In the past years we have witnessed the emergence and a steady growth of the online fintech industry. The new trend has shown that users value convenience most and prefer best-fit solutions at their fingertips. Fintech companies offer innovative financial solutions and services to ease life for their users. However, the market is highly competitive and marketing in financial technology needs a comprehensive approach so that its players can differentiate from the traditional financial institutions and deliver unique selling propositions (USPs) to their future customers. Combined financial technology marketing efforts will help startups grow and establish their brand. If you are curious about how to achieve that, you can read about how Promodo helped launch a new brand using different channels. In this article we will solely focus on SEO, and what it can do for promoting a fintech brand.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) for the finance industry stands for all the tricks that help a company’s website to stay atop of the search engine result pages (SERPs). SEO in finance is not that different from SEO in eCommerce, for example, but it has its nuances.There are a number of general rules that help businesses rank higher in search engines. The challenge is that other companies in the industry are aware of them too, and sometimes you have to run just to stay at the same place.
Over the last years, many financial startups slowly secured their places on our phone’s home screens, though the most rapid change happened during the pandemic and added to our growing dependence on online financial services. The global volume neobanking market size almost doubled in 2020-2022, and the growing trend is expected to continue as we are steadily moving towards a cashless society.
The fintech services include mobile payments, digital banking, peer-to-peer lending, personal finance management (budgeting apps, investment tracking, credit score monitoring), insurance technology, digital wallets, cryptocurrency and stock exchanges among others. Financial applications are closely interwoven with our daily activities and promise to streamline our routines. Nonetheless, they are yet to establish their reliability.
The financial digital sector is more prone to fraud and misuse than any other. Fraud in the digital financial sector can take many forms from phishing scams to identity theft and malware attacks. It makes users take new service providers with caution, which is more than justified since they are required to trust such providers with their personal data and money. That’s what makes the industry stand out and that is the main challenge that fintech startup marketing teams are facing.
That explains why fintech companies should prioritize SEO.
A high-ranking website on a search engine indicates credibility and trustworthiness.
When it comes to fintech, Google has gone an extra mile to signal its users that a company is reputable. Search engines have created a special category for vulnerable web content that can have a significant impact on readers' health, well-being and safety. Google’s term for such content is YMYL (“Your Money or Your Life). The pages that fall under this category go through multifaceted evaluation to ensure they don’t contain potentially harmful content.
Financial SEO is also important if a business aims to attract new users from the demographics used to traditional banking services and are less experienced with digital alternatives.
So far, many studies have shown that the younger generation of users is way more comfortable with using online banking, while senior users still prefer traditional banking grounded on face-to-face interactions and physical visits that convey credibility. Top results in SERPs play an additional role and signal that online banks or other financial service providers can be trusted to convince users to switch online.
We’ve touched on a single reason why SEO matters in finance, which is maintaining a clear reputation online, though there’s much more to that. There are many other reasons to include SEO in your fintech marketing plan:
Customers will stumble upon your site after they enter what they want in the search bar. Search engines show results based on the keywords people use to find something. If your business is shown to someone in the SERPs, it means that this is exactly what that particular user is looking for. It means that organic traffic is generated by highly motivated people who are likely to engage and become customers. This is a key benefit of SEO as opposed to, for example, paid advertising, which is also an effective channel but can annoy potential users by showing them your product when they do not want to see it.
Despite SEO requiring an initial investment, it is still a rather cost-efficient channel. Interested in how to calculate return on investment (ROI) for SEO? Check out How to Predict the Return on Investment from SEO. Briefly, SEO can be compared to planting a tree - nurturing it during its early stages leads to a rich harvest and shade once it has matured. It makes sense relying on different marketing channels at the stage of creating brand awareness. But relying on SEO, over time you can spend less on paid ads while SEO channel will bring you steady and qualified organic traffic.
We mentioned it earlier when we discussed credibility issues, but let’s now approach the topic from a different angle. Beside the fact that the market is highly overcrowded, fintech SEO faces additional challenges from Google because of YMYL policies. By going an extra mile in meeting Google’s safety requirements and optimizing your website for the algorithms, you can get ahead of dozens of competitors who fail to do so, or who rely on other fintech marketing channels. A good SEO strategy can become a stepping stone towards your desired outreach.
Fintech SEO can be the cheapest way to create a strong association in the minds of web searchers between particular keywords and your brand. Once someone googles the stuff related to financial services and your site comes up, and you offer useful advice or help with free content, they will most likely turn to you for a service.
What does SEO stand for in finance? Let’s delve into tips and tricks that will help your website receive higher rankings and a better traffic flow. We suggest essential points adapted for financial technology marketing.
We primarily suggest turning for a comprehensive SEO audit. It seems to be an obvious step, but somehow many companies skip it and move straight to link building or a content marketing strategy. That is unfortunate because a thorough audit can identify major flaws that cause low rankings for your website. Sometimes, a business could fix such mistakes and enjoy significant growth in traffic immediately a couple of weeks after implementation. Such mistakes could be:
By asking for a SEO audit you are already ahead of multiple competitors that keep running their websites with critical mistakes. That leads us to the next possible step of your SEO strategy, which is a competitor analysis.
