Today we’re going to take a closer look at SEO elements essential in the financial industry. You’ll learn why aspects such as valuable and high-quality content, properly structured URLs as well as an appropriate selection of keywords are a must. Discover the secrets of SEO for financial institutions!
It might be extremely difficult to outdo your competition on the market if you run a company in the financial industry. If you aim at increasing traffic to your website and reaching a wider range of potential clients, you should take care of SEO of the site. In our today’s entry we’ll tell you what’s worth paying attention to when it comes to doing SEO for the financial sector.
The character of the financial industry
The financial industry is characterized by a unique specificity consisting mainly in building trust between the client and the financial institution. It results primarily from the fact that money is the main object of the transactions and as you probably know, money rules the world or at least the economic world. Therefore, any activities related to financial matters require a special approach.
What to keep in mind when doing SEO for the financial industry?
The financial industry is far from having a good reputation and enjoying widespread trust among people. When you need a loan, insurance or want to set up a bank account, you certainly won’t check solely the first search results but instead you’ll probably do a thorough analysis of the services offered by various financial institutions. So, if you want to improve traffic to your website, you should put emphasis not only on the activities that would increase your position in the search results, but also on a positive reception and greater trust of your potential clients.
You also need to bear in mind that the financial industry is under the special supervision of Google. The websites that offer services in this particular sector belong to the so-called YMYL group (Your Money or Your Life) which underwent a major revolution in August 2018 when Google introduced its newest updates. The update focused on three features known as E.A.T. which stands for expertise, authority and trust. Since then, the abovementioned features have become a determinant which measures value and quality of the websites.
Moreover, companies operating in the financial industry are also under strict control of the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Federal Trade Commission, therefore it’s extremely important to observe the rules for advertising loans and other financial services in marketing materials, as well as in the content posted inside and outside the website.
Why does SEO matter in the financial industry?
According to the MOZ tool, the keyword “bank” is searched for from 30.3 to 70.8 thousand times a month. Users who search for this phrase near one of our locations are at the same time our potential clients. However, search results offer them thousands of possibilities and institutions to choose from.
Whatever your business, SEO is the best way to improve search engine traffic. However, due to the emergence of internet banking, SEO is much more important for financial institutions than for other local companies such as dentists or construction companies. Thanks to properly conducted SEO activities, you can attract potential clients from all over the world but you shouldn’t forget that at the same time you compete with local financial institutions. Below you’ll find three main reasons proving that SEO for the financial industry is a must.
Better conversion rate
Increasing your website traffic is really important, however, it won’t bring you any benefits without conversion. Users should not only go through the content of your site, they should also feel seduced into taking a loan or setting up a bank account. And this is when organic SEO traffic comes in handy – statistically speaking, it’s responsible for as much as 64% of the total website traffic. The remaining 36% comes from paid or direct search and social media. It means that organic SEO traffic can give you much more conversion than any other traffic type.
Improved Return on Investment (ROI)
Moreover, organic SEO traffic enables you to improve your return on investment. Users find organic search results to be much more reliable and trustworthy than advertisements. Additionally, SEO is significantly cheaper than any form of advertising.
More stable website traffic
Traffic to your website equals bigger number of potential clients and an increased chance of conversion. Even the most prominent offer won’t attract clients and won’t be profitable, unless there is satisfactory traffic to your site. There are numerous ways to improve this factor, however, SEO is undoubtedly the most effective solution. A website with proper SEO will attract more users. This, in turn, will result in the increase in organic traffic to the site and this, on the other hand, (as we’ve mentioned above) will directly affect your ROI and conversion rate.
How to use SEO to improve traffic to the websites of financial institutions?
Below you’ll find the most essential elements that need to be borne in mind when doing SEO for the websites of financial institutions.
Selecting appropriate keywords
The first step to take is to choose appropriate keywords. SEO for the financial industry isn’t a piece of cake, therefore, at the beginning you need to consider which keywords and key phrases are most frequently typed in the search engine and which of them are the most likely to increase traffic to your website. When choosing your keywords, try to avoid single, grammatically incorrect or very complex phrases.
When you enter “financial advisor” into the search engine, you’ll get approximately 471 000 000 search results. When we deal with such a great number of search results, it’s practically infeasible to reach the first page in the SERPs. Consequently, it’s a much better idea to do SEO for long tail phrases such as “financial advisor Chicago” which gives 52 500 000 search results and such a number significantly facilitates the process of improving your position in the SERPs.
When you’re about to pick keywords for your website you can take advantage of tools that make this process noticeably easier. The most popular tools for selecting keywords include:
- Senuto (com)
- Google keyword planner (https://ads.google.com/intl/en_uk/home/tools/keyword-planner/)
- SEMrush (com)
- Google Trends (https://trends.google.com/trends/?geo=US)
If you choose keywords for the website, remember that they should be related to the services offered by your company. Selecting key phrases that have nothing to do with your business can only increase your bounce rate.
Once you’ve created your keyword list, it’s time to optimize your website to improve your position in the search results and to get more traffic.
1. A friendly URL
The URL of a website affects how convenient it is to use and how potential clients perceive it. The website address is one of the first things seen by the search engine robots and users. A well-thought out URL helps both users and the search engine to understand the structure of the site, and thus to see how specific subpages are linked to each other.
In your URL include the keywords which are the most important for your site and try not to overuse any unnecessary characters. For example, if your company offers various kinds of loans, you should create a separate subpage for each type and include the name of the loan type in the URL (e.g. exemplarybank.com/mortgage-loan). This solution will not only enable better indexing of your site but it’ll also reduce your bounce rate.
