The Importance of SEO for Banks

How is SEO different for financial advisers and services?

What makes these concerns so special? Let's start with the 2018 Google Medic Algorithm Update. The upgrade primarily targeted "Your Money, Your Life" (YMYL) websites. Furthermore, quality raters at Google began to hold YMYL sites to higher Page Quality (PQ) criteria.

Trust is crucial when it comes to SEO for financial services firms. Fortunately, one of the best practises that supports SEO is trust. Financial websites must be trusted by search engines (and users) in the same manner that financial advisors must be trusted by customers.

There are some principles of search engine optimization that are universally applicable. Financial advisors, on the other hand, cannot apply the same SEO technique as an internet merchant. As we'll see later in this essay, SEO for financial services is special.

key Points

  • A great focus on trust is placed on SEO for financial services.
  • When it comes to financial services SEO, speed, security, and privacy are essential.
  • For improved SEO results, align your content with audience segmentation, life events, and customer journeys.
  • Regulatory agencies such as FINRA require financial services firms to ensure that their website content complies with their requirements.
  • Off-site location that is strategic SEO improves your SERP rankings by increasing your credibility.
  • Customers will be able to find your physical locations with the use of local SEO strategies.

The Importance of SEO for Banks

SEO is a long-term investment, unlike PPC advertising, which can be switched on and off with the flip of a button. It's a flywheel that takes longer to get going, but it pays off in the long run with a significantly higher ROI than paid channels. Here are three compelling case studies that demonstrate our competence in organic search for prominent financial services organisations.

How is SEO different for financial advisers and services?

What makes these concerns so special? Let's start with the 2018 Google Medic Algorithm Update. The upgrade primarily targeted "Your Money, Your Life" (YMYL) websites. Furthermore, quality raters at Google began to hold YMYL sites to higher Page Quality (PQ) criteria.

According to Google, every page that has the potential to affect a user's current or future well-being (health, finances, safety, etc.) should be reviewed more thoroughly for E-A-T. (expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness). Websites that deal with financial services, such as banking, investing, and insurance, might easily fit under the "Your Money, Your Life" banner.

For additional information, see our article What is E-A-T and Why Does It Matter?

It's also worth noting that Google's Quality Evaluator Guidelines were modified in May of this year. Rather of referring to E-A-T as a separate entity, they now include it as a factor within PQ. In other words, if you're delivering financial advice, it had better be good, trustworthy, and prepared by a professional.

SEO for financial firms and advisors necessitates a methodical, focused, and methodical approach to content marketing. It's vital to pay special attention to quality and trust elements in your sector. Small business financing businesses, financial counsellors, and internet publishers like NerdWallet and Bankrate will outrank you if you ignore them.

Trust is one of the most difficult issues that banks confront, and websites like NerdWallet and Bankrate are succeeding because they post content that encourages trust.

Let's look at the individual components of SEO for financial advisers in more detail.

SEO for financial services websites on a technical level

Technical SEO, on the other hand, is a lot easier. Begin by conducting a comprehensive website audit to identify and prioritise any issues that may affect crawlability and usability. Certain technical priorities will be evident, just as they are on any other website. (Do your resource pages have noindex tags, or is your robots.txt file preventing vital pages from being crawled?)

If any of the following are impacted by technical concerns, you should make the fix a "high priority":

Page loading time

The time it takes for a page to load is a Google SEO ranking factor. In light of this, it's vital that your web pages load quickly and don't make your visitors wait.

Beyond that, speed has an impact on consumer trust and usability, which is particularly crucial in the financial services business. If people are merely viewing articles or blog entries, they may be willing to put up with a slower website. When people need to access their bank account, though, they won't be as patient if your website times down. If this happens again, they may consider switching financial institutions.

Slow websites with a bad user experience might become an unspoken sign of the overall digital customer experience for the customer (DCX). To put it another way, make sure your website is responsive and runs like a new Lamborghini.

Find out more about the most important Google ranking elements.


For financial SEO, website security is critical. Routine security measures done during an SEO audit, however, are insufficient. More than just confirming that you're using https and the most recent version of your CMS software isn't enough for a financial services SEO firm.

