- What is Finance SEO?
- What are the benefits of SEO for financial services companies?
- Helpful SEO tips for FSI firms
The financial services sector is one of the fastest-growing markets globally, accounting for approximately 20-25% of global GDP. The market size is said to have reached a massive $22.5 trillion in 2021, an annual compound growth rate of 9.9%!
In the UK alone, the financial services sector contributed £164.8 billion to the economy last year, making it the third-largest market in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).
However, ongoing sector growth means that financial services companies face increased online competition and to remain visible amid the accelerating digital shift, adopting multi-channel marketing strategies is vital.
One of the most critical forms of digital marketing for financial services companies is SEO, which represents the single biggest segment of online traffic.
According to research from BrightEdge, 53.3% of trackable traffic stems from organic search. Separate data from HubSpot has also revealed that 61% of B2B marketers said that SEO and organic traffic generates more leads than any other marketing initiative.
Changes in consumer demand, new agile tech startups, and the data explosion have made SEO for financial companies more crucial now than ever, with even the incumbent giants preparing to invest more in their digital marketing spend.
The cost per lead is also rising. As a result, FSI organisations will come under increasing pressure to prove their digital marketing ROI and optimise spending to acquire more customers at a lower cost.
It’s been a turbulent few years for finance companies, with the disruption caused by COVID-19 urging firms to review their business models to adapt and thrive in the fast-changing environment.
Personalised marketing will be vital to gaining a competitive edge. However, tailoring customer messages means understanding the psychology behind search habits – that’s where SEO comes in.
Google processes approximately 63,000 searches per minute, equivalent to 5.6 billion a day and a staggering 2 trillion searches per year – meaning there are endless opportunities to generate traffic and acquire leads if your SEO is effective. And with the average click-through rate (CTR) for the #1 position on Google 19.3%, it’s no wonder that ROI is highest for brands that occupy the first page of Google.
What is SEO for Financial Services?
Financial services SEO refers to the practice of implementing digital marketing strategies to generate traffic and point users to pages that promote lead generation and sales via the search engine results pages (SERPs).
To improve your ranking position in Google, firms will need to tap into relevant search queries, produce valuable “E-A-T” content, earn high-quality backlinks and ensure their technical SEO is healthy.
However, as financial services competition is vast, standing out from the crowd and adding to your bottom line sometimes means aggressive marketing. If you don’t possess the time or resources to invest heavily in SEO, consider hiring a digital marketing agency that can ensure your SEO remains up to scratch.
Financial Services SEO: The Benefits
The most significant benefits of finance SEO are increased visibility and return on investment that results from careful optimisation. Here are several other ways the SEO could benefit your financial services company:
A well-executed SEO strategy can significantly increase your organic traffic by improving your position in SERPs and making you more visible to users searching for relevant queries.
If more people see your website when in search results, the more opportunity you have to convert these prospects into loyal paying customers.
SEO is one of the best ways to convert traffic as it targets people who are actively searching for your content rather than reaching out to capture people’s attention via paid ads.
Build Brand Awareness
More people will become aware of your brand if your website shows up more frequently in search results.
In time, they’ll begin to associate your brand as being an authoritative source in the finance field. They may also choose to visit your website before competitors as you have more notoriety in the market.
An effective SEO strategy will help strengthen your brand’s credibility amid an increasingly fragmented market. Furthermore, as growth in the financial services industry shows no signs of slowing, businesses that see SEO as an afterthought will be the first to lose out.
However, gaining organic visibility in a saturated market requires consistent effort. Here are a few helpful SEO tips to get you started.
Keyword Research and Targeting
Research target keywords and cleverly incorporate these across your website, including:
- Anchor text
- ALT text
However, note that overpopulating content with keywords will result in “keyword stuffing”, which will kill your SEO. Google’s ever-evolving understanding of content and context has made it more important for marketers to use keywords naturally, meaning don’t just stuff keywords into your text for the sake of it.
Remember to use a variation of keywords across your content. While primary keywords are valuable as they have the largest search volumes, they are also highly competitive. These keywords effectively catch users’ attention at the top of the search funnel, so they are best used for top-level pages and navigation bars.
However, you’ll also want to incorporate medium and long-tail keywords into your content to capture searchers looking for something more specific. These keywords work particularly well on low-level pages such as blogs and other informational web pages.
Write “E-A-T” content
The phrase “content is king” is often used in association with SEO, and for financial services companies where perceived legitimacy and brand authority is essential, creating excellent content is key.
While SEO isn’t all about content, high-quality content will undoubtedly create an opportunity to drive a legion of users to your site and improve conversions. For example, recent statistics show companies that blog generate 67% more leads per month than brands that don’t.
Google has been notoriously quiet about what it takes to get in their good books, but publishing blogs isn’t enough when it comes to content. You’ve got to produce good content to rank well on Google, which is why businesses should aim to publish E-A-T (Expert, Authoritative, and Trustworthy) content.
