Top 5 SEO Strategies to Help You Rank Higher

SEO may feel like “internet alchemy”—that intangible thing you’re not exactly sure you know what it is, but you know you need it if you want to see your content on Page 1 in a search. And with the rapid change in algorithms and technology, how do you know you’re doing the right thing?

We’re here to help.

Why SEO Matters

First of all, it’s important to know why SEO matters. An SEO strategy is essential to playing the marketing long game. It’s how consumers find your content when they search the internet for answers. To keep up, you need to stay up-to-date on the latest strategies and search engine updates.

Google, the undisputed king of search, released its last major algorithmic update in 2021 to prioritize pages with quality user experience (UX) and a core update in May 2022, which it updates several times a year. In light of these changes, Google gave site owners the following tips to optimize site performance:

  • Focus on your content
  • Get to know the quality rater guidelines and E-A-T (Expertise, Authoritativeness, Trustworthiness)

But even with all the fancy know-how and tricks, you can’t game or short-cut the search engine algorithm. And ways to do so successfully in the short run will eventually be snuffed out by the search engine gods.

Ranking on Page 1 takes time—there’s no way around it.

Below are 5 things you can do to level up your SEO skills so your content will rank higher.

1. SEO basics

Any good SEO analysis starts with the basics. A great place to start is by reviewing your content’s framework. Make sure your website’s pages include effective titles, compelling meta descriptions, and subheadings that incorporate your SEO keywords. Is your website indexed with a sitemap and a robot.txt file so a search engine’s crawler can rank your site? If not, it should be!

Make sure Google Search Console (GSC), Bing Webmaster Tools, and Google Analytics (GA) are set up on your site. Tools like Yoast and Semrush Organic Research Tool can help ensure your content performs optimally.

Once you’ve got the basics down, it’s time to tighten up your existing content and what type of content you’ll create.

Know Your Keywords

Keyword research is critical to a good SEO strategy. You’ve got to know what your customers are searching for to make sure you’re offering them the content they need. This means you need to know what your main, money-earning keywords are as well as question keywords. And don’t forget to find out your handful of long-tail keyword variations.

Industry glossaries are another useful resource for building your keywords. Luke O’Neill, owner and operator at Genuine Communications, an Australia-based fintech marketing company, prioritizes using these glossaries, particularly for top-of-funnel web visitors.

“Industry glossaries are a good SEO play. Individual glossary entries can be used as internal links. And once you’ve built a thorough glossary, you can analyze the most-visited entries and create further content around the topic. Take a look at how fintechs like Ramp and Paddle have published glossaries to see how you could do them too.”

Know Your Competition

Competitor analysis is well worth your time. Seeing how your competitors rank is like playing poker while being able to see their hands. Check out what they’re doing, learn from them, and make it your own. Conduct a keyword gap analysis and break down the intent and keywords of competing pages that rank well in search results. You may even want to create a keyword map to capture your research. After you’ve reviewed your keywords, it’s time to fine-tune your list. Make sure you prioritize by search volume and keyword difficulty to get the most bang for your buck.

Additionally, if you’re able to invest in the tech, you can also use artificial intelligence (AI) to analyze keywords through sophisticated models and algorithms. Founder and CEO of personal finance site BankingGeek Max Benz suggests this strategy “rather than relying on traditional keyword research” to identify and target keywords.

You can also look at data from social media and other platforms to get a more complete picture of your customer and what they’re looking for online.

2. On-page SEO and content

First, make sure your on-page SEO housekeeping is in order. That means finding and fixing multiple H1 tags (only one per page!), duplicate or missing meta descriptions, and duplicate, missing, and truncated title tags. Along with the page content, all of these should be optimized to be readable, SEO-friendly, and aligned with your target audience’s needs.

Content Audit

A content audit is an assessment where you root out and update old content. Ask yourself if it adds value to your customer and communicates your unique selling point. Don’t forget to include clear and interesting CTAs. Re-organize your content so the flow makes sense, and the customer journey is simple by using topic clusters under a pillar page. Finally, find and fix keyword cannibalization (when your pages compete against each other to rank for the same keywords).

