Google Business Profile Optimization For The Financial Vertical

The financial vertical is a dynamic, challenging, and highly regulated space.

As such, for businesses in this vertical, optimizing local search presence and, specifically, Google Business Profile listings requires a greater level of sensitivity and specialization than industries like retail or restaurant.

The inherent challenges stem from a host of considerations, such as internal branding guidelines, accessibility considerations, regulatory measures, and governance considerations among lines of business within the financial organization, among others.

This means that local listings in this vertical are not “one size fits all” but rather vary based on function and fall into one of several listing types, including branches, loan officers, financial advisors, and ATMS (which may be inclusive of walk-up ATMs, drive-through ATMs, and “smart ATMs”).

Each of these types of listings requires a unique set of hours, categories, hyper-local content, attributes, and a unique overall optimization strategy.

The goal of this article is to dive deeper into why having a unique optimization strategy matters for businesses in the financial vertical and share financial brand-specific best practices for listing optimization strategy.

Financial Brand Listing Type Considerations

One reason listing optimization is so nuanced in the financial vertical is that, in addition to all the listing features that vary by business function as mentioned above, Google also has essentially different classifications (or types) of listings by definition – each with its own set of guidelines (read “rules”) that apply according to a listing scenario.

This includes the distinction between a listing for an organization (e.g., for a bank branch) vs. that of an individual practitioner (used to represent a loan officer that may or may not sit at the branch, which has a separate listing).

Somewhere between those two main divisions, there may be a need for a department listing (e.g., for consumer banking vs. mortgages).

Again, each listing classification has rules and criteria around how (and how many) listings can be established for a given address and how they are represented.

Disregarding Google’s guidelines here carries the risk of disabled listings or even account-level penalties.

While that outcome is relatively rare, those risks are ill-advised and theoretically catastrophic to revenue and reputation in such a tightly regulated and competitive industry.

Editor’s note: If you have 10+ locations, you can request bulk verification.

Google Business Profile Category Selection

Category selection in Google Business Profile (GBP) is one of the most influential, and thus important, activities involved in creating and optimizing listings – in the context of ranking, visibility, and traffic attributable to the listing.

Keep in mind you can’t “keyword optimize” a GBP listing (unless you choose to violate Business Title guidelines), and this is by design on Google’s part.

Because of this, the primary and secondary categories that you select are collectively one of the strongest cues that you can send to Google around who should see your listing in the local search engine results pages (SERPs), and for what queries (think relevancy).

Suffice it to say this is a case where quality and specificity are more important than quantity.

This is, in part, because Google only allows for one primary category to be selected – but also because of the practice of spamming the secondary category field with as many entries as Google will allow (especially with categories that are only tangentially relevant for the listing) can have consequences that are both unintuitive and unintended.

The point is too many categories can (and often do) muddy the signal for Google’s algorithm regarding surfacing listings for appropriate queries and audiences.

This can lead to poor alignment with users’ needs and experiences and drive the wrong traffic.

It can also cause confusion for the algorithm around relevancy, resulting in the listing being suppressed or ranking poorly, thus driving less traffic.

Governance Vs. Cannibalization

Just as we already discussed the distinction between the choice of classification types and the practice of targeting categories appropriately according to the business functions and objectives represented by a given listing, these considerations play together to help frame a strategy around governance within the context of the organic local search channel.

The idea here is to create separation between lines of business (LOBs) to prevent internal competition over rankings and visibility for search terms that are misaligned for one or more LOB, such that they inappropriately cannibalize each other.

In simpler terms, users searching for a financial advisor or loan officer should not be served a listing for a consumer bank branch, and vice versa.

This creates a poor user experience that will ultimately result in frustrated users, complaints, and potential loss of revenue.

The Importance Of Category Selection

To illustrate this, see the example below.

A large investment bank might have the following recommended categories for Branches and Advisors, respectively (an asterisk refers to the primary category):

Branch Categories

  • *Investment Service.
  • Investment Company.
  • Financial Institution.

Advisor Categories

  • *Financial Consultant.
  • Financial Planner.
  • Financial Broker.

Notice the Branch categories signal relevance for the institution as a whole, whereas the Advisor categories align with Advisors (i.e., individual practitioners.) Obviously, these listings serve separate but complementary functions.

When optimized strategically, their visibility will align with the needs of users seeking out information about those functions accordingly.

Category selection is not the only factor involved in crafting a proper governance strategy, albeit an important one.

That said, all the other available data fields and content within the listings should be similarly planned and optimized in alignment with appropriate governance considerations, in addition to the overall relevancy and content strategy as applicable for the associated LOBs.

Specialized Financial Brand Listing Attributes

GBP attributes are data points about a listing that help communicate details about the business being represented.

They vary by primary category and are a great opportunity to serve users’ needs while boosting performance by differentiating against the competition, and feeding Google’s algorithm more relevant information about a given listing.

This is often referred to as the “listing completeness” aspect of Google’s local algorithm, which translates to “the more information Google has about a listing, the more precisely it can provide that listing to users according to the localized queries they use.”

The following is a list of attributes that are helpful for the financial vertical:

  • Online Appointments.
  • Black-Owned.
  • Family-Led.
  • Veteran-Led.
  • Women-Led.
  • Appointment Links.
  • Wheelchair Accessible Elevator.
  • Wheelchair Accessible Entrance.
  • Wheelchair Accessible Parking Lot.

The following chart helps to illustrate which attributes are best suited for listing based on listing/LOB/ORG type:

GBP attributes for financial services brandsImage from Rio SEO, December 2022

Managing Hours Of Operation

This is an important and often overlooked aspect of listings management in the financial space and in general.

Hours of operation, first and foremost, should be present in the listings, not left out. While providing hours is not mandatory, not doing so will impact user experience and visibility.

Like most of the previous items, hours for a bank branch (e.g., 10 am to 5 pm) will be different than those of the drive-through ATM (open 24 hours), and that of a mortgage loan officer and financial advisor that both have offices at the same address.

Each of these services and LOBs can best be represented by separate listings, each with its own hours of operation.

Leaving these details out, or using the same set of operating hours across all of these LOBs and listing types, sets users up for frustration and prevents Google from properly serving and messaging users around a given location’s availability (such as “open now,” “closing soon,” or “closed,” as applicable.)

All of this leads to either missed opportunities when hours are omitted, allowing a competitor (that Google knows is open) to rank higher in the SERPs, or frustrated customers that arrive at an investment banking office expecting to make a consumer deposit or use an ATM.

Appointment URL With Local Attribution Tracking

This is especially relevant for individual practitioner listings such as financial advisors, mortgage loan officers, and insurance agents.

Appointment URLs allow brands to publish a link where clients can book appointments with the individual whose listing the user finds and interacts within search.

This is a low-hanging fruit tactic that can make an immediate and significant impact on lead generation and revenue.

Taking this another step, these links can be tagged with UTM parameters (for brands using Google Analytics and similarly tagged for other analytic platforms) to track conversion events, leads, and revenue associated with this listing feature.

Editorial note: Here is an example of a link with UTM parameters: https://www.domain.com/?utm_source=source&utm_medium=medium&utm_campaign=campaign

Financial vertical appointment booking exampleImage from Google, December 2022

Leveraging Services

Services can be added to a listing to let potential customers know what services are available at a given location.

add-services-google-business-profileScreenshot from Google, January 2023

Services in GBP are subject to availability by primary category, another reason category selection is so important, as discussed above.

Specifically, once services are added to a listing, they will be prominently displayed on the listing within the mobile SERPs under the “Services” tab of the listing.

financial-brand-services-google-business-profile-mobileScreenshot from Google, January 2023

This not only feeds more data completeness, which benefits both mobile and desktop performance, and increases engagement in the mobile SERPs (click to website, call, driving directions) which are bottom-funnel key performance indicators (KPIs) that drive revenue.

Google Posts

Google Posts represent a content marketing opportunity that is valuable on multiple levels.

An organization can post relevant, evergreen content that is strategically optimized for key localized phrases, services, and product offerings.

While there is no clear evidence or admission by Google that relevant content will have a direct impact on rankings overall for that listing, what we can say for certain from observation is that listings with well-optimized posts do present in the local SERPs landscape for keyword queries that align with that content.

This happens in the form of “related to your search” snippets and has been widely observed since 2019.

This has a few different implications, reinforcing the benefits of leveraging Google Posts in your local search strategy.

First, given that Post snippets are triggered, it is fair to infer that if a given listing did not have the relevant post, that listing may not have surfaced at all in the SERPs. Thus, we can infer a benefit around visibility, which leads to more traffic.

Second, it is well-documented that featured snippets are associated with boosts in click-through rate (CTR), which amplifies the traffic increases that result from the increased visibility alone.

