Search marketing strategies for investment companies

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How investment companies can maximise paid and organic search visibility, even for the most competitive keywords.

Investment companies are in one of the most competitive industries in the world and this is reflected in search marketing. It’s difficult to build a search presence in this field but the long-term gains are huge if you can sustain organic visibility, which makes it equally difficult for new rivals to compete against you.

In this article, we look at how you can build a lasting search presence by prioritising keywords, producing the right content and capturing leads at every stage of the marketing funnel.

1. Target high-intent keywords

Financial keywords are some of the most expensive on Google Ads but this is because they tend to be the most competitive queries with the strongest search intent, which typically means higher conversion rates and returns on your ad spend (ROAS).

Search results for investment opportunities showing lots of ads
High-intent keywords are more competitive and expensive but they’re also often the most profitable thanks as purchase intent is strong.

High-intent, high-return keywords are the fastest way to drive growth through PPC but you have to spend your money wisely and optimise campaigns to maximise performance – both before and after the click.

Calculate how much budget you can invest in high-intent queries and optimise campaigns to drive down the CPCs of your most expensive queries.

The easiest way to do this is to optimise for Quality Scores, which are calculated based on three criteria:

  1. Expected click-through rate (of your ad)
  2. Ad relevance
  3. Landing page experience

Your Quality Scores are based on historical performance so Google is looking at previous CTRs, bounce rates, conversion rates and a bunch of other factors to determine your expected CTR, the relevance of your ad and the quality of the experience on your landing page.

2. Target long-tail keywords to capture leads early

With CPCs generally being high for financial search terms, longtail keywords are especially important for investment companies. Commercial intent tends to be lower for these search queries but they’re less competitive, cheaper and they generate leads from prospects at the earlier stages of your marketing funnel.

Long-tail keywords tend to be informational with users looking to answer questions or find content for a highly-specific purpose. For example, a first-time startup owner might be wondering how they can attract investment and type something as simple as “how to find investors” into Google.

Search results for 'how to find investors'

In this case, the query currently shows no ads but if we expand this to “how to find investors in the uk,” we get the following SERP with two paid ads in the top pack. In this case, Angel Investment Network dominates the top of the results page by securing a top position ad and claiming the top two organic listings.

Search results for 'how to find investors UK' showing ads and organic listings

You can continue to expand your long-tail keywords by adding in more qualifiers, such as “how to find startup investors in the uk” and use the People also ask section to find further long-tail keywords and variations.

'People also ask' questions

While long-tail keywords are typically less competitive, they’re not always low intent and you can capture valuable leads by understanding the specific needs of your target audience, especially those who are informed and know what they’re looking for.

Search results for 'top independent private equity inivestment groups in the UK'

The downside is, these keywords may be low-volume queries and, although you might not generate as much traffic from these as your more competitive queries, your chances of converting these visitors is much higher, as long as you deliver the right message.

3. Create remarketing campaigns to nurture leads

Remarketing ads allow you to show search and display ads to previous visitors as they continue to browse the web and this is a crucial strategy for nurturing PPC leads that don’t convert on the first visit – especially for your most expensive keywords.

However, you can also use remarketing campaigns to nurture traffic from campaigns that generate traffic from the earlier stages of your marketing funnel.

Best of all, if you create remarketing audiences in Google Analytics, you can target both paid and organic visitors in your Google Ads remarketing campaigns and nurture prospects through your entire funnel.

In Google Ads, you can use remarketing lists and set conditions, such as page visits that indicate a specific interest or action, and then automatically move prospects onto another remarketing list to show relevant ads as their interests change. In Google Analytics, you can use Event Measurement to track specific on-page actions, such as button clicks or form completions, and automatically move users to the relevant remarketing audience.

This allows you to create campaigns designed to capture leads at the earlier stages of your marketing funnel, knowing the chances of them converting at this point are low, and nurture them along the buying process by delivering relevant ads to them as their needs and interests change.

4. Target featured snippets to claim the top of the SERP

Studies show that over 50% of all Google searches are zero-click searches, meaning users never click through to a website from the results page. However, the majority of zero-click searches are the informational kind of queries that Google can try to answer in the SERP by embedding a snippet on the results page.

Featured snippet for 'how to pitch to angel investors'

Featured snippets are the primary driver of zero-click searches for organic keywords but you can still generate traffic from these if you target the right keywords, create the right kind of content and optimise it in a way that entices users to click through.

We’ve looked at how you can get your content in featured snippets before and it starts with finding the right questions to answer. We use our own intelligent automation platform, called Apollo Insights, to identify featured snippet keyword opportunities and then turn to Google to find out which ones present the best opportunities.

