What’s going on in Financial Services SEO?

In SEO, The Digital Marketing Blog by Kelvin1 Comment

At the most recent brightonSEO we were lucky enough to gather together some of the brightest in-house search marketers at financial services industry for a chat, a rant and to share some knowledge.

We’ve run these roundtables for a few years and they’re a great opportunity to really feel the pulse of the industry. The roundtable itself is held under Chatham House Rules, which means we can’t share precisely who said what but we did want to share some general notes and findings from the event.

If you’re interested in attending future travel SEO roundtable events just email kelvin.newman@sitevisibility.com

How to gain more Twitter and LinkedIn followers?

  • Have clear objectives – quality is better than quantity
  • Be consistent and persistent in terms of addressing the objectives
  • Use graphics and make sure they are as high quality as you can afford
  •  Good experiences of having a solid in-house graphics person

For many organisations, content creation has now become the responsibility of a large number people across the company, many of whom aren’t natural copy writers and lack basic SEO knowledge. If content creation is now a shared responsibility across your business, what challenges do you face and how have you overcome them?

  • Create a virtual team and encourage them to brainstorm and plan together
  • Set KPIs and measure performance then ensure results are shared and good performance is rewarded so people recognise the effect of the work they’ve done
  • Tackle the lack of basic SEO knowledge with training, people need to know why they areinvolved in the SEO project

I want to get a better understanding of how people try to create engaging content in a relatively disengaged market. The financial services industry isn’t well known for getting many ‘likes’ and shares from users, so I’d like to know how people in the sector plan to add greater creativity to combat this.

There is a perception that FS is boring however, the audience is everything but boring. Find out:
  • Who they are – persona creation and matching
  • What they like
  • Create a content calendar for each persona
  • Create the content in-house or use specialist freelancers who can sometimes know your business better than you, they may have a longer experience of the company than internal staff
  • Include social media activity to amplify the content
  • Red Bull was cited as a great example

Biggest challenge in last 6 months?

Keyword strategy and onpage content strategy – identifying keyword opportunities for life cover for example
Duplicate content issues
FCA means boring content
Google – risk that Google is after your business/customers esp in comparisons

What are you doing about the mobile update?

  • It’s an issue only if your mobile traffic is large or you’re a mobile first company
  • It’s been growing for some time so most companies are ready and not panicking

Which technology which works particularly well for you?

  •  Google Analytics premium
  •  Many rely on agencies to provide the tools
  •  Prefer to use a blend of specialist tools rather than one tool that does everything (not as well)

 

What are the main KPIs you expect from your search agency?

  • Keyword reporting
  • Ranking
  • Volume
  • Organic traffic growth
  • Conversions
  • Competitor positions
  • Brand vs non brand KPIs
  • Quality of traffic

What’s your biggest frustration?

  • Brand vs Non brand traffic – the contribution of SEO
  • Introducing a basic knowledge of SEO across the organisation and especially in the C suite
  • Managing expectations in the face of a lack of knowledge
  • Measuring the impact of SEO whereas PPC is so measurable

What the next skill you will bring in-house?

  • Ranging from bringing all SEO and PPC in-house to just the content
  • Agencies are too slow, the in-house team can be much more responsive
  • Agencies are also less likely to have the specialist knowledge , especially in terms of content / FCA requirements in the finance sector
  • Conversely, one person found that the internal team did not work, with office politics and inaction causing failure to achieve results

Attribution

There was debate over the different experiences of the impact brand campaigns have (or don’t have) on the SEO results/traffic. The use of attribution would help to identify the role of different channels within the overall user conversion journey. Big debate around the value of TV and PR with correlation analysis showing that when the TV campaign was switched off for a major financial brand, there was no dip in search traffic

Other comments

Financing SEO tools and selling in the value to the organisation as we are selling predominantly through a broker it’s very difficult to attribute the value of SEO to the sale and therefore sell it in to the business as we have no sight of their data.
As a team we are passionate about doing things right but with so much web collateral it becomes a huge manual task to maintain.
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Comments

  1. Interesting stuff Kelvin. Thanks for posting this, as I was invited to the round table but couldn’t get to Brighton in time. Please let me know if you’re doing one for FS again in September, as I’ll be down the day before for training.

    Particularly interested to see that people think that FCA compliance means that content has to be boring. That’s not my experience at all, quite the opposite. All that FCA means is that you’re restricted to being quite dry and factual about your products and services (but you really ought to be factual anyway, regardless of the FCA!).

    People don’t really want to read lots of product stuff anyway though, so I’m more focused on useful content that helps the customer journey. So for content ideas I’m much more inclined to look at highly topical stuff that affects our target market.

    So by way of example, I work for an insurance broker targeting SME businesses. We’ve focused on things like cyber crime, abolition of the paper driving licence (which is boring on the face of it, but has big implications for businesses!). So personally, I never struggle for content ideas that aren’t boring, dry or just banging on about our products!

    So, I hope to contribute to an FS round table in future. And while I’m on, April’s BrightonSEO was my first (of many). Thoroughly enjoyed it and keep up the good work.

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