Even smart people can make bad SEO decisions, especially when they are based on faulty assumptions.
This is no less true in the world of financial marketing. Sometimes it’s a matter of confusion correlation with causation. Sometimes it’s simply a matter of accepting conventional wisdom on a marketing matter, when actually, the “conventional wisdom” is unproven or even incorrect.
Here are three common myths believed about SEO in the financial marketing community:
#1 All Organic Traffic Holds Equal Value
This isn’t usually explicitly said out lout, like it is above. However, you might often hear phrases like the following banded around by people working in financial marketing:
“If we increase our organic traffic by 100% over the next 12 months, our sales should double.”
Sometimes this is true. However, did you notice the underlying assumption behind this statement? It assumes that all organic traffic is created equal, but this isn’t always the case.
For example, let’s imagine an IFA client has a website, but it has a large, clunky blog and some serious site-wide structure issues.
The usual logic here would be to fix the overall site structure, as well as the internal link problems. The reasoning then goes that this will drive more blog traffic, which of course is full of great content.
The problem, however, is that your blog traffic is likely to be lower in conversion value than, say, your landing pages containing lead magnets (e.g. a downloadable report or whitepaper).
In other words, your financial marketing is hitting the organic traffic without really hitting the important metric: conversion rate.
To avoid falling into this trap, it’s best to think of your site in various sections. You can then assign a value to different pages across your site, to get a better picture of the value of different kinds of organic traffic. For instance:
Your site and services pages might have a conversion rate of 7%
Your blog might attract traffic which produces a 1% conversion rate.
If we doubled the client’s organic traffic, but most of that was going to the blog, then there would be some value to this. However, if we slightly improved the organic traffic to the client’s site and services pages, then there would be more return on investment.
The lesson? Make sure your financial marketing targets specific organic traffic, and doesn’t view it all as equal in value or monetary worth.
#2 Competitors Must Be Outranked
Sometimes we have people phone us up and say something like this:
“X financial company is above me in the search engines. We’re not happy about this because we know we’re better than them, and so we need to appear above them.”
What’s often really meant behind this statement, is in fact the following:
“X company appeared above my company for Y phrase I typed into Google. We are better than them, so we need to divert all of our efforts away from ROI goals and focus them instead on pursuing a vanity search term.”
Harsh? Maybe. However, there are plenty of financial marketing agencies who wouldn’t mind helping a client pursuing a vanity project like this. So long as the cash flows in, who cares?
However, we want to help clients really get a return on investment from their financial marketing. The goal for us isn’t rankings, ultimately. It’s revenue.
What would you rather have? Would you rather rank in 1st place for a search term which generates little to no revenue, or would you rather appear in 25th place for a term which gives you way more?
Another question to ask yourself about your financial marketing is this. Would you rather be ranking for one phrase driving 1000 visitors a month, or would you rather be ranking for one hundred phrases each driving ten visitors a month?
All things being equal, the answer should be the latter. It leaves your financial marketing less vulnerable to changes in Google’s search algorithm.
#3 You Should Take Keyword Tools At Face Value
You’ve probably heard of Google Adwords and its Keyword Planner Tool? We love it. Anyone working in financial marketing will know of it and likely recommend it.
The trouble is, tools like this can sometimes be misleading for clients who don’t fully understand the data they’re looking at. It’s not necessarily their fault, as Google isn’t actually particularly clear with how they present this data.
For instance, a client might think there are thousands of searches per month for a particular keyword they’re thinking of targeting. Why? Because AdWords’ Keyword Planner tells them so.
However, if the client were to run the keyword through a tool like Moz’s Keyword Planner, the picture might look very different. The picture from Moz, morevoer, is probably more realistic.
Why is this the case? Because AdWords’ Keyword Planner is designed for AdWords traffic, and therefore usually overestimates the number of unique searches that would reach a result via organic. Moz accounts for this through an algorithm which adjusts for the organic reality of the keyword landscape.
For instance, let’s take the search term “CPU” as a case in point. Type that in Google Keyword Planner, and at the time of writing you would see 74,000 searches per month.
Type that into Moz’s tool, however, and the figure might range from 30,000 to 70,000. That’s still a lot, of course, but it’s still a big difference.
The lesson here? Be careful which tools you use for your financial marketing. Interpret the data wrong, and the results could be very negative in terms of ROI.
Phil Teale is the Sales & Marketing Manager at MarketingAdviser, an agency specialising in marketing for financial services – and especially for financial advisers. Along with our sister company, CreativeAdviser, we also provide bespoke website design, branding, graphic design and video production services to financial clients.
Contact us on 01923 232840 or email me: firstname.lastname@example.org