Check for any indexed subdomains or pages that you don't want to appear in branded search queries. Websites are sometimes exposed to data breaches simply because they don't understand they're sharing it. As a result, a complete site crawl and Google SERP analysis are required.

In addition, to comfort site visitors, you may want to place a security service notice in your global footer. "Norton Secured," "SiteLock Secure," or "DigiCert Trusted," for example, let users know they're safe.


For financial planning SEO success, privacy is essential. Being too private with your website, on the other hand, can hurt your SEO efforts. Some financial services firms maintain content behind a firewall, accessible only to individuals who are logged in. Although the intention is nice, Google is unable to crawl anything behind a firewall! If Google can't crawl it, there's no way for that content to be discovered, which will affect your SEO results.

URL Composition

Do your website's URLs resemble the following:

  • ga=2.48358822.1427115113.1559548973

These are screenshots from Fortune 500 financial services companies' websites.

It's normal that URLs can get muddled due to the desire to organise information and technical limits. Your urls, on the other hand, should be clear to Google if you want to rank high in organic search engine results.

Schema (structured data)

Google is quite capable at interpreting the content of your web pages. However, it isn't without flaws. Structured data, also known as schema, aids search engines in better understanding and categorising your material.

Google, Bing, Yahoo!, and Yandex have joined together to create, a structured data markup that will help to improve the web. Structured data paves the way for your website to appear in "rich snippets" in search engine results pages (SERP).

Financial advisors' scheme

Some schema, such as feesAndCommissionsSpecification, are designed expressly for financial services. Fees, commissions, and other terminology associated with financial products are described in this markup.

Financial advisors may also use the following forms of structured data:

  • Locations
  • Hours
  • Numbers to call
  • online testimonials

Here you'll find the most recent schema options as well as a history of markup options. Google's Structured Data Markup Helper Tool and Testing Tool are also useful for correctly designing and deploying schema.

SEO for financial services on-page

On-page SEO tactics entail a lot more than just addressing technical issues. Content optimization for a certain keyword or combination of keywords is also included. It's critical to use search phrases that are relevant to the searcher's objective, have low competition, and are at the top of the funnel. It's less likely that you'll have thin, duplicate content if each page focuses on a different keyword category.

Take aware, though, that this is not a simple task. You'll have to improve:

  • URLs
  • Pages for each category
  • Tags in the title
  • Descriptions of the meta tags
  • Tags H1 and H2
  • alt tags for images
  • Internal hyperlinks
  • Content that appears on the page.

He also stressed that you can't just develop content at random and expect to perform well in this competitive market. A systematic approach to content generation, such as a subject cluster strategy, is required.

Developing a sense of trust

Have you noticed a pattern yet? One of the most effective methods to communicate your brand voice is through your content. However, you must ensure that it is reliable.

There is a significant separation between consumers and their financial services providers, according to NewsCred's Trust Transaction Study. A third of people polled don't trust their own bank, according to the report. However, half of this group stated that they would be more trusting of banks if they supplied useful content. Half of those polled said that having helpful, useful content from their bank would keep them from switching banks.

The fact that financial services and insurance content marketing is both infrequent and redundant is a huge disadvantage. Brands repeatedly recycle the same general themes, causing significant gaps in the customer journey.

We asked Robert Rose, The Content Advisory's Chief Strategy Officer, for his insights on how banks might enhance trust through content.

Banks must be laser-focused on developing content-driven brand experiences that begin to build trust, provide insight into consumer behaviour, and provide greater meaning in the decision-making process.

Robert believes that content strategy should be viewed as a basic part of a bank's business rather than a separate marketing vehicle. Banks must "create a plan that involves content production, management, activation, and measurement," according to Rose.

What is the takeaway? Use the following tactics to make sure you're offering useful, trustworthy content:

Make your brand more human.

Your audience will not be won over by dry descriptions of your life insurance (or auto insurance, mutual funds, IRAs, bank accounts, and so on). Product specifics have their place, but they shouldn't be in the forefront of your brand voice.

People are emotional beings, thus information that makes us feel something will be received more quickly. It occupies more room in our neural system and motivates us to act.

