When building a new website, most financial services firms keep an eye on how it’s built from an SEO perspective. Few think about SEO as a way to generate additional business though. Some of the reasons for that include a lack of awareness about the possibilities to generate traffic and new business through Search Engine Optimization, a general idea that SEO is ‘illegal’, or a lack of time and focus. In this article we will discuss the basics of SEO, why you should make time and budget for SEO and what tactics a Financial Services firm can employ.
What is SEO?
Search Engine Optimization as a whole is concerned with the optimization of both onsite and offsite factors (factors on-your-site and factors off-your-site) that Google and other search engines use to determine for what search keywords and at what position in the search results your site ranks. In short, SEO tries to get your site higher in the search results for keyword searches that bring you new business or help brand awareness and attitudes.
As mentioned, Offsite SEO concerns the factors that search engines consider to determine rankings that are not on your site. This includes things like the amount and quality of links that point to your site, the text used to link to your site, the social media mentions and links of your brand and other less important factors.
Onsite SEO concerns the factors search engines take into account that are on your site. This includes things like the content on your site, the technical structure of your site, internal links, where your site is hosted and other items such as Meta-Tags which are important to tell search engines and visitors about the content of your site.
Why is SEO important?
Search Engines such as Google and Baidu have two parts on the page people get when they search for a specific keyword. There are the paid ads which generally sit on top of the results, and there are the ‘organic’, non-paid results which make up a large part of search result pages. Both PPC and SEO are important, but combined they are especially powerful in order to generate business and affect brand attitude.
So how do we get to the top of the Search Results?
Getting to the top of the search results is not a short term project, it requires an ongoing commitment to optimize your site and the external factors that influence its importance. To rank for important keywords, the company site needs links from good quality, industry relevant websites, an optimized site and time.
Links can be generated through a high quality content program, guest authorship and publisher outreach. To do this at scale, you ideally need dedicated resources or an agency helping you but a resourceful marketing manager can go a long way by themselves. There is nothing ‘illegal’ or borderline about this, Google and other search engines have nothing against brands putting out high quality content and getting a link to their site as appropriate – on the contrary. It’s when unscrupulous SEO’s and sites start spamming the internet with low quality content and irrelevant links that Google takes action.
When it comes to optimizing your site, it’s most important that the content of your site is high quality and relevant to your target audience, that you have a lot of it and that new content appears regularly, that you have proper meta tags and that the site is built in a way that search engines can easily read it.
It’s worth investing in SEO; once you get solid rankings for key industry terms, you will see the impact it will have on new business in no-time.