SEO (search engine optimisation) is a hugely important part of a financial firm’s website. Yet how do you do it properly?
The fact is, SEO has a lot of moving parts that need to work together, and SEO constantly changes. SEO also involves setting up your website correctly from the beginning, and working on it over time to ensure it keeps up with the latest best practices expected from Google and other search engines.
This means that financial SEO is a lot of work and so it often pays off to have a financial marketing agency do the heavy lifting for you. Yet regardless of whether you wish to do your own SEO or outsource it, it helps to know what’s involved with SEO so that you know what work needs to be done on your website.
In this guide, our SEO team at CreativeAdviser shares some of the key steps involved with setting up a financial website for SEO, and maintaining/improving it over time. We hope you find this content helpful. If you’d like to discuss your own SEO strategy with us, please feel free to inquire and set up a free online consultation.
Choose a good URL
The address of your financial website (its URL) can still matter for SEO in 2021. You do not need to try and secure a URL like “oxfordfinancialplanner.co.uk”, since Google is much smarter than that now. However, it can help to accommodate one of your main target keywords in the URL. For instance, if you want your financial planning firm to rank well in Oxford and your company name is Red Chair, then you might look for domain names such as “redchairoxford” for your URL.
Set up with a reputable host
Many cheap hosting providers exist out there. Yet this typically involves sharing your website’s server with other websites, which can not only drag down your website’s speed but also present security issues.
Today in 2021, speed and security are key factors that search engines use to help determine a website’s position in the search results. Consider investing in a reputable hosting firm, therefore, with a dedicated server.
Use lean website design
On the subject of speed, it is easy to slow a website down significantly with “clunky code” and heft files (e.g. overly-large images). This can be particularly frustrating for users who are looking at your content via their smartphone.
If you are thinking about investing in a website design project soon, then consider asking the developer about their plans to create a “lean” build (whilst not cutting corners on quality). Be strategic, for instance, with your use of WordPress plugins. Some of these help improve your website speed, whilst others can slow it down.
When a user clicks onto a blog post on your website, what does the URL in the browsing bar look like? If it is very long and filled with unhelpful information (e.g. the publishing date), then consider shortening the URLs. Focus on including the target keyword in the URL, in some fashion, as this can help indicate to search engines what the content of the post is about.
Avoid duplicate content
Are there any pages on your financial website which look the same? Perhaps you have duplicate blog posts in your archive, or maybe your services pages or other pillar pages contain a lot of “copied and pasted” content. In general, this hurts your SEO. Original, useful content on each page shows that there is unique value to offer the visitor.
Review your links
It is quite likely that your website points to other websites in certain places – e.g. a blog post citing an external source. Having a healthy profile of internal and external links can be very helpful for your SEO as these help to build domain authority. However, broken links (i.e. those which point to a page that no longer exists, or has moved) will hurt your SEO. Make sure you check links regularly, therefore, and replace/remove any broken links if you find them.
Use meta information
When you publish a page or post onto your financial website, it needs to display “meta information” in the link displayed to users in their search engine results (to tell them what the page is about, and help them discern whether the page/post if what they are looking for). This means crafting an appropriate meta title and meta description for each page and post. Again, make sure each of these is original – not duplicated – and targets one or more of your main keywords.
Include alt tags
When you upload an image to your financial website – such as a featured image for a blog post – the search engines cannot “see” the image like a human can. Therefore, you need to include an accompanying “alt tag” which provides a description of the image content. Many financial firms miss out these alt tags, however, which can undermine your SEO – so make sure you include them!
It is important that your website does not simply sit idly on the internet. Having an active blog, for instance, shows that your website is not dormant and that it is continuing to add fresh, useful content to Google users. Consider investing in a content strategy for your financial website to keep it alive and well. As a good starting point, posting once per week (1,000 words) can help. Just make sure you are following the best practices described above – such as targeting one or more relevant keywords.