Create Content

Once you’ve identified your keywords, create content briefs and turn them into relevant content. Consider mixing in formats that typically perform well, like short explainer/demo videos or infographics that feature original research or case studies. In the fintech industry, a type of content that web visitors enjoy is a free calculator tool that helps them calculate some metric related to your business.

Contently has a tool built into the platform that looks at your target keywords and suggests related topics to consider, and it gives you information like search volume, number of results, and cost per click if you were to take out a search ad for that topic.

Gamify Your Site

Another way to have fun with your content and provide your target audience with an engaging experience is through gamification. By gamifying, or adding gaming elements, to your web content or purchase system, people are more likely to enjoy engaging with your content. It’s estimated that 70% of Forbes Global 2000 companies use some form of gamification. An effort by the financial services community Sharedserviceslink.com found that using gamification, even in a conservative industry, led to an increase of 108.5% in website visits and a conversion rate of 9.4%.

You can incorporate gaming elements into your marketing campaign through a points-based reward system, contests, and more. Jason Cordes, Founder of CocoLoan, a UK-based loan broker, has successfully applied this strategy.

“There are various approaches; however, the following are the most well-liked: hold competitions and award prizes; points awarded for referrals; make quizzes, puzzles, and games that are visually appealing,” said Cordes.

3. Off-page SEO

Off-page (or off-site) SEO includes all the things not on your site that affect your search rankings. Look at your competitors (again) to see their link profiles—who’s linking to them?—conduct a link intersect analysis and target their broken backlinks.

Set up your Google Business Profile if you haven’t already, and ensure it’s optimized. And make sure you’re leveraging digital PR tools like Help a Reporter Out (HARO), LinkedIn, or Help a B2B Writer to get your name out there and generate more buzz for your brand.

Events, timely publications, and participating in open-source projects are all ways to get your name out there and boost your SEO.

If you’re a local or regional business, don’t forget to improve your local SEO by claiming and optimizing your local listings. Bryan Clayton, CEO of GreenPal, a freelance landscaping platform, has found local SEO to be a critical focus in their marketing. “90% of our new customers come through local search engine optimization… It requires daily diligence,” said Clayton.

Another strategy is to set a routine for tedious marketing tasks, such as with a “Marketing Monday,” where you dedicate a few hours to requesting reviews, blog commenting, etc. You can use a platform like TrustPilot to gather positive reviews.

4. Backlinks

Backlinks are crucial in bringing prospective customers to your site. You can use the Skyscraper technique to build up your quality backlinks. Another method is to convert unlinked mentions of your business across the web into active links. Use a tool to find unlinked mentions, like those offered by AhrefsScreaming Frog SEO SpiderBuzzstream, or Scrapebox. You can then contact the author of the article and request they link to your site.

While it may take time, look for opportunities to link to your site or company blog on Wikipedia by replacing a broken link with a relevant one. This technique is called “broken link building.” Wikipedia even has a page with all their broken or “dead” links, so you can do this more easily.

Are you thinking about automating this? It may be tempting to automate backlinks and blog commenting, but search engines catch on fast, so it’s not worth it. Stella Scott, co-founder of EasyPaydayLoan, recommends investing in link-building but not overusing automated tools.

“Automated tools like comments and submissions [are] great for generating an initial flow of links, but the good ones die off fast, and once Google catches on to the fact that most of them are automated, they’ll get penalized. Instead, try manual or semi-automated link building,” said Scott.

5. Technical SEO

You can’t neglect your technical SEO. Find and fix broken links, orphaned pages, or crawl errors across your site. Website security is especially important to industries like fintech to ensure the safety of their users’ financial information. To that end, make sure you’re using HTTPS instead of HTTP, as it encrypts data between web browsers and sites.

