SEO for the Banking Industry: Post-Covid-19 Pandemic Strategies That Drive Success

The COVID-19 pandemic has profoundly altered both online and offline interactions between people and brands. From a marketing and user experience standpoint, it will be essential to have a thorough understanding of the changing concerns and requirements of customers in order to stand out as a financial institution that successfully handled the crisis. While some of these trends may only last as long as the pandemic continues, others may have long-term repercussions for virtually every industry, including financial services. That said, we will look at how pandemic has affected the finance industry and the greater importance of SEO for banking industry post pandemic.

Why Do Banks Need SEO?

Banks need SEO services to improve their online visibility and attract more potential customers. With the increasing number of people turning to search engines like Google to find financial services, banks must ensure their websites rank high in search results. SEO helps banks optimize their website content and structure to align with search engine algorithms, making it easier for their target audience to find them. By implementing effective SEO strategies, banks can increase organic traffic to their websites, build brand awareness, and build more clientele. 

Why is SEO Crucial for the Banking and Financial Services Industry Following the Pandemic?

The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the shift towards digital banking and financial services. With more people relying on online channels for their banking needs, it has become crucial for banks and financial institutions to have a strong online presence. This is where SEO (Search Engine Optimization) comes in. By optimizing their websites and digital channels for search engines, banks can improve their online visibility and reach more potential customers. Effective SEO strategies can help banks build trust with their audience, increase website traffic, and increase customer base. With the pandemic shifting consumer behavior towards digital channels, SEO has become a critical tool for banks and financial institutions to stay competitive and meet the evolving needs of their customers.

Also, Read: What Is On-Page SEO? And How to Do Onpage SEO

Prior to the pandemic, the majority of consumers clicked on the first fold of the Search Engine Result Page (SERP) results. Now, insights indicate that the numbers have quadrupled. So, do you really want to miss out on such traffic?  We have all looked for banks near me, the closest ATM, the loan with the lowest interest rate, opening personal and business accounts, comparing credit cards, and a lot more.

How did the Pandemic Affect the Banking and Financial Services Industry?

Although the pandemic has not fundamentally altered the situation, it has accelerated the pace of digital services that were previously in place but were progressing slowly.

The main concern was whether banks could keep their profits up during this time of social isolation and lockdown. In general, they did well, with a few bumps in the road. They had already reached digital mass at the time of the pandemic, which has helped. However, we believe the outcome would have been different if the crisis had occurred 10 or even 5 years earlier.

On the other hand, collaboration with conventional banks has given way to competition in fintech. During the first few months of COVID-19, mobile banking usage increased to very high levels, and this trend is expected to continue even after the pandemic is over. This is supported by the flood of funding that Fintech companies have received over the past few years.

What Shifts Have Occurred in the Banking and Financial Services Sector Over the Past Three Years?

If we look back over the previous three years, which are obviously defined by the pandemic. The general consensus is that both bank behavior and consumer behavior have undergone significant shifts toward a new standard. The fact of the matter is that the pandemic has not fundamentally altered anything for the banking industry, particularly traditional banks; rather, it has verified and accelerated digital plans and activities that were already in place. It is true that face-to-face interactions with customers and coworkers have been affected by social distance, but it is also true that the transition from physical to digital was already well underway.

However, despite being viewed as one of the villains in the financial crises a decade ago, the pandemic has also forced the banking industry to focus on other imperatives. This time, perceptions have changed as banks have played a bigger role in society and the economy. By providing payment and interest holidays as well as bounce-back loans, they have been assisting individuals and businesses as well as facilitating initiatives for stimulus and relief. By transitioning to a virtual operating model and keeping contact centers, branches, and essential services open, they ensured business and operational continuity.

Best SEO Recommendations for the Banking and Finance Sector

Financial services companies should realize how COVID-19 has altered people’s search, spending, and living habits from a digital marketing and user experience perspective. It may be a mistake for many banks and financial services companies to rely solely on the content of their pages to draw visitors to their websites. Focusing on keywords that are relevant to your business and coming up with original and engaging content for your website is important. Let us see some of the important SEO best practices for the Banking and Finance sector.

