I discovered these FinTech SEO tactics from long hours of research and experimentation. Whether you’re in credit. lending, investments, insurance, accounting, or some other finance niche, they apply to all of them.
Even though SEO involves the same process regardless of the industry one is in, there are unique considerations if you’re a financial service or FinTech company.
Your Money or Your Life
Nope, we’re not talking about bank robbers or street thugs. We’re talking about financial institutions.
Google’s Quality Raters’ Guidelines categorize certain industries as “your money or your life” (YMYL) industries, because they involve things essential to a person’s well-being. These include websites in the health, legal, and finance niches.
The expertise, authority, and trust (E-A-T) of the content creators and of the website itself are under more scrutiny than ever before.
In fact, the Quality Raters’ Guidelines put it this way, “For all other pages that have a beneficial purpose, the amount of expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness (E-A-T) is very important. Please consider:
- The expertise of the creator of the MC.
- The authoritativeness of the creator of the MC, the MC itself, and the website.
- The trustworthiness of the creator of the MC, the MC itself, and the website.”
(MC means the “Main Content” of a webpage.)
There are several things that you can do quickly and painlessly to improve the E-A-T of your website. These include:
- Make sure that your website has an SSL certificate
- Keep your website’s overall design up-to-date. (Doesn’t have to be fancy, just not look like it’s 10 years old.)
- Clearly have “About” and “Contact” pages in your website navigation, and make sure that those pages have real people and real contact information on them
- Add an author name and picture at the top and bottom of any long-form content that you have, and include their byline at the bottom of the page
- Keep a visible date on your blog and resource articles, and keep the content current with a recent date within the past 6 months
Other things that you can do that aren’t as easy (but still worthwhile) include:
- Use writers with expertise in your niche
- Acquire legitimate user reviews of your product or service, and post them on your website. (Using Google Reviews is a good place to start.)
- Have the real, physical address on your website where you do business. (Not sure why, but this one seems to be difficult for a lot of companies.)
- Show industry certifications, licenses, and awards that your company has won
- Write long-form, in-depth content. Usually this looks like 1,500-3,000 word articles as the norm
- Maintain a good reputation on the internet in general, which includes reviews on other sites like the BBB, Trust Pilot, and on industry blogs
Any good FinTech marketing agency that you hire will make sure that your content uses smart YMYL indicators.
Keep Content Up-to-Date
This Fortune.com article from 1999 is still indexed in Google. Note that Warren Buffet looks exactly the same.
As I already mentioned, it’s important to have a recent date clearly posted on your articles. In some cases, both myself and colleagues have seen rankings boosts just from updating the date.
Google values “fresh” content. It has long factored this into the search algorithm. Some searches get denoted with the tag “query deserves freshness”, which simply means they think that that particular search should show up-to-date information.
I’m guessing that maintaining current information on some topics isn’t important. For example, historical topics like “who was the first roman emperor” or evergreen topics like “how to bake chocolate chip cookies” seem like they could have 15-year-old articles and still be valuable to users.
Many financial topics, on the other hand, require up-to-date information. When consumers research “best mortgage rates” or “average home price in Sacramento”, they want the data to be as real-time as possible.
Keywords that include “price”, “cost”, “rate”, “discount”, “forecast”, “today”, and “now” all indicate that the information that users are looking for needs to be as up-to-date as possible. Many of these keywords have buyer intent, which means that you’d be foolish not to pursue them in your FinTech SEO campaign.
Even when you’re writing more generic content, such as “how to save $1000” or “best cryptocurrency investment”, you’ll still see a ranking boost by keeping your content up-to-date. All that this requires is a brief editorial review every six months and a few adjustments.
Many SEO professionals have found that updating old content has a much faster and more dramatic impact than creating new content, and have prioritized their team’s content efforts accordingly.
Neil Patel’s SEO team focuses way more on updating old content than it does on creating new content, and it works wonders for them.
“I started focusing on my old, outdated content to boost my traffic. Just think of it this way: Every week I publish one new piece of content, but my team, on average, is updating 23 older articles. When I used to write more frequently, my top 10 pages made up 33% of my search traffic. Since then, I have increased my search traffic by 107% and reduced my reliance on my top 10 pages by 13%.”
Most companies approach content marketing from a publishing standpoint. This makes sense, but it’s limiting. Every content strategy should include a plan for systematically updating old content.
Typical Finance Keywords
Scrooge McDuck goes diving for keywords.
Regardless of the sub-niche, there are a lot of finance keyword patterns.
