A Comprehensive Guide to SEO for Financial Services - Login Lockdown

A Comprehensive Guide to SEO for Financial Services

Ivan Serrano
February 2, 2024

In the financial industry, precision, trust, and reliability are paramount. Making your financial services stand out can be challenging.

The contemporary financial marketing landscape demands efficient digital marketing strategies. One of these financial marketing tactics is search engine optimization or SEO.

SEO for financial services is a multi-faceted approach. It blends the dynamic elements of marketing. It isn’t just about being seen‌ — ‌it’s also about being recognized as an industry leader.

Mastering SEO is crucial in the rapidly changing financial service industry. It’s paramount to elevate your brand awareness.

This guide will outline the importance of SEO for financial services. You’ll also discover the best SEO practices to set up your business for success.

Understanding SEO for financial services

SEO for financial services helps improve website performance for financial businesses, such as financial advisors, accountants, investment firms, and insurance brokers.

This strategy helps boost your website traffic and ranking by tapping into relevant organic searches. It ensures your site is secure, has valuable content, and has authoritative backlinks.

SEO also makes sure your site meets the webmaster’s guidelines to prevent algorithmic issues. This way, search engines can successfully crawl and index your site for higher rankings.

The advantages of SEO for financial services

Out of 500 global marketing professionals, 50% believe SEO had a large positive impact on their marketing performance in 2022.

Efficient SEO implementation can bring long-term growth to your financial business. Here’s how it pays off when done right:

Get the coveted first-page position

Most companies aim to land at the top of search results. Earning this spot is ideal to increase click-through rates. However, getting a first-page position can yield similar outcomes. Preferably, you can aim for the top three or five spots on the first page of search results.

You can establish your competitive edge when your website gets a first-page position. Since many users don’t browse past the first page, it captures prospects’ attention immediately. This position provides maximum visibility.

Strengthen your branding and online presence

In the finance industry, you compete with many companies offering similar services. An authoritative online presence is crucial to strengthening your branding. It’s also essential to make your services stand out.

Financial services SEO can help enhance your online presence. It helps your website and content reflect your expertise and unique selling proposition. This strategic approach helps differentiate your services from competitors. It also fosters a memorable brand in the crowded finance market.

Boost website traffic to generate more leads and conversions

Financial services SEO can increase your search rankings, boosting your organic traffic. This traffic helps you acquire more leads and conversions.

Leads are prospective clients who show interest in your financial services. However, not all leads will convert into clients. 

SEO helps optimize your lead generation process. It enhances user experience and creates compelling calls to action. These optimization tactics nurture your leads’ interests. They help make it easier for them to take action to become clients.

Establish credibility and authority

Clients don’t choose financial services they can’t trust. This is why SEO helps build your credibility and authority.

The more clients trust your company, the more credible your services can be.

Moreover, a powerful online presence helps establish your authority in the finance industry. As a result, more competitors become aware of your competitive edge against their services.

This presence helps you grow your customer base. It also helps you expand your network by creating lasting and valuable relationships with potential partners and investors.

As such, financial services SEO isn’t just about online visibility. It’s also about becoming an industry leader and clients’ go-to financial services.

Core approaches of SEO for financial services

Financial services SEO involves various techniques. These methods help amplify your online presence and boost client acquisition. 

This section will guide you through these core elements.

Keyword and content optimization

Different types of financial content are available online. Because of this saturation, you must ensure users see value in your content. This value requires keyword and content optimization.

Keyword optimization involves researching, analyzing, and selecting relevant target keywords. It can also provide other benefits, including:

  • Understand your target audience’s needs and interests based on search intent. Types of search intent include informational, transactional, navigational, or commercial
  • Evaluate keyword data to determine search volume, competition, and likelihood of ranking high
  • Optimize content by combining high-search-volume and long-tail keywords relevant to your financial services

These optimization strategies help strengthen your content marketing campaigns. They ensure your content is discoverable, readable, and resonates with your target audience. This way, you can gain organic engagement and interactions.

Local SEO

Most financial companies are based locally. If you’re a growing enterprise, you should target potential clients living in your area.

Local SEO is the approach responsible for this local-based marketing. This method helps you determine local-specific keywords to match local queries about financial services.

For example, Google and other search engines recognize when users search for “financial advisors in [specific city or state].” Local SEO helps you rank for this query if you provide this service.

So, if you’re a California-based financial advisor, here are the top local-specific keywords:

Google search about financial advisors in California

Screenshot from google.com

Local SEO also lets you perform ‌comprehensive geo-targeting. This strategy uses location data to reach potential clients with marketing campaigns tailored to their locality and behavior.

Suppose you have clients constantly engaging with student-debt-related content. When they enable location services in your app, geo-targeting lets you recommend financial offers if they’re nearby. These recommendations can encourage them to visit your website to check out the offers.

Website optimization

Website structure is a crucial ranking factor for search engines. The widgets and other technical elements should be easy to navigate for visitors.

