Looking to increase traffic to your financial services company website? You’re in the right place. As a heavily regulated and hypercompetitive industry, putting time and effort into your SEO is key to standing out.
We’re going to take you through the ins and outs of why SEO is unique for this vertical and offer an effective strategy for ranking well in organic search.
What is SEO for financial services?
So, in this blog we’re dealing with the financial services sector. Financial services are best described as a process of acquiring financial goods. The sector covers many types of transactions in areas including banking, accounting, investment funding, pensions – the list goes on.
When it comes to SEO for this industry, we’re talking about developing digital marketing strategies to help drive natural traffic to your website, through tapping into organic searches. The aim is to increase your revenue through making your pages more visible.
To achieve those top spots on the SERPs you’ll need to offer useful content, ensure your site is healthy and secure, and earn valuable backlinks from high-authority sites.
Financial services businesses are increasingly committing resources to SEO, but why is that….?
The importance of SEO for financial services
The financial services industry is increasingly competitive and constantly changing. The battle between established institutions and new fintech faces pushes on, with the field becoming increasingly saturated. The international market size grew at a rate of 8.8% between 2022 and 2023, with the industry now producing 12% of the entire UK’s economic output. That’s pretty hefty.
The industry is also particularly competitive when we consider digital marketing. Unlike other verticals, the financial industry will rarely see free natural links to content, so links are very difficult to acquire. Also, because SEO has proven itself a reliable strategy, lots of the industry giants are now turning to website optimisation. This means that everyone else needs to work an extra bit harder to rank highly.
We need to care about SEO in the financial services because it can see some key benefits. Putting consistent effort into optimising your website will:
📌increase traffic to your site: as you rank higher for important keywords, more and more people will see and click through
📌get you better conversions: the more site visitors, the more paying customers
📌improve your brand image: essentially, more people will have heard of your business and you’ll be on track to being considered a major player
What makes SEO for financial services unique?
It’s important to know that the financial services industry is one of the most heavily regulated sectors. You need to be super cautious about the content you’re publishing because these pages are scrutinised more than the average.
This is because financial services exist within the ‘Your Money Your Life’ category’.These are pages that can influence an individual’s quality of life – their health, wealth or safety primarily, and these companies have more responsibility when it comes to content. This includes legal and medical information pages, insurance companies, and financial pages.
But why? It comes down to something called E-E-A-T. Google introduced its Search Quality Rating Guidelines for YMYL pages in 2013 and emphasised E-A-T, adding an extra E last year.
The acronyms stands for:
Whilst these elements are not direct ranking factors in Google’s algorithm , they are still a huge part of the guidelines, and can prevent financial services pages from ranking well. Google defines a high-quality page as demonstrating these four traits and in the SEO strategy later in this blog I’ll take you through how to hit each point.
Not only is Google more thorough when it comes to the financial services vertical, but so are your customers. When researching which service to use, users are more rigorous because their money is at stake. This means that coming across as trustworthy can really help give your business the edge.
The topic of financial services content is also unique because it is unusually complex. Your content needs to really address the customer needs. Things like investing savings, or remortgaging can be complicated and stress-inducing for customers, so your job is to make a tricky topic intelligible. SEO for financial services businesses should involve a knack for explaining difficult concepts in simple terms that a customer can understand, and then want to invest in. Use your site content to demonstrate a deep understanding of the subject matter, and a capacity to make this info user-friendly.
A strategy for SEO in the financial services industry
Okay, we’ve established that SEO is both crucial for this sector and also pretty complex. I’m going to help you out with a nice point-by-point strategy to get you hitting those top ranks.
- Perform a content and structure audit of your site
First, evaluate each area of your site, checking which existing pages need work and where there’s space for new pages. Is your content meeting the YMYL guidelines? And if it is, is it still simple, clear and actually helpful whilst meeting these guidelines?
Then, make sure your website structure is optimised so that these pages can be easily navigated. Ensure that you’ve got a sitemap listing all your key pages, and good internal links to direct users between related pages on your site. This is your chance to fix any slow-loading pages. (Tip: make sure your site also loads quickly on a mobile device, as traffic from mobile devices now dominates search).