Additional Post Benefits

Beyond these two very obvious benefits of Google Posts, they also provide many benefits around messaging potential visitors and clients with relevant information about the location, including products, services, promotions, events, limited-time offers, and potentially many others.

Use cases for this can include consumer banks that feature free checking or direct deposit or financial advisors that offer a free 60-minute initial consultation.

Taking the time to publish posts that highlight these differentiators could have a measurable impact on traffic, CTR, and revenue.

Another great aspect of Google Posts is that, for a while, they were designed to be visible according to specific date ranges – and, at one time, would “expire” or fall out of the SERPs once the time period passed.

Certain post types will surface long after the expiration date of the post if there is a relevancy match between the user’s query and the content.

Concluding Thoughts

To summarize, the financial vertical requires a highly specialized, precise GBP optimization strategy, which is well-vetted for the needs of users, LOBs, and regulatory compliance.

Considerations like primary and secondary categories, hours, attributes, services, and content (in the form of Google Posts) all play a critical role in defining that overall strategy, including setting up and maintaining crucial governance boundaries between complementary LOBs.

Undertaking all these available listing features holistically and strategically allows financial institutions and practitioners to maximize visibility, engagement, traffic, revenue, and overall performance from local search while minimizing cannibalism, complaints, and poor user experience.

More resources: 


Featured Image: Andrey_Popov/Shutterstock

12 Social Media Posts For Real Estate Inspiration via @sejournal, @atuljindal01

Inspiration goes a long way when doing anything remotely creative.

Your real estate social media account requires consistent posts, frequent updates, and hence lots of creativity.

So, understandably, you need the inspiration to fuel the creativity that can, in turn, drive your social efforts.

In this post, we have rounded up some simple and practical real estate social media post ideas to help you get your creative gears turning.

You can pick a bunch of these ideas and create content pillars using them to support your long-term social media strategy.

Why Use Social Media For Real Estate?

We all know word-of-mouth is the best lead generator for realtors. However, social media comes right after that.

52% of realtors believe social media is the top tech tool for high-quality lead generation.

People shop for properties online. And like with any other online purchase, the buying journey involves a lot of social media.

Social posts get to the buyer in various stages of the buying process and nurture them through the sales funnel.

Imagine a buyer is searching for properties in your area and sees your promoted content where you are sharing some insightful home-buying tips.

The buyer may not instantly pick up the phone and dial your number. But they would certainly make a mental note and will likely come back to you for more advice.

And this is just one of the ways social media helps generate good leads.

Social media has, for quite some time, been the number-one channel for realtors.

The reason for this could be Millennials.

25% of all homebuyers are millennials. This makes the millennials the largest generation of property buyers.

Interestingly, a whopping 80% of US millennials use social media.

You can put two and two together.

Businesses go where their customers are. And if the largest generation of home buyers is on social media, it isn’t too hard to see why you should be headed there.

However, almost all realtors have come to realize the powers of social media. And hence, they have flocked to various social platforms.

In fact, realtors are already using Facebook for lead generation.

If you are starting out, cracking through the crowd and making your name known won’t be easy.

But it won’t be impossible either.

If you are scratching your head thinking about how you will cut through the competition on social media, please read the next section.

Social Media Post Ideas For Your Inspiration

You need creative, moving social media posts to win over the real estate competition on various platforms.

Getting inspired is the first step toward getting creative.

But besides creativity, your social media strategy needs a good mix of education, entertainment, branding, and commercial content to drive the right impact.

Therefore, we have divided this section into four subsections for the four types of content you should include in your social content strategy.

Without any further ado, let’s dive in.

Educational Content

34% of U.S. customers follow brands on social media for educational content.

So, without a doubt, this type of content is the most essential part of any successful social media strategy.

Additionally, since the audience prefers educational content, it tends to get high engagement and traction.

Educational content builds your reputation like no other.

When clients see you sharing your real estate knowledge and experience with them, they will automatically look at you as a trusted authority and will be inclined to reach out to you for help.

Here are some ideas for creating educational content for your real estate social.

1. Video Walkthroughs

Videos are powerful in grabbing attention and keeping customers engaged. This is why 86% of marketers use them as a marketing tool.

73% of real estate prospects are likelier to list with agents who use video walkthroughs.

Video walkthroughs help you display your properties to your online prospects and get them to engage with you on social media.

These videos are not just educational but entertaining as well, which explains why, when made properly, they can make the prospects stop scrolling and view your content.

Since you have the prospects’ attention now, ensure the video promotes your business enough for the prospect to know this video is from you, so they can take a mental note and come back to you in the future.

As for the video itself, make sure it is professionally shot.

Videos shot on your iPhone won’t do.

Please use a professional camera paired with the right lenses to shoot these videos.

Make good use of natural light and tidy the property up before shooting. Here’s an example.

12 Social Media Posts For Real Estate InspirationScreenshot from Instagram, January 2023

2. Neighborhood Guides

One mistake most realtors make is they promote properties, not the neighborhood.

When people buy properties, they also look at the neighborhood because that’s where they will live for a long time.

Therefore, while you are out educating your audience, don’t forget to share neighborhood information. This can include:

  • Neighborhood facts like schools, average household income, demographics, local business information, etc.
  • Neighborhood history. Dig through the pages of history and see if you can find something interesting about your area. Clients will love knowing about it.
  • Local news. Sharing local news will help people know what goes around in the area. Make sure to share more positive/neutral news. Real estate buying is a huge investment. And clients want to work with people they think can handle their money well.
  • Sharing neighborhood information will reinforce your position as an area expert and help build the trust needed to convert cold leads into smiling customers.

https://youtube.com/watch?v=CILTZm6cszE&feature=oembed

3. Home Buying Tips

Sharing home buying/selling tips will also show your prospects your excellent knowledge of the real estate world.

Once they start seeing you as someone who knows their way around the scary world of real estate, the prospects will be more confident in your knowledge and seek your help.

You can share these tips through carousel posts, as captions (with catchy pictures), or via reels/shorts or TikTok videos.

Just make sure to keep the tips client-focused and deliver value. Doing this will reflect your genuine concern about your audience’s interest.

12 Social Media Posts For Real Estate InspirationScreenshot from Facebook, January 2023

Entertaining Content

An overwhelming number of people use social media for entertainment. Give them that.

Real estate may seem like a dry niche, but with a bit of creativity, you can create some really entertaining content. Here are some ideas:

4. Memes

Over 60% of people say they are more likely to buy from a company that uses memes in their marketing.

Can’t think of how you can make real estate memes? Here’s some inspiration.

12 Social Media Posts For Real Estate InspirationScreenshot from Instagram, January 2023

5. Home Renovation Before/After

Whether anyone is purchasing property or not, before/after pictures are highly engaging.

If any of your properties are getting a makeover, grab some before/after pictures. Use these pictures as social posts to entertain your audience on social media. Here’s an example.

12 Social Media Posts For Real Estate InspirationScreenshot from Instagram, January 2023

6. Polls And Questions

Polls and questions keep your audience engaged and help you gain insights into the audience’s minds to align your social strategy with their pain points.

This or that and “how would you” polls will entertain your audience and drive engagement.

You can also ask direct questions like “Would you invest in a property in such an area with so and so features?”

Besides that, you can also answer questions to help your prospects through their confusion.

7. Branded Content

Branded content helps you mark your unique presence in the crowded social media world.

More importantly, this type of content helps you build the human connection with your prospects that they crave.

Remember, a real estate transaction is as much an emotional decision as it may be intellectual.

Therefore, fostering an emotional bond with your prospects, showing them you are a human, just like them, can go beyond the superficial layers of intellectual decisions and help at a deeper, emotional level.

8. “A Day In The Life Of A Real Estate Agent”

Nothing shows your human side more than your daily routine.

When people see you charging yourself up with coffee first thing in the morning, just like they do, they might relate to you. Having insight into your life may cause them to eventually trust you to help them make what could be the most important decision of their life.

https://youtube.com/watch?v=eclm3UXmbTU&feature=oembed

9. Show Your Team (If You Have One)

Humanizing your brand involves putting a face on the business.

If your business has a whole team behind it, revealing the team and introducing the member to the prospect will go a long way in building a human-to-human connection between your brand and the audience.

Doing this will also help people know who they are dealing with once they decide to proceed with your service. Here’s an example post.

12 Social Media Posts For Real Estate InspirationScreenshot from Instagram, January 2023

Promotional/Commercial Content

At the end of the day, your social media efforts are meant to generate leads, which is impossible without promotional or commercial content.

Here are some posts ideas with commercial/promotional intent to help you get started:

10. New Listings

Many people follow real estate agents so they can keep tabs on their listings. Make sure you post every listing you get on your social media as soon as it is available.

