For the financial services industry, the right SEO strategy can bring in more potential customers so you can keep making money moves.

Here, you’ll find:

  • The importance of YMYL and E-A-T
  • How to increase your site’s trustworthiness
  • Tips for successful financial services content
  • Why long-tail keywords matter

If you’re in the financial services industry, or FinServ, you’re an expert on helping people and businesses manage their dollars and cents.

But when it comes to managing your digital marketing strategy, finance companies should take a unique approach — one with a heavy emphasis on search engine optimization, or SEO.

hand holding dollar bills in front of a pink wall

When deciding how to rank a YMYL page, Google relies on its E-A-T standards. (Image: Rawpixel)

Why SEO matters for the financial service industry

Trusting a business with your money isn’t easy. Trusting a business with a crummy website? Fuggedaboutit.

Whether you’re a financial advisor, FinTech startup, investment manager, or an insurance company, you’re asking potential clients for access to an intimate part of their lives. And SEO is the most effective way to establish yourself as not only trustworthy, but an industry leader.

SEO strategy: Unique to the financial services sector

For businesses in the finance industry, the right SEO strategy will be as unique and specialized as your industry.

By combining key aspects of technical SEO, committing to quality content, and keeping up with regular SEO audits, you can increase organic traffic, boost conversions, and earn authority status.

To help with this, we created a list of eight expert tips for financial services SEO success:

  • Understand YMYL and E-A-T
  • Use content clusters
  • Add visual content
  • Repurpose old content
  • Take a smart approach to keywords
  • Do your research
  • Improve your trustworthiness
  • Maximize your chances to rank higher on SERPs

1. Understand YMYL and E-A-T

Google takes all content in its algorithm seriously, but this is especially true for YMYL (Your Money or Your Life) content.

YMYL is defined as content that can dramatically influence and impact the reader’s life — think medical advice or, you guessed it, financial advice.

Suffice to say, the majority of web pages for FinServ companies fall into the “YMYL” category. According to Google, these pages could affect the “happiness, health, financial stability or safety” of users.

For financial service providers, YMYL pages that appear in organic search can contain financial advice or information about:

  • Investments
  • Taxes
  • Retirement planning
  • Loans
  • Banking
  • Insurance

Pages that allow online purchases and money transfers also fall in this category.

So, when deciding how to rank a YMYL page, Google relies on its E-A-T (expertise, authoritativeness, trustworthiness) standards.

More specifically, E-A-T stands for:

  • Expertise: The content you share on the website should demonstrate expertise in the subject.
  • Authoritativeness: You should have relevant credentials (qualifications, experience, etc.) to give advice or share information on YMYL pages.
  • Trustworthiness: You need to show your business is reliable through things like providing reviews from real customers, having clear contact data, and having updated, accurate content.

While you can demonstrate E-A-T with various marketing tactics, content marketing remains the most effective avenue.

With this in mind, make sure each blog post and site page has been vetted carefully. Everything you post should provide value for your users, especially if the content can have an impact on their financial future.

2. Use content clusters

Whatever niche of the FinServ industry you’re in, the information and advice you share can sometimes be technical or complex. To make it easier for users to digest your content while increasing the appeal to search engines, consider implementing content clusters as a part of your content strategy.

Content clusters consist of a pillar page and several supporting pages.

  • Pillar page: serves as the main subject overview with general information about the topic
  • Supporting pages: in-depth content on sub-topics covered in the pillar page with links to the pillar page

Besides simplifying the search for information on your website, content clusters allow you to employ a robust internal link building strategy, use a variety of keywords, and demonstrate your expertise.

3. Add visual content

When it comes to financial advice or data, infographics carry a high value. This type of shareable content can boost the traffic to your financial services website tremendously. It can also simplify complex information you need to share and make it more digestible for your target audience.

Video marketing is another way to explain confusing subjects more easily while attracting your audience’s eyes and attention.

Consider implementing different types of visual content, including:

  • Explainer or how-to videos
  • Case studies
  • Review videos
  • Webinar recordings
  • Tutorials
  • Q&A videos

Concise, informative videos tend to generate shares and can boost your backlinking efforts to boot.

Want more? Check out our webinar recording, Financial Services Marketing: 14 Proven Ways to Drive Revenue with PPC.

woman calculating receipts with smartphone

Particularly for financial topics, it’s crucial for the content on your site to be accurate, helpful, and up to date if you want your company to be seen as an authority. (Image: Rawpixel)

4. Repurpose old content

If your company and blog have been around a while, you likely already have at least a handful of existing content on your website. To improve your financial services SEO efforts, it may be time to give these posts another look.