  1. Customer Needs is Driven by Digital Transformation

Prior to the pandemic’s onset, According to the Adobe’s 2021 Digital Trends: Financial Services & Insurance in Focus report, 54% of the financial services and insurance companies that were surveyed had reported unusual growth in digital and mobile visitors in the six months preceding that early 2021 survey. Then COVID-19 made everything different. As most of the world went into lockdown, the information needs of customers and the ways appointments, consultations, transactions, and contracts were handled changed almost immediately.

The pandemic accelerated the pace of change by years, while fintech and the promise of decentralized finance through cryptocurrencies had already shaken up outdated, paper-based legacy systems. Adobe’s study likewise discovered that 61% of retail banks said legacy systems were a top test holding their promoting and client experience associations back (trailed by work process issues for 44% and an absence of digital abilities/capacities for 42%). Due to their lean operating models and structures, fintech brands may have operational costs that are up to 70% lower than those of conventional banks.

We no longer conduct all inquiries and transactions over the phone or in person. Today, customers of financial services expect self-service options at every stage of their journey, from discovering and comparing their options to consultation, transaction, and service, and this expectation has grown over time. The brands that are in the best position to succeed in search are those that can meet these expectations and satisfy customers’ growing informational requirements. It matters a lot how you present these services in organic and local search. Financial brands need to give the best experiences as well as exhibit to search engines that they have the most relevant answer to users’ questions.

Key Takeaways

  • Make Use of Proper Schema Markup
    Articles, Image Objects, and FAQs are the schema types that are utilized the most frequently in banking. However not intended for banking, they assist with helping search engines like Google to more readily grasp your content.
  • Check Who Your Rivals Are
    You might be competing for share of voice in the SERPs with publications and media from your industry, regulatory bodies and other informational sources, local businesses, YouTube channels, podcasts, and others, in addition to your regular competitors.
  • Conduct Surveys to get Customer Insights
    Experiences in consumer-centric media and e-commerce have raised the bar for what consumers expect from content personalization. Now, they expect that the technologies they use will automatically gain proficiency with their interests and design the experience accordingly.
  1. Chances of Appearing in the SERPs are Growing

As Google endeavors to more readily figure out searcher aims and give improved replies to progressively complex questions, there is now more differentiation in search engine results pages (SERPs). The brand-new Multitask Unified Model (MUM) technology from Google is already in use. MUM empowers Google to more readily figure out content in various dialects, configurations, and content sorts. New types of results are currently being tested, like an improved Autocomplete box, which alters the results based on Google’s perception of the searcher’s intent.

Optimizing for featured snippets is one of the things you can do that increases your chances of your presence in search. Google can learn when your website is a good candidate for a featured snippet by structuring and marking up content in particular ways, such as a table or numbered or bulleted list. It is essential to know which SERP features are available by keyword and search intent. You can also increase your chances of appearing in rich results by including original, high-quality video and images in your webpage content.

Which Google Business Profile credits are accessible to your listing relies upon its category. Online appointments, ATMs, drive-thru services, and other features can be implemented with attributes by mortgage brokers, insurance companies, and banks. More comprehensively accessible attributes empower you to share health and security data, COVID-19 rules and safety measures, and availability data.

Key Takeaways

  • Investigate the SERPs to Find Valuable Keywords
    Look for opportunities to rank higher than your rivals in special features of the SERPs or to be the first to move in areas where richer results may be available by researching the top search results for a particular query. By doing this you can find keywords which you might have not thought of initially.
  • Focus on Topical Relevance and Context when Creating and Optimizing Content
    Do not use keywords multiple times on a page. On average, pages that rank first for the top 1000 banking terms only use that top keyword once. Context has a higher priority than density of keywords for banking.
  • Manage Your Content Length
    While we are aware that word count is not a ranking factor, sites in the top three positions for the top 1000 banking terms have an average word count of 1,240 words. While this need not be viewed as a firm rule, we really do see more far reaching content accomplishing higher rankings in this area. Make sure to look over your own SERPs and make it a goal to create the most in-depth and high-quality content possible for each target keyword.
  1. Consumer Trust and Accuracy of Information is Important

