If you have a financial website, you can learn a thing or two from Google. At Google, they always try to serve their customers the best they can and they know how to do it. If you follow the spirit of Google’s content guidelines, you will also please your visitors.
Stay up to date with Google. You will lower your rankings if your site’s content and layout meet your ever-changing content requirements. When you do something that goes against Google guidelines, you are penalized. Their goal is not to punish you, but to elevate the content that their users will like and push the rest down the rankings.
When Google updates, it does so for good reasons. However, these changes can cause poor quality content to come off the map. An example is the 2012 Penguin update, described as a web spam algorithm, which affected 1 in 10 search results.
Since 2012, the Penguin update has gone through several iterations. It works in real time, which means that startups can no longer get away with poor quality content or site design for a few months until they improve their offering. Google will detect these sites and take care of them immediately.
And Penguin is just one of the many algorithms Google uses to maintain the quality of its search results. Since Google can take down a business with the flick of a switch, you better know what they’re doing and when.
If you’ve been working hard on your site, but it’s still not ranking well, you may have been penalized for something inadvertently. If you search for your brand name and your site ranks poorly, or the positions from page one have slipped to page two or three for no apparent reason, you have most likely been penalized.
Google doesn’t always announce the changes it makes. However, there are common reasons for being penalized, so we recommend that you check them out first.
Whether it’s within your domain or on the web, duplicate content attracts Google’s attention.
Some people deliberately create duplicate content for non-malicious reasons. For example, you can have a content page and a duplicate page that is in a simple printable format.
In this type of situation, you need to provide your preferred URL to Google. This is called canonicalization. One way to do this is through Search Console.
Google prefers this if you are not trying to prevent your spiders from looking at your pages (for example, by using a robots.txt file). You are much happier when you use canonicalization to tell you which pages are duplicated and which page you prefer.
You can also avoid being penalized for duplicate content by:
be consistent with the format you use to link pages internally;
use 301 redirects if you have restructured your site;
minimize repetitive repetition, such as avoiding long copyright text at the bottom of each page and replacing it with something shorter than a link to your main copyright information page;
avoid placeholders if you are in the process of (re) designing your site;
consolidate or differentiate pages with similar content.
Some people create duplicate content across multiple domains to deliberately drive keyword usage and move up the rankings. However, Google doesn’t want its users to see a whole page of links that deliver the same content.
Google does not suffer from this type of deception. It will penalize these domains without a second thought.
Having more sites linked to yours used to be taken as proof of the usefulness and quality of your site. These days, however, a link from a high-quality website is worth much more than many links from a low-quality website.
If you are buying links, the standard of the sites that link to you is likely to be very poor. Not only does this not help your ranking, it will actually work against you.
Too many reciprocal links
As with link buying, Google taking too much reciprocity is a sign that you are trying to manipulate rankings rather than providing a quality experience to your visitors.
The answer? Punishment.
Not enough outbound links
Google expects high-quality websites to understand that they do not exist in isolation and that there are other sites that its users may find useful. Almost all companies have complementary products, services and information. Google rewards companies that have a broader view of their customers’ needs.
Broken Internal Links – If you have broken links on your website, it means your visitors are falling into potholes and bumping into each other in dead ends. Since Google wants the best possible experience for its users, it penalizes websites that don’t take care of their infrastructure.
Broken external links: Links to quality sites are favorably viewed by Google. However, if the details on those pages change, that leaves you with broken external links, frustrated visitors, and a possible Google penalty.
Keyword Stuffing: Since the 2012 Penguin update, keyword stuffing and other attempts to manipulate search results have quickly gone out of style.
The best approach to SEO is to know the keywords your target audience will search for and use them naturally in really useful content.
Overuse of meta keywords: This is similar to keyword stuffing, but in this case, you’ve been stuffing the meta tags instead of the main content. Basically, your meta keywords are meant to help search engines and your users understand the content on your site.
Overdoing it with meta keywords is the equivalent of those envelopes where advertising messages are printed all over the envelope. You don’t even need to open the envelope to know you’ve received time-wasting spam. Do this to Google and they will blacklist your site and move on.
Distributed content: Distributed content is modified content. The only originality you can expect from these articles is the creative use of a thesaurus. Published articles can push the boundaries of grammar, as writers live to rewrite existing content for the sole purpose of evading anti-plagiarism software.
There are many articles written on how much content you need for your website and how often you should post. Very few articles talk about how quality wins over quantity.
A site that offers original and expert advice will serve its useful visitors better than websites that pay cheap writers to spin their content.
Poor Mobile Websites – Google loves mobile devices. As is typical of Google, this is because Google users like mobile devices.
Mobile Internet searches surpassed desktop searches in 2014. The percentage of web pages visited via mobile devices is increasing worldwide.
With access to mountains of data and a direct line to the wishes of its users, Google knows that mobile is essential. If you don’t meet the needs of mobile users, you can expect your site to drop in the rankings in favor of sites that feature mobile versions or responsive design.
One of the more recent additions to Google’s idea of what makes a good mobile site is pop-ups. Pop-ups can be effective for lead generation as they capture a lot of email addresses. However, they are also very intrusive and can hamper the visitor experience, especially via mobile.
Thanks to the ‘Intrusive Interstitial’ update, pop-ups that cover an entire page are seen as a barrier to the content being searched for. Sites that use them face penalties from Google.
In addition to moving your site up in the rankings, you should maintain best practices to avoid going the other way. The Internet landscape is always evolving. While some factors to provide quality and useful websites are common sense, others require some experience to understand, unravel, and repair.
Having financial experience and the ability to deliver it to your visitors is essential to your success, but that’s not enough to make sure you do well in the rankings.
To ensure that your financial website is offering the best possible experience to your visitors and avoiding unnecessary penalties from Google, contact a financial web design professional with years of experience in financial services and web design.