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SEO Best Practices for Finance Companies

Our Expert Guide to SEO for Financial Services

Search engine optimization (SEO) is an important way of generating organic traffic and driving users to your website but, when you’re operating in the financial services industry, SEO requires a specialized approach.

Financial services providers face increased scrutiny from both potential customers and search engines, so you’ll need to take a strategic approach when boosting your rankings. Fortunately, this SEO guide will tell you everything you need to know.

What is SEO for Financial Service Providers?

Put simply, SEO is the process of optimizing a website for better visibility in search engines. Unlike pay-per-click advertising – another form of search engine marketing – you do not pay Google or any other third-party for your ranking. Rather, you achieve it organically.

Companies across all industries use this form of digital marketing to increase their rankings on search engine results pages (SERPs). When you rank highly for keywords that are relevant to your business and your target audience, you’ll generate more website traffic and have the opportunity to turn users into customers.

With a sector-specific SEO strategy, you can increase the trustworthiness of your brand in the eyes of both your target audience and search engines. As a result, you’ll improve your search rankings, but you’ll also enhance your brand and build a genuine relationship with your target audience.

SEO campaigns are a critical component of any digital marketing strategy. In fact, search engine optimization is likely to underpin much of your online marketing. By getting this element right, you can enhance virtually every aspect of your company’s online presence, which leads to both short and long-term gains.

14 Industry-specific SEO Tips for Companies in the Finance Sector

Whether you’re a financial advisor, mortgage company, loan provider, or tax expert, SEO can help to elevate your brand, optimize your conversion rate, and outperform your competitors.

Make a start by taking a look at our top SEO tips specifically for financial companies:

#1 Understand SEO components

Search engine optimization encompasses a wide variety of topics and search engines use hundreds of ranking factors to determine where web pages should appear on the SERP. There are over 200 known ranking factors, but this is likely only just scratching the surface.

While you don’t necessarily need to know every ranking factor – and search engines are cagey about disclosing them – you do need to have a good understanding of the principles of SEO if you want to launch an effective SEO strategy. 

For example, SEO can broadly be split into three categories:

  • On-page SEO
  • Off-page SEO
  • Technical SEO

On-Page SEO

On-page SEO refers to the search engine optimization techniques that are carried out directly on a website. This includes optimizing the content, HTML source code, meta tags, URL structure, internal link structure, and any other visible elements of a website to make it more search-engine friendly.

Off-Page SEO

Off-page SEO refers to the optimization techniques that are conducted away from the actual website that can improve visibility and ranking on search engine results pages. This includes activities such as link building, social media marketing, and guest posting. 

The goal of off-page SEO is to increase the website’s authority, credibility, and popularity. Backlinks, in particular, are a huge ranking factor (don’t worry we’ll come back to this one with tip #6!)

Technical SEO

Technical SEO refers to the optimization techniques that are designed to improve the technical aspects of a website. Technical SEO includes optimizing website speed, mobile responsiveness, website structure, website security, and indexing issues. This branch of SEO is focused on improving the user experience and making it easier for search engines to crawl and index the website.

Effective SEO strategies incorporate all three of these elements, so you’ll need to have a good knowledge of the theoretical principles that underpin search engine optimization and the skills to optimize your website accordingly. Alternatively, you’ll need to find a quality search engine optimization agency or consultant that you can trust to help you do so!

#2 Target the Right Keywords

Keyword research is the process of identifying and analyzing the specific words and phrases that are frequently used by your target audience to search for information, products, or services related to your particular industry.

Before you can start optimizing your website, you’ll need to decide which keywords to target. Here, in-depth keyword research is essential, and you’ll only want to target keywords that are relevant to your brand, products, and target audience. 

There are various platforms to conduct such research, including Google’s keyword planner tool and SEMrush. As both Google partners and SEMrush agency partners – meaning our expertise is officially recognized by these platforms – we use both!

Short-tail vs Long-tail Keywords

Keywords can be split into two types:

  • Short-tail keywords: these are relatively broad, short terms, like “mortgages”, “pension”, or “income tax”.
Mortgages SEMrush UAE keyword analysis
  • Long-tail keywords: these are longer, more specific terms, like “repayment mortgage Dubai”, “interest only mortgage calculator”, or “investment management firms in Dubai”.
Investment management firms in Dubai SEMrush UAE keyword analysis

Short-tail keywords tend to have a higher search volume, but long-tail keywords carry more purchasing intent and are easier to rank for (as shown in the image above when comparing keyword difficulty).

Anyone could be searching for “mortgages”, for example. It could be someone looking for a definition or investigating a mortgage deal your company doesn’t provide! Meanwhile, if you’re a Dubai-based lender ranking for “repayment mortgage Dubai”, the traffic that arrives on your website through that search term is likely to be of interest to you.

Essentially, users searching for long-tail keywords already have a clear idea of the information or service they’re looking for, which means they are further along the sales funnel and more likely to convert into a customer.