However, posting your new listings is not just a way to deliver the kind of content your audience wants. This will also help you leverage your social clout to generate hot leads.

Therefore, write your listing to compel people to take action. According to Zillow, your words in your listing can make or break a sale. So, be careful with the vocabulary.

Be honest with the property features. Don’t go over the top in praises, but don’t downgrade it as well. You need a sale, after all. Here’s an example to follow. (Click through to find out why the photo is sideways.)

12 Social Media Posts For Real Estate InspirationScreenshot from Instagram, January 2023

11. Testimonials

Testimonials have become a prerequisite for successful sales. Many customers will only take action after reading a positive review.

Social media can help you generate better leads if you have testimonials.

You can gather testimonials by requesting clients you have closed the deal with to share their thoughts on your service. Either ask them in person or follow up after a few days of property closure with an email requesting feedback.

Post client testimonials on your social media. Try to get pictures of happy clients. Sharing feedback with pictures of happy clients will maximize the impact.

And if your clients are willing, ask them to record a video review.

Video testimonials will engage the audience and compel them to listen to your clients rave about your service.

Here’s an example of a client testimonial posted on Instagram.

12 Social Media Posts For Real Estate InspirationScreenshot from Instagram, January 2023

12. Just Sold Photos

Along the lines of testimonials are “just sold” photos. Sharing these pictures on your social will build your reputation as a successful realtor.

But that’s only possible once you have enough sales coming in every month.

If you’re not there yet, implement other post ideas above and return to this once you have enough closed deals. Here’s an example Facebook post of a “Just Sold.”

12 Social Media Posts For Real Estate InspirationScreenshot from Facebook, January 2023

Final Words

Real estate transactions involve big decisions and lots of emotions.

Therefore, prospects are more inclined to work with agents they can trust and connect with.

Social media is the single most powerful tech-based tool that can help you foster lead-driving trust and connection with your prospects.

Building success on social media requires a mix of good content and consistency.

The ideas shared above will inspire you to create high-quality social content.

And once you have good content, consistency can follow.

More resources:


Featured Image: Pixel-Shot/Shutterstock

SEO Trends 2023, According To 24 Experts [Ebook] via @sejournal, @sejournal

In a fast-paced industry like SEO, a lot can happen over the course of a year – which is why you want to make sure you stay ahead of the curve.

So, how can you gain a competitive edge in 2023?

What SEO strategies and tactics will help you dominate the SERPs and earn more revenue?

In the latest edition of our SEO Trends ebook, you’ll find answers to your most burning questions and tips to influence the way you optimize for search.

We’ve gathered helpful insights from 24 of today’s top experts; they’ll share what happened in SEO over the past year and what they expect to happen next year.

Download SEO Trends 2023 now and discover the retrospective and forward-thinking insights you need to help prepare for 2023.

You’ll learn how to recalibrate your SEO strategy for maximum results by identifying the key trends that will affect the search landscape next year.

Some of the SEO trends covered in this ebook are:

  • Search features and rich results.
  • AI content tools.
  • On-page factors.
  • And more.

SEO Trends 2023, According To 24 Experts [Ebook]

If you’re an SEO professional planning for 2023, this ebook has just what you need to set up a successful SEO strategy.

You’ll learn where the biggest and most impactful changes may happen and how the experts recommend you respond.

This guide will also help you understand the core best practices of SEO to insulate yourself from new updates and shifts in trends.

Grab your copy today; get direct insight and tips straight from the experts about how to succeed in SEO in 2023.

This year’s SEO experts are:

  • Azeem Ahmad, digital marketing lead at Azeem Digital.
  • Rebecca Berbel, product marketing manager at Oncrawl.
  • Jeff Coyle, co-founder & chief strategy officer at MarketMuse.
  • Renee Girard, associate director, SEO at Crate & Barrel Holdings.
  • Chris Haines, senior SEO specialist at Ahrefs.
  • Joshua Hardwick, head of content at Ahrefs.
  • Jeannie Hill, digital marketing consultant & SEO at Hill Web Creations.
  • Kevin Indig, growth advisor.
  • Russ Jeffery, director of ecosystem and product strategy at Duda.
  • Jeremy Knauff, CEO at Spartan Media.
  • Olesia Korobka, SEO entrepreneur at Fajela.com.
  • Christina LeVasseur, SEO consultant at MediaSesh.
  • Ludwig Makhyan, co-founder of Mazeless Enterprise SEO.
  • Jesse McDonald, global SEO strategist and optimization lead at IBM.
  • Joel Mesherghi, senior SEO consultant at Builtvisible.
  • Helen Pollitt, head of SEO at Car & Classic.
  • Adam Riemer, president at Adam Riemer Marketing, LLC.
  • Eli Schwartz, author of “Product-Led SEO”.
  • Andrew Shotland, CEO & founder of Local SEO Guide.
  • Aleyda Solis, international SEO consultant & founder of Orainti.
  • Patrick Stox, product advisor, technical SEO & brand ambassador at Ahrefs.
  • Mark Traphagen, VP of product marketing & training at seoClarity.
  • Martha van Berkel, CEO of Schema App.
  • Andrea Volpini, co-founder & CEO Of WordLift.
How Google’s Helpful Content Update Affected News SEO In 12 Different Countries via @sejournal, @NewsDashboard

This post was sponsored by Trisolute News Dashboard. The opinions expressed in this article are the sponsor’s own.

Wondering why some of your articles’ visibility seemed to suddenly dip this year?

Could this be part of a larger trend?

On August 25, 2022, Google started rolling out an update that could be quite interesting for news publishers and their visibility. On September 12, they rolled out yet another core update.

These core updates were named “Helpful Content Update(s)”.

Today, we’ll be showing you how news publishers around the world were impacted by them.

What Is The Helpful Content Update?

Google’s Helpful Content Update is an algorithm update that focuses on:

  • Weeding out content that is written for the sole purpose of getting a good ranking.
  • Deprioritizing articles that don’t contain any informational or helpful content for the reader.
  • Rewarding content that is helpful to readers.

Google frequently updates its algorithm in order to better match content to searchers, and sometimes, publishers’ visibility is heavily impacted.

Which Google Categories Has The Helpful Content Update Impacted?

In this article, we’ll be showcasing which publishers around the world were impacted by the Helpful Content Update.

We examined each of Google’s categories to see whether we would find something extraordinary around the time the updates were executed and picked out one or two countries per category where the changes were especially obvious.

Those categories were:

  • Top Stories.
  • Country-Specific News.
  • World News.
  • Business News.
  • Science & Technology News.
  • Entertainment News.
  • Sports News.
  • Health News.
  • COVID-19 News.

All of the data shown in this article is taken from Trisolute’s News Dashboard.

How We Discovered The Impact Of The Helpful Content Update

We wanted to make sure to look at the most visible publishers for the generally freshest, most newsworthy keywords based on Google News and Trends to get the most impactful results for the publisher landscape.

All rankings are based on a near real-time 15-minute crawling interval, so, we used the following filter settings on the KPI Dashboard → Mobile News Box:

  • Date Range: July 25, 2022 – September 25, 2022 (Week 30 – Week 38).
  • Top 10 Competitors.
  • All Ranking Types.
  • General Keyword Set.

With those filter settings, we took a look at different countries from all over the world individually.

Let’s have a look:

Top Stories

Mexico

Here, we can observe that the two publishers, El Financiero and Infobae, have obviously been affected by the updates:

While El Financiero showed a rise in its visibility following the August update, Infobae dropped in visibility afterward.

After the September update, El Financiero then showed a visible drop as well.

How Google’s Helpful Content Update Affected News SEO In 12 Different CountriesScreenshot from Trisolute News Dashboard, October 2022

The two vertical dashed lines mark the two updates respectively.

The Verdict:

Publishers seem to have been affected slightly more by the August update than by the September update, both positively and negatively.

Country-Specific News

Switzerland

20 Minutes and Blick both rose in visibility after the August update.

Then, in week 36 (September 5 – September 11), 20 Minutes had its peak in visibility, while Blick had already started to drop.

From week 36 to week 37, the week when the second update happened, both publishers displayed an extreme drop.

How Google’s Helpful Content Update Affected News SEO In 12 Different CountriesScreenshot from Trisolute News Dashboard, October 2022

The Verdict:

While publishers seemed to have benefitted from the August update in this category, the September update led to a drop in their visibility.

World News

Colombia

For Columbia, there was an increase in visibility after the August update, especially for El Tiempo and Semana, while the visibility of El Espectador nearly stagnated.

However, the visibility dropped for all three publishers before the September update and remained at an almost constant level after it.

Only El Espectador was able to regain visibility after the second update.

How Google’s Helpful Content Update Affected News SEO In 12 Different CountriesScreenshot from Trisolute News Dashboard, October 2022

The Verdict:

Both updates have caused a lot of turbulence in visibility for publishers.