Next, we analyse the content currently showing in the featured snippet and draw up a strategy to improve upon it with two goals:

  1. Convince Google to show our content in the featured snippet
  2. Format our content to maximise CTRs from our snippet

So we need to understand what kind of content Google wants to see in its featured snippets and what kind of content previews are going to entice users to click through for each target keyword.

Over the years, our analysis shows Google likes to see the following from content that shows in featured snippets:

  • In-depth content (that’s structured well)
  • A range of questions related to the same topic
  • Questions in subheadings with short paragraphs
  • Concise answers to each question

You also need to make sure that your content is snippet-able. Typically, you’ve only got space for around 50 words in a featured snippet, even if it contains a numbered list like the snippet below.

Featured snippet for 'how to email a potential investor'

To optimise your content for featured snippets, try out the following techniques and measure results:

  • Answer multiple questions, tightly themed around the same topic (almost like an FAQ turned into an article, listicle, video etc).
  • Use your target questions as subheadings (h2).
  • Provide a complete, concise answer (40-50 words) for each question in one or two paragraphs and then expand with additional paragraphs if necessary.
  • Use tables, bullet points, numbered lists, charts and images to answer questions wherever relevant.
  • Create step-by-step guides using the same optimisation techniques, as these are also used in featured snippets a lot.

Pay special attention to how you structure your content and include keywords in headings to show search engines and users that your content answers their questions. The trick is to win the featured snippet and show users that your content delivers the information they’re looking for without answering their question in full and incentivising them to click through for the full story.

5. Optimise for E-A-T & YMYL

We’ve covered this topic several times before but it’s worth mentioning here as Google is particularly strict about page quality with financial websites.

E-A-T is an acronym for expertise, authoritativeness and trustworthiness and there are five things Google is looking for:

  1. The purpose of each page
  2. Expertise, authoritativeness & trustworthiness (E-A-T)
  3. Main content quality and amount
  4. Website/publisher information
  5. Website/publisher reputation

Google wants to see all five of these from every web page it indexes but the search giant says it’s more strict about these criteria when it comes to pages that “could potentially impact the future happiness, health, financial stability, or safety of users.”

Google calls these pages “Your Money or Your Life” pages, or YMYL.

YMYL pages include “shopping or financial transaction pages: webpages that allow users to make purchases, transfer money, pay bills, etc. online (such as online stores and online banking pages).”

So the same rules apply here; they’re just applied more strongly and Google says it has “very high Page Quality rating standards for YMYL pages because low quality YMYL pages could potentially negatively impact users’ happiness, health, financial stability, or safety.”

6. Target primary keywords in guest blogging

You’ll often find competitive keywords generate surprisingly good organic opportunities but ranking for them might be out of sight until you’ve built a stronger search presence.

Investment guest blogging example in Google search results

In this situation, you can still take advantage of these opportunities by getting your content published on high-authority (non-competitor) sites and pitching them content that targets these keyword opportunities.

Your aim here isn’t only to earn relevant links from high authority websites but also to increase brand awareness and drive relevant traffic to your website from a competitive keyword that you’re not ready to rank for yet by yourself.

7. Promote your content (and brand) on social

While we’re technically leaving the realm of search marketing, paid social is a key PPC channel for maximising content performance and brand awareness.

While search marketing focuses on capturing leads from people actively looking for investment companies or information about investment, paid social allows you to introduce your brand to prospects who haven’t reached this stage yet – for example, international investors who are always tempted by the next big opportunity.

With paid social, you can target an entirely different audience but also promote your best content and drive qualified traffic to your website. And, once again, every click is another prospect that can be added to your remarketing campaigns and nurtured along your marketing funnel.

If you need help with building a stronger search presence for your investment company, contact our team for marketing strategy services on 02392 830 281 or [email protected].

Lee Wilson profile picture
Lee Wilson

Lee has been working in the online arena, leading digital departments since the early 2000s, and oversees all our delivery services at Vertical Leap, having joined back in 2010. Lee joined our company Operations Team in May 2019. Before working at Vertical Leap, Lee completed a degree in Business Management & Communications at Winchester University, headed up the online development and direct marketing department for an international financial services company for ~7 years, and set up/run a limited company providing website design, development and digital marketing solutions. Lee had his first solely authored industry book (Tactical SEO) published in 2016, with 2 further industry books being published in 2019, and can be seen regularly expert contributing to industry websites including State of Digital, Search Engine Journal, The Drum, plus many others. Lee has a passion for management in the digital industry and loves to see the progression of others through personal learning, training and development. Outside the office he looks to help others while challenging himself, having skydived, bungie jumped and abseiled (despite a fear of heights) with many more fundraising and voluntary events completed and on the horizon. As a husband and dad, Lee loves to spend time with his family and friends. His hobbies include exercising, trying new experiences, eating out, playing countless team sports, as well as watching films (Gangster movies in particular – “forget about it”).

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