Even your data-driven, economically conscious target audience isn't immune. On a subconscious way, being emotionally driven is hard-wired into our brain. Our "feeling" brain is made up of the amygdala and limbic system. Both are older, deeper, and ranked higher than the logic-driven neocortex, our "thinking" brain.

People with damage to the feeling brain, according to researcher Antonio Damasio, find it nearly impossible to make decisions. Damasio discovered, in other words, that emotions are a necessary aspect of decision-making. As a result, if your website fails to elicit an emotional response from users, it will underperform. Lower ranks, less organic traffic, and fewer clients and customers are all consequences.

So, before sharing company information with your customers, make sure they're feeling something. Be warm, approachable, and representative of the experience you want people to have. Tell them about the one customer who is exactly like them before you talk about the millions of consumers you've helped.

Elements of trust

Aside from high-quality content, a website can transmit trust through a variety of indications. Seals, memberships, and accolades, for example, are minor, unobtrusive visual cues that might reassure buyers; and if you have any large press mentions, consider including a news section with publication logos.

You're bound to have trust indicators specific to your sector within financial services, depending on your specific niche. If you have a network of financial advisors, for example, a link to FINRA's BrokerCheck will give your site visitors even more confidence.

User-friendly online design and navigation, as well as easy access to reviews, testimonials, data, and other information, make it appear as if you have nothing to hide. Similarly, include contact information that is both clear and upfront.

Active social media accounts are another approach to not only show trust, but also to establish relationships with your audience and set yourself apart from your competitors. (See NerdWallet on Instagram, Morgan Stanley on Twitter, and Mastercard on YouTube.) Make sure your website's social media icons are prominent, and consider incorporating a social feed of customers who mention your company or use your hashtag.


For financial services websites, notices that a link on your website will take a visitor to a separate organization's website are useful. Given the sensitivity of financial information, it's critical for site users to recognise when they've left your digital property so that they can make an informed decision about whether or not to enter any information.


Allowing customers to leave reviews on your website and displaying the results is a simple and unobtrusive method to build trust. Bonus: Using schema markup to pull rich snippets of your online reviews and displaying them in the SERPs can give you more real estate in the search results, increase trust from the SERPs, and increase click-throughs to your website.

Content strategies for financial services

Within the financial sector, Google places a great focus on quality content and topic authority. As a result, the health of your organic search performance is dependent on your content strategy. For your financial institution, advice should come from or be evaluated by specialists, such as Gregory Karp, a personal finance writer and author of two books on finance, who wrote this post for NerdWallet.

Continue reading to learn about new methods to approach your content, or go straight to this article to learn how to 10X your content output in no time.

Content that is tailored to specific target demographics and life phases

Financial institutions' specific consumer segments are another factor that distinguishes content strategy. While retail enterprises may be able to specify a narrow target group, the financial services industry is significantly more likely to target a large swath of the population with varying needs based on life stage.

So, from the loan-strapped college student to the first-time homeowner to the older couple managing their portfolios and hoping to leave something in their wills for their grandkids, your content strategy should seek to address each of these stages in turn.

Find the stages and situations that most closely resemble those experienced by your target audience. Then, for each of these steps, conduct SEO keyword research and create useful content. Consider the following scenario:

  • Merrill Edge's 
  • Fidelity Investments offers financial counselling to newlyweds.
  • Discover Retirement Planning Center from Vanguard has a budgeting guidance for new homeowners.
  • Schwab's life events portal

Alternatively, you can divide the stages of life into age groups, like Voya does with retirement planning:

Each of these tactics can help you improve your Google search rankings by addressing how your audience views their present financial goals and issues, as well as the specific financial questions on their minds. This technique allows you to take advantage of the possibility to generate traction on a large number of long-tail keyword searches. 

Content that is aligned with the client journey

Only 16 percent of banks and credit unions have a documented digital client journey, according to the Digital Growth Institute. This is a big chance to differentiate your business by giving your prospects with relevant and appealing products, information, and assistance from beginning to end of their customer experience. Whether the user is on your home page, a credit card page, or blog content, each stage should provide a clear path to the next.

