As a financial services professional, you know the competition is vast. To build equity in your business, you have to be able to stand out in a crowd and that sometimes means aggressive marketing. When it comes to money, the ability to build trust and legitimacy comes from a financial services marketing campaign with Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
In this post, we’ll go over the benefits of SEO for finance companies and financial advisors, as well as best practices, proven strategies, and why you never want to ignore this wellspring of potential finance consumers. When you know what you’re doing, finance SEO can be transformative for your lead funnel, often the difference between success and mediocrity in the financial sector. Let’s just jump right in so you can be well on your way to harnessing this powerful marketing tool.
What is SEO for Financial Services?
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. SEO is the process by which a website is improved to match a user’s query and making it more appealing to search engines. As a result, when relevant search terms are made in Google, pages optimized for those searches are listed high in the results. The higher your website appears in relevant search results, the more traffic you get to your website.
With 86% of the search market share, and no serious competition in sight, Google dominates search traffic. Users search Google an average of 5.6 billion times per day. That’s 63,000 Google searches per second! There are an abundance of individuals seeking financial help or advice through Google search - some financial search terms are typed into the Google search field millions of times each month. But to actually reap the benefits of these millions of searches, a top ten ranking is essential when you consider the fact that 75% of searchers do not venture past the first page of results. In fact, the disparity in click-through rates (CTR) between the first organic search result on Google and the second is huge. The top of the list sees a whopping 28.5% CTR while the very next result only sees 15%. This is a massive drop in traffic for the website that ranks #2 in the Google search results. What this data means is that ranking on the second page of Google isn’t going to generate any significant traffic and a number one ranking for relevant keywords is the goal.
This is where financial services SEO comes in. Marketing for financial services should include an in-depth financial SEO analysis. It starts with keyword research which will give you invaluable insight into your target audience and their search habits. This will assist in implementing tried and true onsite optimization methods that will attract potential finance customers to your website. SEO for financial services is the power of knowing exactly what your potential finance clients are looking for and telling Google you’ve got the most relevant finance website when they look for it. Whether you’re running on Wix, Wordpress or Shopify, SEO can double, triple or even quadruple your website traffic and potential lead generation, turning all those valuable clicks into revenue. That’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the incredible benefits of SEO for financial services. There’s so much more.
Benefits of SEO for Finance
There’s no doubt about the significant return on investment that comes with carefully optimizing your financial services website for search engines. Let’s take a closer look at how investing in financial SEO can give you the upper hand against your competitors.
Increased Authority and Trust
Security is not just a buzzword in the financial services industry. You know how important it is to your clients. Fraud is rampant on the internet and data breaches happen in finance everyday. It’s crucial to build trust with your potential finance clientele when money is involved. One of the easiest ways to build trust and authority on any topic on the web is to rank high on Google. The engineers behind Google’s robust search algorithm aim to build trust between the end user and the platform. This is done by delivering safe, relevant and helpful results with every query. Google is more commonly known these days as one of the most top sources of reliable information, and so users have increased trust in the top ranked sites. If that website is yours, you’ve already got your foot in the door when it comes to building a trusting relationship with your finance clients. Ranking in the organic search results builds trust in a fashion that paid or sponsored ads on Google cannot. Data suggests that organic (unpaid) search results account for 94% of the clicks on a search engine result page as opposed to the 6% that goes to paid ads. If you want to harness that trust for lead generation, the ability to rank high in the search results.
It’s a simple calculation. If your target audience is searching for a finance keyword that garners millions of searches every month, and 94% of the click-throughs go to organic search results, you can only imagine what kind of traffic volume the top result is receiving. Finance SEO enables you to direct that traffic and point users directly at pages promoting your services for lead generation and sales. You’re creating a natural, steady flow of highly targeted traffic made up of the precise people who fit your ideal finance customer profile.
You Can Beat the Competition
The financial services industry is saturated and that means it’s becoming increasingly more difficult to stand out. But standing out in a crowd is precisely what financial SEO can do for your finance business. Rising above your finance competitors to the top positions on Google means you get that traffic before they do. Financial SEO can help you overtake your competitors and dominate your space online.
Proven SEO Strategies for Financial Services
Now that we’re mostly done singing the praises of financial SEO, it’s time to take a look at how we accomplish the optimization of our website for search engines. Here are some of the most effective financial SEO strategies for finance companies.
#1: SEO Keywords for Financial Services
Keywords are the lifeblood of financial SEO. Understanding what your potential clients are searching for when looking for financial services or guidance, and building out pages that answer these questions or desires so that Google can provide users with your URLs as an option when they’re sifting through the search results are how you build an organic funnel.
