SEO for financial firms is still an incredibly powerful way to generate brand exposure and new leads. However, it takes time, effort and strategic thinking to make it work properly.
Here at MarketingAdviser, we come across many reasons why financial firms struggle with their SEO. It could be a simple lack of patience to let their content rank higher in Google. Quite often, however, there are other crucial factors at play, such as:
- Targeting the wrong keywords, or user intent.
- Poor quality content which fails to beat competitors’, or answer the user’s questions.
- Insufficient backlinks from good quality, relevant domains.
- Infrequent content publication and thought leadership.
In this short guide, we wanted to offer 5 practical ways for financial firms to improve their SEO.
Pleas note that these are not necessarily “quick fixes”, and you might need help from a professional financial marketing agency for some of them.
#1 Refine your keywords
It’s possible to spend years writing content and not see it rank anywhere on Google for your keywords. There could be many reasons for that, but quite often it’s down to targeting the wrong search terms.
To find out whether you’re on the right track, you need a solid keyword analysis tool like Ahrefs alongside free ones such as Google’s Keyword Planner or Neil Patel’s Ubersuggest. None of them is perfect, but they can give you a much clearer picture of the SEO landscape than relying on pure guesswork.
Take the phrase “financial advisor” across the entire UK. At the time of writing, Ahrefs classes this as a “hard” keyword with 15,ooo monthly searches. Realistically, most small, locally-based IFAs will not be able to rank for this keyword across the country. Nor does it really make sense for them to do so.
Other keywords in the “Ideas” report, however, have lower search volume but are much less competitive. Going after these will give you a much better chance of generating organic search exposure and traffic.
#2 Check your content
Even if you find sensible keywords which are easier to rank for, you need to make sure that your content is better than the websites already listed in Google’s search results. After all, why would Google bother pushing that content out of the way for yours, if the quality is lower or the same?
Fortunately, this part of your financial SEO process is much easier. Simply run a Google search for the keyword in question and check your competitors’ pages in the results. Make a list of what they are doing, and how you might do it better. For instance:
- Is the article poorly worded or difficult to understand? Could you write something clearer?
- Is the article short (e.g. under 1,000 words), and if so, could you produce something more in-depth?
- Do they rely solely on text for the article? Could you produce something with more engaging, diverse content such as videos or infographics?
#3 Strengthen your backlinks
Google likes content which is liked by others. If you write a great article on pension planning, for instance, then Google is more inclined to rank it higher for your target keywords if other websites link to it. It’s seen as a signal of validation and authority.
Here, unfortunately, many financial firms fall down with their SEO. They simply write an article on their blog, publish it and hope that it will naturally rise to the top of Google. Whilst this might work for certain, very low-competition keywords in the financial services niche, it will not get your content very far unless you build some quality links back to your content.
There are many “dos” and “donts” regarding backlink building, and it is possible to waste a lot of time if you don’t know what you’re doing. In many cases, a local financial firm (e.g. a financial planner) might be able to leverage certain software solutions offered by a marketing agency to save time and effort.
#4 Build domain authority
The more authoritative your website is seen by Google, the less effort it takes to get your content into its top search results. This is known as your “domain authority”, and companies such as Ahrefs represent this with a number between 0-100.
One of the best ways to build domain authority is to build natural, relevant and high-quality backlinks to your website. Removing low-quality or harmful links can help as well. Beyond this, however, there are many “on-site” ways for a financial firm to improve their domain authority, including:
- Linking internally, to other pages or posts on your website.
- Linking to outside, authoritative sources (e.g. the BBC, London Stock Exchange etc.).
- Optimise meta tags, alt tags and images so they are readable and make sense.
- Improve your website loading speed.
#5 Traffic & CTR data
Your content could be excellently written, targeting good keywords and enjoying several strong backlinks pointing to it. However, suppose Google ranks your content high in its search results, people click on it and then leave your website quickly.
What do you expect will happen?
Typically, Google will see this kind of behaviour as a signal that users are not finding what they want on your website. As a result, the content is likely to be pushed down the search results, in favour of content which produces better engagement.
For this reason, it’s important to check the user behaviour of your website visitors, particularly on the pages/posts you want to rank higher on Google. You can do this through a tool like Google Analytics, and ask yourself questions such as:
- Is the “bounce rate” of this page high? Is the session duration short? If so, perhaps people are not finding the content they expected to find when they clicked on your search engine result.
- Are people clicking on your links or engaging with your calls-to-action?
- Is the website engagement on the page different when you look at different traffic sources? For instance, is your organic traffic less inclined to read it compared to your social network traffic?