Technical SEO comes in handy in these website-building qualities.

Technical SEO focuses on enhancing user interface (UI) and user experience (UX). It ensures that every visual element‌ — ‌images, texts, fonts, sliders, links, and other interactive widgets‌ — ‌is fluid. This fluidity helps deliver meaningful customer journeys and experiences.

Website optimization also helps make your website mobile-friendly. Google, in particular, implements a mobile-first indexing system that makes sure websites are responsive on mobile devices.

When your site is mobile-friendly, it can gain higher search engine rankings. The higher the rank, the more organic leads and conversion rates you can obtain.

On-page and off-page SEO

Search engines evaluate internal and external elements to index and crawl your site. These ranking factors are the concerns of on-page and off-page SEO.

On-page SEO focuses on internal or on-site features you can control. These elements include title tags, headings, URL structure, meta titles, meta descriptions, and internal links.

Meanwhile, off-page SEO focuses on external or off-site elements like backlinks. But it’s not just about link-building. It also amplifies your brand promotions and online presence.

Link-building, internal linking, and external linking

Link-building involves getting one-way hyperlinks from reputable websites. These hyperlinks are backlinks, inbound links, or incoming links. They have anchor texts that point from one website to yours.

Backlinks aim to enhance your credibility and domain authority (DA). The higher your DA, the higher your search engine rankings can be.

Internal linking, on the other hand, builds links within your website. These internal links connect different pages on your site. On-page blogs are especially helpful for internal linking as their benefit are two-fold; you can explain your services in depth while promoting them.  

Suppose you have student loan refinance offers. You can write a blog post explaining ways to pay off student debt and include a link to your refinancing page. This strategic internal link placement helps guide visitors to relevant content, enhancing their user experience.

External linking, or outbound linking, is another link-related SEO approach. This linking strategy involves building links pointing to external websites.

External links are reliable sources that provide additional context to content. They also direct visitors to relevant information on other websites. They can contribute to your site’s domain authority if they are relevant and high-quality.

Site audits

SEO campaigns can’t be successful without progress tracking. This tracking is done through site audits.

Site audits track your website performance on search engines. They use data analytics to determine how your SEO efforts are performing.

These data-driven assessments help you identify your campaign’s strengths and weaknesses. They can also help you develop new and fresh strategies.

Examples of site audits include:

  • Competitive audit
  • Lead conversion audit
  • Link audit
  • Social media audit
  • Content audit
  • Mobile optimization audit
  • Technical and design audit

Best SEO practices for financial services

Mastering financial services SEO can take time. With proper planning, you can achieve success that generates a high return on investment.

This section outlines the best SEO practices for financial service companies. They’ll help you amplify your online presence and reach a broader audience.

Perform targeted keyword research

Targeted keyword research focuses on finding keywords relevant to your financial services. These relevant keywords help your site rank high on search engines.

This research requires you to search for the following: search intent, search volume, and long-tail keywords.

Search intent has four types:

  • Informational: Search queries about relevant information on specific topics
  • Transactional: Search queries about potential purchases (e.g., insurance policies). Potential clients are ready to buy at this point
  • Navigational: Search queries about exploring financial services websites
  • Commercial: Search queries about product or service comparisons

Examples of keywords based on search intent:

Keyword examples about types of search intent

Image from ndash.com

Search volume is the number of queries for specific terms. This average is typically measured monthly.

High search volumes can boost your search engine rankings. However, they may also bury your site because of high search demand. This is why you should combine them with long-tail keywords.

Long-tail keywords are phrases with three to five words. They’re more specific and less competitive. Although they have less traffic, they let you target niche audiences. These search terms are also easier to rank for.

Here’s an example of targeted keyword research in a keyword research tool:

Comprehensive keyword research in a keyword research tool

Image from robbierichards.com

Implement mobile-first optimization

Mobile-first optimization focuses on mobile user experience. This approach tailors SEO strategies to mobile devices.

The mobile-first optimization process starts with smaller screens. Then, it gradually adapts to fit larger screens.

Here are the components of mobile-first optimization:

  • Responsive Design: Website design that adapts to various screen layouts. For example, when users switch from desktop to smartphone, your site quickly responds to the smartphone’s screen size and layout
  • Beta Testing: Allows select users to use your website before launching new features. This test is an opportunity to introduce new elements in a realistic environment. It provides user insights about usability, reliability, bounce rates, and page speed

Another mobile optimization approach is app store optimization (ASO). This strategy is essential in building and improving your finance apps. Semrush explains its elements in this infographic:

App Store Optimization Elements

Image from semrush.com

Publish high-quality content

Content is king in SEO for financial services. You should publish high-quality content that entices and converts.

But what is high-quality content?

High-quality content goes beyond relevant information. It includes readability, formatting, and grammatical correctness. It should also be accurate, engaging, valuable, and plagiarism-free.

