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The Drum Search Awards Awards Case Studies Technology

Kinesso helped Hiscox turn around its organic reach


By The Drum, Editorial

November 28, 2023 | 8 min read

Hiscox and Kinesso won the SEO for B2B category at The Drum Awards for Search. Here's the award-winning case study.

A still from a Hiscox ad

Reprise began working with Hiscox in February 2020 just as they were beginning to see the impacts of COVID-19. Fast forward to 2022, and the business insurance market size had dwindled due to the after-effects of the pandemic. Coupled with weakening brand awareness caused by reduced marketing activities, Hiscox’s organic performance was waning.


Minimize the impact on commercial performance including organic traffic and conversion numbers (Start Quotes, Quotes, and Sales), the algorithm update and other external market factors.

Identify why Hiscox was so heavily impacted and discover which of its competitors were facing a similar situation.

Recover rankings of commercial head terms “public liability insurance” and “business insurance” from lower page 1 (position 6-9) to upper page 1 (position 1-5).

Learn how to avoid or minimize impacts from future Google algorithm updates.

Strategy: Hiscox categorizes its customers into three segments according to their professions and business priorities: Segment 1, Segment 2 and Segment 3.

To overcome these challenges, we created a content-diversified strategy. We focused on optimizing existing commercial content for rankings recovery and creating new informational and experience-led content in the form of blogs and claims stories. This helped Hiscox overcome limitations of the commercial SERP landscape and expand its footprint to a wider audience across target segments.

We noticed Hiscox’s overall visibility improved across the board except for two keywords: “business insurance” and “public liability insurance”. We spent a month investigating, putting together a recovery plan from SEO, content, and UX perspectives.

To understand if the May Core Update affected other competitors as well, we carried out a competitor audit and comprehensive analysis of the search landscape. During the audit, we realized that most competitors focused on Segment 3, whereas Hiscox predominantly targeted Segment 1 professions. We analyzed Hiscox’s conversion data for their public liability product and found that most quotations were made by Segment 3 professions, however they only mentioned Segment 1 professions in the content at the time due to business prioritization.

From our research, we identified three main challenges:

Brand demand dropped YoY across keywords:

“Hiscox insurance” monthly search volume dropped 17% YoY

“Hiscox business insurance” monthly search volume dropped 91% YoY

Finite customer base due to brand positioning and business priorities:

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Hiscox had a more niche customer base than major insurers on the market. Lower search demand for Segment 1 professions YoY and massive increases in Segment 3 professions’ demand for business insurance further intensified the situation.

Limitations on maximum attainable position:

Top three organic search positions are usually occupied by aggregators or non-commercial sources, as they provide unbiased content for customers. This means maximum attainable position and visibility potentials are capped for Hiscox as a direct insurer.

We believed this discrepancy between Hiscox’s target audience and its actual customer base for the public liability product had affected Hiscox’s content relevance in the eyes of Google. After reviewing top-performing competitor sites, we decided our first task should be to address this misalignment between Hiscox's content and their target customers’ needs.

E-A-T was another pain-point for Hiscox – a decline in awareness and reputation lowers the brand’s Trustworthiness, which is an important ranking factor for YMYL (Your Money, Your Life) content. This can be seen in the lower number of reviews, reviews sentiment, lack of brand linkage across platforms, etc. To combat this, we created content plans for informational blogs and claims stories to showcase Hiscox’s expertise in the field, thus building more trust signals for Google. We also worked on resolving linking errors alongside workstreams aiming to improve customer browsing and conversion journeys, like adding price points and reviews on page.

Our strategy spanned six months. First, we increased content relevance to the customer base for the public liability insurance page. We considered the product nature and believed the page was not targeting professions with the greatest need for the product. We confirmed our theory with Hiscox’s GA conversion data and search demand, then added sections calling out the top three professions that converted the most plus six new internal links to other profession pages.

We also created and optimized a total of 33 informational blogs in six months’ time, hoping to boost Hiscox’s E-E-A-T and brand awareness to customers sitting in the upper conversion funnel.

Results: Our enhancements across key commercial pages had an almost-immediate effect – boosting Google visibility, increasing sales, and smashing targets. Together, the optimized product pages and the blog content provide a complete customer journey, from the awareness stage of a blog article to the consideration and purchase from a best-in-class product page.

Key stats:

Product pages sales up +19% YoY

Close to fivefold blog sessions

Hiscox has broken their historical ranking record: The public liability product page took the coveted Position 1 in Google for the term “what is public liability insurance”. It also achieved Position 2 for the commercially vital “public liability insurance” keyword – up from Position 7 previously. It was no flash in the pan, either. Hiscox has held onto these positions since November 2022. This broke their historical ranking record of ranking in the top three over six months.

Hiscox’s expert content is algorithm-update-proof: Our optimizations were rooted in E-E-A-T (Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trust). This depth of expertise and relevance has insulated these pages from the turbulence of recent Google algorithm updates. Hiscox retained its top positions through the:

December 2022 Link Spam Update

Helpful Content Update

March 2023 Core Update

April 2023 Reviews Update

Hiscox’s business is selling insurance, and our enhancements have contributed to an increase in start quotes and overall sales. The updated pages have also driven a significant YoY increase in sales.

We went beyond the typical SEO remit to pinpoint the root causes for Hiscox’s underperformance. We took the initiative to understand the bigger picture for the business, and this campaign proved that SEO has the power to influence high-level business decisions. We didn’t stop at non-SEO issues like lower brand awareness, but instead proposed recommendations to solve problems the Kinesso way.

We also demonstrated synergies across SEO, content, PR, and brand teams, showing we can all act as one to achieve a greater business goal. This is how we went from recovering, to stabilizing, to breaking records, all the way to staying ahead of the competition!

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