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SEO for Financial Services: The Ultimate Guide

Contents

You know that having a digital marketing strategy is crucial for helping your financial services business capture the attention and trust of potential customers and thrive in an increasingly competitive digital landscape.

The question is — what’s the best way to go about improving your ranking in SERPs and driving organic traffic to your website? 

That’s where SEO strategies for financial services come into play. 

This article will cover everything your company needs to know about SEO for financial services — from the unique challenges you’ll face to the proven tips and strategies you can implement to boost your ranking in SERPs. 

What is SEO for financial services? 

SEO — short for search engine optimisation — refers to optimising your content and website for search engines, particularly Google. 

The main goal of an SEO strategy is to make your site search-engine-friendly, show that you’re a trusted source and increase the likelihood of appearing in SERPs when potential customers look up relevant keywords — ultimately driving organic visibility and traffic. 

Now, when it comes to evaluating the success of your financial services SEO strategy, there are certain key performance indicators (KPIs) you should keep track of — including: 

  • SEO ranking, or the position your web pages show up in SERPs for specific search terms (the terms and phrases identified during keyword research) 
  • SEO Score, which shows a website’s overall SEO health and indicates how well it will rank in SERPs
  • Impressions, or the number of times users saw your pages when they looked up relevant search terms 
  • Organic traffic, or the number of people that visit your website via search engines
  • Engagement metrics, such as time on page, pages per session, and bounce rate 
  • Conversion rates from website traffic, including both “hard” conversions (lead generation and purchases) and “soft” conversions (such as newsletter subscriptions) 

It’s important to note that the financial services industry is incredibly competitive — especially given the large-scale digital transformations in the financial sector and the rise of fintech companies. 

According to a 2022 report, the global market for financial services was valued at $25.51 trillion. Moreover, it’s expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 9.7%, reaching $58.69 trillion by 2031.

Importance and challenges of financial services SEO 

The financial services industry is changing rapidly, mainly driven by globalisation, innovation, shifting economies, and compliance risks. It’s crucial for financial service companies to develop effective SEO strategies that align with the opportunities and challenges unique to this sector. 

Certain benefits of a well-executed SEO strategy, namely, better search engine rankings, driving more search traffic, delivering a better user experience, and maximising ROI and promoting business growth, are “universal.” 

Illustration of top position in SERPs

Financial services SEO efforts can provide a number of benefits. It can help you: 

  • Improve lead generation and customer acquisition; the more search traffic you get, the higher the chances of converting visitors into potential clients 
  • Build a strong online presence and brand awareness, which comes as a result of increased visibility in organic search results and reaching a wider audience 
  • Increase your credibility and authority within the industry, primarily through high-quality content that shows your expertise and backlinks from authoritative websites 
  • Gain a competitive edge by analysing and outranking your main competitors 

That said, financial services companies face some unique challenges:

High competition: The digital arena for financial services is highly competitive, with numerous companies vying for the same business.

YMYL (Your Money or Your Life) content: Google’s YMYL framework places higher scrutiny on financial content, demanding higher standards for experience, expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness. We’ll cover this topic in greater detail shortly.

Regulatory changes and compliance: The financial services sector is characterised by constant regulatory changes and new compliance requirements that businesses must navigate. Sometimes this makes it difficult to gather insights and market to your audience. 

As a privacy-fist, compliant web analytics solution Matomo can provide valuable insights to support your SEO efforts. Matomo ensures compliance with privacy laws — including GDPR, CCPA and more — and provides 20-40% more comprehensive data than Google Analytics.

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8 proven strategies for implementing SEO for financial services 

SEO for financial services involves a wide range of strategies — including keyword optimisation, technical SEO, content marketing, link building and other off-page SEO activities — that can help your website rank higher in SERPs. 

Of course, it’s not just about better search rankings. It’s about attracting the right search traffic to your website — potential clients interested in your financial services.

Here are some proven financial services SEO strategies you should implement: 

1. Build trust and topical authority 

Financial services content typically covers more complex topics that could impact the reader’s financial stability and well-being — or, as Google calls them, « Your Money or Your Life » topics (YMYL). As such, it’s subject to much stricter quality standards. 

To improve your YMYL content, you’ll need to apply the E-E-A-T framework — short for “Experience, Expertise, Authority, and Trust”. 