Business News

Peru

Here, we can observe that between the two updates, CNN saw losses in visibility, but these evened out again towards the September update.

RPP was also able to build up visibility at first, but lost it leading up to and after the September update.

For El Comercio, there was a short-term upswing after the August update, but it flattened out again.

How Google’s Helpful Content Update Affected News SEO In 12 Different CountriesScreenshot from Trisolute News Dashboard, October 2022

The Verdict:

The first update seems to have had a stronger and more negative effect on publishers in Peru than the second one.

Science & Technology News

France

In the Science & Technology category, publishers in France have largely been able to maintain or even build their visibility after the August update.

However, both Jeuxvideo and Gamekult lost visibility after the September update – only Le Monde increased its visibility after both updates.

How Google’s Helpful Content Update Affected News SEO In 12 Different CountriesScreenshot from Trisolute News Dashboard, October 2022

The Verdict:

For most of the French publishers, the two Google updates in the Science & Technology category resulted in a loss in visibility.

Entertainment News

Australia

In the Australian Entertainment category, News.com.au’s visibility increased leading up to the August update, only to then show an extreme drop that lasted until the week of the September update.

This led to the visibility curve flattening again.

How Google’s Helpful Content Update Affected News SEO In 12 Different CountriesScreenshot from Trisolute News Dashboard, October 2022

The Verdict:

The first update in August seems to have had a significantly negative impact on Australian publishers in the Entertainment category, while the second update in September had a more positive impact.

United Kingdom

For publishers in the U.K., the two updates showed significant influences on visibility, as can be seen below for the Daily Mail and the Mirror.

Both publishers showed an increase in their visibility leading up to Week 34.

Then, when the August update took place, both of their visibilities dropped significantly.

For the Daily Mail, the graph drops continuously, even through the September update, but for the Mirror, this second update made them drop even more in terms of visibility.

How Google’s Helpful Content Update Affected News SEO In 12 Different CountriesScreenshot from Trisolute News Dashboard, October 2022

The Verdict:

Here, the first update in August had a significant effect on the publishers’ visibility; the second one only had a moderate effect.

Sports News

Canada

In the Canadian Sports category, TSN held visibility during the August update, but lost it slightly in the week before and during the September update. However, they gained it back after the update.

CBC’s visibility, on the other hand, went the other way: Before the August update, their visibility increased significantly, and then dropped off slightly at the time of the September update and in the following week.

How Google’s Helpful Content Update Affected News SEO In 12 Different CountriesScreenshot from Trisolute News Dashboard, October 2022

The Verdict:

The August update had a larger impact on publishers’ visibility in the Sports category, for some immediately at the time of the update, and for others in the following weeks.

Health News

Austria

In the Health category, Austrian publishers Der Standard and ORF were able to significantly increase visibility after the August update and also brought this increase through the September update with slight fluctuations.

In contrast, both Kurier and Vienna.at lost visibility after the August update, but were also able to make up for this after the September update.

How Google’s Helpful Content Update Affected News SEO In 12 Different CountriesScreenshot from Trisolute News Dashboard, October 2022

The Verdict:

For publishers in Austria, the August update seems to have had the largest impact on their visibility in the Health category, with it being negative for some publishers and positive for others.

United States

In the U.S. Health category, the progressions seem to have been identical between NPR and The New York Times, because initially, both lost visibility after the August update.

However, NPR continued to lose visibility until the September update and after that, their visibility increased slightly again.

For The New York Times, on the other hand, things got a bit more turbulent: First, they regained visibility between the two updates, only to lose it significantly in the week of the September update, and regain it in the week after the update.

How Google’s Helpful Content Update Affected News SEO In 12 Different CountriesScreenshot from Trisolute News Dashboard, October 2022

The Verdict:

The August update seems to have had a negative impact on the publishers’ visibility in the Health category, while the second update in September had a positive effect.

COVID-19 News

Brazil

In the COVID-19 category in Brazil, the three publishers Globo, Abril, and UOL showed little to no changes in their visibility in the week of the August update.

In week 36 though, which marks the week immediately before the September update, both Abril and Globo dropped in their visibility, while UOL rose.

For Globo, this drop continued throughout the September update as UOL continued to rise; only Abril was able to catch itself again and flatten the curve.

How Google’s Helpful Content Update Affected News SEO In 12 Different CountriesScreenshot from Trisolute News Dashboard, October 2022

The Verdict:

Brazil’s top publishers seem to have been significantly more impacted by the September update than by the August update.

Germany

In the German COVID-19 category, DER SPIEGEL particularly gained visibility in the week leading up to the August update and then slowly lost it again throughout it.

Through the September update, the trend for DER SPIEGEL then went up again.

The picture is different for Die Zeit: Here, the publisher lost visibility in the week before the August update and regained it throughout. They were also able to maintain this visibility with slight reductions in the time between the updates.

However, they then lost visibility dramatically through the September update.

How Google’s Helpful Content Update Affected News SEO In 12 Different CountriesScreenshot from Trisolute News Dashboard, October 2022

The Verdict:

Here, both updates seem to have had an impact on visibility simultaneously.

Key Findings For How Google’s Helpful Content Update Affected Publishers

For top publishers in most countries, the first Helpful Content Update in August seems to have had a more significant impact on their visibility than the second one in September. It cannot be clearly said that publishers’ visibility was only negatively impacted by the updates, since some clearly benefitted from them.

Here are some other interesting takeaways we noticed:

  • Publishers from Argentina, Australia, Canada, and Germany showed noticeable changes in visibility around the updates in all of Google’s categories.
  • The Country-Specific News category was the only category where publishers from all countries showed anomalies in some way.
  • In the Business News category, Brazil was the only country that showed no noticeable changes in top publishers’ visibility.
  • The categories Country-Specific News, Business News, Science & Technology News, Entertainment News, and Health News were most affected by the update.
  • The BBC was affected by the top 10 rankings of the World category in four countries (Australia, Canada, Mexico, and Peru) and was therefore the most affected publisher in this analysis.

Want to learn more about your visibility in Google News? Schedule a free demo.


Image Credits

Featured Image: Image by Trisolute News Dashboard. Used with permission.

How To Achieve 7-Figures With Your Law Firm Marketing Website via @sejournal, @xandervalencia

Many law firms are simply leasing space when it comes to their online marketing.

Whether it’s Google pay-per-click (PPC) ads, Facebook Ads, or social media, these channels often yield only temporary wins. Once you pull the investment, your results go away entirely.

Your website, on the other hand, can be a 24/7 selling tool for your law firm practice. It can effectively become your greatest asset, getting leads and cases while you sleep.

In this guide, we’ll talk about how to turn your website into the ultimate marketing tool for your law firm practice and generate seven figures in revenue for your business.

A Well-Optimized Law Firm Website Can Yield Huge Results

With your law firm’s website, you can use content marketing to your advantage to generate lucrative results for your business. Content and SEO allow you to attract users organically and convert traffic passively into new cases for your law firm.

As an example, a high-ranking webpage in a competitive market getting 1,000 users per month can get huge results:

  • Convert visitors at 2-5% = 20-50 leads.
  • Convert even 10-20% of leads = 2-10 cases.
  • Average $8000 revenue per case = $16,000-$80,000 monthly revenue from one page.

Over the course of a year, this could lead to high six-figures to seven-figures in revenue!

The Foundations Of A Revenue-Generating Law Firm Website

At its core, your law firm website should serve to speak to the needs, struggles, and interests of your target audience. It should be laser-focused on your practice area, who you serve, and what you have to offer.

With this in mind, a well-crafted website content strategy should define:

  • Your business goals (the cases you want).
  • What competitors are doing.
  • What pages to write and keywords to target.
  • How to use your content budget.
  • Your editorial calendar.
  • The purpose/intent of each page.
  • PR and backlink strategy.

Below, we’ll dive deeper into how to develop this strategy, build out amazing content, and achieve your seven-figure revenue goals.

1. Define The Cases You Want

The first step to developing a successful website marketing strategy is to define the types of legal cases you want.

This activity will help you determine the types of people you want to reach, the type of content you should create, and the types of SEO keywords you need to target.

That way, you end up marketing to a more specific subset of potential clients, rather than a broad range of users.

Not sure where to set your focus? Here are a few questions that might help:

  • Which of your cases are the most profitable?
  • What types of cases are you not getting enough of?
  • In what markets are you strongest?
  • In which markets do you want to improve?
  • Are there any practice areas you want to explore?

At the end of this activity, you might decide that you want to attract more family law cases, foreclosure law cases, or DUI cases – whatever it is, getting hyper-focused on the types of cases you want to attract will only make your website marketing even stronger.