You also want to look at your URLs and use SEO-friendly URL structures. Be sure your SEO keyword is included in the URL (aka slug) and keep it short.

Tip: Use the “Inspect URL” feature in Google Search Console. Check your canonical tags and page depth. Add structured data and check if there are any duplicate versions of your site.

In today’s world, your website must be mobile-friendly. Consumers spend about five hours a day on their devices, and that doesn’t include time used for work. So be sure your site is easy to navigate and read on a smartphone. And make sure your site loads fast. To win the day, make sure it loads in 1-2 seconds.

Final Thoughts

Building an SEO strategy that works effectively takes time and a little elbow grease, but it’s worth the effort if you want to see your content on Page 1. And following these SEO strategies can help set you up for success.

Stay informed! Subscribe to The Content Strategist for more insight on the latest news in digital transformation, content marketing strategy, and rising tech trends.

Image by Nuthawut Somsuk

Related Blogs

Lorem Ipsum is simply dummy text of the printing and typesetting industry. Lorem Ipsum has been the industry’s standard dummy text ever since the 1500sLorem Ipsum is simply dummy text of the printing and typesetting industry.

How to Use Podcasts as Part of Your Marketing Strategy

By Brooke Gocklin The rumble of traffic. The buzz of a bee. The whoosh of your coat in the wind. Sound carries with it a sensory experience like no other. Audio stories are different from any other medium for this very reason. Podcasts are used by several influencers, industry experts, and entertainment artists to share perspectives, ideas, and unique insights with a target audience. So how do podcasts fit into your content marketing strategy? The Power of Content Marketing & a Great Podcast As content marketing continues to evolve and adapt to changing consumer behaviors, it’s essential to stay ahead of the curve and explore new ways of reaching and engaging with your audience. And podcasts offer an exciting opportunity to do just that. Podcasts are a way to educate your consumers on important topics and provide thought leadership to the marketplace. Hubspot recently released the Hubspot Podcast Network for professionals looking to build their skills in different areas of business. Other businesses choose to find a thought leader to host their own podcast and sponsor them. Whether they pay to have an ad included at the beginning of a podcast, ask an influencer to hype up a product during their podcast, or pay for time to speak to the partner podcaster’s audience directly, there are several profitable ways to leverage podcast sponsorships. In fact, Influencer Marketing Hub reports that 60% of listeners search for a product after it’s been mentioned on a podcast. Creating your own branded podcast Whether you are in finance, healthcare, insurance, or entertainment, podcasts can be a great place to focus on thought leadership and brand awareness. The best podcasts do this organically by using hosts with subject matter expertise in a specific industry to talk about topics the audience genuinely cares about. Take NerdWallet, for example. Sean Pyles hosts the Smart Money Podcast for a user base that wants to learn how to eliminate debt, build savings, and start their investment journey. This makes sense for their business model since they have an app that helps their users track their money and make smart personal finance decisions. This can also be a great opportunity for partnership with other brands, which NerdWallet does well, too. From credit cards and travel to personal loans, mortgages, and insurance, NerdWallet partners with a variety of industry leaders to highlight the best financial products for their audience. Talk about a great place for financial organizations to advertise their services. From building brand awareness to driving traffic and boosting engagement, content marketing