Here are some ways you can repurpose and refresh your current content:

  • Updates: The financial sector is highly volatile. A big chunk of your content can become outdated quickly. However, it doesn’t mean you need to create new content while letting the previous content languish. Simply update your old posts and articles to reflect changes. This will also help you build up page authority.
  • New audiences: You can repurpose old content to suit new segments of your target audience as well. For example, leave the core data intact but tweak or add to it to suit another audience segment. (This could look like adding in a reference that Gen Z would get.)
  • Formats: Got a well-performing blog post or webinar? Create a supplementary piece of content that you can internally link to the existing content to generate even more website traffic.

Particularly for financial topics, it’s crucial for the content on your site to be accurate, helpful, and up to date if you want your company to be seen as an authority.

Overwhelmed already? Then letting an SEO company (or an experienced SEO agency like HawkSEM) take the wheel may be just what you need. Check out these success secrets making an SEO agency partnership work for you.

5. Take a smart approach to keywords

The FinServ industry can be highly competitive. With multiple businesses vying for the same customers, the right approach to using keywords can be a game-changer.

First, make sure you build and maintain a solid keyword map. It’s best to look for paths of least resistance in terms of keyword competitive metrics such as Keyword Difficulty or Competitive Density (i.e. search volume).

Additionally, pay attention to long-tail keywords to catch customers closer to the middle of the sales funnel. Unsurprisingly, target audiences for financial service companies often browse numerous websites before making a purchase decision.

By employing long-tail keywords, you can attract those who have already done some research on the subject. These people may be more likely to convert than those who search using more general high-volume keywords.

Don’t worry too much about keyword density. In the FinServ industry, being accurate and providing valuable, relevant, content helps far more with FinServ SEO ranking.

Especially concerning YMYL content, both Google and readers value content that provides the correct context to answer queries far above the number of specific terms used. In fact, research on over 1,000 banking terms showed that the top-ranked pages only included the keyword a single time on average.

6. Do your research

In addition to keyword research, you should also research your competitors and your audience.

Remember, your direct competition is only one factor. When it comes to search results, you’re likely competing against many tangential sources like finance blogs, media companies, YouTube channels, and anyone else that isn’t in your direct industry but likely to have related content.

Content personalization has increased the expectation of tailored content. However, even putting that aside, the more relevant your content is to your audience, the more likely they are to find it.

Conduct detailed surveys to determine audience pain points, the specific language they use to describe their issues and feelings, and the kind of solutions they’re looking for. Building the most accurate ideal customer persona possible will greatly enhance your FinServ SEO efforts.

7. Improve your trustworthiness

As mentioned above, trust is a key issue both for consumers and search engines, when it comes to SEO for financial services. Because of that, keeping your brand’s trustworthiness top of mind should be an ongoing part of your efforts.

To ensure you’re seen as a trustworthy source:

  • Add clear contact info (phone number, email address, and social media links) on relevant pages
  • Eliminate 404 errors
  • Use informative domain and URL names
  • Have strong site architecture, meta descriptions, and Schema markup
  • Create an easy-to-navigate website for the best user experience
  • Display all accreditations, certifications, and other achievements
  • Add reviews, success stories, and testimonials to relevant web pages
  • Ensure your Google Business Profile (formerly Google My Business) is accurate and thorough

8. Maximize your chances to rank higher on SERPs

Help Google search understand your content. The clearer you make your content to Google, the better your odds of ranking highly on the Google search engine results page (SERP). Do your research to understand Google’s ranking method and best practices for schema markup and other methods to boost your online presence.

Make sure you know what specific SERP features are available for your niche. Keep in mind that this can be different for every piece of content based on the specific keywords and search intent involved. That’s why it’s so important to be well-versed in the specifics of Google ranking for your industry and topics.

Also, be aware of the methods that provide the best odds of appearing as the featured snippet. Adding high-quality, original videos, images and local SEO attributes are other ways to greatly improve your chances of appearing.

Pro tip: While word count doesn’t directly affect rank, usefulness and comprehensiveness do. They are often interdependent as comprehensive sources are more likely to contain a higher volume of useful information. Make sure to create high-quality content with a large breadth of information that most completely answers the question.

The takeaway

While search engine optimization for financial service companies is similar to other industries, some aspects need special attention. It’s imperative for FinServ sector players to focus on the trustworthiness and high value of the posted content as well as the structure of their websites.

A strong financial services SEO campaign can help your company survive in the highly competitive industry and become a leader in your niche.

This article has been updated and was originally published in June 2021.

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