2. Identify Your Top Competitors

One of the best ways to “hack” your website marketing strategy is to figure out what’s working for your competitors.

By “competitors” we mean law firms that are working to attract the types of cases you’re trying to attract, at the same level at which your law firm is currently operating.

I say this because I see many law firms trying to out beat and outrank the “big” fish and this can feel like a losing battle. You want to set your sights on your closest competitors, rise above them, and then get more competitive with your strategy.

Here are a few ways to identify your closest competitors:

  • Conduct a Google search of your legal practice area + your service area (e.g., “family law Kirkland”, “DUI lawyer LA”, “Denver probate attorney” etc.). Take note of the top-ranking domains (i.e., websites).
  • Use SEO tools like Semrush or Ahrefs to search your domain name. These tools will often surface close competitors to your domain.
  • Using the same tools above, conduct organic research on your domain to see what keywords you are already ranking for. Search these keywords in Google and see what other domains come up.
  • Use these tools to determine the domain authority (DA) of your domain. Compare this to the other top-ranking domains to see which domains have an authority score that’s similar to your own.

Be sure to look at your known business competitors as well.

These may or may not be ranking well in Google Search, but it’s still worth a peek to see if they are targeting any high-priority keywords that your website should be targeting.

3. Conduct A Content Audit Of Your Website

Your next step is to conduct an audit of your current website. This will allow you to take stock of what content is performing well, and what content requires improvement.

First, start with your main service pages.

Use SEO tools like Semrush or Ahrefs again to review the rank (position), performance, and keywords of each page. Identify any pages that are ranking low, or not at all.

Then, find “low-hanging fruit” pages. These are the pages that are ranking around position 5-10. They require less effort to optimize to reach those higher rank positions – compared to pages ranking at, say, position 59.

Next, use the same tools to conduct a “gap analysis” (most SEO tools have this feature).

This compares your website’s performance to that of your closest competitors. It will show you a list of keywords that your competitors are ranking for that your website is not ranking for at all.

Finally, create an inventory of what pages you already have, which need to be revised, and which you need to create. Doing so will help you stay organized and stay on task when developing your content strategy.

4. Plan Your Content Silos

By this step, you will have a pretty good idea of what pages you already have, and which pages are “missing” from your strategy (based on the list of keywords you are not yet targeting).

From here, you will plan what’s called “content silos”.

Here is the basic process:

  • Review an existing service page (if you have one) and optimize it as best you can. Ideally, this is a page that’s already performing well and is otherwise a “low-hanging fruit” page.
  • If you don’t have any existing service pages, create one based on one of your high-priority keywords. Again, these should be a keyword that is meant to attract your preferred type of cases.
  • Next, build a “silo” of content around your main page. In other words, create new pages that are topically related to your main service page, but that target slightly different keywords (ideally, “long-tail”, lower competition keywords).
  • Add internal links between these pages and your primary service page.
  • Over time, build backlinks to these pages (through guest posting, PR, content marketing, etc.)

Below is an example of a content silo approach for “personal injury:”

Personal Injury law content siloImage from author, November 2022

5. Identify Supporting Topics

As part of your website content strategy, you’ll then want to create other supporting content pieces. This should be content that provides value to your potential clients.

FAQs, blogs, and other service pages can support your main pages.

For example, if you are a DUI lawyer, you might want to publish an FAQ page that addresses the main questions clients have about DUI law, or a blog post titled “What to Do When You Get a DUI.”

There are a few tools you can use to research supporting topics:

  • Semrush – Use this tool to identify untapped keywords, content topics, and more.
  • AlsoAsked – Identify other questions people have searched for relevant to your primary topic.
  • Answer the Public – Use this search listening tool to identify topics and questions related to your practice area.

Below is an example of how the full content silo can come together for “Los Angeles Car Accident Lawyer:”

Accident lawyer content siloImage from author, November 2022

6. Build An Editorial Calendar

Once you have all of your content ideas down on paper, it’s time to develop your editorial calendar.

This is essentially a plan of what content you need to create when you want to publish it, and what keywords you plan to target.

This can be as simple as a Google Sheet or as fancy as a project management tool (like Monday.com or Asana).

Here are a few tips to get you started:

  • Always prioritize main pages. These should be the first content pieces you create on your website.
  • Create or revise your main pages and monitor their performance. Use Google Analytics and other SEO tools to keep your eye on how your content is performing.
  • Depending on budget and urgency, you might start with all main pages, or go silo by silo. Determine which service pages are most important to you. You can create all of your main pages at once, or develop the entire silo as you go.
  • Keep a record of your target keywords. Just because you “optimize” for them doesn’t mean your content will automatically rank for your target keywords. In your editorial calendar, keep track of the keywords you wish to target – by page – so you have a record of your original SEO strategy.

What Makes A Winning Law Firm Website Strategy?

The key to achieving seven figures with your law firm website is content.

Content allows you to target your ideal clients, attract your preferred cases, engage your audience, and so much more.

A well-thought-out content strategy will empower your website to achieve more for your business than any other marketing channel could!

Above, I outline a few steps to developing this type of winning strategy. But, achieving excellence takes time.

I recommend keeping your eye on the prize, monitoring performance, and making updates as you go along.

This will help you reach your desired result.

More resources: 


Featured Image: PanuShot/Shutterstock

8 Creative Real Estate Marketing Ideas And Examples via @sejournal, @atuljindal01

Sixty percent of realtors search for leads daily.

There are more than 3 million active real estate licenses in the U.S.

These numbers paint a clear picture of how the real estate industry is: competitive and difficult to survive in.

In this situation, you need solid real estate marketing strategies in place to drive lead generation, and help your business build its client base and survive in a cut-throat niche.

It’s worth remembering that high-quality lead generation begins with effective marketing.

So, in this article, we will discuss eight practical real estate marketing strategies, along with examples to help you generate more leads and foster sustainable business growth.

Real Estate Marketing Ideas You Can Start Implementing Today

Trust is the ultimate selling factor, especially in real estate.

Marketing helps build that trust.

Apart from trust, your marketing efforts also help generate qualified leads that can be the anchor your real estate business needs to survive in the competitive realty arena.

Below are top real estate marketing ideas that, if applied properly, can promise to take your business to new heights:

1. An Optimized Website Is A Real Estate Salesperson

Forty-four percent of buyers start looking online.

And your real estate marketing plan can be only successful if you can dial in on your audience with an optimized web presence.

Merely having a website isn’t enough, given that 88% of users won’t return to a website if they have had a bad experience.

You will need to work on your website’s user interface (UI) and user experience (UX) to ensure it serves your business the way you want it to.

Working on your web UX means enhancing numerous areas of your website like structure, content, navigation, load speed, and more.

Build your website’s structure intuitively. Perform audience research to understand the first thing your prospects would want to look for as they visit your website.

Realty company Keller Williams’ website is a good example of how a website’s structure should be.

The web developers were intuitive enough to know their prospects would come in looking for real estate listings. So they have placed the search bar right on the home page, above the fold.

keller williams website example Screenshot from kw.com, November 2022

Next, make sure your website’s content tells your prospects how your services will add value to their life. In other words, talk about the benefits of your services in a clear, concise manner.

Check out how Houwzer has efficiently grabbed attention right from its home page, simply through content:

Houwzer landing pageScreenshot from Houwzer, Noevember 2022

Also, make the website easy to navigate. Don’t make the structure too complicated or confusing for the website visitors.

Additionally, optimize your website’s load speed.

How fast your website loads influences how many sales it will help generate.

A website’s conversion rate drops by up to 5% with each second that the website delays in loading. So, no matter how fantastic your website is, it won’t do you much good unless it loads fast.

There are numerous ways you can increase your website’s load speed.

Your hosting service significantly affects your load speed, so opt for a performance-optimized hosting solution.

A real estate website may have many images. These images can drag your website’s load speed down.

This doesn’t mean you need to delete your images. Compress and optimize them so they weigh light on your website and your website can load fast.

Also, remove any unnecessary content, spaces, characters, and elements from your website.

Finally, optimize your website for search engines.

Most of the ranking factors will be met once you work on your website’s UX.

But you will still need to work on on-page and off-page optimization to have a better chance of ranking higher in the search results.

2. Work On Your Listings

Listings are exceptionally important for the success of your real-estate business.

People don’t shop for homes online, but they do look for them on the internet, and this becomes an important factor in choosing a real estate agent.

Therefore, your prospects will expect an optimized, detailed property listing on your website.

Include high-quality property images, video tours, price range, amenities, and all the details your prospects might be interested in while creating your property listings.

Trompeter Real Estate presents an excellent example of what an optimized listing should look like:

Trompeter landing pageScreenshot from Trompeter, Noevember 2022

3. Setup Your Social Media Presence

Social media generates the highest number – 52% – of high-quality real estate agents’ leads. This is perhaps why a whopping 90% of realtors use Facebook to promote their businesses.