Strategic placement of well-researched financial services keywords will let search engines know where to place it in their results. Choosing the right finance keyword is crucial and helps to target the type of search user who might be looking for your specific financial services. For instance, while “financial management” is a relevant search made by users that ecompanesses your industry, it’s nearly impossible to compete with websites providing purely knowledge on the financial subject, and narrowing down your focus into keywords that are ready to convert (rather than simply attract increased traffic) will ensure greater success.
For example, a financial advisor who only works with finance clients in Los Angeles will see more return on their investment if they focus on “financial management Los Angeles.” A page able to rank for this term will be presented to Google searchers who are looking for a financial management service in the location of your offering. Before spending time building out these pages, you’ll also want to confirm you’re choosing keywords with enough search volume to make the effort worth your while. To find out how many searches are performed for a given finance keyword, you can use free keyword research tools like the Keyword Planner tool from Google. You can also obtain more robust data about average search volume and the difficulty level to rank for keywords with a paid tool like Ahrefs.com.
#2: Content is King
In 1996, Bill Gates coined this phrase when he spoke about the future of the world wide web and how it will inevitably become a marketplace for content. He was right. The internet today is a content-driven machine and this is especially true when it comes to financial SEO. Your financial content provides a roadmap for Google, describing what your site is about. It also provides added value for your website visitors and can act as an important part of your finance lead generation. The more quality financial content your website has, the better a resource it becomes and that’s how the search engines see it, too, rewarding authoritative financial content with high rankings and targeted traffic.
#3: On-Page SEO and Technical SEO
Technical SEO is the optimization of the content and code of your financial services website, making each page search engine crawler friendly. Googlebot is an automated program that retrieves content and indexes it, adding it or updating it in the Google search results. The more inviting your pages are to Googlebot, the more effective your SEO efforts will be. Technical know-how is going to benefit you with your on-site strategy.
Here are a few On-Page SEO elements you should assess to get started:
- Ensure relevant keywords appear in page titles.
- Have important keywords appear in headings.
- Make sure each page has enough content to crawl. It’s best to have more than 300 words.
- Ensure that content is relevant and includes the SEO keywords for financial advisors in a user-friendly way.
- If you serve a specific area, make sure that city, state or region is listed on your website.
- Finally, make sure each of your website’s pages is readable and useful to your audience.
#4: Improve Your “EAT”
EAT stands for Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness which are three principles by which Google judges the quality of a web page.. Expertise refers to the credentials of the source. For instance, in a search about legal issues, Google will want to return results from educated lawyers. In the results for recipes, websites authored by accomplished chefs will take priority. The better you can establish your expertise, the higher priority it will be given in search results.
Establishing authoritativeness on your web pages can be done by highlighting your qualifications, awards and other accolades on your about page or bio. You can also increase your authoritativeness by obtaining links with equity to your content. Link equity means they are links from other authoritative websites that are on-topic. Seeking out links that pass on link equity to your website also builds the amount of link equity that your website can pass on to others, as well.
Trustworthiness can be established on your website through security measures, privacy policies, terms of service and other features that make your website feel safe. You’ll also want to ensure there are no factual errors on your website and offer citations when applicable. Clickbait, grammatical and spelling errors and other mistakes on your website can bring your trustworthiness down, so proof-reading your content is key.
The secret to establishing a good EAT score for your website, really, is by developing a user-friendly website that is useful, factual and informative for your target audience. These are the sort of results Google wants to return to its consumers because it ensures they are pleased with the results and that they continue to use the search engine. Best of all, a user-friendly website with expertise, authoritativeness and trustworthiness is a website that converts. Especially in the financial services industry, this means more business for the website owner.
#5: Optimize Your Meta Data
Metadata on your website are tags located in your website code that are designed to communicate with the search engines. These tags tell Google important information about your finance website. For instance, the meta description tag tells Google what to display in the search results under the page title. The page title itself is considered part of your finance website’s metadata and should be optimized for search engines to rank high and increase traffic. Here are some quick financial SEO tips for writing your meta description and title tags:
- Your meta description should contain your targeted finance keyword or key phrase.
- The description should be between 50-160 characters so that it won’t be cut off in the search results.
- Don’t stuff your meta description with finance keywords. It should be aimed at the user, so prioritize readability and drawing the end user in.
- Your Title tag should also contain your main finance keyword or key phrase.
- Titles should not exceed 60 characters.
- Readability in the Title is important, so write it with the end user in mind.
#6: Site-Speed Score
Your site speed score refers to how quickly your website loads. Specifically, Google’s PageSpeed score is a number assigned to your page out of 100 that refers to how fast it runs. The higher your score, the faster your site performs. Your page speed impacts a number of factors that play a role in your ranking. Google’s priority is delivering a great user experience to the people using their search engine. That means that it will prioritize websites that load quickly. A slow site speed is also going to increase your bounce rate, which will, in turn, poorly affect your rankings. Slow websites get in the way of their own user-friendliness as well and will have a negative effect on lead generation rates. You’ll lose people before they even know what you have to offer.