Unfortunately, COVID-19 brought with it an onslaught of misinformation, cyberattacks, scams, and fraud. As consumers’ financial worries grew, criminals raced to take advantage of an increase in online searches for payday loans, grants, jobs, and other forms of assistance. Google has had a hard time filtering out results that could have a negative impact on searchers in an effort to always provide the best response to each query.

Finance websites fall into a classification Google calls Your Money or Your Life (YMYL), in which sites are held to a better quality. Another idea called E-A-T  (Expertise – Authoritativeness – Trustworthiness) factors vigorously into YMYL site rankings as Google plans to give the best responses in its rankings. Google suggests that those in the YMYL classification self-survey your content, inquiring, “Could you trust this content for issues related to your life or your money?”

Key Takeaways

  • Learn Google’s Search Quality Raters Guidelines
    Google encourages content publishers to use this resource “for advice on great content,” even though it is not a ranking factor in and of itself. Include regular content audits and updates in your SEO strategy. Ensure that any out-of-date information is removed from Google Posts, the blog, and other places as soon as possible. This isn’t just a search engine optimization best practice but a regulatory prerequisite for the vast majority in the financial sector.
  • Don’t Ignore Your Social Media Presence
    If we look at who has the highest share of voice for the top 1000 banking terms, Facebook ranks among the top five for organically winning many bank names and even non-brand terms. You can gain additional visibility in search beyond your website’s listings by making sure your social media profiles are complete and use relevant keywords.
  1. Mobile-First is Important for Finance Sector

Visiting an ATM to withdraw cash for purchases, speaking with a financial advisor, and going to the local branch for lending needs are not yet out of date, but they are definitely being replaced by more self-service options. Digital natives are the individuals who like to lead their banking carefully and have no need for branches or workplaces by any means. They made up 32% in the Digital banking Consumer Survey by PwC in 2021. Also, these activities are frequently carried out by customers using mobile phones. For many, retail banking has evolved into an omnichannel experience.

Google recognizes the significance of speed, simplicity, and ease of use; consequently, the Page Experience update and Core Web Vitals metrics increased the importance of meeting these goals for its search ranking algorithms. Finance customers are searching for instinctive applications, consistent cross-channel encounters, customized services and offers, and real time choices. In the past, loan applications and mortgage pre-approvals required a series of in-person appointments and a lot of paperwork, but now they can be returned in minutes. Customers will move on to the next result if the pages these tools reside on and other informative content do not load almost immediately.

Key Takeaways

  • Mobile Security is Critical
    With consumer expectations for privacy and financial data protection growing with digital adoption, it is imperative that the mobile experience is not only fast, easy and pleasing to the eye but also provides a very safe and secure feeling for the customer by adopting the latest security standards to your app.
  • Voice Search Optimization
    With a growing number of voice-enabled in-home assistants like Google Home and Alexa and a growing reliance on mobile devices, optimizing for voice searches is essential. 71% of consumers like voice-enabled search inquiries rather than typing in their question, as per PwC. Voice-streamlined content might vary in various ways including structure, the expectation being focused on, content length, markup and format.
  • Optimize for Core Web Vitals
    Your rankings will not suffer directly if this is not your primary focus. But Google gives people who meet its CWV requirements a “boost” in search rankings, which could really help in competitive finance fields.

SEO Strategies for Banks and Financial Institutions

  1. Choosing The Valuable Keywords

Think about the keywords that will get your bank to the top of Google’s search results before you begin any other website marketing strategy. To develop a definitive keyword strategy, you will need to conduct extensive audience research. The long tail keywords that potential customers are looking for online will be available to you if you employ a well-thought-out keyword strategy.