These numbers clearly indicate that social media is an unmissable arena if you want to establish a thriving real estate business.

If you are looking for the right platforms, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn are popular for real estate marketing.

Facebook and Instagram can help you connect with your audience and promote your business explicitly, while LinkedIn will help you implicitly by presenting you as a professional, credible real estate agent.

Once you build your social media profiles, make sure to optimize them. Fill all the required fields with correct and relevant information so your target audience can find your business.

This budding real estate agent (@hearthrealtygroup) has built a well-optimized Instagram handle.

Stay active on your social accounts by posting as frequently as you can.

You can stay active on Instagram by posting to your Stories more often, and sharing posts to your grid every now and then.

On Facebook, you can stay active by interacting with your followers, replying to comments, and posting on real estate groups.

Make sure your content is not too salesy.

Ideally, 80% of your content should be helpful, educational, and relevant. The remaining 20% of it can be commercial.

You can also post about your successful closed deals on these social profiles to build credibility, like Chad Carroll (@chadcarroll) does.

Finally, use optimized hashtags, especially on Instagram.

You can create optimized hashtags by checking out the hashtags other top realtors use and customizing them according to your locality.

You can see how this realtor from New Jersey (@gregletson_njrealtor) has used hashtags to promote his listing.

4. Invest In Social Ads

Social ads are another powerful source for generating quality real estate leads. Once you have built a solid social media presence, you can invest in ads.

Perform audience research beforehand to run targeted social advertising campaigns.

Social media platforms offer excellent ad targeting facilities, and you can capitalize on them only if you have a good understanding of your prospects.

Since you are spending money on these ads, you want to make sure they drive the right results.

So, create appealing advertisements that reflect the value your realty service will add to the client’s life. Ideally, add a testimonial or two, or create an ad based on client reviews.

Finally, include a CTA button on your ads to channel social media traffic to your website like the realtor in the example below has done:

Facebook real estate CTA button for adsScreenshot from Facebook, November 2022

5. Build Your Google Business Profile

A majority of searches for real estate agents are local.

People look for realty businesses with search terms like “Real estate agents near me” or real estate agents [city name],” etc.

google gbp example for real estate agentsScreenshot from search for [real estate agents coventry], Google, November 2022

Google has a dedicated business listing to display local businesses. And all the businesses that appear in this listing have a Google Business Profile (GBP).

If you haven’t already, create or claim your GBP listing.

It is an excellent source for driving web traffic and business exposure.

An optimized GBP profile acts as a second home page and displays your business’s reviews and ratings, contact number, address, and business hours. This is why it has the potential to generate high-quality real estate leads.

You can create a similar GBP profile by visiting Google.com/business.

GBP profile example: Knight Frank Bristol Estate AgentsScreenshot from Google, November 2022

6. Invest In Content Marketing

Content marketing helps generate demands/leads, according to 67% of marketers. Moreover, 82% of marketers are actively investing in this area.

High-quality, valuable content can help your business build trust with your prospects. It also helps you establish your presence as an industry thought leader.

Any business that wishes to thrive in this era cannot stand to ignore content marketing.

As a real estate business, you can create a variety of content to fuel your content marketing efforts that could align with real estate marketing videos as well.

Start with creating a blog section on your website. Find out what your prospects are struggling with and create content addressing their problems and offering solutions.

The Zillow Blog offers a good example of how real estate blogs should be:

Example of real estate contentScreenshot from Zillow Blog, November 2022

Create your YouTube channel and post helpful video content there. Your YouTube content can include home tours, area tours, and other educational content.

This Florida-local realtor has built a remarkable YouTube channel with lots of helpful content and just the right copy to attract viewers:

Palm Beaches Paul YouTube ChannelScreenshot from YouTube, November 2022

Talking about educational content, hosting webinars is also an excellent content marketing approach. 89% of businesses believe webinars outperform other digital channels in generating qualified sales leads.

So, invest in webinars.

Remember, don’t talk about topics you want to talk about; Choose webinar topics according to what your audience wants to listen to.

Finally, consider guest-writing articles on relevant real estate websites, local blogs, and newspapers. Doing so will help build your authority and portray you as an industry expert.

7. Consider Email Marketing

Email marketing is one of the best ways to reach new prospects and keep the old ones engaged.

But before you can start doing it, you will have to build your email list.

Your email list should, ideally, comprise people who have been your clients, or those who are most likely to become your clients in the future.

There are many ways you can build your email list, like:

  • Using gated content.
  • Including pop-ups on your website.
  • Offering discounts or gifts to someone in exchange for their email address.
  • Adding a simple banner on your website to attract clients.

Here’s an example from one of the top realtors in the Jersey City area of a website banner to generate email addresses for email marketing (don’t miss out on the note at the bottom):

Real estate contact me exampleScreenshot from Century21.com, November 2022

8. Get Testimonials

Sixty-seven percent of real estate buyers find agents through referrals from past clients.

Reviews are absolutely critical for your real estate business if you want to attract clients and keep your business going.

Gaining positive reviews is not too easy, though.

People are eager to leave a negative review but not so quick to write a positive one. Therefore, you will have to work hard to get reviews from your clients.

Consider reaching out to clients you have consulted with via email, requesting a review. Also, ask people you have closed deals with to leave a review.

tertimonials request on landing page real estateScreenshot from recoarllc.com, November 2022

If you have some clients who you have excellent relations with, ask them to participate in video testimonials that you can share on your social media and YouTube channel.

Reviews and testimonials are the ultimate trust signal.

Make gaining reviews a part of your real estate marketing strategy.

Final Words

Real estate marketing, especially online marketing, is critical for the survival of any modern real estate business, whether small or large.

As you implement the marketing strategies discussed above, remember the importance of high-res visuals.

Include high-quality property images in your social posts, website, and everywhere you can.

Also, the marketing world evolves rapidly, so keep track of the changes in real estate marketing and adapt your strategy accordingly.

More resources:


Featured Image: Andrey_Popov/Shutterstock

Finance Marketing: How To Form A Successful Content Strategy via @sejournal, @sejournal

As a financial service business, you’re facing a unique set of challenges when it comes to creating content.

  1. Finance isn’t a particularly glamorous or entertaining subject to write about, which can make it tough to engage your readers.
  2. There are heavy regulations and strict guidelines in Google results that limit what you can say, as well as how you can say it.

So, how can you overcome these challenges to form an effective content strategy?

How do you create finance content that’s responsible and accurate yet still compelling and convincing?

Our new ebook, Content Marketing For Finance, walks you through how you can develop a content strategy that respects the rigorous demands of the financial space while truly connecting with your target audience.

“Audience is at the heart of every content marketing strategy and should always be kept top of mind,” writes author Chandal Nolasco da Silva.

Download your copy and learn how to meet your customers at each stage of their journey and create the kind of content that consistently converts.

What’s Inside This Finance Content Marketing Ebook?

This pocket guide has all the insights you need to navigate the ins and outs of content marketing within the finance industry.

Topics covered include:

  • Content marketing principles, best practices, and how to apply them specifically to finance.
  • Solutions to the unique challenges of finance marketing: slow adaptation to change, difficulty getting buy-in for digital efforts, and managing complex content and content marketing in an industry with high scrutiny on advertising.
  • Key marketing channels for finance and how to use them effectively.

Key Takeaways:

The contents of this marketing ebook can help you navigate complex issues, such as the:

  • Very long sales cycles in the B2B space, as well as the long delays at the bottom of the funnel. The finance industry has been notoriously slow to digitize, so new products and services are dealing with slow movers that are resistant to change.
  • Stark reality of required due diligence processes with lots of different stakeholders involved. There can be complications with regulators, operational delays, reference checks, or other risk-reduction processes involved. These are increasingly important and lengthy, depending on the institution or firm size involved.
  • Fact that sometimes traditional channels don’t perform as well as they do in other industries; instead, more traditional ways of doing business, like in-person meetings, are sometimes better. Money is involved, after all.

If you’re a financial service professional looking to step up your content strategy for 2023, download the ebook now!

Finance Marketing: How To Form A Successful Content Strategy

Developing Value Proposition For Travel Websites Through Content via @sejournal, @TaylorDanRW

The travel and tourism industry has undergone extreme changes over the years, and your business should be aware of how to adapt to these changes.

With the rise of Google searches in the last few years, SEO is essential when working in tourism, especially when posting content online.

Using SEO to your advantage can help boost your Google search rankings.

These rankings are crucial for your tourism business, as most Google users don’t look past the first search page.

Google’s helpful content update is now entirely focused on ensuring the content suggested, and ranking is based on content created for humans.

