Not Your Big Brother's SEO: How Finance Brands Can Win on the New Organic SERP

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Gone are the days when finance brands could optimize poor content to rank highly in organic results. SEO has given way to Performance Content—the art and science of creating engaging and useful experiences that, in turn, are awarded high organic rankings because they’re helpful to users. Finance brands should now focus on (1) quality content and (2) organic measurement. Read more

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Not Your Big Brother's SEO: How Finance Brands Can Win on the New Organic SERP

  1. 1. C M O B R I E F I N G A u g u s t 2 0 1 4 N o t Y o u r B i g B r o t h e r ’ s S E O How finance brands can win on the new organic SERP
  2. 2. t h e f i n a n c e i n d u s t r y is one of the most competitive digital verticals, and being a top performer in organic search is inte- gral to financial brands’success. Thus, finance brands need to stay in tune with Google’s continual organic algorithm updates, especially the significant ones. In May 2014, Google announced a major update to its existing Panda organic search algorithm, called Panda 4.0. This update focused on rewarding sites with quality content, hurting sites with poor con- tent.While typical Panda updates have small impacts, some brands saw dramatic changes in organic rankings and site traffic due to Panda 4.0. Since the release of Panda 4.0, eBay has lost more than two- thirds of [its] ranking real-estate. And eBay isn’t the only loser (see winners and losers here). since the release of panda 4.0 ebay has lost more than two-thirdsof its ranking real-estate To date, Google has confirmed 25 updates to the Panda algorithm. Additionally, Google will con- tinue to release updates, making organic performance volatile - especially for brands following traditional, outdated SEO practices. The Panda Era (i.e. the era of quality content in organic search) is certainly here to stay. For many organic search marketers in the finance vertical, winning in the Panda Era requires a significant change in mindset - from SEO to Performance Content. All brands and verticals, including finance should now focus on (1) quality content and (2) organic measurement. Performance Content for Finance At Performics, Panda hasn’t adversely impacted our clients because our primary focus in organic search is creating and optimizing quality content. Gone are the days when brands can optimize poor content to rank highly in organic results. SEO has given way to Performance Content - the art and science of creating engaging and useful experiences that, in turn, are awarded high organic rankings because they’re helpful to users. In the Panda Era, every optimization must be executed with user experience in mind. BEST PRACTICES in the PANDA ERA for FINANCE BRANDS
  3. 3. I n o r g a n i c s e a r c h , f o c u s o n c r e a t i n g & o p t i m i z i n g q u a l i t y c o n t e n t .
  4. 4. L e v e r a g e a n a l y t i c s t o m e a s u r e c h a n g e s i n o r g a n i c p e r f o r m a n c e .
  5. 5. Performance Content for Finance Did you know 78% of credit card users indicated they used their issuers’ website (Yahoo!/Bing Finance Study 2012)? If your brand has website content that isn’t valuable to users, it’s time to eliminate that content and create and optimize better experiences. It’s simple: Google’s algorithm now favors content that Google’s users favor. This fosters huge opportunities for financial brands to steal rankings by creating better content than their com- petition. Valuable experiences for finance brands could include: • Calculators (retirement planning, budgeting, mortgage, etc.) • Financial Advice • Credit Card Recommendations • Online Banking • Business Banking • Relevant News & Insights by Audience • Macro-Economic Trends • Customer/Client Stories • Better Landing Page Experiences (uncover via testing and learning) Once you’ve created better content, put it to work by focusing on: Organic Measurement Due to the highly competitive financial landscape on the search engine results page (SERP), financial brands need to monitor algorithmic changes closely. As Google continually tweaks its algorithm, it’s important for fi- nance marketers to measure in order to protect against volatility. Brands must be immediately aware if algorithm changes decimate their rankings, as this could significantly impact lead volume. At Performics, we follow the below best practices for measuring changes in organic performance due to algorithm updates: Algorithm updates like Panda 4.0 can be stressful for finance brands, as they sometimes feel as if they’ve lost con- trol of their organic search performance. However, finance brands can ensure that they always remain in control by focusing on quality content, which Google’s algorithm will always value. Additionally, you should have mea- surement plans in place to ensure that you can quickly react if you’re penalized for poor content. 1 2 3 Utilize a system for measuring clicks, on-site metrics and organic positions as algorithm changes can un- expectedly alter the landscape. This can include web analytics or SEO platforms, like BrightEdge. Automate in order to react to organic volatility in real-time. For instance, at Performics, we use a pro- prietary keyword-monitoring app that sends alerts to our account teams when rankings change, called Benchtools. React quickly. For instance, you may want to boost paid search rankings in the short-term to compensate for organic traffic/leads/sales loss due to organic algorithm changes. This will help maintain traffic lev- els while you focus on optimizing your organic experiences to regain rankings. To do this, it’s critical to integrate paid and organic campaigns and measure them holistically. Focus on overall (paid + organic) performance, rather than individual channel performance. visibility Asset Optimization Improve on-site page elements, content and architecture to max- imize share of voice. amplification Brand Experience Improve customer review out- reach and branding to differenti- ate against competition. credibility Trust Develop deeper connections with participants to foster more valuable interactions.
  6. 6. f o r m o r e i n f o r m a t i o n o n P e r f o r m a n c e C o n t e n t f o r F i n a n c e , c o n t a c t p e r f o r m i c s t o d a y . Lindsay Landsberg SVP, Business Development Lindsay.Landsberg@performics.com +1 312 739 0670 www.performics.com

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