Google is about to release an important update to its search algorithm. This Google algorithm update 2021 will target page experience with signals like loading speed and safe browsing.
If there is one piece of timeless SEO advice, it’s that you need to keep up with Google’s algorithm updates. The search engine giant regularly improves the way it ranks pages to put quality content in front of users by using an ever-growing list of page ranking factors. As a financial services company looking to rank higher, here’s what you need to know to take advantage of the new update.
Which factors will the Google algorithm update 2021 target?
The Google Page Experience update will be released in May 2021. This update will add new factors for page rankings, including a mix of signals that Google already uses like mobile-friendliness, HTTPS protocol, the presence of intrusive pop-ups, and safe browsing.
It will also add Core Web Vitals like loading speed, visual stability (the movements of page content when it loads), and interactivity (how quickly elements respond when a user clicks or taps).
In 2020, consumers turned to the internet to research personal finance topics like down payments on homes, cash-back credit cards, car insurance discounts for low miles, and ethical investing. These trends reflect as many starting points in online journeys that are becoming increasingly complex.
Keeping up with this new algorithm update ensures that your content continues to rank high to capture relevant searches and provide users with solutions to their problems.
How can financial service professionals prepare for this new update?
You can prepare for the Google algorithm update 2021 by optimizing the following aspects of your site:
Page experience and website health
Your website health score is an important indicator for safe browsing. Poor website health doesn’t reflect the kind of trustworthiness search engines and consumers look for in financial services. You can assess this metric by looking at the number of pages with errors and comparing it to the ratio of healthy pages.
Google’s Security Issues report tool can help you diagnose issues that send negative signals for safe browsing, like hacked content or malware.
Publish quality content
Google explained that the pages with the best information will continue to rank higher. Page experience is one of the many factors that come into play when ranking content that is equally relevant.
Make your site fast and mobile-friendly
According to Google, mobile searches related to financial planning have increased by 70% between 2016 and 2018. It’s more important than ever to offer a seamless experience for mobile users.
Ideally, your pages should load in 2.5 seconds or faster. Here’s how you can improve loading speed:
- Use effective image formats like WebP, and size your images properly.
- Get rid of unused code, unnecessary characters, and comments.
- Avoid redirects when possible.
- Take advantage of browser caching so that repeat visitors don’t have to load pages from scratch.
Use Google’s PageSpeed Insights to analyze your webpages and get recommendations for improving loading speed.
Fast loading speeds will make your website more friendly for mobile users, but there are additional steps you can take:
- Pick a mobile responsive theme that adapts to the device screen size.
- Get rid of interstitials.
- Optimize items like font size and button placement.
- Rethink navigation to make information easier to access for mobile users.
Top keyword research for the finance industry
Preparing your website for the Google algorithm update 2021 is an opportunity to freshen up the focus keyword phrases you target.
Here are a few current topics to explore:
- A new generation of investors is emerging. These DIY investors are between 25 and 34 and are interested in ethical investing.
- Markets like blockchain technology, the cannabis industry, and AI are appealing to investors who seek growth.
- There are new areas where your expertise is needed, like possible upcoming tax changes.
You should also consider semantics and use keywords that sound more like human speech. Voice search is on the rise thanks to digital assistants, and users are more likely to issue longer queries that feel more natural.
Find keywords related to these topics and more with Google’s Keyword Planner tool.
Optimize titles, headings, and content for top keywords
Once you know the top keywords you want to target, use them to optimize the following elements for the Google algorithm update 2021:
- Page titles. Use keywords to create a short and accurate description of your content.
- Meta descriptions. Your keywords will appear in bold if they match the search terms.
- Headings. Structure your content with optimized headings and draw attention to different subtopics with LSI keywords. Adding an FAQ to a page is a great way to introduce more keyword-rich headings while answering common questions users might have when researching financial topics.
- Copy. Keywords should occur naturally in your copy. Aim for a keyword density of .5-2%.
Create and optimize your Google My Business page
Local SEO is crucial for bringing foot traffic to your brick-and-mortar location. Even though consumers want perks like digital resources and video calls, many still look for financial service professionals at a local level with tools like Google Maps.
Claim your Google My Business listing so you can optimize the information displayed for these results. If you don’t claim your listing, Google will display an auto-generated result block that might be inaccurate or look incomplete.
Besides, Google displays reviews in these result blocks. Among 18 to 34-years-old, 91% of users trust reviews, a key demographic for growth in the financial industry.
Complete your directory and social media listings
Claim your business listings on popular directories like Yelp or Yellow Pages and sign up for industry-specific directories like CPA Finder or BrightScope. Having listings allows you to update your business information, including NAP (Name, Address, Phone), which needs to be consistent for local SEO rankings.
During the pandemic, 74% of financial advisors used social media for new client acquisition. Social media will continue to be a valuable channel for connecting with your audience. With these pages appearing in search results, they could become an important source of organic traffic and lead generation.
Optimize images and video content on your site
Even though 86% of businesses use video as a marketing tool, financial service professionals tend to lag behind in this area. Developing visual content helps users absorb complex information, and optimizing images and videos sends a strong signal that your pages have plenty of relevant content. Because search engines can’t analyze this content, you need to use the following techniques:
- Create descriptive titles that use keywords.
- Optimize file names with keywords.
- Describe images with alt tags.
- Add short captions to your images.
- Think about adding a transcript for content like videos and podcasts.
- Pick appealing thumbnails and use unique images over stock images since this content can appear in SERPs.
Closing remarks on the Google algorithm update 2021
Focus on improving page loading speed, making your content mobile-friendly, and delivering a safe browsing experience. You should also continue using other tried and true SEO techniques to consolidate your page rankings.
Tempesta Media can help you prepare for the Google algorithm update 2021. We offer managed services with capabilities like on- and off-page SEO optimization for better performance and a faster approval and publication process.
In fact, our platform can improve the performance of your content marketing team by 30% with features like a seamless content workflow and integration of content and social media. Contact us today to learn more! And while you’re at it, don’t forget to download our e-book on 100 mistakes businesses make in their content marketing programs to ensure your financial services company runs the most effective program possible.