Financial SEO (search engine optimisation) has a lot of moving parts and it isn’t always clear how they work and relate to one another.
Here at CreativeAdviser, our financial marketing specialists offer this 2020 response to some of the most commonly asked questions by financial firms when it comes to SEO.
We hope you find this useful and invite you to get in touch to discuss your own digital marketing project with us through a free, no-commitment consultation.
Do financial firms really need SEO?
Whilst there may possibly be exceptions, as a default answer we’d say “yes”. Most audiences of financial firms are likely to use a search engine to try and find your services – even if it’s only your brand name.
If your content fails to materialise in Google for these kinds of search phrases then it can look strange and even suspicious to the prospects. Moreover, it can translate into missed opportunities – especially if they see your competitors’ pages in the results instead.
How does financial SEO work?
SEO for financial firms involves putting specific, regular measures into place which encourage your web pages to climb the rankings in relevant search engine results. It takes time and numerous tactics working together.
A good analogy is to compare SEO to an investment portfolio. In the latter, you have multiple assets complementing each other to move the investor towards a common goal (e.g. wealth growth). With financial SEO, your “assets” in your digital marketing portfolio include things like high-quality content, on-site SEO work and backlinks.
There are possibly 200+ tactics used by financial marketing agencies such as ours to help financial firms improve their SEO. Typically, however, it is best to do 3-4 of these tactics very well rather than trying to juggle hundreds of variables which spreads you too thin.
Can’t I just buy a bunch of backlinks?
It pains us that there are still people in financial services who ask this question. For us, it’s similar to someone approaching a financial adviser and asking: “How do I triple the value of my portfolio over the next 12 months?” You’d likely tell that person politely to go elsewhere and stop wasting your time!
Here’s the blunt truth. Google is one of the most sophisticated algorithms in the world, employing 1000s of the brightest technical minds the planet has to offer. So, it really is highly unlikely that you’re going to be able to “trick” their algorithm and jump to the top search results simply by buying a bunch of backlinks.
Even if you somehow pull this off, Google will likely slam your website down once it finds out (and it will!). After that point, your website is likely to be blacklisted and could never see organic traffic coming its way ever again.
I just launched my website – why won’t it show up on Google?
Thousands of websites are launched every day across the world, and Google has the task of trying to find out where they are and whether they should be ranked in the search results or not. Even a large, powerful company like Google is going to need time to achieve this.
There are ways to encourage Google in finding your content. One important feature to include on your new financial website, for instance, is a sitemap. This outlines the structure of your web pages to Google’s “bots”, helping them to find each of them. If you are a local business, then another good idea is to open a Google My Business account and link to your new website. Also, make sure you include Google Analytics on your pages.
Can I do my own financial SEO or do I need to hire someone?
In our experience, there is only so far a small financial firm can go on its own with its financial SEO before it becomes a struggle. Writing content each month takes precious time which, really, needs to be directed towards running the business and helping clients. The same applies for optimising and re-purposing old content, conducting regular SEO audits and performing on-site work (e.g. adding tags).
For some financial firms, it can make sense to hire an internal marketing person to handle these kinds of responsibilities. Yet it is often a challenge finding someone affordable who also has the experience in financial services you need to give yourself the best chance of success. This is where a specialist financial SEO agency such as ours can be a helpful option.
How long does SEO take and what results can I expect?
There is no universal answer to the first question, but a good starting point for a new financial website would be to give it at least 6 months to start generating velocity in the search engines. Until then, realistically, you are likely to see trickles of traffic even if you do everything right with your financial SEO.
This isn’t to say there can’t be exceptions. If you’re a financial adviser focused on reaching people in local search results which face very little competition, for instance, then things could move much more quickly. The good news, however, is that the rewards of your perseverance are usually well worth it (assuming you’ve followed the right SEO strategy). Generally, organic traffic is of a higher quality than many other traffic sources (e.g. PPC) and you can realistically hope to achieve a strong conversion rate if you have a good user experience, journey and calls-to-action on your website.