FINANCIAL WEBSITE SEO

Matthew Carter
Hello friends, my name is Matthew Carter. I’m a professional link builder for a large SEO agency in New York City.

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Plus strategic SEO service companies offers a lot of other benefits that companies and webmasters might struggle to get on their own with SEO for finance:

Content is king, especially in marketing for financial services where brand authority and perceived legitimacy are very important.

This option is more involved – but many FSI companies will find that search traffic is so important, and the ROI so tempting that it makes good business sense to hire an agency for finance SEO.

Content that is expert, authoritative, and trustworthy is not only better for search performance, but it can help improve brand reputation, plus – when the customer’s end goal is in mind – it can help move visitors through the funnel toward conversion. Google describes this idea as “needs met” where high-quality content can be described as meeting the needs of visitors based on their “search intent” and which will get them where they want to go.

Many experienced marketers see info content/blogs as their own stand-alone styles of marketing. 70% of marketers are investing in content marketing, and nearly 1/4th actually want to increase their content marketing output.

Data and Analytics.

All of this is crucial for finance SEO where brands want to focus on removing barriers to conversion, and on easing people along the shopping funnel. Analytics data for SEO lets marketers know which keywords perform well and which ones don’t.

This is just an example, but very broad and sort of vague top-of-the-funnel searches like this have much less clear intent – so search engines will show broader results with the hope of getting searchers what they want. This is why “search intent” is so important – and it means, in the world of SEO marketing for financial services, businesses will have to think about what sort of content they can create to get themselves here – since their nav-bar/conversion pages are less likely to show up for these search terms.

The financial services market is one of the single largest in the world. In 2018 it represented more than 7% of total U.S. gross domestic product, comprising tens of millions of jobs and trillions in revenue.

SEO for finance companies hinges particularly on high-quality content – simply having content isn’t enough. Businesses should aim to have EAT content – which stands for “Expert, Authoritative, and Trustworthy.” There’s no exact definition for what EAT friendly content for Google is – but their search quality evaluator guidelines help give guidance on what makes content good for SEO.

Internet marketing and even SEO for finance companies is set to become crucial as now 71% of FSI organizations indicate they intend to increase their digital marketing spend; plus more than 1 in 3 want to prioritize better customer targeting, and more than 3/4ths of all FSI companies are more likely to emphasize the “customer journey” in their marketing – meaning that finance SEO and the “SEO sales funnel” will be core to sustained online growth and finding marketing qualified leads (MQLs).

Although there’s no direct algorithm “ranking signal” for YMYL, the search engine’s algorithm can treat specific topics differently if it knows they are finance related – all with the goal of making sure searchers see only the most accurate and honest results in the search results page (SERP).

Marketing for financial services means robust and competitive multi-channel marketing campaigns to keep up with competition across sectors like banking, wealth management, insurance, accounting, stocks, mutual funds, and more. One of the biggest forms of digital marketing includes finance SEO.

In the example below, Intuit was able to focus instead on keywords involving “small business” “online” accounting software for traffic that’s easier to get and more likely to convert.

A lot financial services organizations and companies focus on business-to-business services and commercial site traffic. But this doesn’t make SEO any less important, afterall 57% of business-to-business marketers believe that SEO generates more leads than other marketing strategies.

In this case, the keyword research phase of search engine optimization is the most important since it means finding keywords that are specifically B2B focused and that demonstrate intent from business/commercial searchers.

SEO with “EAT” content.

Good title tags should:

3 out of 4 marketers claim that improving their SEO is their primary goal. So brands that ignore search engine optimization will be the first to lose out.

Google alone gets nearly 6 billion searches every day – and improving rankings for high-value search terms means more clicks and more traffic for every business. The average click-through-rate for the #1 position on Google is 19.3% and that CTR drops to nearly half for the #2 spot with just 10%. It’s the most popular method of internet marketing on the planet, and accounts for close to half of all online revenue.