This is a key part of Google’s search rater guidelines for evaluating a website’s quality and credibility. 

The E-E-A-T standards become even more relevant to financial topics such as investment strategies, financial advice, taxes, and retirement planning. 

In that sense, the overarching goal of your content strategy should be to build customer trust by demonstrating real expertise and topical authority through in-depth educational content. 

2. Earn reputable external links through link-building 

You also need to monitor your off-page SEO—factors outside your website that can’t be directly controlled but can still build trust and contribute to better ranking in SERPs. 

These include everything from social media engagement and unlinked brand mentions in blog posts,  news articles, user reviews and social media discussions — to inbound links from other reputable websites in the finance industry.

That brings us to high-quality backlinks as a significant factor for YMYL content that can improve your financial services website’s SEO performance: 

Earning external links can improve your domain authority and reinforce your brand’s position as a reliable source in the financial services niche — which, in turn, can contribute to better search engine rankings and drive more website traffic

Here are a few link-building strategies you can try: 

  • Use tools like Ahrefs and Semrush to look for reputable websites and then request for them to link to your site
  • Demonstrate your expertise and get backlinks from reputable media outlets through Help a Reporter Out (HARO) 
  • Reach out to authoritative websites that mention your company without linking to you directly and ask them to include a link to your websit

3. Conduct an SEO audit 

An SEO audit is a key step in developing and implementing a successful financial SEO strategy. It sets the foundation for all your future efforts — and allows you to measure progress further down the line. 

You’ll need to perform a comprehensive SEO audit, covering both the existing content and technical aspects of your website — including: 

  • Indexing issues
  • Internal linking and site architecture 
  • Duplicate content 
  • Backlink profile 
  • Broken links 
  • Page titles and metadata 

It’s possible to do this manually, third-party tools will allow you to dig deeper and speed up the process. Ahrefs and Screaming Frog — to name a few — can help you evaluate your website’s overall health and structure. And, with a web analytics platform like Matomo you can easily measure the success of your SEO efforts.

But this shouldn’t be a one-time thing; be sure to perform audits regularly — ideally every six months. 

4. Understand your target audience

You can’t create helpful content without learning about your customers’ needs, pain points and preferences. 

For example, a financial service provider focusing on individuals nearing retirement would prioritise content that educates on retirement planning strategies, investment options for seniors, and tax-efficient withdrawal strategies, aiming to guide clients through the transition from saving to managing retirement funds effectively.

In contrast, a provider targeting small business owners would emphasise content related to small business loans, funding options, and financial management advice tailored to entrepreneurs seeking to expand their businesses and navigate financial challenges effectively.

So, before you dive into keyword research and content creation, ensure you have a deep understanding of your target audience. 

Identifying different audience categories and developing detailed customer personas for each segment is crucial for creating content that resonates with them and aligns with their search intent. 

Matomo’s Segmentation tool can be of huge help here. It allows you to divide your audience into smaller groups based on factors like demographics and website interactions: 

: Screenshot of Matomo's Segmentation tool demo

In addition to that, you can: 

  • Engage with your frontline teams that interact directly with clients to gain deeper insights into prospects’ needs and concerns
  • Track social media channels and other online discussions related to the financial world and your audience
  • Gather qualitative insights from your site visitors through the Matomo Surveys plugin (questions like “What financial services are you most interested in?” or “Are there any specific financial topics you would like us to cover in more detail?” will help you understand your visitors better)
  • Watch out for financial trends and developments that could directly impact your audience’s needs and preferences 

5. Identify new opportunities through keyword research 

Comprehensive keyword research can help you identify key search terms — specific phrases that potential customers may use when looking up things related to their finances. 

It’s best to start with a brainstorming session and assemble a list of relevant topics and core keywords. Once you have an initial list, use tools like Ahrefs and Semrush to get more keyword ideas based on your seed keywords, including: 

  • More specific long-tail keywords — and often less competitive — indicate a clearer intent to convert. For example:
    • « low-risk investment options for retirees »
    • « financial planning for freelancers »
    • « small business loan requirements »
  • Keywords that your competitors already rank for. For instance:
    • If a competing investment firm ranks for « best investment strategies for beginners, » targeting similar keywords can attract novice investors.
    • A competitor’s high ranking for « life insurance quotes online » suggests potential to optimise your own content around similar terms.
  • Location-specific keywords (if you have physical store locations)

Google Search Console can provide information about the search terms you’re already ranking for — including underperforming content that may benefit from further optimisation. If you want deeper SEO insights, you can import your search keywords into Matomo. 

