2020 was a tumultuous year in every way – even the world of SEO was rocked with Google’s announcement of a soon-to-be-launched new ‘Page Experience’ ranking algorithm and not one, not two, but three Google Core Updates impacting search engine results pages.
With 2021 set to bring even more SEO changes and trends, we look at how financial marketers can adapt their SEO strategy to stay ahead of the competition.
Put users at the centre of your SEO strategy
Google’s algorithm updates have increasingly focused on user experience (e.g. the BERT update) and this trend looks set to continue in 2021 with greater emphasis on site performance, and higher prominence given to Featured Snippets in the SERPs. This year more than ever, financial marketers should be putting the user at the centre of their SEO strategy and this means a shift in how you approach your SEO planning. As Google’s technology continues to evolve, SEO is becoming less about traditional keyword density or metadata implementation and is instead taking a more macro overview that includes search intent, site speed and performance, mobile-friendliness and UX.
“ This year more than ever, financial marketers should be putting the user at the centre of their SEO strategy and this means a shift in how you approach your SEO planning.”
With Google’s user-centric Page Experience algorithm update finally rolling out in May this year, there’s never been a more important time to look at your site as a whole from the user’s perspective. A great place to start is directly within the search results pages – review the queries you want to rank for, what the SERP looks like, what brands are ranking and in what type of result (e.g. Featured Snippet, Knowledge Graph, Video, Voice) then consider the content you’re producing. Where does your content sit within this ecosystem, and how does it satisfy the user’s intent? Integrate this data into your content and SEO strategy from the beginning.
Your content will set you apart
With the focus squarely on user experience, your finance brands’ ability to provide informative, authoritative and trustworthy content has never been more important for SEO success. E-A-T (Expertise, Authority, Trustworthiness) and YMYL (Your Money or Your Life) are part of the Google Seach Quality Rater Guidelines and give an insight into the type of content that Google may consider of higher value.
These concepts are particularly important as some finance brands’ content may be considered YMYL content by Google, described in their guidelines as: “Some types of pages or topics could potentially impact a person’s future happiness, health, financial stability, or safety. We call such pages “Your Money or Your Life” pages, or YMYL.”
Although not actually a direct ranking factor, understanding and considering E-A-T and YMYL within your content strategy could lead to SEO gains. Essentially, Google may review pages with YMYL content in greater detail to determine whether the content provided is written by a trusted expert in their field. YMYL pages that have a low E-A-T score are highly unlikely to rank. Clear author bios, referenced sources and verifiable factual content are all important considerations for ranking finance content. This is also a great opportunity to review your existing content and see what you can improve or fix.
Get comfortable with technical SEO
Google’s roll out of regular Core Updates is unlikely to slow in 2021. Financial marketers should expect more smaller unofficial algorithm tweaks and larger official core updates, in addition to the big Page Experience update. Getting comfortable with the more technical aspects of SEO, even at a basic level, will be hugely beneficial for financial marketers and can be a great way to work closely with broader product and development teams. Some useful tools and explanations to start with include:
- Mobile-friendliness (mobile-first indexing will be rolled out to ALL sites from March 2021)
- Site speed (Core Web Vitals ready for the Page Experience update in May)
- Structured data (great to better understand how and why your results appear the way they do in the SERPs)
SEO in 2021 will continue to evolve and adapt rapidly to technological advances. To kick off the year in the best place you can, ensure you’re keeping the user at the heart of your financial content and SEO strategy, and aim to combine this with strong technical foundations.
To find out how your website SEO is performing, use our free SEO website audit tool.