These could include price:
- “gold price”
- “life insurance rates”
- “mortgage rates”
- “bitcoin price usd”
- “amazon stock quote”
There are lots of searches for forms, templates, and applications:
- “free blank profit and loss statement pdf” – (This particular keyword has 1,300 searches per month! And extremely low keyword difficulty.)
- “promissory note template”
- “form 1040 schedule a”
- “loan application 1003”
You see a lot of people searching for calculators:
- “ppp loan calculator”
- “mortgage calculator”
- “car payment calculator”
- “stock profit calculator”
- “medical insurance calculator”
Financial companies often have scoring mechanisms, which people search obsessively:
- “average credit score”
- “is 670 a good credit score” (This hyper-specific question gets 1,600 searches per month!)
- “bond credit ratings”
- “tax brackets 2020”
- “fantasy football rankings” (I couldn’t resist)
Something that I don’t see done often, but which works really well, is to create page templates for similar keywords.
For example, the personal credit niche has a lot of people searching about their credit score. These keywords look like “how good is a 600 credit score”, “how good is a 690 credit score”, etc. There is significant search volume for almost every score it seems.
I haven’t seen anyone in that industry try to write content for each of those keywords. (Credit.com, are you listening?)
We used such an approach for a client at my old job. We noticed that people constantly look up internet speeds, such as “75 mbps” and “150 mbps”. When you buy an internet service, pricing is by speed. But outside of IT, who knows what 75 mbps means in real terms?
So we created a separate page targeting those keywords at every speed level that we offered. Those pages are still live at https://go.verizon.com/business/fios/75-mbps, https://go.verizon.com/business/fios/150-mbps, https://go.verizon.com/business/fios/300-mbps, and elsewhere.
You’ll note that the page template is the same for every page. Once you swap out the images and the copy, you’ve got a new SEO page as fast as you can say, “SEO rocks”.
Because most websites won’t target hyper-specific keywords like that, that competition is usually quite low. To this day, each of those pages ranks #1 for their head terms “75 mbps”, “150 mbps”, and “300 mbps”. If I recall correctly, they started ranking on page 1 within a month of going live, without any links going to them!
This strategy worked so well, we immediately copied it for another client. And guess what? It worked wonders for them too. Traffic soared!
For credit scores, you could follow this same strategy and create a separate page for each one of these keywords:
- is 600 a good credit score
- is 650 a good credit score
- is a 700 credit score good (gets 5,400 per month)
- is 750 a good credit score
And so on. There are probably a dozen or so of these keywords. And I don’t see anyone targeting them. Not Experian, NerdWallet, Credit Sesame – no one.
Sure – they are writing about “650 credit score” – the credit score head term. But they’re all competing for the same high difficulty, high volume keywords.
Which leaves the longtail keywords (some of which have significant search volume, as you have seen) completely wide open: competition-free.
(In fact, 91% of the keywords that people type into Google are long-tail keywords, per these digital marketing statistics.)
You see, when it comes to keyword research, most SEO specialists are lazy. And most agencies prefer to use scalable tactics. The less individual skill-level a process requires, the better – that way you can have your junior account managers do it.
All that they do is crawl their competitors for keywords and throw their head terms into a few tools like SEMrush and Ahrefs. After a little spreadsheet work – voilà! Keyword research is done. After all, a junior account manager has to leave time for watching YouTube videos, right?
This lazy process leaves a ton of opportunity for the enterprising SEO professional. The more you can target scalable longtail keywords, the more organic traffic your website will get.
Government Regulations and Legal Requirements
Since the FinTech industry is heavily regulated, website claims have to be made very carefully. This is an important consideration for SEO because you’ll see a lot of keywords like “how to get rich” or “how to protect my inheritance from my ex-spouse”.
Eventually, you’ll get to a point where you’ll want to rank for those types of raw, human-language keywords, and when you do, you need to have a plan for what type of content you’ll allow.
If your content is too dry, it won’t get clicked on or linked to, and your SEO campaign won’t go anywhere. (This is the “safe” option that most Fortune 500 companies opt for.)
If your content is too bold in its promises, you could anger customers, trigger government audits or invite lawsuits.
Furthermore, your website will get manually reviewed by either a Google employee or a third-party content evaluator at some point. When it does, you’ll want the following items in place:
- An up-to-date copyright date in your sitewide website footer
- A terms and conditions page, if applicable to your product
- Proper legal disclosures required in your niche
- If you sell directly on your website, a clear refund policy
Ignoring these factors could result in a Google manual penalty (in a worst-case scenario), or more likely an algorithmic penalty because your website is deemed as not trustworthy.
