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Hilton Smythe Case Study: SEO

Optimising a new site for better optimisation

Hilton Smythe are Bolton-based business brokers who have helped thousands of people buy and sell businesses throughout the UK since 2011, and are one of our longest standing clients. We offer general project support, PPCSEOwebsite hosting and maintenance as part of their monthly retainer.

Hilton Smythe’s site is critical to the success of their business. Without constant optimisation throughout our years of working with them, they would not have seen the success they have been able to achieve today.

In the first financial quarter of 2020, they were number one in the UK for volume of businesses sold. They have also been recently recognised as being the eighth broker in the world for the number of businesses sold.

In July 2021, the business launched a new website and we have been advising and steering the team in the right direction from a search perspective. Since the launch, we have full maintenance and management of it, which has already seen improvements through design and development. This was to get the site to the same standard of much larger national competitors.

The Core Web Vitals update, released in June 2021, put an even further emphasis on technical optimisation – in particular, site speed – so we needed to make sure the website was truly up to scratch.

Through our content research, we were finding that a lot of searches around buying or selling businesses were looking to browse listings, and at the time we were struggling to meet this intent behind the main keywords. We added a search function to their homepage to meet this intent and become a marketplace-style website.

Comparing the year on year stats to how many users Hilton Smythe has seen from 2020-2021 compared to 2019-2020, we have seen some pretty impressive stats:

  • 67.5% increase in users to the site (25k to 42k)
  • 113% increase in conversion rate (0.31% to 0.66%)

The new site launched in July 2021 saw a significant increase in traffic to the site. Although it has been around less than a year, in just a few months since the launch we saw…

  • 31.1% Increase in Impressions (750k to 983k)
  • 22% Increase in Clicks (11k to 13.4k)

Here’s a video from Gareth Smyth, CEO, explaining what it’s like to work with Tao.


My name’s Gareth Smyth, I’m the CEO and Co-Founder of Hilton Smythe. We help people buy, sell and grow through business brokerage and finance brokerage services.

Tao are an extension to our internal team here at Hilton Smythe, helping us with PPC, SEO, website maintenance and general project delivery as well.

Working with Tao has really improved our online presence. Both users to site and conversion have doubled year on year, which is a fantastic achievement and helped us to be the eighth in the world for the number of businesses sold, so everything that they have done has helped achieve that.

Alongside that, the impression count is just shy of a million now, which year on year is an improvement – 750,000 last year, so without online presence, without leads coming in, that’s obviously an impossible task, so working with Tao has helped us achieve that.

Working with Tao is completely different to working with other agencies. As a business, we’ve worked with many agencies in the past. What sets them apart is that they’re always keeping you up to date with various things that are going on, you don’t have to chase for updates, and I would highly recommend working with Tao.