It’s easy to find out how well your site performs when it comes to speed. Just head over to Google PageSpeed Tools. Here, you’ll be able to analyze your website’s speed, learn how to optimize the speed of each page and find open source tools to speed up your website.
If you find that your website has a poor PageSpeed score, here are a few tips to improve it:
- Optimize your images - large image sizes can slow your website down significantly.
- Enable browser caching - when your browser caches a web site, it downloads and temporarily stores the files associated with it so that the next time you visit the site, none of those items need to be loaded again, speeding up that website’s load speed.
- Check your hosting provider - if you’re on a shared hosting server, this can have a negative impact on your website’s overall speed. It might be worth it to look into VPS hosting or a dedicated server to increase your site’s response time.
#7: Mobile Responsiveness
A responsive website is designed to adjust to different devices it might be viewed on. For instance, when someone views a responsive website on a mobile browser, the site can detect that and return a layout that is optimized for the smaller screen. This increases your website’s usability, which, in turn, increases the amount of time people are likely to spend on your web site. This is a factor Google considers when judging the quality of a website. The longer users spend on a site, the higher quality it appears to be.
In the financial services sector, mobile responsiveness is a key factor in converting your website traffic into revenue. In 2021, more than half of all website traffic is mobile, so tailoring your website to the needs of mobile browsers is key.
Take the time to ensure your website is user-friendly when accessed on a mobile phone. Here are a few things to consider:
- Is the navigation menu easily accessible in a mobile browser?
- Is your phone number clickable so mobile users need only tap it to call you?
- Do images fit neatly within the dimensions of a mobile browser?
- Does the textual content wrap, so users don’t have to scroll sideways to read it?
These simple features can be the difference between turning traffic into financial business.
#8: Your Local SEO Optimization
Local SEO is important when your financial business serves a specific geographic area. Google makes use of location services to determine where its users are searching from. With this information, the search results can be tailored to that specific region. This means that someone searching for financial management in Chicago may get different search results than someone searching for the same in Sydney, Australia. You’ll also notice that the search engine results pages display Google My Business results, which are the listings that display phone numbers, hours, maps and directions.
The first step to optimizing your website for local results is claiming your business on Google My Business if you have not already. Be sure to fill out all the information you can, including hours, contact numbers, photos, address and more. The more information you have in your Google My Business listing, the better it will perform both from a financial SEO perspective as well as user-friendliness.
Next, you’ll want to include your physical location on your web pages, so that Google search bots know where you are in the world. This allows them to determine where and when to return your website in the search engine results. Popping your address into the footer of your website so that it appears sitewide is a great way of accomplishing this.
#9: Understand SEO KPIs
SEO KPIs are key performance indicators and they include metrics such as organic sessions, keyword ranking increases, how many pages a visitor hits while on your website and many more. You can keep track of these metrics using free tools built in to Google Analytics and Google Search Console. Watching these metrics will give you in-depth insights into the effectiveness of your finance SEO efforts. For instance, pay attention to your website’s organic sessions, which are hits to your website from the organic (unpaid) search results on a search engine like Google. Organic traffic can be tracked with Google Analytics. Keyword ranking increases can be tracked in the tool we mentioned above, Ahrefs.com. When these metrics show improvement, you can deduce that all the hard work you’ve put into your financial SEO efforts is paying off. On the flipside, if you notice no change or even reduced performance in these areas, you’ll know you’re doing something wrong.
#10: Hire an SEO Agency
There is no doubt that financial services SEO is a complex labyrinth of data, technical know-how and content creation. It doesn’t help that it’s always changing and staying on top of the latest strategies can, in itself, be a full time job. That’s why so many financial business owners opt for hiring a financial SEO firm. Take advantage of informative SEO audit services and you’ll get the benefit of knowing your financial SEO strategists are up to date on the latest practices and understand the complexities of search engines so you don’t have to. Any effective Search Engine Optimization strategy for finance companies is time-consuming and unless you have the time to devote to it, hiring some pros who do will free up your valuable time to focus on your financial business.
Final Advice Before Investing in SEO for Financial Services
Search engine optimization isn’t just important for any financial business trying to make money on the web, it can be imperative. In a saturated industry like financial services, your road to success means standing out and setting yourself apart from everyone else in finance. Whether you decide to do it yourself or you end up hiring an SEO firm, effective SEO strategy is as important as your phone or email.
If you’d like to learn more about what financial SEO can do for your financial services website, contact Propellic for your free financial SEO strategy consultation today.