Strategies for publishing high-quality content include:

  • Outline a comprehensive content plan
  • Identify opportunities and areas of improvement from existing content through content audit
  • Create a content style guide
  • Focus on evergreen content and formats
  • Refresh your old content, if possible
  • Write based on search intent
  • Strategically place high-search-volume and long-tail keywords throughout the content
  • Outsource content creation from a specialized agency
  • Collaborate with content creators like influencers
  • Leverage user-generated content or UGC

Repurpose and cross-post your SEO content

Don’t limit your SEO strategies to search engines. 

You can repurpose your SEO articles into visual content. These pieces of content include short-form videos and infographics. You can also produce podcasts and e-books to promote your financial services.

Meanwhile, cross-posting involves sharing the same content across social media platforms. For example, add links pointing to your web content in your social media posts. This strategy helps increase traffic, click-through, and conversion rates.

Buffer, a digital marketing services platform, shows an excellent example of repurposing SEO content.

SEO content:

Website content about creating social media content pillars

Screenshot from buffer.com

Infographic version of the SEO content for Instagram:

Instagram post with pastel-colored infographic saying 9 tips to create content pillars for your social media

Screenshot from Buffer’s Instagram post

Use Google Business Profile and other online directories

Online directories like Google Business Profile help enhance local SEO. These platforms contain lists of businesses based on locations, niches, services, and industry. You can submit your contact details to these databases.

Securing a spot in online directories involves “claiming” listings. Each directory has its own indexing system to verify your claim. This verification helps determine that you own a legitimate business. It also authorizes you to manage the listing’s online presence.

Other examples of online directories include Bing Places and Yelp. You should also claim your listings in online directories for financial services.

Here’s how to get your financial service company listed on online directories:

  • Regularly update your contact info
  • Add your social media and website links
  • Include an “About Us” section
  • Showcase photos and videos

Google Business Profile listings look like this in desktop search results:

Google search results with business profiles on desktop

Image from wordstream.com

On mobile:

Google search results with business profiles on mobile

Image from wordstream.com

Combine SEO with other digital marketing tactics

SEO and other digital marketing strategies don’t have to be mutually exclusive. Rather than using them separately, combine them to harness the best of both worlds.

These digital marketing efforts include pay-per-click campaigns (PPC) and social media marketing (SMM).

Through paid ads, PPC puts your content at the top and bottom of search results. It flags your web page as an ad. While this strategy is helpful, potential clients may avoid them. Regardless, you can still use it if you want faster results.

Google search results with PPC ads on desktop

Image from blog.hubspot.com

SMM focuses on connecting with your target audience. This strategy helps build online relationships for brand awareness. However, it can be tricky to keep up with social media algorithms.

One successful social media marketing campaign that connects with audiences is Spotify’s annual “Wrapped.”

Spotify 2023 Wrapped

Screenshot from spotify.com/us/wrapped

Sure, PPC and SMM have weaknesses. But combining them with SEO helps boost your online presence. They can also deliver a higher return on investment.

Get high-quality backlinks

Earning high-quality backlinks requires hard work. Besides outreach, here are the other strategies to get authoritative backlinks:

Skyscraper Technique

  • Find an existing link-worthy content
  • Create a better version of the reference article
  • Identify the reference article’s referring domains and ask them to link to you instead

Link Reclamation

Link reclamation involves asking publishers who mentioned your brand without linking to your site for proper link attributions.

This strategy is a win-win situation. The publishers improve their user experience while you earn high-quality backlinks. Both sides then have better chances of earning higher search rankings.

Broken Link-Building

Broken link-building involves reaching out to websites with broken links. Then, you’ll suggest swapping these broken links with links to your high-quality web pages.

Here’s how to do it:

  • Find similar or relevant websites with broken links
  • Look for dead pages and 404 error sites with many links. Recreate better versions and email ‌authoritative sources.

Remember, whichever approach you choose requires a link-building tool and outreach.

Create infographics

Infographics contain facts or statistics about specific financial topics. These pieces of visual content help you earn multiple high-quality backlinks in a single image.

You can also create free online photo galleries. You can upload them on sites like Pexels, Unsplash, Freepik, and Pixabay.

Hire a seasoned financial services SEO agency

Manual SEO can be time-consuming. When possible, hire a seasoned financial SEO agency. They can help you develop and manage efficient financial services SEO campaigns.

Financial SEO services aren’t identical. So, you should check for the following:

  • Financial Expertise
  • Portfolio
  • Citations
  • Case Studies
  • Testimonials and Client Reviews

Looking into these matters is essential to ensure a transparent, accountable, and reliable agency.

Make your financial services stand out with SEO

Mastering SEO for financial services is an ongoing journey. It’s all about striking the perfect balance that delivers value and a higher return on investment.

Remember that the finance industry is rapidly changing. Your target audience’s preferences are also evolving. Informed decisions are crucial. 

You must also stay innovative to rank high on organic searches consistently.
Use this guide to embark on this SEO voyage with confidence. It’ll help you gain loyal clients who can become brand advocates. Make a lasting impact that pushes your financial services company toward stardom today.