SEO for financial services

If done right, SEO can help your financial services firm boost credibility and land new customers. Read on to learn more about:

What is financial services SEO?

Financial services SEO is a key digital marketing strategy for the finance and banking sector to help prospects find their websites via search engine results pages. In other words, SEO for financial services company helps drive natural traffic to your financial services site by tapping into relevant organic searches. In order to rank, you’ll have to offer useful content, ensure your site is healthy and secure, and earn valuable backlinks from high-authority sites.

But as a financial services provider, you’re likely to face extra scrutiny from visitors and search engines alike. You must go the extra mile to ensure your SEO content is up to scratch. After all, you’re expecting people to entrust you with their fortunes.

What are the benefits of improving SEO for financial services?

Financial services providers can gain a lot by improving their organic visibility across important searches. Here are just a few key benefits.

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Increased traffic

The most direct outcome of a well-executed SEO strategy is an increase in the amount of organic visitors to your site. As you rank higher for important keywords, more and more people will see and click through to your site in order to read your content.

Better conversions

The more visitors to your site, the more of them you can eventually hope to convert to paying customers. SEO tends to be one of the best-converting traffic channels, because it relies on pulling in actively interested people instead of trying to capture their attention with paid ads.

Improved branding

As your financial services company starts showing up for more searches, more people will become aware of it. Soon, they’ll be associating your brand with being a major player in the field of finance. In time, if your on-site content truly delivers what they’re looking for, you’ll also strengthen your brand credibility by positioning yourself as a reliable expert.

What are the SEO challenges within financial services?

When it comes to SEO, the financial services industry faces a number of somewhat unique challenges.

Increasingly competitive landscape

The growth within the Fintech and financial services sector shows no signs of slowing. The finance space is also becoming increasingly fragmented as numerous smaller players and software-as-a-service providers enter the market.

Gaining organic visibility in this saturated space requires content that is consistently outstanding and fully satisfies the needs of a well-defined target audience.

Increased focus on SEO for lead generation

SEO has also proven itself as a reliable source of high-quality B2B leads. Because of this, a growing number of established players in financial services are turning to SEO for their lead generation.

This means any given company within the industry must work extra hard to rank and capture the mindshare of potential customers.

High topic complexity

Deciding how to invest your savings or which insurance plan to pick, for example, are often complicated and stressful decisions. Because of this, financial services content has to rise well above the level of superficial filler in order to truly address customer needs.

As a financial services provider, your SEO success will rest on your ability to dive into complex topics that require a deep understanding of the subject matter. In addition to this, you’ll be expected to explain difficult concepts in simple terms that your potential customers can understand.

Stricter content quality requirements

Most content within the financial services context will fall under the so-called “Your Money Or Your Life” (YMYL) umbrella. This is content that can potentially affect a person’s health, safety, happiness, or financial stability.

It makes sense. Picking the wrong type of health insurance based on poor content is far more damaging than picking the wrong brand of coffee maker. As such, financial services companies by default have more responsibility when it comes to content.

Google will hold YMYL pages up to a higher quality standard and is likely to only elevate the absolute best content to the top of search engine results pages.

Financial services SEO done right

So how do you go about improving your SEO as a provider of financial services? Here are 10 tips to get you started.

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1. Check your current SEO

To start with, it helps to understand the current state of your site’s SEO. This will give you an idea of how much work is needed to fix your existing pages, identify new opportunities, and so on.

You can always tackle this by manually evaluating each area of your site against SEO best practices. But to speed things up, you might want to use an SEO checker tool that automatically performs these kinds of audits and tells you where to focus your efforts.

2. Perform a content audit

The next step is a full audit of your existing site content. Look at your key YMYL pages and ask the following:

  • Are they truly helpful and sufficiently detailed?
  • Are they up to date (e.g. are there any new regulations that aren’t covered)?
  • Are they well-structured and skimmable (e.g. do they use clear, natural headings)?
  • Are they easy to read and understand for your target audience?
  • Do they have unique and engaging meta titles and descriptions (this is what users will see on Google before deciding to even click through to your page)?
  • Is there any duplicate content across your site?

Fixing your existing content is usually a low-effort, high-value activity and the quickest way to nudge your site upwards in search.

3. Do your keyword research

Once you’ve improved your existing pages, you can move on to identifying new content opportunities. This takes the form of keyword research, which can be done using a third-party SEO tool.

What you’re looking for are topics and keywords that:

  • Users are actively researching (e.g. they have a high monthly search volume)
  • Are related to your core financial services business
  • Your company can reliably address

When doing your research, pay attention to the search intent behind the keyword. Are people comparison shopping? Are they actively interested in buying a specific type of service? Are they simply looking for information about how a certain financial concept works?

This research will inform the rest of your SEO strategy and help you map out your content plan.

4. Make a competitor analysis

Next comes the competitor analysis.

You need to understand who your main organic competitors are. These may not always be your direct industry competitors. For instance, you may discover that there’s a Fintech startup selling a product that competes with one of your service offerings and shows up on Google for relevant keywords.

Once you have the full list of your search traffic competition, review their content and ask the following:

  • What are they doing especially well? Where do they come up short?
  • How does your content compare against theirs for specific topics? Can you do better?
  • Can you spot any content gaps? For instance, are there any long-tail keywords that competitors don’t address, where you can realistically claim the top search position?

5. Create educational content for your users

You will undoubtedly have company-focused pages on your site describing your financial services, pricing, and so on. But the key to real SEO success is to provide users with in-depth educational content that doesn’t have any direct selling intent.

