Until recently, face-to-face relationship management remained one of the best avenues for financial services organizations looking to secure new business and grow.
But the events of 2020 appear to have initiated a gradual shift in attitudes,
In The Future of Finance Report by Capital on Tap, CCO of CountingUp Andrew Garvey declared:
“Financial services have changed irrevocably as a result of the pandemic. Face-to-face interactions and transactions are becoming a thing of the past.”
Paired with this slight movement away from traditional in-person interactions, last year saw a surge in interest around SEO for financial services.
This same report by Capital on Tap also revealed that keyword data from the month of April to June showed a 125% increase in the number of Google searches for ‘business finance management’.
In 2021, it’s time for financial services firms to invest their time, effort and budget into new ways of getting their name in front of prospective customers.
SEO: a foundational pillar of digital marketing
One of the most powerful and cost-effective ways to do that is through Search Engine Optimization, or SEO.
The better you perform in terms of SEO, the more people will find you and your content through Google, as it appears to be what they are searching for.
(Ranking for paid search is a different ballgame, which we’ll cover another time).
Today, SEO is far more complicated than it used to be.
Each area brings its own complexities, so ultimately, the complete picture of SEO for financial services is too deep a hat for us to unpack in one blog.
But what we can do is unveil a few quick wins to exponentially improve your SEO performance—minimal resources and technical expertise required.
1. Update your old content in line with SEO
Content creation boasts incredible ROI for financial services businesses, as far as digital marketing results are concerned (in fact, we talked about in a previous blog).
The only problem is, it’s time consuming.
If you’re yet to have finalized your content strategy, or you currently don’t have the resource to produce the content you need, focus on updating and optimising what you already have.
Google Search Console is the perfect tool to help you do this, as it shows you how your site content is performing, and which keywords your content is already ranking for (and it’s FREE).
Take a look at the keywords you’re already ranking well for, think about where else on your site they might be relevant, and work them into your old content.
Just make sure that every time you retrofit a particular word or phrase, the sentence still feels natural and makes sense.
And if you can add in any new insights on the topic that weren’t relevant or existent at the time, even better.
2. Pep up your titles and meta descriptions
Another thing Google Search Console shows you is the amount of impressions—meaning the number of times your content has been seen—versus the percentage of people clicking through to it.
If you have content that is getting a good amount of impressions, but a relatively low percentage of click throughs, then it is probably in need of a better title and meta description.
For those not entirely sure what we’re referring to, see below:-
This is part art, part science. You’re looking to strike that balance between making your headline as irresistible as possible, without degrading the substance and value of the piece.
Aim for a captivating headline, not a clickbait headline.
(And if you haven’t inserted keywords into your title and meta description already, do that too.)
3. Improve your site speed
Site performance is an area which tends to make the standard of SEO for financial services particularly low when compared to other sectors.
Page loading is an often overlooked but nevertheless a critical factor of search performance.
According to data from Strange Loop, even a mere one-second delay in page load time can result in a 7% drop in conversions.
If any part of your website is slow to load, you’re placing yourself into a vicious cycle in terms of SEO.
When a page is slow to load, visitors lose patience and leave. Once this happens enough, Google recognizes that the page has an abnormally high bounce rate, and presumes it isn’t delivering what users want, and then moves it down the rankings. And so on.
Subpar hosting provision is a common reason for slow site speed, but too many plugins, widgets, sign up forms, large images and GIFs can slow things down too.
Find a tool to flag up and diagnose any problems in this area (we recommend HubSpot’s website grader tool), and from there it’s all a case of trimming the excess fat.
If you don’t need it and it’s slowing you down, get rid of it.
SEO for financial services: key takeaways
The landscape of financial services seems to be undergoing a gradual shift. Relationship-management and face-to-face interaction are gradually giving way to accommodate more digitally-enabled methods of attracting and engaging prospective customers. The principal way to be “found” by new financial services customers is through search engine optimization. While this is a long game overall, there are three things that financial services marketing departments can do almost immediately to boost their SEO performance:-
- Update their old content in line with SEO practices
- Optimize their titles and meta descriptions to increase clickthrough
- Assess and improve their website speed