The web has changed dramatically, and so has form and function of a financial website.
In the ’90s, links were a bigger part of our web experience than they currently are today. Think of the likes of AOL, Yahoo and Excite.
Google was one of the first to notice how people behaved online – click from link to link in order to navigate the web. They therefore judged the relative popularity of a website by examining these links.
Remember this? Source: Moz
Google has continued to insist that backlinks play are still important for search engine rankings:
- April 2014, Matt Cutts confirms that Google has tested the quality of searches without backlinks. They found the overall experience and result to be inferior.
- March 2016, Andrey Lipattsev (Senior Search Quality Strategist at Google) states that content is the most important ranking factor, and links are the second most important.
Is this the end of the discussion then? Backlinks are crucial if you want to employ an effective SEO strategy to promote your financial website, right?
Not necessarily. Google’s word isn’t necessarily law. They have given out bad advice in the past (e.g. see this post on HTTPS migrations). Indeed, Google’s algorithms are now so complex their staff no longer seek to understand them. Machine learning can also lead to unexpected behaviours.
Backlinks And The Financial Website
Some influential studies from 3rd parties have appeared to confirm Google’s assertion that backlinks are important for your financial website – any website, in fact.
However, these studies tend to suffer from the issue of conflation causation with correlation.
I.e. Are websites with authoritative backlinks ranking higher because of those backlinks? Or, is it that websites with higher rankings tend to have more authoritative backlinks?
The question is important, because ultimately we’re interested in whether your financial website should focus on building decent backlinks, because it is an important ranking factor.
So what is the answer? Are backlinks important or not? Well, the evidence would suggest so. There is a correlation between rankings and links, and also Google tells us that backlinks are important.
Conversely, brand awareness might explain the statistical significance.
At this stage, it makes sense to continue focusing SEO investment and effort on building high quality backlinks, as well as creating excellent, engaging content. A financial website would only benefit from such an approach.
However, it pays to have a set of eyes on the industry and algorithms to keep an eye out for new evidence which may emerge, and shed new light on the situation.
Some principles, therefore, to keep in mind as you pursue a backlink-building strategy for your financial website:
- Quantity matters. Volume is important and you should go after as many links a you can.
- Quality also matters. It’s better to have few, really decent backlinks than loads of poor quality ones.
- Accept that it will be hard work. It takes a lot of time to go out and build the links you need. We’re talking several months, not weeks. They won’t simply drop out of the sky, either. You need to search them out, approach the right people, and work to get the best links.
For some examples of great IFA websites, see our post here.
Phil Teale is the Sales & Marketing Manager at CreativeAdviser, an agency providing bespoke website design, branding, graphic design and video production services to financial clients. Along with our sister company, MarketingAdviser, we also specialise in marketing for wealth managers and financial advisers.
Contact us on 01923 232840 or email me: [email protected]