Would it be great if there was a quick, simple guide to SEO in 2018 for financial services companies? Lucky for you, here it is!
So let’s not mess about. We’ve only got 1000 words, and a lot to cover in that space…
What Is SEO?
Search engine optimisation (SEO) is the practice of making your financial website more visible in search engines, such as Google and Bing.
Engaging in SEO tactics should increase your search engine rankings over time, and make your financial website more visible online to your target audience.
How Does Google Know Where To Rank A Financial Adviser’s Website?
Search engines like Google have one main goal, and that is to produce their users with the best, most relevant and up to date information when they make a search query.
To determine where your website appears when someone looks for financial services, therefore, Google uses an algorithm. This looks at topics and keywords on your page and wider website, to see if these are relevant to the search query.
It also takes into account how authoritative (or popular) your financial website is across the web. The more popular your content is, the more it is regarded as trusted.
Ultimately, the exact formula search engines use to determine rankings is a well-guarded secret. Yet SEO practitioners and experts in financial marketing service have a fairly good idea what Google is after.
What Do I Need To Make SEO Work For Financial Firms?
To get better search engine rankings for your financial website, you need to do at least three things:
#1 Set up the Technical bits
When Google ranks a website, it goes through three broad steps. First, it needs to find your web pages on the internet. Second, it needs to scan and understand your topics, content and keywords.
Then, finally, Google needs to add this information to its database, so the algorithm knows where to display your content in the search engine results.
This is not as simple as it might sound. Bear in mind that search engines do not look at web pages in the same way people do. You need to make sure your content is findable – and comprehensible – to Google’s search bots. That means doing some on-site optimisation.
- Make sure your title contains the target keyword in a natural, concise way.
- Make sure your post / landing page URL structure does the same.
- Be careful to include the keyword in your first 100 words of body text.
- Include the keyword in your meta description and title.
- Do the same for your alt tags and other meta tags.
You also need your website to be running at a solid speed, so it loads quickly on people’s devices.
In addition, make sure your financial website is fully responsive to tablet and mobile devices, or you will almost certainly suffer in the search engines.
#2 Improve Your Content
People who use Google are looking for content which solves a problem, or answers a question.
Does your content do that, or is it all just a glorified sales pitch? The fact is, if you do not provide users what they are looking for, they will leave your site and then Google will push you down its rankings.
Make sure you therefore address your audience’s needs in your content. Make sure you include links to other, relevant internal pages on your website, as well as external links to helpful, authoritative resources and content elsewhere. Be careful to remove or replace and poor or broken links on your website.
Also, be sure to produce content at a decent length and depth for the user to consume. Use a wide, powerful range of multimedia such as audio, video and slide-shares, to increase user dwell time and to signal the higher quality of your website pages to Google.
If other people link to your content and website, then Google sees that as a sign of popularity. As mentioned above, popularity means authority, and authority means higher search rankings.
Do your best, therefore, as a financial adviser to get other great, relevant websites to point back to you. This means you build up a healthy backlink profile, allowing you to signal to Google that your content is worth ranking higher in its search engine.
In the same vein, make sure you disavow any poor quality links which are likely to harm your backlink profile, and possibly push your financial website rankings down due to negative association.
How Do I Avoid A Google Penalty?
This is definitely something you’ll want to avoid, as it will spell disaster for your financial website and marketing. It means a plummet in rankings, which is often hard if not impossible to return from.
To avoid this, make sure you steer clear of “black hat SEO” – i.e. practices which are know to be dubious, or corner-cutting when it comes to website ranking tactics.
The classic examples are keyword stuffing and buying backlinks. You used to be able to rank websites by doing these things, but now if you’re caught by Google (and they’re good at catching people) you can say goodbye to all the progress you have made.
Where Can I Find Out More?
Of course, there’s much more when it comes to SEO in financial marketing services. This just covers some of the fundamentals. However, if you want to find out more we suggest you check out:
A Closing Thought
As we finish this article, it’s worth stating. If you are serious about SEO as a financial adviser, then we really recommend speaking with someone who understands your industry and is experienced in rankings websites for financial services companies.
There is much you can do yourself, but there are lots of moving parts and SEO takes time, patience, commitment and resources which are hard to muster when you run an IFA business, and have clients to serve. By working with a financial marketing agency, you will see better results and free up your time.
That’s pretty much 1000 words. Thanks for reading, and get in touch if you’d like to discuss a digital marketing campaign with us!