How Finance Companies Should Approach SEO
The financial industry is a sector that frequently undergoes change and development. New and established companies are constantly evolving to ensure they stay ahead of the competition in what can become a very saturated market. The primary factor that separates the best from the rest is visibility.
Our job as SEOs is to align our efforts with Google’s central organisational goal: To organise the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.
We can optimise web pages through on-page and technical solutions to ensure they have optimal search visibility. We are connecting a potential user who’s searching for your financial solution with the content itself.
If your offerings aren’t visible to potential users, it doesn’t matter how much value they provide — this is when an effective SEO strategy comes in to save the day. Combining SEO with a broader marketing strategy means your products/services have better organic visibility to attract a wider audience. Your website will also serve user queries and connect them with information.
In SEO, no two industries are the same. Therefore, having an effective SEO finance sector strategy will mean higher organic performance in critical areas across your business. Having experience working across different companies within the financial sector, below are my five main tips to boost your website’s visibility:
1. Help Google Understand: Avoiding Thin Content
It’s easy for millions of financial listing pages to fall into providing top-line information on the product or service itself. This can become a significant visibility issue if these pages are flagged with ‘thin content’ warnings. This can be due to a lack of copy or overuse of imagery. Google is struggling to understand the content and subject of your page, resulting in losing ranking positions to competitor listings.
Remember to implement an effective page structure using H1s, H2s, H3s, etc, including the primary keywords you wish to target for each page. Carrying out keyword research is vital at this stage to ensure you are capturing a wide range of primary search queries and also to ensure there is no internal competition between your pages.
Remember, an image might be worth a thousand words, but if Google can’t understand the information accompanying it, it might be worth 0.
2. STAND OUT in SERPs: Implementing Schema Markup
It’s always important to stay one step ahead of your competitors, particularly in finance. Whilst many deploy broad SEO strategies, it’s helpful to see where your business can be unique and stand out. Schema Markup is an excellent example of how you can do this.
Schema is structured data that helps search engines better understand the info on your website to serve rich results in SERPs. This allows search engines to see the meanings behind content mentioned on your site.
In the finance sector, there’s a variety of schema types available to tell Google exactly what the purpose of a web page is. You could be a loan provider, bank, insurance firm, or deal with currency conversion, and different types of financial schema will help you convey your page’s information more effectively. It can also improve a page’s click-through rate from users in organic search due to the rich search result often displayed on the SERP, catching the user’s attention. See the below examples of how some brands are using schema to show more information in SERPs:
To find out what schema would work effectively for your business, use the Schema.org Markup guide for Financial Institutions. This guide will allow you to identify your financial sector and choose relevant schema based on your existing on-page content.
More great Google tools for schema include Rich Results Test to show which Google rich results can be generated by the structured data on your page. Schema Markup Validator also checks for warnings and errors with your structured data.
3. Build Trust & Authority: Remember E-A-T Factors
The financial sector falls under money and health topics that Google holds to a higher standard when considering ranking positions. By providing expert advice content within different areas, financial companies can gain more page authority.
E-A-T in SEO stands for Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness. Demonstrating good E-A-T on your website can help improve Google rankings.
Using the example below, we can see the type of content Google values for expert opinions within a finance organisation.
This is where financial brands can look to build out secondary content in the form of articles and blogs to support the primary product or service pages. Using internal linking to link this content to relevant primary pages shows Google that we provide more relevant and important content than competitors.
This is an industry where this content plays a vital role in ranking and overall visibility.
4. Optimise Site Experience: Page Speed
Site Speed has always been a hot topic in SEO ever since Google confirmed it was an official ranking factor in 2018. For financial service websites, it’s a commonplace to use a wide range of page templates to cater for the numerous service listings that a company provides. Now more than ever, it’s vital for financial companies to provide a great page experience for Google and the user.
After all, Google’s research has shown that: “The probability of bounce increases 32% as page load time goes from 1 second to 3 seconds.” Additionally, page speed could be the defining reason a thousand stocks and shares listing pages using one template are ranking on the 1st page in search results or just outside. Two things to remember:
- Ensure your website has a set number of web page templates and that these are optimised for the user’s web experience.
- Run pages through Google’s tool PageSpeedInsights to evaluate scores for main page speed metrics and solutions to improve core web vitals scores.
Read our guide to all things page speed related.
Last and by all means not least…
5. Test Test Test: Implementing SEO Strategies
A vital element of SEO across any industry is ensuring the strategies you put in place are tested so that they can be rolled out to a broader portion of web pages. Across financial brands that have a wide range of essential page listings in different categories, it’s crucial that when optimisations are implemented, the pages that are used have:
- Mid-level traffic (in relation to other pages in the same category)
- Sit just outside or around the first page in SERPs from each category (around 10th)
This is to ensure that we eliminate any risks of losing positions and traffic from high performing pages. Whilst at the same time, choose pages that have enough traffic and are ranking well enough that we can see results sooner rather than later.
I recommended using Google Search Console to filter URL subfolders and handpick web pages that meet these requirements to test on.
Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day, and it’s better to be safe than sorry. Especially with high converting financial web pages.
Are you a finance brand looking to kickstart your SEO strategy? Get in touch with our team!
Robbie McIvor, 30/05/2022