podcasts can be a game-changer for your business. According to Claritas, podcasts can lift brand awareness between 24-79%, depending on the industry. That’s 30x the average of other channels. Claritas evaluated 158 campaigns over 36 months, resulting in 834 million impressions. They found the following brand awareness lift based on industry: Retailers: 79% B2B: 77% Consumer goods: 63% Pharmaceuticals: 37% Automotive: 30% Telecommunications: 26% Insurance: 24% What makes a good podcast? Podcasts are one of the most popular forms of content consumption today, but it does take some skill to create a podcast worthy of listeners. If you’re going to integrate podcasts into your content marketing strategy, make sure that you have the following attributes: Compelling content: Start by selecting relevant topics for your target audience. Good podcasts have interesting and engaging content that keeps listeners coming back for more. The topic, storytelling, and quality of research or interviews should all be well thought out. Quality audio: Poor audio quality can be a major turnoff for listeners, so it’s essential to invest in good recording equipment or work with professionals who can help produce high-quality sound. Consistency: Maintain a consistent schedule so listeners know when to expect new episodes. This means releasing new episodes regularly, whether it’s daily, weekly, or monthly. Authenticity: A good podcast is authentic and genuine, reflecting the personality and style of the hosts or guests. Authenticity helps build a connection with the audience and makes the show more relatable and engaging. Audience engagement: Invite feedback, questions, and comments to understand your audience. This will help you understand what they want and create content relevant to them in future episodes. Marketing: Promote and market your podcast to the right audience. You can use social media, email lists, or partnerships with other podcasts or media outlets. The best content in the world won’t get an audience if people don’t know about it. Why Use Podcasts in Your Content Marketing Strategy? When integrated into a larger content marketing strategy, podcasts can help establish a brand’s authority, build customer trust, and drive traffic and engagement across multiple channels. By incorporating podcasts into a content marketing plan, businesses can create a more cohesive and integrated approach that leverages multiple touchpoints to reach and engage with their audience. Whether used as a standalone content format or as part of a broader multi-channel approach, podcasts can help to amplify your message, increase your reach, and build lasting connections with your target audience. Starting a podcast as part of your marketing strategy can offer a range of advantages for your business, including: Building brand awareness: Podcasts can help increase your brand’s visibility and awareness, as they offer an opportunity to showcase your expertise and thought leadership on a specific topic or niche. According to BBC, podcasts that include brand mentions deliver, on average, 16% higher engagement and 12% higher memory encoding than the surrounding content. This is unique to podcasts since global radio benchmarks score 5% lower. Connecting with your audience: Podcasts can effectively build a personal connection with your audience, as they allow you to communicate directly with them in a conversational tone, building trust and rapport. Creating valuable content: Podcasts allow you to provide your audience with valuable, informative content that they can listen to at their convenience, which can help to position your business as a valuable resource. Driving traffic: By promoting your podcast on various channels, you can drive traffic to your website or other content platforms, increasing the visibility of your brand and attracting new leads. In fact, Morning Brew reports that podcast ad revenue surpassed $1 billion last year and is expected to grow in 2023 and 2024.…