#3 Publish Top-Quality Content

A key element of SEO for financial service providers is top-quality content marketing. Google considers financial subjects and topics to be ‘Your Money or Your Life’ (YMYL) content, which means it faces more stringent quality ratings than average. After all, any information you publish about financial services, guidance, and information can have a significant impact on users. 

When publishing relevant content, you may need to simplify complex topics. Be informative without offering financial advice or promoting services without being too sales-driven, whilst incorporating target keywords into your content. This is a fine balancing act, but talented copywriters and SEO specialists can help you to produce accurate and engaging YMYL leadership content.

Don’t forget – promoting your content is an important way of increasing your reach and generating traffic so don’t simply let your new blog post sit on your website. Instead, use social media, industry websites, and reputable forms to share your content. 

Trafiki Tip: Financial service providers are subject to various compliance regulations governed by regulatory authorities, such as The Central Bank of the United Arab Emirates (UAECB). Therefore, any content you produce for your website, including blog posts, must be compliant with these regulations. Failure to comply can result in penalties and damage to your reputation.

#4 Improve Your Site’s (E-)E-A-T

E-A-T stands for expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness, and it’s particularly important when it comes to SEO for finance companies. Google uses E-A-T to determine the quality of a website and a high score will improve your rankings on search results pages. 

This part of the Google algorithm is especially important when publishing YMYL web pages. While drafting top-quality content will certainly help to improve your E-A-T performance, there are additional activities to consider, such as:

  • Link to reputable sources
  • Update content regularly
  • Add author names and biographies
  • Remove low E-A-T scoring content
  • Showcase industry credentials

Notably, Google announced a change from “E-A-T” to “E-E-A-T” in 2022, with the new “E” standing for “experience”. In other words,

“Does content also demonstrate that it was produced with some degree of experience, such as with actual use of a product, having actually visited a place or communicating what a person experienced? There are some situations where really what you value most is content produced by someone who has first-hand, life experience on the topic at hand.”

This is also something to consider when publishing website content.

RankBrain graphic

#5 Increase Website Security

More than 75% of scams take place online, which is why users are becoming increasingly wary of trusting companies they are unfamiliar with – especially when it comes to their personal finances. Inevitably, this makes it more difficult for businesses to attract new customers.

Improving your website’s security is one way to increase confidence amongst potential customers and it will also have a positive impact on your SEO rankings too. 

In particular, it’s imperative that your website has an SSL certificate. An SSL certificate is a digital certificate that verifies the authenticity of a website and enables secure connections between the website and its users. When visitors see the padlock icon or “https” in the URL bar, they know that their connection is secure and that their data is being encrypted.

#6 Improve Page Speed

When you’re undertaking technical SEO, be sure to check your site’s loading speed. Conversion rates drop with every second it takes your web pages to load, so it’s important to increase website speed if you want to keep users on your website and maximize conversions. 

Given that Google puts an increasing emphasis on providing a positive user experience, page speed is also a significant ranking factor. While it was not always that way, the overlap between UX and SEO is now undeniable (tip #8 will delve into this a bit more!)

#7 Gain Reputable Backlinks

When external websites link to your content, it increases the authoritativeness of your web pages and, in turn, your E-A-T score and SEO rankings. As part of your off-page SEO strategy, gaining backlinks from reputable websites is critical. 

Quality is more important than quantity when it comes to backlinks. A backlink from an authoritative website, like www.gulfnews.com, is going to be more valuable than a link from an unknown website with a low domain authority (DA).

To ensure quality links, focus on developing relationships with reputable partners in the industry.   Link building strategies will impact ranking but also help build trust between you and potential clients. 

Backlinks graphic

#8 Analyze Competitor Performance

Competitors may not tell you what keywords they’re targeting, how much organic traffic they generate, or what their monthly sales figures are. However, you can glean a lot of information about their online marketing without them even knowing. 

For example, online tools (such as SEMrush) enable you to identify the keywords that particular web pages are ranking for, even if you don’t own the website. This means you can get a glimpse into your competitors’ SEO strategies, identify low-hanging fruit, and modify your own SEO plan accordingly.

#9 Enhance the User Experience

If you want to rank highly on Google search results pages, delivering a great user experience (UX) is essential. What constitutes a good UX can vary depending on the industry and the needs of your target audience but, at a minimum, your site should be easy to navigate, contain valuable information, and be quick to load.

While a distinctive design can be beneficial, remember that users want to be able to make their way around a site easily and access information quickly, so don’t forego accelerated navigation in favor of complex design. 

If you’re interested in delving into user experience a bit more, read our blog on Why UX Design Matters.