The content update is excellent news.

If you focus on the content quality and its benefits to the readers, you are more than likely to land yourself a cozy spot on the first page of results for a Google search.

Enable Experience Forecasting Through Content

Experience forecasting is about using engaging content to help users forecast what their personal experience of the trip would be – and it begins with understanding the customer journey correctly.

Different content formats, such as an article, guide, or list of things to remember, can make your content more engaging and appealing to the eye.

Ensure you include need-to-know information such as the weather, sights users will see, and any other essential details the reader needs.

Be aware: It’s your tours and activities that people are looking to book, so ensure you provide a long, well-written description of the tour and what people will experience to give the reader an idea of what they can expect.

Since you are focusing on your SEO, ensure you take the time to describe the experience and include relevant keywords.

You can also use keyword research to help you identify what your target audience is looking for and write content specifically focused on topics that users are interested in reading.

Leverage User Reviews & User-Generated Content To Create More Helpful Tour Package Pages

User-generated content (UGC) can influence other users’ decisions in many ways. Users influencing others means your customers can be advocates, as word of mouth can influence a future buyer’s journey to purchase.

Personalized reviews from users who have experienced your tour package can help entice your reader and encourage user engagement.

Allow your users to share a review and provide a first-hand experience of your tour.

However, ensure this is a monitored space, and maintain control over the posted UGC  if this is a forum/comment-based option.

If you are unsure about using a forum/comment-based option, there are other ways to encourage other UGC below:

  • Surveys: When a customer has experienced your product or brand, contact them with a follow-up survey to get some ratings and feedback. Use this information to improve the customer journey for other users. Surveys are also helpful for your brand, as you may learn you need to make improvements.
  • Membership: Offer users the option to be a member and pay monthly for membership. Incentivize them with benefits such as free entry and member-only exclusives. Encouraging users to sign up can also boost your conversion rate.
  • Reviews: Ask your customers to leave a review after their tour package experience. Reviews can be done on your website, Google Business Profile page, Tripadvisor, or Facebook. Ensure to follow up on any feedback that isn’t positive, and publicly thank users for giving excellent feedback.
  • Social media: This tool can attract audiences from other platforms and show off how great your tour is. Tagging your social media pages and sharing the location can also build on experience forecasting.

The content for your package pages should be about your customer’s experience, not just selling the products.

Ensure you think about your target audience and what type of content they would like to consume and share.

For example, it’s a good idea to share an infographic that shows the most talked-about destination for 2022 or other travel predictions, such as a list of World Heritage sites or other travel-related facts and figures.

Demonstrate Your Expertise Through Niche Content

If you are an expert in safari tours, ensure you create niche guides specific to the trips, animals, and weather so your users can get the most information from you.

Niche guides are beneficial to users looking to enhance their own experience.

Imagine what you talk about with your customers when they are on tour, and write about those experiences, combining the content with your keyword search to help boost your content and make it enjoyable for the reader.

Ensure you connect with people in a similar niche or area to your business.

Connecting like this is called link building, and organically requesting they add a link to their site about your tour can also bring in customers.

Networking with your industry’s influencers is another excellent way to boost sales and conversion rates.

Also, include local vendors and partners you want to promote as part of your business.

Writing like this emphasizes to users that you know what you are talking about and are very knowledgeable about your destination.

Create Experience-Enhancing Content

Instead of trying to sell the tour directly, base your content around the surrounding areas.

Content discussing the local towns, places to eat, and spots to visit provides much more value to your audience.

Exploring the location in your content as much as you can, informs people of the potential experience they could have and allows them to imagine themselves there.

This kind of valuable content is essentially product information that has been expanded and enriched.

When working on travel SEO, instead of focusing your content on pricing, dates, and times, try to include content based on the local towns, villages, and great food. This will set the scene for the user’s imagination and build excitement.

Describe in detail the places you can travel to, methods of transport, and the best ways to get around (e.g., trains versus buses). Food is also a popular topic for travelers, so explore the best places to eat, offer an overview of the menu offered, and include a range of dishes to entice many readers.

To ensure the best success, always write with your customers in mind. Writing with your customers in mind differentiates you from your larger competition and the extensive tour and activity resellers.

When writing those posts about your destination or experience, ensure you use internal linking and create a solid connection between your blog post and tour activities.

Make sure you link to the places you will see on tour, and make your post interactive and easy to navigate, as then it is easy for users to explore their options.

After creating experience-enhancing content and including plenty of internal links and visuals, you can push your content further and include videos.

Only do this once you have written an engaging piece of content, as any additional forms of media will add to your user experience and solidify the final step in your customer journey.

Conclusion

As a tour operator, you want your business to do well, and keeping up with the constant changes within the SEO industry can be challenging. But when done correctly, it is absolutely worth it!

Following the points made in this guide will help boost your rankings, but don’t be put off using SEO if you don’t see instant results.

Getting results with SEO takes time; You need to have patience when reviewing your results and metrics, give it time, and keep checking back to see where your content is performing and where it may need tweaking.

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Featured Image: Prostock-studio/Shutterstock

How SEO Experts Predict & Fix Surprise Demand Shifts With Search Data via @sejournal, @seomonitor

Seasonality Trends + Vertical-Specific Data Helps You See Demand Shifts Faster

Apart from the regular seasonal events across times of the year or international holidays, well-known for the ecommerce sector, each vertical has its specifics — some not so obvious, especially when working with B2B stakeholders.

Showing know-how of those specifics with search data builds trust in your consulting abilities, making you a partner and not just the team executing the SEO actions.

That’s why it’s important to have a tool that makes seasonality tracking effective so you focus on the next strategic step.

In SEOmonitor, it’s achieved with automatic labels, making you aware when targeted keywords are approaching peak season or are out of season, thus enabling you to plan content ahead.

Yet, as Dobson’s story continues, it’s all a matter of how all key data points come together.

Step 2: Create SEO Keyword Categories & Easily See Which Sectors Are Fluctuating

To make the data work for you, the right level of granularity is also important.

When it comes to Dobson’s ecommmerce site, they segment their targeted keywords by the category structure, as it’s the easiest way to see how specific areas are doing. This is straightforward and efficient, as the business logic is built into the website’s information architecture.

Plus, being able to track specific priority categories and their section competitors means spotting gaps sooner, so faster decision-making.

That’s why Bulldog Digital Media leverages SEOmonitor’s rank tracker with daily ranking data for desktop and mobile as standard, together with a keyword grouping system that allows them to keep the category hierarchy.

“Because we have all the categories clearly sectioned, we are quickly able to see which areas are seeing sustained, increased or decreased demand using search data.”

How does that look?

“Let’s take the example of the Cocktail glasses category below. We noticed that visibility, on the whole, had seen improvement. Traffic from organic, however, had dropped significantly.

What we’re seeing, in fact, is that demand has dropped significantly, leaving us with a bittersweet win, as whilst we’ve improved our client’s rankings, the desired effects haven’t happened thanks to demand changes.”

How SEO Experts Predict & Fix Surprise Demand Shifts With Search DataImage by SEOmonitor & Bulldog Digital Media, November 2022

Having a tool to bring all the critical data in one view, the team could pull this in meetings with the client to help inform them quickly about the shifts in the market, whilst giving answers as to why traffic wasn’t where they expected it to be.

Step 3: Leverage Tags, Annotations & Transparency To Quickly Discover What Happened & When

Dobson stresses the importance of constantly reviewing and communicating both internally and with the client.

“For B2B, where the hospitality sector was about to have a full summer season, we also could use trend data across all categories to see which product lines are in demand most, quickly pivoting strategy to concentrate on those hot areas to maximize visibility,” he explains.

It was a matter of being structured and transparent from the get-go.

Use Annotations For More Efficiency

To make the campaign management process more efficient, he advises using annotations.

“Within the client’s analytics, we had been adding annotations to key events, allowing us to easily match any quick patterns to events.”

How SEO Experts Predict & Fix Surprise Demand Shifts With Search DataImage by SEOmonitor & Bulldog Digital Media, November 2022

You should think of enhancing the annotation function in every tool in your SEO stack, as you:

  • Know exactly what happened and when.
  • Report on SEO performance versus external forces influencing the objective.
  • Explain the logic and the market to your clients, being proactive about any course correction needed.

Bonus Step For SEO Agencies: Constantly Manage Your Client’s Expectations

With every shift in demand and drop in traffic, Bulldog Digital Media kept the client in the loop.

“Whilst the client had concerns about falls in traffic, using the data and tools at our hands meant we could be proactive to provide valuable insights for their business. For instance, in 2020, one big growth area for the business was hot tub sales, mainly due to weather but also because people knew they’d be spending a lot more time at home. For Spring of 2021, we wanted to monitor closely if we would anticipate a similar uplift, and if not, quickly align traffic and data trends to see if we missed out elsewhere.”