Building conversion funnels on your website is a good start, but to fully break down silos and delight customers, you'll need to incorporate the digital trip into a comprehensive omnichannel strategy. That includes allowing your clients to continue where they left off as they switch platforms. To make it all come together smoothly, the UX and content teams will have to work together.

Interactive content opportunities

Interactive content, such as financial planning tools, calculators, online courses, and interactive infographics, is another component of a successful financial services SEO strategy. For instance, have a look at Geico's 

  • car insurance coverage calculator.
  • New York's life insurance needs calculator Life
  • Ally provides a home affordability assessment.
  • Bank of America's mortgage calculator
  • Betterment's IRA Selector Tool
  • NerdWallet's Retirement Calculator

Interactive tools can produce considerable quality backlinks to the web pages that house the interactive information, in addition to being incredibly valuable to potential clients. The Bank of America mortgage calculator, for example, has received links from 348 websites and now ranks on the first page of Google for around 1,170 keywords (Source: Ahrefs).

When we contacted Shane Barker for his opinions, he suggested that banks focus on developing interactive aspects and tools that help people understand complex issues while also improving organic search rankings.

Because they're wonderful resources for earning backlinks across other websites, interactive elements can interest your audience and help you rank higher in the SERPs.

Video Opportunities

Video is a powerful tool for reaching out to your audience. Despite this, 90% of financial firms lack video content. This is diametrically opposed to how consumers and corporations receive information. Every day, nearly one billion hours of video are watched on YouTube. YouTube reaches more adults between the ages of 18 and 49 during prime time via mobile than any cable network.

83 percent of marketers say video is becoming a more significant part of their digital marketing strategy, according to Smart Insights. While 66% say that video outperforms all other formats in terms of social media marketing ROI.

To learn more about how video fits into a bigger plan, see our comprehensive digital marketing guide.

How to Make Video Work for You

The use of video to break down complex concepts in the financial services industry is ideal. It enables you to communicate information in a more understandable and relatable manner. Hand-drawn explainer videos are a terrific method to do this.

Beyond explanations, you may utilise video to display your customers' experiences, like Sun Life does, allowing your site users to see their own aspirational achievement in accomplishing financial objectives or overcoming life's problems.

Another excellent technique to use video is to interview your own specialists as well as those from outside the firm, providing your audience with valuable, useful information.

In its Morning Call video series, Saxo Bank employs video in an unusual way, delivering a morning review of the financial markets and preparing clients for the impending trading day every business day.

Also, don't forget to utilise your imagination to give your videos some individuality. The most crucial shot in the NBA this season, and in the history of the Toronto Raptors, was a buzzer-beater made by Kawhi Leanord in game seven of the team's playoff series against the Philadelphia 76ers, as shown in the video below.

The automated investment platform pays respect to the Kawhi trade before reminding viewers that Wealthsimple is Canada's only stock trading platform with no commissions. Is it enjoyable? The video has received over 85,000 views.

Do you want to know more? Check out our comprehensive guide to video SEO.

Podcasting Opportunities

Your content may be a natural fit for podcasting in addition to text and video. You may conduct interviews, record a regular financial Q&A session, or provide news and trend updates. For inspiration, listen to popular podcasts like Planet Money or lower-production but well-loved programmes like Money for the Rest of Us.

My Next Move with JP Morgan is a popular audio series produced by JP Morgan Chase & Co. Michael Liersch, a behavioural scientist and head of Goals-Based Advice & Strategy at J.P. Morgan Asset & Wealth Management, is featured in one episode. He uses behavioural finance techniques to assist people better understand their investing and spending habits and achieve their financial goals.

A transcript is given with each podcast to aid in producing SEO value.


Compliance with regulatory bodies such as FINRA is a challenge for any financial services firm wanting to generate content and improve its website (Financial Industry Regulatory Authority).

The Advertising Regulation Department of FINRA protects investors by ensuring that broker-dealers' communications are fair, balanced, and not deceptive, and that they conform with FINRA, SEC, MSRB, and SIPC advertising rules.

FINRA Rule 2210 divides communications into three categories: retail communications, correspondence, and institutional communications. These classifications have significant ramifications. As a result, it's vital to comprehend each category in order to keep your online marketing approach compliant.

