The financial services sector has been transformed by digital. Companies in this space are embracing new technology to improve the customer experience and cater to online audiences.
The number of financial services companies that view themselves as digitally “advanced” has risen 171% since 2016. With more financial firms embracing digital, the online space is becoming a crowded and competitive place. It can be tricky to get people to click on your website on search engines, especially if you’re not on the first page of results. In fact, 90% of people don’t browse past the first page of Google results.
With competition gaining speed with digital, it can be difficult to keep up in today’s landscape. To address this challenge, we’ve outlined some key tactics to help you ensure your SEO strategy helps you to come out on top (literally).
Use Clear URLs
Your URLs are often the first thing search engines and future customers will see. They are the building blocks that form your site hierarchy, which guide users to their destination on your website. Therefore, you should choose URLs that are relevant and simple.
Include specifics, such as your city, company name, and the services you provide. For example, “www.BostonWealthAdvisors.com/about” is an effective URL. It tells the user your location, the type of financial services you offer and what they can expect to see when they click this link (more “about” your company). It will provide your audiences with clarity and give search engines a defined structure to follow.
You should avoid using superfluous words and characters in your URLs. For instance, never use the same word more than once in your URL structure – it confuses search engines and, more importantly, your web visitors. By keeping URLs short and simple, you’ll clear the path for search engines to pick up on your most coveted keywords for that page.
Add Alt Text to Images
Search engines favor sites with images and videos. Therefore, your financial services website should leverage a variety of visuals for improved SEO. While search engines are able to read text on your site, they lack that ability with images.
Instead, search engines use alternative text to read and understand imagery on your site. This “alt text” is a description that can be inserted as an attribute in HTML format. To ensure your alt text is optimized, be sure to include a concise summary of what’s pictured, without adding too many extra keywords. This will improve your search rankings by capturing important keywords and making your website even easier for search engines to crawl.
To execute alt text effectively for your financial services firm, we’ve provided an example with levels of alt text:
- Good – alt text: <img src=”advisor.jpg” alt=”advisor at desk”>
- Better – alt text: <img src=”advisor.jpg” alt=”financial advisor sitting at desk”>
- Best – alt text: <img src=”advisor.jpg” alt=”financial advisor wearing blue suit sitting at desk”>
Your personas have different needs and goals depending on where they are in the buyer’s journey. Therefore, you need to discover the words your target audiences are searching and integrate them into your content, title tags, and URLs. Google’s Keyword Planner is an invaluable tool when strategizing around keywords. Use it to discover the keywords that are most relevant to your financial services company and identify the search volume and amount of competition for each. You will gain the insights that show what your audience is searching for, the terms that gain the most ROI, and where there are gaps to fill for a better SEO strategy.
Include Relevant Content
Avoid using an overabundance of keywords on your site for the purpose of ranking higher on search engines. This tendency, known as keyword stuffing, is a tactic that will do more harm than good. Search engines will pick up on keywords that are overly used throughout your site or look like spam. In fact, Google will flag your site for keyword stuffing with a message that says, “hidden text and/or keyword stuffing.” It is important to steer clear from keyword stuffing and the penalties associated with it.
To avoid the temptation of keyword stuffing, try focusing each content piece around a specific keyword and going in-depth on that topic. For example, if you are crafting a page about asset management, be sure to offer insightful, thoughtful information around the various elements of asset management at your financial firm. By focusing your content around core keywords and using them naturally in your writing, you’ll climb to the top of search engines.
Earn Quality Backlinks
If your website receives a backlink, it means that an external site has linked back to yours. Search engines use backlinks to validate that your content is credible enough to be linked elsewhere. This is crucial because it gives your site authority and ranks you higher on search engines.
In order to earn quality backlinks, you must produce relevant content that educates your audiences. There are a number of ways to earn and build your backlinks, such as PR outreach, engaging infographics, and being listed in business directories. By leveraging these strategies, your company will gain visibility, boost traffic, and build credibility at the same time.
A top rank on search engines will give your financial services company the exposure it needs to grow. In order to achieve this, you should make your URLs clear, add alt text to images, validate your keywords, include relevant content, and earn quality backlinks.
Set the bar high and rank higher with a strong SEO strategy that separates your brand from the rest.