The promise of unlimited free clicks. Rising to the top of the search engines, gaining massive market share with little effort. Which marketer hasn’t daydreamed about this. Or perhaps I am the only one. When reality sinks in, we realize this stuff is hard work. Good Search Engine Optimization (SEO) requires an ongoing effort both on your site and in building links off your site. To make matters worse, an arms race of sorts in the online trading industry has made it more and more difficult to rank for the biggest volume keywords.
But there is hope. We can win this SEO war with smart and consistent effort. Without making major mistakes along the way and eventually realizing it has been an exercise in futility. So how to avoid making some of these biggest mistakes? Read the below list to start with (in no particular order):
Mistake 1: Do not pay for building links
No one that has done serious SEO and got results in this industry has ever done so without paying for links. I guarantee it. When you hear Google, SEO agencies or ‘experts’ say you shouldn’t pay for links, politely nod your head and know you will have less competition from those that follow this advice. Don’t go around approaching sites to buy links and don’t be reckless (see next point) but with the competition in this industry there is no way to get results without paying writers for getting content placed on publisher sites with a link to your site, at scale.
Mistake 2: Getting your site penalized by reckless link building
Having worked with many brokers on their SEO, I have seen my fair share of ugly link profiles. Many irrelevant links from low quality sites and content often nothing to do with the brokers industry can quickly get you penalized and sometimes delisted by Google. It’s important that brokers realize that there is little long term value to links not from financial related sites. If you have to go broader, make sure at least the content is relevant to the industry and the site is plausible for hosting this content. Get a variety of links from publishers of varying importance, but do ensure you do not work with low quality sites (and no, a high page ranking does not mean a site is high quality). Make sure you do not use keywords in your link anchor text more than 5-10% of the time, and don’t build links unnaturally fast.
Mistake 3: Don’t spend enough on good SEO
Keep in mind that SEO costs money and you should be spending a reasonable amount on it. If you spend 100K a month on paid online advertising, you should probably take 20K of that and spend it on SEO and build for the future. If you have a total monthly advertising budget of 30K or less, spend at least 5K of it on SEO. You will thank yourself for it later, because the ROI of search engine optimization is still among the highest in acquisition tactics.
Mistake 4: Getting your site penalized by over-optimizing your site
Most of us have heard about black hat SEO. Famous brands such as BMW got caught red-handed and the practice quickly stopped on the mainstream internet. So just build your site to appeal to your target audience, make sure you follow basic guidelines such as good meta titles and descriptions, ensure your site content is appropriate for the keywords you want to rank for and do some limited internal linking and you’ll be fine. If black hat SEO is your thing, fine, but similar to reckless link building, results are never going to be long term and might damage your brand.
Mistake 5: Don’t think of your online presence like that of a publisher
Because you should. For maximum SEO effect, follow the lead of companies such as FXCM, OANDA and Saxo and build a publishing operation. Sites like DailyFX, Marketpulse or TradingFloor (operated by the aforementioned brokers) bring their brands in front of a new audience, bring SEO authority for their product sites and serve as an excellent acquisition channel. But don’t do this if you don’t have the needed resources. No content is better than bad quality content.
Mistake 6: Think of SEO as just targeting Google
Yes, Google is the main target of most SEOs but obviously in China you want to target Baidu and in Russian you want to target Yandex. There are quite a few markets in which Google is not dominant, and SEO tactics that work for Google don’t always work for those search engines. Even in markets where Google is dominant, a good living can be made from visitors to smaller search engines such as Bing.
Mistake 7: Think of SEO as a replacement for paid advertising
No, it is generally not a good idea to start doing less PPC when your SEO strategy is starting to yield results. Taking over more of the search engine result pages by being in both the paid and unpaid results brings outsized results as potential customers trust you more and you push out the competition. It is also impossible to rank as precisely for specific keywords with SEO as with PPC. Do both SEO and PPC, even if that means splitting the budget between them.
I hope that helps brokers avoid some of the biggest mistakes, comment if you have some to add. And if this all seems too complicated, help is always around the corner, just make sure they have direct and successful experience in the online trading industry.