Finance-related subjects are often overwhelming for the average person. Many of them will be looking for guidance and advice. By helping your users with their problems, you'll also be improving your SEO in parallel.

Here are just some benefits of focusing on educational content:

  • It helps Google better understand and rank your site for semantically relevant searches
  • It positions you as an authority within the field of financial services
  • You improve your chances of getting external links, because websites are far more likely to link out to helpful educational content than to outright sales pages
  • You provide upfront value to your potential customers, making it easier to convert them as leads down the line

6. Improve your E-A-T

On a related note, you must also pay attention to E-A-T for your site and content. E-A-T is Google’s terminology that stands for “Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness.” It’s used by Google raters to evaluate the quality of a website, and it’s especially relevant in the context of YMYL pages.

According to E-A-T, your content must demonstrate true expertise in the subject matter, your company must be considered an authority by others, and your information should be trustworthy.

There’s no quick way to “hack” your E-A-T standing. You must provide quality content and build your reputation over time, gaining valuable external links from trusted sources in the process. But here are a few relatively straightforward ways to improve your chances:

  • Make sure you have detailed and helpful “Contact” and “About Us” pages. This demonstrates transparency and accountability.
  • Use author pages, author bios, and social media profiles to underscore your experts’ professional credentials (e.g. it helps if your content is written by a financial advisor with 20+ years of real-world experience).
  • Solicit unbiased customer reviews and share these on your site in order to build trust.
  • Try to acquire links from reputable sources to your valuable educational content.

7. Check your technical SEO

Technical SEO mainly refers to your site’s crawlability and indexability when it comes to automated site crawlers. It’s too broad a field to tackle here in full, but it’s primarily about improving your site architecture to help search engines and users discover your key pages.

Here are a few ways you can do this:

  • Make sure your primary pages are indexable (i.e. they don’t use a “noindex” tag)
  • Have an XML sitemap that lists all of your key pages
  • Use canonical tags to point to the “master” version of a page if it’s duplicated elsewhere
  • Improve your navigation menu to make your top content categories easily accessible
  • Use internal links to channel users between related pages

8. Focus on speed and mobile optimisation

Online visitors expect pages to load fast. Slow websites are therefore terrible for user experience and on-site conversions. It’s important to identify and fix any slow loading pages or sitewide issues that prevent content from showing up quickly.

Similarly, you must make sure that your site is optimised for mobile users. That’s because more than half of all online traffic now comes from mobile devices. Your site should load quickly on a mobile network, scale properly to any screen size, and be easy to navigate via touchscreens.

Because of their importance, Google takes your site speed and mobile friendliness into account when ranking your pages. So focusing on these two areas is as critical for SEO as it is for your overall user experience.

9. Improve your local SEO

Users often search for nearby companies when seeking information or considering a purchase. As such, you should pay attention to your local SEO and identify location-specific keywords to rank for. For example, a search like “financial advisers in London” will be relevant to a London-based investment firm providing guidance on people’s finances.

If your company has offices in multiple cities, you should make sure each location claims its own separate Google My Business page. This gives you control over how your company information is structured, which contact details are displayed, and even lets you invite local customer reviews to improve your rating.

10. Track and improve your off-page SEO

Off-page SEO refers to everything that happens outside your own site but may impact its search rank. This primarily deals with backlinks from external sources but can also include discussions of your company on social media, unlinked brand mentions, and so on. Unlike your site, off-page SEO factors are not under your direct control.

Nevertheless, it’s important to monitor any off-page SEO activity and take steps to improve it. If you notice your brand listed on a site without a link, reach out to the site owner and ask for a backlink. Once your educational content is in place, you can embark on a dedicated outreach campaign to acquire relevant backlinks from reputable websites in your industry or financial niche.

SEO KPIs for financial services

In order to evaluate whether your SEO strategy is a success, you must keep an eye on a few relevant KPIs. These include:

  • SEO rank (per page): Which positions do your pages show up in for key search terms identified during keyword research?
  • Impressions: How many times are your pages actually seen by users searching for relevant terms?
  • Organic traffic: How many people come to your site via search engines?
  • Engagement metrics: This includes things like time on page, pages per session, and bounce rage (i.e. people leaving your site after seeing just one page)
  • Conversions from organic traffic: This includes both hard conversions (purchasing your service) and soft conversions (e.g. subscribing to a newsletter or watching a “how to” video)
  • SEO Score: Platforms like Siteimprove give you a combined score to measure your SEO

Siteimprove SEO: an enterprise SEO platform for financial services

Growing the organic presence of your site relies on many different activities across separate organisational areas. One way to consolidate and speed up your SEO efforts is to use a platform like Siteimprove SEO.

Siteimprove SEO is an all-in-one suite of tools that can help financial service providers prioritise, control, and evaluate their SEO campaigns. It can help you:

  • Run automated SEO audits that evaluate over 70+ on-page factors
  • Benchmark SEO performance via a proprietary SEO Score (from 1 to 100)
  • Get SEO audit split into four major subcategories: mobile, technical, content, and user experience
  • Receive a prioritised list of fixes that helps you tackle the most pressing SEO issues first
  • Estimate the difficulty of each SEO task in order to better allocate internal resources
  • Easily optimise on-page content for search engines
  • Automate keyword discovery, research, and monitoring
  • Locate duplicate content with a single click
  • Understand your competitors and their ranking to help position your own content against theirs
  • Correct issues directly in your own CMS thanks to leading CMS integrations.
  • Set up your own custom plans and reporting to support your specific SEO strategy

If you’re ready to improve the organic presence of your financial services company, consider Siteimprove SEO to scale up your efforts.