is earned by three parts of their website:
- The home page (53% of organic traffic)
- The blog (21%)
- “Insuropedia,” their dictionary of insurance terms (17%)
Those are the parts we’re going to focus on in this teardown.
1. High intent trumps high volume
Here’s a side-by-side comparison of search volume for the terms “lemonade” and “lemonade insurance.”
Before you read any further, answer this question: which term would you rather rank #1 for?
You might be tempted to go for the more-searched “lemonade.” If you’re getting the #1 result, you may as well show up in front of more people, right?
Lemonade doesn’t need to make that choice. They rank #1 for both keywords.
But there’s a twist.
Even though “lemonade” gets almost quadruple the searches every month, “lemonade insurance” still drives more traffic to Lemonade’s site.
Wait … how does that work?
We’re used to hearing that the #1 result gets the most clicks—but not all searches result in the same number of clicks on results. This is a perfect example. While “lemonade” gets 110,000 monthly searches, only about a third of those searches result in clicks. (Maybe because Google’s SERP features give away the image and nutrition facts that people were curious about, which means they don’t need to click on anything else.)
On the other hand, more than 80% of people who search for “lemonade insurance” click on a result.
That’s because although there’s not as much volume, the search intent is more likely to be satisfied by a visit to Lemonade’s website. Someone searching for “lemonade” could be looking for anything: recipes, nutrition facts, images, or insurance. But the people Googling “Lemonade insurance” want to get Lemonade.com—so even though that search is much less popular, it still drives more traffic for Lemonade in the end.
2. Comprehensive blog posts get traffic—even in competitive fields
Three standout posts are pulling most of the SEO weight for Lemonade’s blog:
- The Ultimate Guide to Renters Insurance Coverage, Made Easy (this is an example of a pillar page)
- Cheat Sheet: What Renters Insurance Doesn’t Cover
- 8 Simple Answers To Your Homeowners Insurance Questions
These posts tackle many questions that people have on the topics of renters and homeowners insurance. (Which makes sense—since that’s what Lemonade provides.)
Each of these articles is in-depth and has sections dedicated to answering specific questions. And right up top, each post has an overview of the whole piece, with jumplinks to answers to specific questions.
Comprehensive posts like these tend to work because the more facets of a topic a page covers, the more likely it is for a page to be relevant to searches about that topic. (If you’re not already familiar with it, I’d recommend you read our beginner’s guide to pillar pages, and our guide to B2B SEO to learn more about why and how this works.)
3. Define the jargon, get the traffic
Insurance is full of terms that first-time renters and first-time homeowners have never heard before. The professionals often blow right through these terms without explaining them, which doesn’t make it easy for the people who are trying to figure out their insurance.
But Lemonade is getting a good deal of their organic traffic by changing this.
They’ve created a hub of dictionary entries that explain some of the jargon surrounding this corner of the insurance world—in plain English. So far, they’ve defined 52 insurance-specific terms that people search for. They call this hub “Insuropedia.”
Some of these entries are long-form blog posts (like this intro to deductibles). Others give short answers with more detailed explanations afterward (like this primer on landlord insurance). Still others give some examples to help people grasp some of these abstract concepts (like moral hazards).
And while Insuropedia doesn’t get as much traffic by visit count as the blog, it does bring in higher-value traffic. If you were to to try purchase Insuropedia’s traffic using Google ads, you’d spend somewhere in the neighborhood of $47,000 dollars a month. (The blog’s traffic, by comparison, would run you about $38,000.)
Lemonade is doing the work to define the terms that people are going to ask them about anyway. They’ve made a deck of educational content that they can reference in other blog posts, in chatbot conversations, in press releases—anywhere it comes up.
Lemonade’s organic traffic is on the rise, and I expect it will grow as they add SEO and content talent to their marketing team. Lemonade is a long way from reaching its SEO potential here—there’s a lot of room for their content to grow in the SERPs. They’re doing a lot of things well, and the more traction their content gains, the harder it will be for new insurance startups to knock them out of the organic results.
Want to build an SEO content strategy for your startup? We help disruptive companies plan and create content that gets organic traffic—in competitive spaces. If you’d like to talk about how we could work together, drop me a line.