"Any written communication, including electronic communication, distributed or made available to more than 25 retail investors within any 30 calendar-day period," according to Rule 2210. FINRA has developed a list of frequently asked questions about Rule 2210, as well as responses and recommendations from the organisation.

Check out the FINRA FAQ for a list of frequently asked questions about financial services PPC and advertising laws in general.

Financial services voice search

Voice search is a juggernaut, and its popularity is growing by the day. Stay on the cutting edge of user behaviour if you want to know how to attract traffic to your financial services website. To take advantage of voice search, you'll need to change your keyword approach to match the types of searches individuals conduct through this medium: longer, more natural sentences with simple and informal language.

Q&A platforms like Quora, as well as tools like BuzzSumo Question Analyzer and Answer The Public, can help you find the questions that people are asking about your topics of interest.

You can also alter your content to cater to the needs of voice searchers. Consider including a Q&A area on your website, similar to what Ellevest does with its #AskSallie articles in its online magazine. From "Should I invest my bonus right immediately or over time?" to "Should I split the amount of money I make with my kids?" to "How should I think about my financial goals for 2019?" Ellevest's publications have covered it all.

People who utilise voice search are looking for quick responses. That means bullets, pull quotes, and other user-friendly "soundbites" can be used in your material to convey information as plainly as possible.

SEO for financial advisers off-page

Your well-researched, helpful content gives you a leg up on the competition when it comes to link building. Publishers enjoy sharing how-tos and explanations that are actually useful. Furthermore, the topic of saving money, spending money, making money, and so on naturally piques people's attention. Guides, interactive tools, and content portals frequently acquire a large number of backlinks, boosting your off-page SEO.

Progressive's "Answers" portal, for example, has received links from 444 different websites. According to Ahrefs, it now ranks on page one of Google for over 4,600 keywords. The Savings & Budgeting portal of Bank of America has received links from 1,540 websites, resulting in about 4,700 Google page one keywords.

Creating custom graphic content that customers may reuse is another efficient way to attract third-party links. For example, this could be in the form of an infographic, data visualisation and analysis, presentation, research report, or film.

Make connections with web publishers and industry leaders. Inquire if they'd want to share your material or if you might write a fresh complementing piece for them. You may also give an interview with one of your financial experts on a relevant subject.

In this lengthy essay, we'll show you how to amplify your content and generate backlinks: Banks can benefit from 11 effective link-building strategies. 

Always try to add value.

Financial advisers should focus their link building efforts on giving as much value to the publisher's audience as feasible. In exchange, you may be able to obtain organic backlinks from high-quality and trustworthy sources.

Off-page SEO is crucial to the success of your search engine optimization campaign. That is why Stridec has spent millions of dollars developing our own SEO platform to find and connect with over 9 million web publishers. One of the four pillars of our Enterprise SEO programme is hyper-relevant backlinks.

WARNING: Avoid low-quality link-building tactics such as paying for links or spamming various blogs' comment sections. Such practises aren't just terrible SEO in the financial services industry; they're also a quick way to undermine your entire brand's trustworthiness.

SEO for financial industry websites on a local level

Finally, if your financial institution has local branches, local SEO should be part of your optimization strategy. Include schema in your website and claim your business in every area on important platforms like Google My Business and Yelp to optimise for local search.

Select a user-friendly method for locating the nearest location on your website. It's a terrific idea to have them enter their zip code so they can discover the nearest branch, for example. Make sure each branch's NAP (Name, Address, and Phone Number) is clear and consistent across platforms, not only on your website; this will decrease any search engine confusion about each location.

Everything boils down to faith.

When it comes to SEO, be wary of organisations that don't comprehend the intricacies of the finance industry. If you follow the advice above, you'll have an excellent SEO plan that will aid your clients, improve your brand, and raise your organic website traffic.

The high quality and trust requirements that both search engines and customers would expect of you will be difficult to meet, but the good news is that you already have a plethora of experience to draw upon.

You'll rank higher in the SERPs if you develop a content and SEO approach that takes use of these specialists and incorporates them into a seamless and effective search engine marketing campaign. You won't have to explain why the next time you say "Trust us" because you'll have already demonstrated it!