This means websites that are heavily focused on topics regarding people’s wellbeing, their finances, their health, safety and more. SEO for YMYL websites is especially important in FSI marketing since it applies to financial sector topics like investing, banking, finance-legalities/taxation, certifications, etc.

Google gives some insight on why title tags are so important – in SEO for finance companies, it’s a good idea to make sure they also fit with concepts like YMYL and freshness. Accurate, descriptive, and not misleading.

Meta descriptions should be written with the same strategies in mind, they should indicate what the page is about, provide the info that people might be looking for – and they should feature important keywords. Afterall, pages with custom meta descriptions have about 5.85% more clicks than those without.

Marketing with SEO for finance companies means relying on much broader traffic – specifically for long-tail keywords that match not just your conversion focused landing pages – but also low-level blogs and info pages.

B2B marketing for financial services.

Why hire an SEO company? The numbers and the strong ROI of SEO means it’s not really optional, search traffic is so important that it shouldn’t be ignored, but a lot of businesses don’t have the time, expertise, or resources to keep up with it. In the past year alone there have been 10 major Google algorithm updates, with dozens of minor ones – usually only experts can keep up.

Companies can improve their finance SEO strategies by:

Learn More.

Search traffic is the single largest source of web traffic there is – so it’s no wonder that SEO’s return on investment is the highest of any type of digital marketing.

They are also one of the best ways of doing “inbound SEO” which means marketing to individuals that are already interested in your brand’s services/content and just need to find it easily. That can mean a finance SEO strategy with greater conversions and greater ROI.

Blogs are one of the single best ways of driving trafficking to your site. As part of marketing for financial services, blogs/info articles should be based on long-tail and specific keywords from the keyword research phase – and combined with concepts like “EAT” and “search intent” brands can create content that is high-quality, educational and detailed.

Backlinks are one of the single most important ranking factors in search engines – and “link neighborhoods” are crucial to building rankings for important industry related keywords. The only problem is that there’s no way to manually or intentionally grow backlinks.

Thankfully, Bing/Yahoo search engines function largely the same way that Google does – with a few differences.

Off-page SEO is absolutely critical to your search engine optimization success. That’s why Terakeet has invested millions of dollars building our own SEO platform to discover and connect with a database of more than 9 million online publishers. Those hyper-relevant backlinks are one of the four pillars of our Enterprise SEO program.

JP Morgan Chase & Co. produces an engaging podcast series called My Next Move with JP Morgan. In one episode, the company features Michael Liersch, a behavioral scientist and head of Goals-Based Advice & Strategy at J.P. Morgan Asset & Wealth Management. He explores the principles of behavioral finance to help people understand their investing and spending behaviors and achieve their financial goals.

How unique are these considerations? Well, let’s start with Google’s 2018 Medic Algorithm Update. The update targeted “Your Money, Your Life” (YMYL) websites specifically. In addition, Google’s quality raters began to hold YMYL sites to higher Page Quality (PQ) standards.

You can adjust your content itself, too, to accommodate the needs of voice searchers. Consider adding a Q&A section to your website, such as Ellevest does in its online magazine’s #AskSallie articles. Ellevest’s articles have covered everything from “Should I invest my bonus right away or over time?” to “Should I share the amount of money I make with my kids?” to “How should I think about my financial goals for 2019?”

Privacy is paramount for financial planning SEO success. However, being too private with your website can be a detriment to your SEO efforts. Some financial services companies keep content behind a firewall, reserved for those logged into the site. The intent is good, but Google can’t crawl anything behind a firewall! If Google can’t crawl it, well…there’s no opportunity for that content to be found, ultimately hurting your SEO results.

Always provide value.

Find the stages and situations that are most likely to reflect those of your target audience. Then, do SEO keyword research and produce helpful content for each of these stages. For example:

Increased monthly organic enrollments by 553% within 19 months.

Google places a strong emphasis on quality content and topic authority within the financial sector. As a result, your content strategy is critical to the health of your organic search performance. For your financial institution, advice should either come from or be vetted by the experts like this post from NerdWallet by Gregory Karp, personal finance writer and author of two books on finance.

