Google’s algorithm is constantly changing for a number of reasons. The primary one is to help users better connect with the content they need. Another essential reason, though, has to do with their corporate goal of remaining ethical wherever possible. That change means one thing for site owners of all shapes and sizes: continual adjustments to SEO to achieve those better rankings. Not all sites are treated equally when it comes to SEO, though. In 2015, Google released its Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines, and for those sites in the world of finance, SEO is far more complex thanks to the YMYL principal.
Your Money or Your Life
You’ve likely heard this saying in many different forms, but when it comes to SEO for financial professionals, it means only one thing – that 2015 Google update. According to the search engine giant, if a page includes any content that can affect someone’s finances, it’s deemed a YMYL page. That means any investments, banking advice, or retirement help can be classified under this acronym. Stock tips – it’s a YMYL page. Online banking – it’s a YMYL page. Bill pay portal – it’s a YMYL page. Tax info -it’s a YMYL page. This list could go on forever, but the reality is that the 2015 changes made it tougher to deploy SEO on financial services websites.
Optimizing YMYL Pages
Don’t worry – all hope is not lost. You can still optimize YMYL pages and do it well, but you have quite a bit of extra work to do. Google actually deploys human search quality raters in the case of these kinds of pages, so you’re not just working with bots. When they come across your page, they rate it with a stricter set of standards than they’d use for any other page. You need to be sure the bots can find and identify it as a YMYL page, and you need to be sure that Google’s quality raters actually like your content, too. These tips can help make that happen.
Use Expert Authors: If you’re publishing SEO friendly content out there to attract some attention, the single best thing you can do is use an expert author to write the content. How to you become a subject matter expert? Crank out content that shows you’re a knowledgeable professional. You’ll want to have at least a few biographies floating around too that show your certifications, advanced degrees, any other accolades you’ve received. It will help to show that you’re an expert in the field, and people can actually trust you to give them the financial advice needed.
Become an Authority: Some people believe expert and authority to be interchangeable terms. That’s just not the case, though. Experts have the knowledge necessary to talk about the financial industry and its nuances. Authorities, though, have an added bonus experts don’t: influence. When you become an expert (by online standards), it’s time to start working on the authority piece, and that can take some added work. Consider adding some testimonials of individuals you’ve worked with in the past. Speak at financial conferences and mention that online. Work with other influencers in the financial industry, too, and get them to recommend your services to others via a testimonial or page on your website.
Be Trustworthy: While offering advice about keeping pet mice doesn’t mean your SEO has to include a component that allows others to trust you, offering financial advice does. How can you build trust online? There are many things you can do. First, check your content to ensure there are no factual errors. Second, make sure others review your work on a regular basis. Third, include real case studies that help show how your company made the lives of others better. Make sure they’re real people, though, because, in a world of fact-checking, almost anything can be proven to be fake.
All Other SEO Concerns Still Apply
While we’ve spent a lot of time talking about YMYL concerns for financial websites, the reality is that it’s only a piece of SEO for websites in the financial industry. It’s an important piece, but it’s not the only one. Every other piece of SEO advice you’ve ever gotten is still in play here. You have to start with a quality website. You want to ensure that you’re using your keywords in your metadata and throughout your site. You need a solid sitemap, and you don’t want a bunch of 404 errors when someone lands on your site. It should be responsive so it looks great on a user’s phone, tablet, laptop, or desktop computer.
Make sure your information is updated. If you’re offering content that only applies to people who retired in 2007, you’re going to undo those expert rankings you managed to build, and all of your SEO work will be down the drain.
Don’t forget about the power of images and video. Now more than ever users are looking for that type of content, and that means Google and other search engines are too. If you can do a video post or add some video content to your existing arsenal, do it whenever possible. You want to engage clients more than you want to engage search engines, so add what you think might entice them.
Don’t forget about the basics like keywords, too. Remember that as the internet evolves, so too do the terms people use to search for your advice and products, so update those keywords whenever necessary to make your site relevant.
A Continually Evolving Process
SEO for financial websites isn’t going to stop changing. Google is pretty committed to making sure information offered in this arena is safe for consumers, and it’s going to remain that way. Stay on top of things so you can be at the top of the search engine rankings the next time a potential customer queries something related to your company.