Using a Rewards Program, SEO and Paid Search to Increase Web Traffic by +36% YoY

Organic Search & SEO
April 1, 2021
Financial Services

Key Takeaways

Manulife built a strong digital strategy that has fostered sustainable traffic growth year over year by employing the following tactics:

  1. Site Structure Tactic — Build a Web of Internal Referrals: As a business with many offerings, Manulife created a robust site structure that properly segments and tailors the user journey based on visitor interests. As an insurance, banking and investment firm, Manulife built a series of domains to host their verticals. While they are all accessible from the main domain, insurance (Manulife’s original business model) is the only service hosted on When users click “Banking” they are redirected to where all mortgage offerings can be accessed. Through blog posts to general landing pages, Manulife has created ample content that fosters organic search traffic as well as internal links to other blog posts and pages within the site. 77% of the top organic pages on feature more detailed content on their plans and services as opposed to general landing pages.
  1. Engagement Tactic — Reward Programs that Compliment Offerings: To help incentivize and attract customers, Manulife launched Vitality in 2016 which is a rewards program that issues points to Manulife insurance users as they live healthy lifestyles. The program now functions on an app and can be paired with smart watches. Points can be redeemed at popular chains in Canada such as Tim Hortons, Chapters, Cineplex and more. Manulife also launched a segment that allows users to get a free Apple Watch. This triggered discussion on major deal sites such as Red Flag Deals which spiked app usage in December 2020. Vitality is a reward system that ties directly into the effectiveness and use of their insurance offerings boosting engagement and value with customers.
  1. Paid Search — Intricate Landing Pages: While Manulife doesn’t invest heavily in paid search ads for their insurance program, they brought 13% of traffic to their mortgage pages through paid search in Q1 2021. Their ad copy focuses on flexibility, support and cost savings and all direct to the same landing page. The landing page takes visitors on a clear journey to learn about the main concepts and features of their mortgage program. The page is broken into sections that users can navigate through with a drop down in addition to scrolling. All of Manulife’s mortgage features are clearly described on this page without the visitor having to go navigate anywhere else. 

Manulife, a Canadian insurance company, has built a strong digital presence and strategy catering to their insurance offerings. 

Manulife uses the main domain of where they have seen a gradual +36% increase in website traffic YoY since March 2020. 

Manulife saw an increase in all marketing channels that they invested in. Direct (1.9M) and Organic Search (1.1M) are the top channels for bringing in site visits. Manulife currently does not invest in Search or Paid ads to their main domain. acts as a landing page where visitors can access all services. Insurance plans are the only services hosted on the domain.

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Insurance Organic Search

Insurance pages on have garnered an average of 208K pageviews a month over the past year with a +38% increase QoQ from Q4 2020 to Q1 2021.

Organic search (47%) and internal referrals (38%) are the top marketing channels bringing traffic to the Manulife insurance program.

The top organic page types for insurance on Manulife fall into three main buckets:

Detailed: Travelling Canadians | Needs of the Self Employed
Support-Based: COVID Update | Individual Insurance FAQs
High-level: Business | Group Benefits News

Examples of top organic page types for insurance on Manulife:

Detailed: Click to view
Support-Based: Click to view
High-level: Click to view

The insurance landing page features heavy segmentation to allow visitors to identify the best opportunities for them in an easy way. 

This segmentation enables decision making power for the visitor. They can choose what information to consume which ultimately leads to higher internal referral rates within Manulife’s pages.

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Rewards Program

In 2016, Manulife launched a rewards program called Vitality. This program works as an incentive for users to meet health and wellness goals. 

Vitality supports exercise with their participants which fosters healthier lifestyles, promoting stronger buying decisions and engagement with Manulife offerings. The Vitality app has seen an average of 275 downloads per month in Q1 2021 in Canada on Google devices.

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Manulife created an Apple Watch deal for members using their services. Canadian deal sites started posting about it as there was a rise in app usage in December 2020. Daily app use grew from 81 to 433 from November 2020 to March 2021.

In addition to Manulife’s insurance offerings, they introduced a banking suite that issues mortgages.

The domain redirects to when the ‘banking’ tab is selected. A mortgage promotion is featured right away with an accessible calculator.

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Manulife’s mortgage section on the website has seen an increase in traffic of +38% from Q4 2020 to Q1 2021. 

Organic search (38%) is the leading marketing channel leading visitors to the mortgage section of the website with internal referral (23%), direct (21%) and paid search (13%) following. 

Organic Search & Internal Referrals

Manulife created a blog called “Plan and learn” which addresses a variety of topics related to their banking services. Their mortgage-related content falls under a “Home ownership” block.

Organic search & internal referrals make up 61% of Manulife’s mortgage traffic. Internal referrals are often found in webpage content that helps with ranking on Google.

A 5-step guide to buying a rental property” is an example of a Manulife mortgage blog post that is generating organic traffic to the site and linking readers internally to the mortgage offering section. 

Internal links are also scattered throughout the post to keep users on the site for longer and introduce them to additional content. Many of these links redirect to the same landing page so that readers with different learning priorities don’t miss out. 

Paid Search

Manulife bank’s search ad spend has fluctuated over the past year yet contributes to 13% of the incoming traffic to mortgage content pages as of Q1 2021. 

The top search ads for mortgage on Manulife fall into three main buckets:

The ads feature a dedicated landing page that is robust with resources for the visitor.

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Top tactics for the “Why” section of the paid search landing page:

Top tactics for the “How it works” section of the paid search landing page:

Top tactics for the “Benefits” section of the paid search landing page:

Top tactics for the “Rates and fees” section of the paid search landing page:

Top tactics for the “Resources” section of the paid search landing page:

Top tactics for the “FAQ” section of the paid search landing page:

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