UX and SEO overlap

#10 Use a Simple URL Structure

Your website’s homepage is likely to have the simplest URL, such as:

https://www.bestfinancialadvisor.ae

But, as you add menus, categories, and sub-categories, things can get complicated. Without a good URL structure, search engines and users won’t be able to tell what the page is about from the URL alone. For example:

https://www.best-financial-advisor.ae/mortgages/interest-only

is much clearer and more compelling than:

https://bestfinancialadvisor.ae/homeloanmortgages/interestonlyandrepayment

By simplifying and shortening URLs where possible, you can create a user-friendly URL structure that quickly informs users and search engines what the web page is about. This will improve the UX and boost your rankings in the process.

#11 Publish Meta Titles and Descriptions

When your web pages are shown on search results pages, they are accompanied by a meta title and meta description. Here are some of the most important considerations when creating meta titles and descriptions:

  • Include target keywords: Your meta title and meta description should include relevant target keywords that accurately reflect the content of the page. However, avoid keyword stuffing or using too many keywords, as this can result in a penalty from search engines.
  • Be descriptive and unique: Your meta title and meta description should accurately describe the content of the page and be unique from other pages on your website. This helps both search engines understand what the page is about and users decide whether to click on it.
  • Use a compelling call-to-action: Your meta description should include a clear and compelling call-to-action that encourages users to click through to your website. For financial services websites, examples of calls-to-action might include “Open an account today” or “Get a free quote.”
  • Keep it concise: Your meta title should be no more than 60 characters, while your meta description should be no more than 155 characters. This ensures that your content is fully displayed in SERPs and doesn’t get truncated.
Meta title and description graphic

#12 Engage Users with Visual Content

As a financial service provider, you may not need to use images to sell your products or services, but this doesn’t mean that your site should be devoid of visual content. Both images and video can have a significant impact on user behavior and engagement. For example, users stay on a page 88% longer if it contains video content.

If you want to enhance your website’s experience, use images, infographics, and video content to educate and engage your target audience. Explainer audiences can be a great way to simplify complex financial topics, for example. What’s more – having your in-house team feature in these videos increases the level of trust between your target audience and your brand. 

When you’re publishing visual content, don’t forget to optimize your technical SEO at the same time:

  • Use the right file formats
  • Compress files to reduce their size
  • Add headings, descriptions, and alt tags

These are all important ways to improve your technical SEO.

#13 Optimize Your Website for Mobile Users

Over 80% of internet users use mobile devices at some time or another, making it vital that your website functions optimally on smartphones and tablets. Otherwise, you will be missing out on a huge amount of mobile traffic that you could convert into potential clients. 

Mobile friendliness is especially important given Google now takes a “mobile-first” approach when indexing and ranking web pages. This means that the mobile version of your website is considered the primary version, while the desktop version is secondary. 

If your website is not mobile-friendly, you will be penalized for it on SERPs.

Mobile Optimisation

#14 Incorporate Local SEO

The internet has opened up a global marketplace but, for some products or services, consumers still prefer to use local businesses. This is particularly true for financial products and services as regulations will often vary from one location to another. 

Local SEO refers to the optimization techniques that are designed to improve a website’s visibility and ranking for location-specific search queries. By creating and executing a local SEO strategy, you can ensure that you’re reaching potential customers who are actively looking for related services, products, and companies within your region.

If you provide investment advice based in Dubai, for example, ranking highly for “investment advice” is great but it means you’re going to get traffic from all over the world (most of which is unlikely to convert into customers). In contrast, securing a top position on search results pages for ‘investment advice Dubai’ or ‘investment advice DIFC’ will generate website traffic that consists of users who are specifically seeking advice within this area.

A local SEO strategy blends both on-page and off-page techniques – here are two examples:

  • On-page: Use geo-specific keywords in your website content. However, be sure to check the search volume first. While major towns, cities, and regions will have a relatively high search volume when combined with popular keywords, more rural areas are likely to have a low search volume. 
  • Off-page: Google My Business (GMB) is a free tool that allows businesses to create and manage their online presence across Google’s search engine, maps, and other services. A well-optimized GMB profile (high-quality photos, customer reviews, accurate information) will increase your online visibility to potential customers in their local area.

Implementing an SEO Strategy for Finance Companies

There are many aspects to consider when devising an SEO strategy for companies operating within the finance and banking industry. From publishing authoritative content to increasing page speed, you’ll need to take a holistic approach if you want to generate a constant stream of online inquiries.

SEO is a long-term strategy that takes a lot of time, effort, and skill, which most companies simply do not have the in-house to execute. We have teams of SEO experts in Dubai and London for that exact reason, dedicated to helping businesses grow through uniquely tailored and targeted digital strategies.

To find out more about our SEO services in Dubai and throughout the GCC, book a free 30-minute consultation and see what we could do for you.

While SEO best practices are applicable to any business with an online presence, there is also a range of industry-specific considerations that must be accounted for. If you’re interested in the different approaches to search engine optimization required, check out our other industry-specific SEO guides.

2024-01-22T17:22:57+00:00March 24th, 2023|Blog|
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