Financial SEO involves a lot of moving parts, and so it can be easy to make costly mistakes. Also, because SEO is a “long game” – where you often do not start seeing increases in organic rankings and traffic until later in the year – it may not be until many months later that you realise the error!
Given the potential delay between putting in the work and seeing results, therefore, it pays dividends for financial firms to check their SEO regularly for common mistakes made even by marketers. Below, our team at MarketingAdviser has listed 8 pitfalls which financial firms regularly fall into. However, bear in mind that this list is not exhaustive. For a more comprehensive review of your SEO profile, get in touch to arrange a free consultation here.
#1 Non-original content
Google is looking for high-quality content to offer its users in search engine results. If you simply take a blog or article from another website and publish it on your own, therefore, why should Google reward that effort?
Another concern is that copying and pasting from another website – without permission – puts you at risk of being accused of plagiarism. As such, if you are looking to grow the SEO profile of your financial firm, make sure that your content is your own.
#2 Insufficient length
Try a quick experiment right now. Go to Google and type a question into the search bar (e.g. “how do I get good pension advice?”). Take a look at the links in the top 5-10 results that come back to you. How long are the articles or landing pages? In all likelihood, most/all of them will be at least 1,000 words.
Whilst Google has not explicitly stated how long it wants articles to be, the broad consensus in the SEO world is that articles should be “meaty” to stand a good chance of ranking on page one. A good starting point is to aim for 1,000-2,000 words or longer.
#3 No SEO roadmap
Think about how many questions, keywords and search phrases Google deals with each second. The volume will be staggering. Then think about how many financial firms will be competing to rank for just a sub-set of these (e.g. those pertaining to financial planning and advice). Even the biggest firm cannot hope to go after all of them and beat every competitor.
Yet this is often how financial firms behave with their SEO strategy. Often, after speaking with a firm about their SEO plan, it quickly becomes clear that they have a “scattergun” approach – covering too many topics and keywords. To build momentum and authority in the search engines, you need to focus on a distinct “spot” and build from there.
#4 Failing to know the audience
Who is your website content for, exactly? Not having your audience(s) clear in your head will almost certainly lead you to produce articles for your SEO which speak to everyone – and, therefore, to no one.
Google does not just look at individual articles you write when deciding whether to rank it higher in the user’s search engine results. It also looks at the “domain authority” of your overall website. This refers to how many people in your industry trust your content, refer back to it and come back regularly to visit. Financial firms are more likely to increase their domain authority by growing respect and a following with a specific audience.
#5 Forgetting on-site SEO
Financial SEO is not as simple as writing a great article and then hitting “Publish”. There are necessary “on-site” SEO steps which also need to be taken beforehand. These include:
- Alt tags (descriptions of an image)
- Meta descriptions (the small text which appears under a link’s title in Google search results).
- Meta title (the title of a link showing in Google)
- H2 and H3 tags (appropriate use of sub-headings in light of your keyword strategy).
#6 Not using links properly
Some financial services firms are reluctant to link out to other websites in their SEO content. Yet this is a ranking factor for prominent search engines like Google. After all, if you include external links to credible and relevant sources, it shows that you are backing up your article’s claims with good research.
In addition, it is also important to consider your internal linking strategy – i.e. how you hyperlink to other pages and posts on your website. This can also help to build your financial SEO, by pointing users to other resources related to the topic at hand. It drives traffic and signals to Google that multiple parts of your domain are useful and pertinent to the audience.
#7 Poor/no measurement tools
How do you know if your financial SEO strategy is working? You need to be able to measure how things are performing, in near-real-time. Yet many businesses do not even have a Google Analytics tracking code on their website, showing key metrics such as how many people visit each month!
At least two metrics are important to measure when it comes to financial SEO: organic traffic and search engine rankings. To measure the former over time, a Google Analytics account will suffice. For the latter, you may need more dedicated software, such as Ahrefs or SEMrush.
#8 Neglecting the website
You can do all of the above, yet still hinder your SEO greatly by not investing in a good quality financial website. For instance, if your pages/posts load slowly, then Google is likely to push your content further down its search results because your website is not providing a good user experience. The same applies to your mobile-friendliness.