READ MORE

Building Trust and Engagement: Best Practices for Financial Services Content Marketing

By Kara Parlin Content marketing is rapidly changing, with new opportunities and challenges arising in the financial services sector. But effective financial marketing requires careful planning and execution, particularly given the regulatory landscape that governs the industry. To better understand how content marketing has evolved and the strategies that will be essential for success this year and beyond, Contently released the comprehensive State of Content Marketing: Financial Services 2023 eBook. It offers insights into key trends and tactics across various areas like trust building, customer engagement, personalization, workflows, secure tech stacks, and more. Here, we’ll explore the main takeaways from the report to help you build successful content campaigns for financial services. Trust Building Is a Requirement, Not an Option Trust is a critical component of the financial services industry, and it’s equally important in financial services content marketing. Organizations in this sector need to provide truthful and trustworthy content that appeals to customers wary of shady investments and deceptive practices. Consumers want accurate information about their options, so companies need to focus on building trust through transparency, reputable practices, and support for social issues. JPMorgan Chase & Co., for example, includes a section on its site to explore its general impact and commitment to racial equity. Successful financial services content strategies should focus on these four steps to build a solid foundation: Create data-backed buyer personas. Perform a full content audit. Assess your organization’s content maturity model. Set and track content goals and KPIs. These measures can help establish credibility among potential customers and give them confidence that they are dealing with a reputable company. Take Financial SEO Challenges Into Consideration Search engine optimization (SEO) plays a critical role in content marketing, particularly in industries such as finance. However, financial service organizations face two main challenges in optimizing their content for search: Challenge 1: Large institutions often dominate high-volume search queries, making it challenging for smaller institutions to rank for them. Solution: Focusing on long-tail keywords is often more effective, particularly as consumers become increasingly specific in their search queries. Local optimization can be effective for financial companies with brick-and-mortar offices, too. Challenge 2: Google holds finance-related content to a higher standard to protect searchers from harm. Solution: Ensure all content adheres to Google’s E-E-A-T (Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness) and Y-M-Y-L (Your Money, Your Life) concepts. You should strive to have subject-matter experts write financial content and ensure all content is well-researched to demonstrate authority and trustworthiness. Y-M-Y-L guidelines apply to content that can potentially impact a person’s health, happiness, or financial stability. Financial organizations should ensure their content is accurate, trustworthy, and transparent to meet these guidelines and avoid any negative impact on their reputation or rankings. Here are seven characteristics financial services content marketing should have, according to Google’s Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines: Reviewed and updated regularly (including links) Connected to social profiles that reflect financial expertise Fact checked Connected to sites that actively respond to reviews Connected to reputable websites (through backlinks) About page where contact details are easy to find Connected to author pages with bios Opt for Interactive Mid-Funnel Content Over Generic Advice According to a JD Power study, consumers are more likely to engage with brands that provide personalized advice specific to their needs. This means that traditional content marketing formats like webinars, eBooks, and whitepapers are less effective. Instead, brands should focus on interactive elements such as quizzes and calculators to help customers make informed decisions and differentiate their financial services from their competitors’ offerings. Like many insurers, Lemonade includes an online quote feature on its website that allows visitors to customize their quote requests according to their requirements. This gives people a self-serve option while also allowing the company to capture lead information like a person’s name, email address, phone number, and home address. Incorporate Inbound Call Tracking Into Bottom-Funnel Content When it comes to the bottom of the funnel, financial services content marketers need to think beyond traditional content strategies like case studies or email campaigns. The challenge is that finance consumers don’t typically convert online — they want to talk to someone on the phone or in person before making a purchase. Solution? Your bottom-funnel content needs to focus on getting potential customers to pick up the phone. According to Invoca, a significant percentage of banking and investment consumers prefer to call to make a purchase, and loan shoppers want to talk to someone on the phone at least twice. So content marketers need to focus on measuring their content’s impact on call success. By including specific calls-to-action in your content that encourage potential customers to pick up the phone, you can partially attribute call-enabled revenue to the content that motivated the customer to take action. Create Content Workflows That Capture Key Process Steps Building custom workflows is critical for effective and efficient content marketing in the financial services industry and ensures that content meets regulatory requirements. Workflows should also be specific to the type of content being created, such as SEO-driven articles or multimedia content. By leveraging workflow automation solutions like Contently, marketers can streamline processes and reduce manual tasks such as creating content calendars, establishing review cycles, setting deadlines for deliverables, and even booking writing talent. These solutions can also be used to automate content creation from existing templates as well as track progress across different teams and channels. This helps companies maintain consistency in their operations while freeing up staff to focus on more crucial tasks. Find Success in Financial Services Content Marketing By combining these tools, content marketers can gain a holistic view of their content’s impact and optimize their strategy accordingly. With a secure and comprehensive tech stack, financial services content marketers can confidently measure their content’s impact, optimize it based on their learnings and effectively target different buyer personas while keeping consumer data safe. With these strategies and best practices, financial services organizations can stay ahead of the curve and remain competitive and compliant. Companies should use these insights to develop content marketing strategies that meet customer needs, build trust, and strengthen brand loyalty while protecting customer data. Download our State of Content Marketing: Financial Services 2023 eBook to further explore these…