Having this level of agility and transparency, the SEO team could be trusted to direct the business in the right context.

But that also means you have to be honest and report every step of the way. Even when drops occur and the SEO campaign seems to be faltering.

“Feedback was positive from the client, who was able to associate what was happening quickly, but also able to relay internally to help the client be agile with the next steps and align expectations quickly.”

There are many levels that need to align for an SEO campaign to remain on track, so constant reports, over-communication, and fast interventions are key to making sure each side is doing its part.

For some clients, Bulldog Digital Media even includes read-only access in their SEO tool to help them with internal reporting and alignment.

SEOmonitor Can Help You Easily Detect & Fix Demand Shifts In SEO

With shifts in demand happening in faster loops, especially when working with eCommerce stakeholders, it’s not enough to look at search volumes in themselves.

Using year-over-year search trends, keeping a close eye on seasonality, and understanding how the market changes help with making the right decisions and constantly adapting SEO efforts.

Of course, as Bulldog Digital Media explained, it’s also a matter of knowing the client’s business, its strengths, and what the competition looks like for every product or service category.

And having the right level of granularity to know when it’s a problem of performance and when it’s a market problem.

Keeping all of the above in mind, at SEOmonitor, we developed a rank tracker that helps SEO professionals scale. You get:

  • Daily ranks for desktop and mobile included in the same price.
  • Tracking of all competitors, so you only have to choose the ones you’re interested in.
  • Three levels of keyword grouping to easily manage complex campaigns.
  • Unlimited users, so you can invite both your team and your clients to the platform.

These are just a few of the features that support clients’ focus on their business growth.

Join us in our journey of building more transparency and trust in and for the SEO industry.

Industry News Doesn’t Have To Be Boring: 5 Lessons For Niche Content

In the grand spectrum of exciting industries, real estate portals are somewhere in the middle between packaging materials and lion-taming.

While most people enjoy browsing properties on them, it would be fair to say that not everyone gets a kick out of reading about their financial results or who their new head of marketing is.

The stories I write about real estate portal companies for OnlineMarketplaces.com are certainly esoteric then, or at least they would be considered niche – there is a limited but high-value audience for this stuff.

Just because the subject matter isn’t for everyone doesn’t mean the writing needs to be.

And just because you already have a loyal readership doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be trying to expand the audience you get from search engines.

These are a few lessons I’ve learned to make things more interesting in two and a half years of creating content for a niche industry.

Expertise Comes From Data, Not Big Words

Collecting data for real estate portal niche contentImage by author, September 2022

The squinting was worth it for all the lovely data.

I know or have interacted personally with a high percentage of my audience at one time or another, so why would my tone be impersonal and stiff when writing for them?

Too often, I come across industry press that reads like an undergraduate’s dissertation.

On the other hand, I am writing about an industry where some companies are described as “500-pound gorillas” and where a market downturn can lead me to use the word “trillion” next to the word “dollars.”

The numbers and quotes your content needs will be out there somewhere.

Your readership and the search engines will appreciate you taking the time to dig around the internet to find and present them without the needlessly big words.

At the start of this year, I spent two hours at the end of every day finding the financial and operational metrics for all publicly traded real estate portal companies worldwide for the last four years.

Incredibly tedious work, no doubt, but it’s a unique set of data that allowed me to show expertise as someone who is still relatively new to a high-value industry.

SEO benefits of combining “need to know, hard to find” data with a less formal tone:

  • It allows you to show expertise, especially if you are new to the niche.
  • Addressing your readers informally can help build community and repeat engagement, especially if combined with a personalized newsletter.
  • Collecting stats is the first step toward building graphs and visuals.

Avoid Numbers In A Paragraph. It’s All About Visuals

If you’ve taken the time to get the “need to know, hard to find” data, don’t waste it by just writing numbers in a paragraph.

When I had to read industry news in a previous job, I ignored numbers in a paragraph.

One of the biggest (and, on reflection, most apparent) lessons from my last two-and-a-half years of telling people about property portal performance is: Neither does anyone else.

It’s not just the subconscious, lizard-brain stuff about humans preferring to look at images than text – graphs help readers contextualize numbers instantly and boost engagement rate.

Top Property portals of The Eastern Europe 2022Image from OnlineMarketplaces.com, September 2022

If you can’t be bothered making a graphic, maybe the numbers aren’t worth including.

We found that our articles with at least one graph have a 34% better session duration than those that are just plain text.

It might take longer and mean learning to use Photoshop, but using data in some good quality images with proper alt attribution will go a long way with search engines. It can be the difference between the #2 blue link and the featured snippet.

SEO benefits of taking the time to build graphs and visual resources:

  • Users will stay on your page if they have some eye candy.
  • If you give them relevant titles and Alt attribution, Google will index your graphs and images, and you’ll see a traffic boost from Google Image search.

Word of warning here. We used a plugin that rendered all our graphs using Javascript. That meant Google wasn’t indexing them as images, and they were slowing our pages down.

There are a lot of plugins out there that make nice-looking graphs. You might want to use one to build graphs in the back end and then use a screenshot image on the front end.

Opinions Make For Lively Content And Can Lead To Links

Good creators read a lot, and they replicate what engages them.

I try to read a lot outside of my industry and have a board where I keep any niche content I particularly enjoy. Most of the articles on that board take a side and advocate for something.

Invariably, a writer’s subtle expression of their opinion makes for more engaging copy.

My boss, for example, has a lot of opinions about our niche.

I recorded one of our conversations and put it on YouTube – it generated a lot of feedback and led to a counter-argument interview with another industry notable.

If your opinion is contrived, aimed at selling something, and not sustained throughout your work, you might as well not bother.

I have another board named “How not to write.”

Five out of the first ten entries have been put in there to express the incredibly bland opinion that “PropTech is the future of the property industry” – an opinion that is probably aimed at selling something.

Maybe you want to see more equality in your niche. Perhaps you want to see faster adoption of technology, or, like some people in my niche, you are strongly anti-monopoly.

Whatever your position, express it consistently, carefully, and preferably with some humor, and you’ll have people asking you to repeat it on their blog, podcast, or social media.

SEO benefits of lacing your niche content with some subtle opinions:

  • When expressed consistently and appropriately, opinions can lead to content collaboration opportunities.
  • Opinions make your content lively, build community, and increase engagement.

Pro tip: The trick here is to know the time and place for a sprinkling of opinion. Don’t let your opinions define your publication!

Keep Detailed Records Of Your Output, Analyze It, Adjust It, and Repeat

The data I’ve collected from our site over the last two-and-a-half years shows that when it comes to the types of news articles we cover, there is an almost inverse relationship between Google traffic and how much companies want you to write them up.

Stories about M&A do well, as do any stories about redundancies or controversy. Stories based on straight-laced company press releases about a new product or partnership do poorly.

OnlineMarketplaces News Article Metrics showing M&A articles performing wellImage by author, September 2022

Not all news is created equal. Word count, category, day of the week, number of visuals, companies mentioned, where you shared it, who amplified – it’s all data you should be recording and analyzing.

I might get a few groans from freelancers I work with when I ask them to fill in all the information, but that data tells me what works and what doesn’t.

SEO benefits of keeping detailed records of your content output:

  • GA (Google Analytics) is great, but there’s plenty it can’t tell you.
  • The more data you have on your content, the quicker you can create a feedback loop that tells you exactly what Google sees your site as an authority on.

Longer, More In-depth Content Is Worth The Effort

Over 90% of content receives zero traffic from Google. That is to say, for most people, a tiny percentage of their content does a huge portion of the heavy lifting.

The stats bear out! Almost 75% of our pageviews over the last two-and-a-half years have come from the top 25 articles, meaning that I initially wasted a lot of time writing up news stories that very few people read.

many article URLs - diminishing returnsImage by author, September 2022

The lesson here is that if you cover a niche industry, you are automatically well within the top 1% of people who most care about this stuff. If you, as a one-percenter, find something boring, it is almost certainly boring and not worth your time writing up.

Two years ago, I was grateful when PR people came to me with press releases, which meant I didn’t have to search for news. I’m now much pickier about what I will and won’t bother spending time writing up.

Go and do some research on something interesting instead.

Spend time making something the best resource on the internet rather than being the first to press about something very few people will care about.

SEO benefits of leaning into industry-specific long-form content:

  • Longer form content is more likely to be considered ‘helpful’ by Google.
  • Fewer short articles mean less content you have to maintain and an optimized crawl budget.
  • Longer form content lends itself to being updated periodically – a great, low-effort tactic.

Have fun creating great content for that niche of yours!

More resources: 


Featured Image: pikselstock/Shutterstock