For a list of commonly asked questions surrounding compliance with financial services PPC and advertising regulations overall, check out the FINRA FAQ.

Adam Connell, Founder of Startup Bonsai, told us “One of the biggest challenges that banks face is trust,” and websites like NerdWallet and Bankrate are winning because they prioritize publishing content that fosters trust.

On-page SEO techniques are about much more than fixing technical issues. They also include optimizing content for a specific keyword or group of keywords. It’s important to choose search terms based on search volume, alignment with searcher intent, competition, relevance, and funnel stage. If each page targets a unique keyword group, it’s less likely that you’ll have thin, duplicate content.

Building conversion funnels in your website is a great start, but to truly reduce silos and create a happy customer, you’ll want to integrate the digital journey into a full omnichannel strategy. That means letting your customers pick up where they left off as they move from platform to platform. This requires a joint effort between the UX and content teams to make it all come together seamlessly.

Video marketing lets you break down complex topics into easily digestible 2-10 minute videos to attract and engage a broader audience.

Let’s take a closer look at the individual components of SEO for financial advisors.

Do your website’s URLs look something like this:

How to leverage video.

Robert believes that banks should view content strategy as a core function of their business, not just a siloed marketing vehicle. According to Rose, banks need to “develop a strategy that includes content creation, management, activation, and measurement.”

You can find the latest schema options as well as a historical record of Schema.org markup options here. Additionally, Google’s Structured Data Markup Helper Tool as well as their Testing Tool are useful for developing and implementing schema properly.

Another thing that sets content strategy apart for financial institutions is their unique customer segments. While retail companies might be able to define a niche target audience, the financial services sector is far more likely to target a broad swathe of the population with needs that vary depending on life stage.

Rule 2210 states that “Retail communication” includes “any written communication, including electronic, distributed or made available to more than 25 retail investors within any 30 calendar-day period.” FINRA has compiled a list of commonly asked questions about Rule 2210, along with the body’s responses and guidance.

We asked Robert Rose, Chief Strategy Officer for The Content Advisory, for his thoughts on how banks can improve trust through content.

The stringent quality and trust standards that both search engines and customers will be holding you to make for a challenge, but the good news is, you already have a wealth of expertise upon which to capitalize.

Another effective way to use video is to interview your own experts, as well as those outside the company, delivering valuable, helpful insights to your audience.

How SEO for financial advisors and services is different.

Video is a highly effective way to communicate with your audience. Yet 90% of financial firms have no video content. This is in stark contrast to the way that consumers and businesses consume information. People watch over one billion hours on YouTube every single day. Via mobile alone, YouTube reaches more adults between the ages of 18-49 during prime time than any cable network.

FINRA Rule 2210 categorizes communications as: (1) retail communication, (2) correspondence, or (3) institutional communication. These categorizations carry important implications. So it’s critical to understand each category so your online marketing strategy remains in compliance.

Or, you can segment the life stages by age, as Voya does with retirement planning:

Saxo Bank uses video in an innovative way, providing a morning analysis of the financial markets and preparing clients for the upcoming trading day every business day in its Morning Call video series.

Allowing customers to review their experience and displaying the results on your website is an easy, unobtrusive way to generate trust. Bonus: if you use schema markup to pull rich snippets of your online reviews and display them in the SERPs, you’ll take up more real estate in the search results, build trust from within the SERPs and improve click-throughs to your website.

According to the Digital Growth Institute, only 16% of banks and credit unions have a documented digital customer journey. This represents a huge opportunity to differentiate your brand by providing relevant and compelling products, information and support to your prospects start-to-finish throughout their customer journey. Every stage should provide a clear path to the next step, whether the customer is on your home page, a credit card page or blog content.

Another effective means to attract third party links is to create custom visual content that they can re-use. This may take the form of an infographic, data visualization and analysis, presentation, research report, or video, for example.

Connect with online publishers and influencers within your industry. Ask them if they’d like to share your content or if they’d like you to write a new complementary piece. Or alternatively, you can offer an interview with your one of your financial advisors on a relevant topic.

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