Brighton offers more than a pier and lively nightlife, it’s also home to the biggest Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) conference in the UK called BrightonSEO. Over 1,700 people attend the twice-yearly conference to hear from digital experts from around the world; an event that began its humble beginning in the upstairs of a pub. Next year the conference is set to double in size due to its popularity.
Why? SEO has never been more important for managing reputation. Google is used to solve arguments, discover information and answers to questions, and find the latest news. Search also has a memory, cataloguing the past and revealing parts of the internet some wish would remain hidden. It brings together your website, map listing, social networks, Wikipedia, and competitor advertising. It’s a big deal.
This has meant SEO is no longer a discipline, is a skillset needed when managing reputation. This applies for all industries, especially financial services.
Last year at Lansons’ annual Future of Financial Services conference, Lansons Chief Executive and Founder, Tony Langham, looked at how the financial services industry’s reputation is likely to evolve over the next five years. Beyond the cultural and societal agenda is the communication challenge of reaching the right audiences in the places where they are searching. This is where SEO becomes relevant across all types of content creation and even aspects of media relations.
Below we’ve included five simple considerations for financial services companies to remember when looking at SEO for the first time.
Media releases are news focused and adverts directly sell to us – any content online needs to speak like a human with your target audience. You need to know what people are searching for and understand how your organisation can best answer their questions. Whether they are searching for ‘cheap car insurance’ or ‘how to ensure a car for a European road trip’, you need to produce content that is useful.
Traditional SEO is about two aspects; onsite and offsite. Put simply, has your website been designed to deliver the best performance? Is your SEO strategy delivering traffic to your website? Always begin an SEO programme by evaluating your website’s current performance and seeing if any improvements can be made to loading speeds, site structure, and content. Do a digital Spring clean, you may be surprised that a couple of hour’s work could make significant long-term improvements.
Quality over technicality
There were a lot of smart people talking at BrightonSEO sharing impressive in-depth reports. If you’re learning about SEO for the first time then start from a basic understanding of human behaviour. People will share content if it is useful and of a high quality. The SEO world is full of technical terms but the best way to make an impact online is to create something useful. Does your company offer financial advice? Then write a blog or start an online community that helps people with their finances – think quality over technicality.
Mobile first, don’t forget apps
In the past SEO was all about websites and search engines, today it’s more about behaviours. People interact with their devices differently, often searching for different terms across desktops and mobiles. These days it’s now possible to link search listings on mobile to refer straight through to an app, offering people an optimised user experience. Also, don’t forget to make sure your website is mobile optimised, especially after this happened last year.
Measure what matters
Are you trying to get people to download a report? Is your main aim converting web traffic into sales? Do you just want to increase your social media following? Then measure what matters by tracking how people are interacting with your website, what their search terms are, and what sort of content is delivering business results. Without appropriate measurement it’s impossible to measure the effectiveness of PR programmes and campaigns.
It was all about sun, sea and SEO in Brighton, and we’re looking forward to the next conference in September.