- You can now move onto optimising and making changes to your site: keyword research comes first
I recommend using a third-party keyword tool like Ahrefs to discover the high-volume and long-tail keywords most relevant to your audience. Identify the keywords that users are actively searching for and that are actually related to the core aspects of your business. Then, map out a content plan in which you are naturally incorporating these words.
You can supplement this with tools like AlsoAsked which identifies question-based searches. This will allow you to incorporate your customers’ specific queries into your content.
- Analyse your competitors
It is equally important to scrutinise your competitors’ websites in financial services SEO. Are there any keywords that they aren’t addressing? This could be a good opportunity to cash in and rank high.
Understanding your competition is critical because, through in-depth research, you may discover that it’s not just your direct industry competitors who you need to be worried about. It could be there’s a new niche company on the market selling something similar to one of your services. You can then optimise your page to be the lucky one Google chooses to rank higher.
- Create high-quality, instructional content
Source: Luca Mussari
I recommend instructional styles for your financial services content. This way, you can make sure you’re hitting the users’ queries, and providing a clear explanation of those tricky topics.
Guide-style content, like the piece you’re reading now, works to position you as an authority. For example, a ‘a step-by-step guide to online banking’ or ‘how to apply for a loan’. Or, you could even go for an FAQ format which directly answers the queries in search engines, e.g: ‘answering all your questions on conveyancing’.
There’s your authoritativeness demonstrated, but what about making your content fit the rest of the E-E-A-T guidelines? You can show your expertise quite simply, with author bios accompanying your content. It should also be shown through the content itself – do your research, so your knowledge is of a good depth.
The newest element of the YMYL guidelines, experience, requires you to prove that your insights are authentic. Incorporate personal opinions and photos into your content and ensure that you have a good-quality About Us page.
Lastly, financial services sites need their content to demonstrate trustworthiness. You can get this across through having reviews from real-life clients, as well as a clear contact page. Have your customer service info displayed clearly, with accurate phone numbers.
- Link building and PR
Your authority in your niche of the financial services field can be further enhanced through gaining backlinks. They have always been important for ranking on Google, but the algorithms are now better than ever at identifying paid links versus earned links.
Writing high-quality content will mean it is sharable and secures backlinks naturally. Focusing on educational and user-centric content like guides and blog posts can help you attract links from other authoritative sources. There’s also the added benefit of then having content to promote on your social media channels, as we do on our LinkedIn:
- Don’t neglect local SEO
Leave room in your strategy for time spent on local SEO. This is especially important for the financial services sector because many financial services still have physical branches.
Google Consumer Insights show that mobile queries for “bank near me” have grown by over 60% in the past two years. It can be helpful to create a Google My Business listing for each store so that you show up in the search results for customers doing local searches.
A robust local SEO strategy can provide you with a leg-up in the competitive landscape, because it is often easier to rank for local search terms.
How exactly can you optimize for local SEO? It’s important to have individual pages on your website for each location that targets those local keywords. Encourage customers to leave reviews, as this can massively improve your local search ranking and this also shows Google that you’re a business to be trusted.
- Perform regular visibility checks / keep up frequent analysis
The fundamental thing about SEO is that it is an ongoing process. Trends, algorithms and consumer search behaviours are constantly changing so keep your eye on the key metrics and KPIs.
-where you’re ranking, per page
-engagement metrics: bounce rate and time per page etc.
-conversions from traffic
It’s crucial to keep monitoring your website, and make necessary adjustments. To appear an expert, you’ll need to update your content regularly. The financial services terrain is ever-changing and you need to stay relevant – consistency is key!
LSA found that 90% of loan and mortgage customers and 85% of check cashing consumers start their journey with an online search. More than ever, we are using local search to find and evaluate financial services providers. Use this guide to kick-start your SEO strategy so that you can tap into this search potential and thrive in this new digital landscape.
It should now be clear to you that SEO for financial services is quite a complex and challenging task, requiring persistence and a strong strategy. If you need a little help, consider enlisting some professionals to get you started. Get in touch with our SEO team at Cedarwood today who can help you create tailored SEO strategies for your financial services site.