It is essential for your fintech marketing strategy. It helps to identify gaps in your SEO strategy by studying the strengths and weaknesses of your competitors’ SEO efforts. It allows you to identify keywords, topics and backlinks that bring traffic to your competitors and which you can potentially incorporate in your strategy to outrank the competitors. Such analysis also helps to find key points and opportunities to differentiate your brand and offerings.
The next step you don’t want to skip is keyword research. It is required for fintech SEO because identification of the exact keywords used by your potential customers to find services like yours will help you optimize your site for narrower queries.
Keyword research is also an important step in SEO for Fintech while it helps you understand the concerns voiced by your target audience and how you can tailor your Fintech marketing efforts to meet their needs. By using software solutions for keyword research, like SerpStat, Ahrefs or SimilarWeb you will identify gaps in your SEO strategy and will better understand how to fill them. You might also want to optimize your website for voice search and adapt your content to question-like queries.
Now that you have fixed all the major issues that stopped Google web crawlers from assigning higher rankings to your website, conducted competitive research and identified the best keywords for your niche, you can focus on your content marketing strategy. There’s not much left to say concerning the importance of high-quality informative content for your brand, and how the right tone of voice can make readers loyal.
It’s worth mentioning that you should always mind your target audience, buying personas, and their major pains when creating content for your website. The content should bring value and offer solutions to real-life financial challenges faced by your potential customers. For example, if you create a content plan for a neobank, consider incorporating articles about how to withdraw money with the lowest commission or what is the best-fit deposit interest you can offer. Useful and shareable content will also help you with link building.
Build your backlink profile. This one is especially important for Fintech SEO, because quality backlinks will make you look authoritative both in the eyes of readers and financial search engine algorithms. When it comes to backlinks, you should put quality above quantity. Another tip is to use a variety of anchor texts with both exact match and partial match keywords, as well as branded and generic terms. This will help you create a more natural looking backlink profile for search engines. And, of course, constantly monitor whether you have some toxic links sneaked into your profile that hurt your SEO efforts.
Consider Search Engine Reputation Management (SERM). SERM is a proactive approach to managing how your company is viewed by search engines, which are often the first place people turn to when researching a business online. SERM services involve different techniques that ensure that the positive and accurate information stays at the top of the search results, while negative feedback and mentions are suppressed. It also involves constant monitoring of the company’s online reputation to promptly respond to any crisis that may arise, and monitor, create and respond to reviews and comments. SERM services provide a great way to maintain a positive picture about your brand whenever it is searched for.
And last for today, but one of the most important components of SEO for Fintech is compliance with E-E-A-T, which stands for Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness. It’s a framework used by Google to evaluate the quality of a written piece of content and the expertise of the author. Websites that demonstrate a high level of E-E-A-T usually rank higher in search engines, and Google takes this framework seriously when it comes to the websites from YMYL industries. Here is what you can do to meet the requirements:
These steps will help you get better feedback from Google’s Quality Raters.
SEO issues that are typical to fintech will be connected to E-E-A-T, security certificates and legal and government requirements. Since the industry is strictly regulated, your main focus should be on avoiding any type of content and activity that might compromise your reputation. If your website uses insecure protocols or your blog contains articles like “Become rich overnight”, you might get black-listed for suspicious activity, and that will be reflected on your rankings.
We asked a SEO Senior, Marko Fedorenko, what are the main obstacles that occur during SEO projects in finance. That’s what we found out and what you could pay attention to for a smoother SEO experience:
1. All, even minimal changes, require a strict approval. It is practically impossible to change the content on the pages. That means that the best case scenario would be to incorporate SEO in your strategy from the earliest stages so that there is almost no need for future edits .
Everything goes through a long process of coordination and banking bureaucracy. If the layout is confirmed by all departments, it is impossible to make changes. Therefore, it was necessary to master micro-markup as a tool to add relevance to the pages.
Marko Fedorenko, Senior SEO
2. Large share of branded traffic (if you are not sure what branded traffic is, we have summarized all you need to know in this post).
There was a case when the bank had an active branding campaign last year that stimulated deposits, then it ended, and so there was no advertising. It seemed that the organic traffic wasn’t growing, but when we started to dig deeper, it turned out that non-branded traffic was growing, while branded traffic was going down.
3. Dynamic change of priorities in products.
In one quarter it can be loans, in another - deposits, and further - products for business. It took us quite long to explain that SEO requires strategic planning, and once dynamic changes are at stake, it is better to engage with PPC.
Since SEO requires strategic planning, it is much better to set your priorities right from scratch to ensure a smooth SEO promotion.
SEO for fintech is a complex set of activities, but when done correctly, it can bring long-lasting results, brand awareness, strong reputation and loyal customers. One of the main obstacles you can face as a fintech company is the strict security requirements set by search engines when it comes to the companies in finance sector. We recommend taking a comprehensive approach to digital marketing making thought through SEO strategy a part of it.
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