- Financial service providers must meet high standards of expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness to rank highly on search engines
- On-page SEO efforts should include offering high-quality content with relevant keywords and optimizing website performance
- Financial services providers can also use content marketing and backlinks to drive more traffic to their site
As a professional in the financial services sector, you’re in a broad field that spans bankers, financial advisors, lenders, fintech, and more. With so many financial services companies out there, it can be hard to stand out from the competition—both in-person and online.
To help with this, you can create your own search engine optimization (SEO) strategy which will directly influence where your business appears in online search results. The stronger your SEO, the higher you’re likely to appear in search results. By mastering SEO for financial services, your firm can better position itself to reach new clients in your local area. While you could pay an SEO company to do this for you, there are plenty of ways to boost finance SEO organically, on your own.
SEO essentials: What every finance company should know
When it comes to your digital marketing strategy, improving your search rankings is one of the most important elements. Search engines like Google Search and Bing use algorithms that consider a variety of metrics to determine how a website will rank after someone types in a search query, such as “best financial services company near me” or “financial services Phoenix.”
Ideally, you want your website to appear on the first page of search engine results pages (SERPs)—preferably, among the top results. In an analysis of over 12.16 million search queries, it was determined that the top webpage in organic (non-paid) search results gets nearly 30% of all clicks. The second-ranked webpage gets 15.8% of clicks, while the third-ranked page gets 11%. Click-through rate drops sharply after that—by the time you get to the second page of search results, less than 1% of users click on the results.
With that in mind, search engine optimization is exactly what it sounds like—taking steps to improve your search rankings so you can get more organic traffic.
It’s worth noting that organic search is different from PPC (pay-per-click). PPC campaigns are used for paid ads that appear above the search results for specific keywords. For financial services SEO, you aren’t paying to place your ads above the search results. Instead, you’re implementing a variety of best practices for your web content to naturally improve your firm’s rankings.
4 SEO best practices for financial services
SEO is a powerful lead generation tool that can help more potential clients find you. By focusing on the following practices, you can improve your SEO strategy for the ranking factors generally believed to be the most important to search engines.
1. Keyword research and targeting
A strong keyword strategy is essential for successful local SEO. When you conduct keyword research, you’ll learn which search terms your target audience is using so you can create web content that includes those keywords and addresses relevant topics.
One easy way to start is by using keyword research tools such as Semrush or Moz. These tools provide recommendations for specific keywords you can target. Consider both short-tail keywords, which are phrases that contain three words or less (like “best financial services”), and long-tail keywords, which are more specific search terms containing more than three words (like “how to find quality financial services”).
Keyword research tools can help you find other relevant information like the search volume for each keyword (the total number of people using that search term). Ideally, your chosen keywords should receive a good level of traffic without having so much competition that it’ll be hard to move up the rankings. With this information, you can identify and implement finance keywords that are most relevant to your firm to improve your rankings and gain more organic traffic.
2. Webpage optimization
Once you’ve finished your keyword research, the next step is to optimize your website. This generally comes down to two key facets: naturally incorporating SEO keywords on all your webpages and optimizing your web design for a better user experience.
While you want to weave in relevant keywords on each webpage, don’t try to include every possible keyword on each page. Instead, add keywords that are a natural fit for that page’s content. Keep in mind that the content you create is written for people, not computers.
As such, use keywords in places that make sense and don’t disrupt the flow of the text. Headlines and headers, the meta description (a short description of what appears on a page in its HTML data) for individual webpages, and alt text for images (text that describes what is shown in an image) are good places to incorporate your target keywords.
On the technical SEO side of things, check that your website runs smoothly. To do this, make sure your site has easy-to-navigate menus and fast load times—and eliminate broken links, which are links that send users to a web page that has been moved or deleted.
You also want your site to work quickly not only for desktop users, but also for mobile users, who account for the majority of organic search engine visits. Look at your website from the perspective of your customers. The easier it is to use and find relevant information, the better your site will rank.
3. Content marketing
Content marketing is one of the best ways to build trust with potential customers in the finance industry and strengthen your brand authority. Whether that content appears in the form of a blog, video post, in-depth case studies, or an infographic, informative financial content that’s relevant to your specific services can improve your standing with customers and search engines.
The foremost question guiding your content strategy should always be, “How can I provide value to my customers?” With this focus, you can better leverage your industry expertise to create useful and authoritative content. Weaving in relevant keywords is important, but it’s secondary to providing value. For example, a financial advisor could write a blog post with tips on how to save for retirement or other specific financial goals.
Content in the financial services sector is subject to stricter scrutiny from search engines—the acronyms E-A-T and YMYL represent concepts used to judge and rank financial content.
E-A-T refers to expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness. Google judges most content based on these three criteria to determine if it’s useful and relevant to searchers. However, financial content is also subject to YMYL—Your Money or Your Life—because it’s content that “could potentially impact a person’s future happiness, health, financial stability, or safety.” Because poor information could cause harm to someone’s financial stability, financial services industry content must have extremely high E-A-T levels to rank highly.
4. Link building
Finally, effective SEO for financial services must account for link-building activities. Effective link building is designed to get external links from authoritative websites that direct back to your own website. Search engines view such backlinks as an indicator of your authoritativeness and relevance.
There are several routes you can take to generate backlinks. For example, you could write a guest column for a financial publication. Many such publications allow a link back to your business as part of your byline. Alternatively, you could offer your insight as an interviewee for another blogger or writer. For instance, you can submit yourself as a financial expert on sites like HARO (Help a Reporter Out) and connect with journalists who are looking for trustworthy sources.
Quality content marketing published on your own site can also help you generate backlinks when other writers reference and link to it for their own content.
Social media accounts and online business platforms like Yelp can also generate valuable backlinks (and additional sources of lead generation). Be sure to claim or add your Yelp Business Page and update your company’s information, including your website address and phone number.
You can also upload high-quality photos of your team members to add a face to your brand name. Businesses with a photo, website, phone number, and business hours listed on their Yelp Business Page averaged 7.6x more page views per month than businesses without that content.
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Mastering SEO for financial services is worth the effort
Improving your finance service SEO is a vital part of your financial services marketing, but it doesn’t have to involve an expensive SEO campaign.
You can organically increase your rankings in search engine results by optimizing your website through solid keyword research, ensuring that it operates in a technically sound manner, and generating backlinks to your website using social media, online business platforms, and other methods.
Content marketing with an emphasis on high levels of expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness is another way to improve your profile with potential customers as well as search engines.
As your firm continues to climb the search rankings, you’ll gain more quality leads and be better positioned to grow your business. Get more tips on how to run a local SEO audit to reach more potential customers in your geographic region.
The information above is provided for educational and informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice and may not be suitable for your circumstances. Unless stated otherwise, references to third-party links, services, or products do not constitute endorsement by Yelp.