2. Optimizing your title and meta description
The title tag is simply the title of the website that appears in the search results. It’s worth following the principles below when optimizing it:
- The title should be about 50-60 characters.
- Each subpage should have a unique title.
- Don’t include keywords in the title, if they don’t fit. Choose one most important word for each subpage.
- Put the most important keyword at the very beginning of the title, thanks to that, you’ll increase the probability of being displayed high in the search results for this particular phrase.
- Place the name of the company at the end of the title to increase the brand recognition.
Meta description is a description displayed under the title in the search results. It can be maximally 160 characters long, therefore you need to think carefully what to include in it to provide users with as much information as possible. The description should be natural and it should encourage people to visit your website. It’s a good idea to include there the most relevant keywords, however, don’t make it at a push.
Make sure that your heading tags – H1, H2 and H3 – include keywords, their variations and inflectional endings. This is one of the ways to ensure that the content of your website matches the keywords you want to do SEO for.
The most important keyword of the website should be placed in the H1 tag and it should be close to the beginning of the heading. However, when creating the content of your headings, you ought to follow the same instructions as when creating the title or meta description. Including keywords in the headings is an advantage on condition that they look natural. Place your keywords in the other heading tags as well when creating the rest of the website content.
4. Valuable and optimized content
Content is a vital part of the website which is necessary not only when it comes to the SEO process. Above all, it can be extremely helpful for the users.
When doing SEO for the financial industry, you need to make sure that descriptions of the services offered on your website are precise and comprehensible for an average user. Remember to incorporate keywords in your website content as it may result in your website being displayed higher in the search results and consequently, you’ll reach more potential clients.
If you want to build trust and be perceived as an expert, you should consider running a blog with posts and articles explaining the most complicated concepts from the financial industry in a straightforward way. As a consequence, you’ll reach not only the ones interested in taking a loan or setting up a bank account but also the ones seeking for a piece of financial advice. This will improve your brand image and make you a real master in the field.
5. Optimized photos and graphics
Posting pictures on your website is a great way to draw users’ attention and to involve them more. Moreover, taking advantage of photos gives you extra possibilities to include keywords.
When you publish a photo on your website, you can edit alternative descriptions to your graphics. Remember to place there the most important keywords. Thanks to that, you’ll certainly be ranked higher in the search results and you’ll facilitate the indexing process.
The financial industry can be described as highly competitive. Therefore, doing SEO for general phrases like “a bank” or “a financial advisor” without using your location is rather pointless and wearisome. If you want to be displayed on the top pages of the search results, you need to adopt a local SEO strategy.
First and foremost, select appropriate key phrases. If you offer financial services and come from Chicago, you can safely do SEO for such phrases as “a financial advisor Chicago” or “mortgage loan Chicago”. Phrases constructed this way, meaning those consisting of the name of the industry or services offered and the city in which you operate, should be placed on the homepage of the website.
If you aim at reaching a wider group of potential clients and you want to be displayed in the search results even when people look for services in other cities, you need to create separate landing pages where you should post content with keywords including the names of the cities you want to do SEO for.
Geolocation is another extremely important element of local SEO. It’s responsible for determining your current location and displaying only the personalized search results which match the provided information. So, for example, if you type “a bank” into your search engine, you’ll be shown only these institutions that are the closest to your location. If you want your site to be displayed to users this way, you need to ensure that you provide the search engine with information about the city where you run your business.
In order to do this, you need to create and optimize your listing in Google My Business, add NAP information to the website and mark it with a schema tag. Thanks to the business listing on Google, you’ll be displayed not only in the classic search results but also in Google Maps which will significantly increase your chances of reaching more potential clients.
An exemplary business listing in Google My Business.
A proper link building strategy is another key factor when it comes to doing SEO for the financial industry. However, you should keep in mind that it’s a very complex process that requires compliance with the relevant rules. First of all, you need to ensure that your backlinks are as natural as possible.
The best way to get links in the financial sector is to publish them in high quality industry websites or thematic blogs. Additionally, such activities will contribute to building your brand image and expertise in the field.
It’ll be very valuable for the website to be mentioned on other high domain authority sites. This will not only increase your website recognition but also improve your domain authority in Google rankings and multiply the chances of attracting new clients.
What does it look like in real life?
Although effective SEO for companies from the financial industry is extremely challenging as Google automatically has less confidence in them, it’s not impossible to be ranked higher in the search results or to increase traffic to your website. And the success of one of our clients, Money24.es, proves it perfectly. That website operates on the Spanish market and it deals with presenting and comparing offers of fast cash loans over the Internet. At the beginning of our cooperation, the organic traffic to the site (GA data) equaled 6 and accounted for 1.1% of all traffic, therefore we needed to build traffic to the website from scratch.
We started from selecting appropriate keywords and we made our choice on the basis of external tools, information from the website and consultations with the client. At the beginning we picked 40 phrases for long tail SEO. We also optimized the content of the website for specific keywords. We wanted to gradually improve their position in the search results and to generate more and more impressions. Moreover, we got rid of incorrect internal linking.
From the very beginning of our cooperation we’ve put emphasis on link building – we were selecting only high-performance domains which helped us to obtain the following results:
By taking the right steps, we’ve contributed to the increase in:
- organic traffic
- the number of impressions and clicks
- the visibility of the website in Google.es
For more detailed information on the activities and effects of SEO for this particular website, go to the Money24.es case study.
The take-home message
Doing SEO for the financial industry is a challenging and tedious task as without a shadow of a doubt, this sector belongs to the group of the most problematic ones. Numerous competition on the market, clients’ trust issues and strict Google’s control are the reasons why we need to be really cautious when conducting any SEO activities. An appropriate strategy may bring satisfactory results, however, you need to know that it’ll take some time.