While you’re at it, try Matomo’s Site Search feature, too. It will show you the exact terms and phrases visitors enter when using your website’s search bar — and you can use that information to find more content opportunities.

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Of course, not all keywords are equal — and it would be impossible to target them all. Instead, prioritise keywords based on two factors: 

  • Search volume, which indicates the “popularity” of a particular query
  • Keyword difficulty, which indicates how hard it’ll be to rank for a specific term, depending on domain authority, search volume and competition 
Illustration of search engine optimisation concept

6. Find your main organic competitors 

Besides performing an SEO audit, finding your core keywords, and researching your target market, competitor analysis is another crucial aspect of SEO for finance companies. 

Before you start, it’s important to differentiate between your main organic search competitors and your direct industry competitors: 

You’ll always have direct competitors — other financial services brands offering similar products and services and targeting the same audience as you.

However, regarding search results, your financial services business won’t be in a “bubble” specifically reserved for the financial industry. Depending on the specific search queries — and the search intent behind them — SERPs could feature a wider range of online content, from niche finance blogs to news websites, and huge financial publications.

Even if another company doesn’t offer the same services, they’re an organic competitor if you’re both ranking for the same keywords. 

Once you determine who your main organic competitors are, you can analyse their websites to: 

  • Check how they’re getting search traffic 
  • See which types of content they’re publishing 
  • Find and fill in any potential content gaps 
  • Assess the quality of their backlink profile 
  • See if they currently have any featured snippets

7. Consider local SEO

According to a 2023 survey, 21% of US-based consumers report using the internet to look up local businesses daily, while another 32% do so multiple times a week. 

Local SEO is worth investing in as a financial service provider, especially with physical locations. Prospective clients will typically look up nearby financial services when they need additional information or are ready to engage in financial planning, investment, or other financial activities.

Here are a few suggestions on how to optimise your site for local searches: 

  • Create listings on online business directories, like Google Business Profile (previously known as Google My Business)
  • If your financial service company operates in more than one physical location, be sure to create a separate Google Business Profile for each one 
  • Identify location-specific keywords that will help you rank in local SERPs
  • Make sure that your name, address, and phone number (NAP) citations are correct and consistent 
  • Leverage positive customer reviews and testimonials as social proof

8. Optimise technical aspects of your website 

Technical SEO — which primarily deals with the website’s underlying structure — is another crucial factor that financial services brands must monitor. 

It’s an umbrella term that covers a wide range of elements, including: 

  • Site speed 
  • Indexing issues 
  • Broken links, orphaned pages, improper redirects 
  • On-page optimisation 
  • Mobile responsiveness

In 2020, Google introduced Core Web Vitals, a set of metrics that measure web page performance in three key areas — loading speed, responsiveness and visual stability. 

Given that they’re now a part of Google’s core ranking systems, you should consider using Matomo’s SEO Web Vitals feature to monitor these crucial metrics. Here’s why:

When technical aspects of your website — namely, site speed and mobile responsiveness — are properly optimised, you can deliver a better user experience. That’s what Google seeks to reward. 

Plus, it can be a critical brand differentiator for your business. 

Conclusion 

Investing in SEO for financial services is crucial for boosting online visibility and driving organic traffic and business growth. However, one thing to keep in mind is that SEO efforts shouldn’t be a one-time thing: 

SEO is an ongoing process, and it will take time to establish your company as a trustworthy source and see real results. 

You can start building that trust by using a web analytics platform that offers crucial insights for improving your website’s ranking in SERPs and maintains full compliance with GDPR and other privacy regulations. 

That’s why Matomo is trusted by more than 1 million websites around the globe. As an ethical alternative to Google Analytics that doesn’t rely on data sampling, Matomo is not only easy to use but more accurate, too — providing 20-40% more data compared to GA4. 

Sign up for a 21-day free trial and see how Matomo can support your financial services SEO strategy. No credit card required.

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No credit card required.

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