How do you keep things interesting without risking too much?
Sometimes you have to push the envelope to get results.
To be clear, I’m not saying to use over-the-top hype in your marketing, like 99% of “get rich quick” YouTube ads. But there is a middle-ground between the extremes of marketing that is so dry it puts you to sleep, and marketing that is so hype-y that it compromises your reputation.
Most companies opt for the put-you-to-sleep option, when in reality, there needs to be something exciting about your content and advertising for it to succeed.
Schema Markup for Finance
Schema markup is basically SEO code. It’s a specific markup developed by the search engine companies to help them better understand what’s on a website.
Most schema markup types don’t do much for your SEO at this time, but there’s a few of them that work really well.
In addition to the well-known and beloved schema markups such as FAQ, Reviews, and Organization, you should know the ones in your industry, too.
For finance, it’s worth knowing these ones:
Know the Money Websites
Backlink acquisition is a hugely important part of any SEO campaign. Since Google values and rewards links from relevant websites, then you need to create relationships with other websites in your industry.
Good PR can get you links from the top publications in finance, like CNN Money, the Wall Street Journal, Forbes Money, MarketWatch, and TheStreet. In an SEO sense, I would list NerdWallet and Investopedia as top publications, since they both have a Domain Rating of around 90/100.
But probably the majority of your link building will come from more mid-tier websites and blogs.
Many finance bloggers are open to guest posts. Teaming up with other companies in your niche on content works too. Content syndication and link asset promotion are other options that work.
Are you B2B? Just creating really good quality content, and then emailing it out to your list of blog followers can help bring in more backlinks. That strategy works if you carefully cultivate an engaged following, and if you do top-notch content.
(Hint: most companies doing SEO don’t do either.)
I’m shocked at how many websites and blogs don’t aggressively collect emails. This is a tried-and-true (and easy) way to build your business, but most companies don’t emphasize it. It’s marketing 101!
Working With Other Marketing Channels
Your search engine optimization strategy should complement your other inbound marketing channels.
For example, many studies show that a SERP with both a PPC ad and an organic listing result in increased clicks to both the ad and the organic result.
So it makes sense for your SEO strategy to target keywords that you’re already advertising to. And your Google Adwords campaigns should target your profitable organic keywords.
Social media marketing is a great way to increase brand awareness. Google measures your brand mentions across the internet, so if there is a spike in people searching for your brand name – you’ll see a rise in your non-brand rankings too.
Facebook and Instagram ads are particularly helpful for getting your name out there. Conversely, your target audience will often find your blog through SEO, and then come back and make a purchase after you retarget them on social media.
Most keywords are informational in nature, which means they bring you top-of-funnel traffic. Your higher funnel SEO landing pages are often the starting point for your customers. If you don’t have a marketing funnel prepared to capture that traffic, you can’t monetize it.
Your SEO strategy can and should involve your other digital marketing channels. It should integrate particularly well with your content marketing strategy.
A Note on Execution
Many FinTech startup company executives wonder if they should build out an in-house team, or hire an SEO agency.
Here are some quick questions about that:
- Can you afford a full-time, in-house team?
- Will SEO be a core company competency, or is it just one of many marketing channels?
- Do you want a quick project to point you in the right direction, or do you want an aggressive lead generation strategy?
If you want a temporary project, an SEO consultant is probably the right way to go. An SEO company or digital marketing agency will almost always want your business on a recurring basis.
Using external SEO services make sense if it’s not your core company or marketing competency, but it’s still a great way to find potential customers.
If you’re a founder or business owner looking to hire an SEO consultant, ironically it’s usually better to start advertising instead. PPC advertising provides quicker results, which is what small businesses need to grow quickly.
SEO is typically better for more established businesses, that can afford the 6-9 month ramp up time that SEO requires.
Also, try to find a consultant or agency that focuses on FinTech clients. Their learning curve will be shorter, and you’ll get faster results.
Building up the organic search presence of your website is an investment. You’re building an asset that will increase your cashflow for years to come. It doesn’t happen overnight, but it can work quicker than you think.
Organic search is a proven method for growing a FinTech brand. If you’re in a niche with decent search traffic, your FinTech SEO strategy should be driving incredible growth for you.
Check out the next article in this FinTech marketing series, about FinTech PR.
I’m the founder and owner of GB Digital and an SEO nerd. This includes a complete obsession with knowing everything about Google’s secret ranking algorithm.
You may find an odd reference to the Lord of the Rings here and there.