As a financial firm, how can you tell how your rival’s SEO is going (search engine optimisation)? After all, knowing where you stand in relation to competitors will be crucial to obtaining the top spots in Google Search for your target keywords and search phrases.

In this guide, our digital marketing team at CreativeAdviser shares how financial planners, wealth managers and investment firms can start to ascertain their own “SEO landscape”. By uncovering more of this, the aim is to help you identify opportunities to secure more “search engine real estate” (i.e. attain better rankings in Google).

We hope you find this content useful and invite you to book a free online consultation with our team if you’d like to discuss your own SEO and digital marketing strategy with a financial marketing agency.


Why analyse your SEO rivals?

Everyone is nosy and so it’s natural to be curious about your competitors’ SEO, and how you are doing compared to them!

However, vanity alone is not a good enough reason to justify the time and effort involved. Here, it can help to remember that your target market (e.g. potential clients within, say, 20 miles of your office) is in limited supply. Other financial firms also want a piece of the pie.

Many of these prospects will be using Google Search and other digital channels to try and find solutions to their financial problems – such as a specialist who can assist with their pension. Therefore, it helps a tremendous amount to know whether these people are most likely to come across your website during their search – or your competitor(s).

It could be that you are in the dominant position. In which case, this isn’t a reason to relax and not take action. Rather, it opens up questions about how secure that position is – and whether you need to do anything to consolidate it further.

If you are the underdog, then this isn’t an excuse to give up on SEO in pursuit of other marketing channels. Instead, you might ask whether there are opportunities to steal search engine “real estate” from your competitors (e.g. by improving your website and content strategy).


Step 1: list your target keywords

It isn’t important to beat your competitors in the search engines for every possible keyword. Indeed, it is likely that your website (and your competitors’) sometimes appears in Google Search when users type in very irrelevant search terms.

What matters is gaining good search engine exposure for keywords that are:

  • Higher in search volume.
  • Relevant to your target audience (e.g. “pension adviser Reading”).
  • Higher in search intent (i.e. keywords which suggest the person is looking for a solution to a problem; not just information).

The tricky part here is coming up with a good list! Here, there are a number of different methods and tools that you can use. One idea is to simply imagine yourself as your target client, who is ready to start searching on Google for someone to help solve their financial problems. What sorts of things might they type in?

Another idea is to take some of they search terms, type them into Google and see what the results throw up. Do the titles of the top search results suggest some important keywords? If you look further down the page, you might even find a “People Also Ask” section which can provide some good ideas. There is also the “Related Searches” at the bottom which can be useful inspiration.


Step 2: list your rivals

This part of the process should be much easier. After all, you likely already know your competitors! However, your direct competitors may not always neatly translate into your SEO competitors. This is because your direct competitors may have terrible SEO!

To discern your SEO rivals, you will need to know – at minimum – which websites appear in the top 10 search results for each of your target keywords. These may also include a number of websites such as media websites, blogs, government websites and directories.

At this point, you may notice a problem. First of all, trawling manually through each search term on your list – and writing out the top 10 search engine results – is going to take a long time!

Secondly, the search results change regularly. So you cannot rely on your data to still be accurate by the time you wake up tomorrow.

Thirdly, not everyone sees the same search engine results as you. In 2021, Google works in a very personalised way to the user. In other words, your list of results will partly depend on your search history, location and user profile.

In short, to truly do this properly, you need a software solution to manage all of this for you. Here at CreativeAdviser, we use Agency Analytics. This comes at a cost, but it is very good at keeping track of competitive data 24/7.

However, if you’d rather do this manually and manage it in, say, a Google Sheet, then this is possible. You will just need to be more strategic about limiting your analysis to a smaller range of primary keywords, and update your list less regularly (e.g. once per month).


Step 3: increase your position

You have your list of keywords and the SEO competitors also ranking for them. Now, how can you improve your position in relation to these rivals in Google Search? Here, you need a solid digital marketing strategy which gives you the best chance of success.

In particular, it will be important to identify the keywords which are fierce in competition and which are less fought over. The former will likely take longer to rank for, but yield more (and better quality) organic traffic when you get into the top spots. The latter will probably take less time to get into positions 1-10 in Google Search, but may not yield as good results.


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