Financial institutions are relying on digital engagement more than ever. By 2025, experts predict that around 65% of all engagement for financial service companies will be entirely online. This means that for FIs to succeed, they need a plan for earning attention and engagement online, and what better way to get started than forming a solid SEO strategy?
Unfortunately, it doesn’t all come together so easily for many FIs. That’s why we thought it would be a great idea to explore SEO struggles from the perspective of financial institutions. We’ll review why some FIs are having trouble implementing successful SEO strategies and tackle some of the big mistakes we see FIs consistently making.
Why Is SEO So Difficult for FIs?
One of the major challenges that FIs face when attempting to implement a solid SEO strategy is a simple lack of resources. SEO best practices are constantly evolving, and dedicating a significant amount of time and resources to an SEO strategy may not be feasible for smaller teams.
Another potential issue is the nature of the financial sector itself. SEO strategies are very effective for businesses that have an easy time converting once they’ve connected with an audience member. However, as many FIs know, converting an audience member on a financial product or service is much more difficult than converting one in a typical retail setting.
Therefore, an SEO strategy that simply brings audience members to the website or captures their contact information may not produce the same value for an FI that it would for another type of business. FIs must take extra care to craft marketing strategies that inform and provide immediate value to their new audience members if they hope to make the most out of their initial interactions.
The 4 Big Mistakes
FIs can enhance the effectiveness of their SEO strategies by avoiding these 4 common mistakes:
Going For Quantity Over Quality
The perspective of “more is better” may have been true at one point, but not anymore. Search engine ranking systems now control the quality of content and its relevance to your audience, so producing masses of low-quality, keyword-dense content will actually actively harm your ranking.
Instead, FIs should focus on producing content and creating web pages that inform their audience. Consumers of financial products have no shortage of questions, meaning that FIs have a practically endless source of quality content to draw from. Finding out which queries are most common in your area and planning to produce content that provides valuable information to those searches, will go a long way in securing an audience.
Ignoring the Importance of Links
To provide a great customer experience, the transition between content and pages on your website must be smooth. Broken links can interrupt the flow of a customer journey and jeopardize conversions and search ranking. For FIs, this is especially important, as potential customers will need to be able to quickly jump from page to PDF to contact form to convert quickly and easily.
While poor link optimization may be one of the most common SEO issues, it is also one of the easiest to fix. A simple site auditing tool will tell you which of your internal and external links are performing poorly and prompt you to fix them.
Overvaluing Generic Keywords
When glancing at keyword density in your SEO software, it may be tempting to try and rank for keywords that are both very popular and apply to your business. For FIs, common examples might be “auto loans,” “home loans,” or “credit cards.” However, it’s important to remember that the higher the search density for a term is, the more competition you’ll experience when trying to rank for it. Dozens of other FIs right down the road are also attempting to rank for “auto loans,” meaning you’ll have to find something a bit more specific if you want to capitalize on SEO.
This doesn't mean FIs should give up the fight to rank for relevant keywords though, they just need to get a bit more creative. If you are attempting to attract customers from a certain region, you could add that to the keyword and transform it into a “long-tail” keyword. While the search density for these long-tail keywords is significantly lower, they are much less competitive.
Undervaluing Site Performance
One of the most critical factors when attempting to obtain a higher search ranking is ensuring optimized web performance. Sluggish speed will cause a page’s ranking to crash, as will a poor mobile experience. As the percentage of digital interaction conducted through mobile devices continues to climb, it’s essential that the mobile experience on an FI’s website is just as intuitive and speedy as a desktop experience.
Many SEO tools will provide recommendations to assist with web loading speed. These are normally simple suggestions like removing or resizing unoptimized images, but can become more complex if the site's internal architecture is somehow compromised. If you experience slow loading times, it would be wise to investigate the root cause, as it may affect your search ranking more than you realize.
What Should We Do?
While simple SEO tools can provide some insight into the potential keywords you should target, and analytics tools can give you a breakdown of your performance, this may not be enough to craft a truly effective SEO strategy. In many cases, FIs rely on outside help to stay on top of trends, produce meaningful content, and relieve themselves of the burden so that they can focus on running their business. If resources allow, look to local agencies specializing in SEO for assistance in this area.
However, a great SEO strategy will only take you so far. For assistance in creating marketing campaigns that capitalize on effective SEO habits, you can schedule a demo with Prisma Campaigns or read up on helpful tips from our blog. We’ve written about some of the most important aspects of comprehensive marketing strategies, including how to integrate content marketing effectively and how to keep an audience engaged with your messaging. We hope to speak with you soon!
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