READ MORE

Improving Content’s Impact Using Marketing Data Analytics

By Laura Starita  Marketing budgets increased in 2022 after dropping to a historic COVID-19-related low in 2021. But content marketers can’t celebrate yet. That extra budget increases the expectation that marketers prove content delivers business results. Content marketers must step up their marketing data analytics approach to show how content delivers business results. Doing so brings two fundamental benefits. First, marketing data analytics helps content marketers communicate the benefits of content to non-marketing peers. Marketers can get buy-in and build stronger relationships with business stakeholders by linking content assets to concrete business results like marketing qualified leads (MQLs). Second, marketing analytics also equip content marketing leaders to make data-informed decisions about where to invest money and talent resources. Marketers can de-emphasize poorly performing platforms and formats and invest more in higher-performing alternatives. That can increase the ROI from content marketing. In fact, more than a third of marketers named analytics as the emerging technology likely to impact their strategy. Whether you’re just getting started measuring the impact of content or looking to refine your current program, follow these four steps to define your strategy for marketing analytics. Step 1: Decide what you want to know from marketing data analytics. More is not necessarily better when it comes to analytics, despite the availability of free or low-cost marketing analytics tools. After all, every metric you decide to track requires investment from the marketing team to make it useful. You need to track it over time, clean the data, de-duplicate it, and validate that it complies with your organization’s governance policies. And if you want to present it to anyone, you’ll need to visualize the data to make it consumable. To avoid wasting resources tracking marketing analytics you ultimately don’t use, start by asking what you need to know. Pay attention to the questions you ask while planning your content strategy or quarterly calendar. Examples include: What content formats produce the highest volume of engagement? Which ones produce the deepest engagement (meaning, they drive conversions)? What content surprises do you see in terms of over- or under-performance? Step 2: Understand what your business partners want to know from marketing data analytics. You can engage with your business partners to understand their questions and identify corresponding data and analytics that could help answer them. By deciding which marketing analytics will help, you both commit to assessing impact according to the same terms. You also improve collaboration and alignment to determine which metrics to track, retire, or add as circumstances change. Step 3: Ensure balance in the marketing data analytics you track. journey. For example, striking a balance between “attention” or “attraction” metrics like site visits, banner clicks, and email opens and “engagement” metrics such as repeat visitors, social shares, or weekly newsletter sign-ups. Other organizations may instead categorize metrics according to the business performance standard of leading indicators, lagging indicators, and operational indicators. Leading indicators predict specific actions, lagging indicators tell you what happened in the past, and operational indicators tell you about the effectiveness of your marketing processes. All three may align better with what business stakeholders expect to see. Step 4: Leave room for soft metrics. The evolving world of marketing data analytics can bring immense benefits. But that doesn’t mean marketers can or should abandon all non-quantitative approaches to assessing value. This applies to how marketers view the outcomes they can measure and how they communicate about aspects of marketing that remain inscrutable. One example of the need for nuance in leveraging metrics relates to timelines. Some initiatives produce clear, short-term, and measurable benefits. A seasonal or event-related campaign is an example of that. Other initiatives, such as branding partnerships, are long-term by design to deliver value incrementally, often in ways that are difficult to quantify. The latter isn’t necessarily less helpful for its lack of transparency, but you need to evaluate it differently. The core takeaway is that marketing analytics is critical in identifying high-value content topics and formats, measuring content’s impact on business results, and communicating that impact to others. But it is just one input you should use to define your content strategy, create a plan for executing it, and assess how well it served the business. Stay informed! Subscribe to The Content Strategist for more insight on the latest news in digital transformation, content marketing strategy, and rising tech trends.

READ MORE

Find Us

Lorem Ipsum is simply dummy text of the printing and typesetting industry. Lorem Ipsum has been the industry’s standard dummy text ever since the 1500sLorem Ipsum is simply dummy text of the printing and typesetting industry.

Emails us:

Call us:

Follow us:

What used to be a fairly basic process has become more complicated than ever in the post iOS 14.5+ digital world. Social advertising, in specific, now requires a seasoned expert who only focuses on this one area of marketing. If you are a small business owner on a tight marketing budget, you need to hire an advertising expert who does nothing else but optimizes your social ads for maximum return on ad spend.

© 2023 by Light the Lamp Digital.