Keyword research can be done with tools like Ubersuggest, Ahrefs, or SEMRush. These tools will show you the keywords that your rivals are using to rank on Google and provide you with keyword ideas. Make sure the keywords you choose have a high search volume and are in low demand. You will be able to compile a substantial list of keywords that will work for you with the right amount of patience and effort, even though it may be difficult to narrow down this window.

Also, Read: Most popular keywords on Google of 2024 

It is time to include keywords on your page once you have a list of keywords that will work for your website. However, this does not necessitate using too many keywords. Avoid including keywords in the content of your website because doing so could result in your being blacklisted by Google. Being blacklisted is worse than not being ranked. Don’t use the keywords just for SEO purposes, put them where they make sense. Integrate the keywords into your text.

  1. Unique Content

It is essential to include high-quality content that provides users with informational value if you want to maintain your position at the top of Google and attract targeted traffic to your website. You can include the advantages of using your bank’s services alongside financial advice in the blog section of your banking website.

When you post frequently asked questions, readers who are new to your website and want access to additional information that they might not find on your blog page will find it useful. Your content ought to be original, inventive, and beneficial to readers. The more content and pages on your website, the more visitors you will get.

  1. Mobile Friendliness

Google considers responsive design to be one of the pillars it uses to rank websites. Google has confirmed that its crawlers now index a website’s mobile version. This basically means that websites that don’t adapt to different devices, like smartphones and tablets, might end up in the Google search results.

Nowadays, a lot of people use their smartphones for everything, from calling a taxi to finding a local bank. Therefore, you must make use of this technology and adapt your website to mobile devices. Your website will also rank well in Google’s search results if it can be adapted for a smartphone display.

  1. Visual Appeal

Banking customers appreciate striking visuals, so if you post humorous infographics, videos, and other multimedia resources on your website, they will visit it. It is common knowledge that infographics attract more attention than text. It makes it simple for them to comprehend difficult material and follow the information. As a result, traffic will rise and online presence will improve. Because infographics can be easily shared on a variety of online platforms, they bring a larger audience to your website.

  1. Backlinks

Another popular SEO tactic is to make and ask for backlinks for your page. You will need to locate well-known and trustworthy websites that are willing to give you backlinks to their sites. This will be to your advantage because if well-known websites link to your site, your site’s credibility will also rise. Google will be able to locate your pages more quickly if you build genuine backlinks to better websites.

  1. Create a GMB Account

Having a Google My Business account is highly recommended. A simple way to instantly increase your visibility to customers looking for banking products or services in the cities, regions, provinces, or communities you serve is to optimize your Google My Business (GMB) site. Make sure that people in the area can see your physical locations online and in person if you have any.

For the benefit of your existing customers, it is essential to maintain correct, up-to-date, and organized GMB listings for each branch. When customers enter your bank’s name into a search engine, what do they see? Don’t annoy loyal customers who are getting ready to visit your bank by giving them incorrect information about hours, photos, or phone numbers.

Wrapping Up

SEO is very important if you want to get more people to visit your website and grow your business as a whole. Many of today’s customers start their search for anything they need on search engines like Google. It applies for all industries including banking and finance sectors. Any user who searches for terms like ” banks near me”, “banks with a good interest rate,” or other similar terms may be a potential client nearby. Your bank’s overall SEO strategy can benefit from the expertise of an SEO agency which excels in multiple optimization areas.

FAQs

Is SEO important for the banking and finance industry?

Yes, SEO is important for the banking and finance industry just like any other industry. It helps you gain new customers and raise brand awareness through digital services which is the future of the world.

What is the effect of the pandemic on the banking sector?

The pandemic has increased the use of digital services since the whole world was in lockdown and had to rely solely on online services. This holds true for the banking sector too.

What are the tips for the banking sector post Covid?

The Banking sector should observe how COVID-19 has altered people’s search, spending, and living habits. As the nations ready themselves for future pandemic situations, financial service providers must be aware of the shifting digital requirements and concerns of their customers.

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