Creating trustworthy, authoritative content and coming across as an expert will improve your search performance and boost brand reputation, which should, in turn, push more people down the conversion funnel.
High-quality content performs well because it meets the needs of users based on their search intent. Unlike eCommerce stores, finance companies tend to have fewer landing pages, so content such as blog posts, press releases and white papers can play a crucial role in generating that all-important organic traffic.
Google’s Webmaster Guidelines for Content
For the best results, follow Google’s Webmaster Guidelines on content, which will provide information on best practices and warnings about what techniques could lead to penalties.
Although content can help search engines understand your website, remember to write for users first.
Google content best practices include:
- Creating rich, relevant, user-friendly content frequently
- Organising content by categorising posts via tags or labels
- Creating descriptive, specific h-tags and ALT attributes
- Removing user-generated spam
- Submitting posts to a sitemap
The key here is to create high-quality, educational, and detailed blogs that integrate long-tail and head-keywords. If you’re stuck on ideas, here are a few that could help you drive traffic from search to your website:
- Guides with tips on tax implications
- Foreign currency guides
- Blogs on the impact of forthcoming regulatory changes
- Cross-cutting issues such as the impact of Brexit and COVID
- Personal finance, e.g. transferring funds and opening accounts
- The development of new technologies and how to protect against cyber fraud
- Housing market and mortgages
Start by searching keywords on topics that matter to your brand, then see what your competitors are writing. What can you offer that they don’t? Can you provide new insight on the topic?
Quality, authority and freshness are essential for financial search marketing, especially if you want Google to see that your brand produces “Your Money or Your Life” topics. YMYL content essentially focuses on personal finances and safety topics, which applies to a range of financial service sector themes such as investing, banking, taxation etc.
However, ensure your content is accurate and honest. Avoid tricks intended to improve ranking performance such as duplicate content, doorway pages and scraped content as you might find yourself hit with a Google penalty.
Also, avoid peppering your website with intrusive ads, as this is also considered a red flag under Google’s Webmaster Guidelines.
Check Your Technical SEO
Technical SEO is a subcategory of search engine optimisation that focuses on the crawlability and indexability of your website.
It covers all the technical aspects of your website, such as:
- Page loading speed
- URL structure
- Site architecture
- Internal linking structure
There are numerous ways to improve your technical SEO, including:
- Ensuring your key pages are marked as “index”
- Sorting web pages into categories in an XML sitemap
- Using canonical tags to avoid duplicate content issues
- Effectively using internal links to establish a clear site architecture
- Using robots.txt files to stop search bots from crawling irrelevant web pages
Technical SEO is essentially about improving your site architecture to make it easier for search bots to crawl your website and index your web pages.
Build a High-Quality Backlink Profile
Backlinks are the foundation of Google’s PageRank algorithm and are essential for finance SEO.
Essentially, backlinks represent a vote of confidence from one site to another, which helps build page and site domain authority. However, the importance of any single backlink is determined by its quality, meaning you should seek to acquire links to your website from a high domain authority site.
Obtaining backlinks from spammy or low domain authority websites could damage your SEO and negatively affect your position in SERPs.
Building a high-quality backlink profile will take some time, especially after Google condemned specific link-building strategies like private blog networks and paid backlinks.
Finance SEOs should aim to build their link profiles naturally by producing high-quality content that’s link-worthy, forming partnerships with other websites in your industry and using social media.
Social media is probably one of the most effective ways of building brand recognition and generating mentions or shares of content. The virality of a social media post can attract a significant amount of traffic and backlinks, which will help Google rank your content quicker.
Some search engine algorithms such as Bing also list social media presence as a minor ranking signal.
Hire an SEO Agency
Suppose you manage your own financial company and don’t have the resources or time to invest in SEO, which should be at the forefront of your marketing strategy. In that case, you might want to consider employing the help of SEO professionals.
Search algorithms are constantly evolving, and staying abreast of new changes while remaining competitive can be a challenge. If it’s become too much for you or you’ve struggled with online success, outsourcing an SEO company offers significant benefits.
Besides being SEO experts, a digital marketing agency will dedicate themselves to the time-consuming process of keyword research, content creation and link building, allowing you to invest more time into other business areas.
SEO agencies can also inform you of your website’s progress with transparent reporting and KPI tracking to help you make sense of your website’s performance in alignment with brand goals.
While the cost of hiring an SEO company could be a worry for small businesses, Soar Online offers a “try before you buy” service to allow you to determine whether hiring an SEO company is a worthwhile investment.
We have extensive experience working with financial services companies and expertise in analytics and various tools, including SEM Rush, Google Analytics, Google Search Console and Google Ads.
While working with an SEO company is more involved than tackling the website yourself, financial services companies will find that working with a specialist’s results in traffic levels and ROI too tempting not to consider.
Get in touch with us today about investing in your digital presence in 2022. More and more companies in financial services are beginning to see the definitive benefits of maximising their online visibility and growth.