Amanda Walls, Founder and Director of Cedarwood Digital, explains how financial services providers can use content to offer trust and expertise that will be valued by Google.
Trust and Expertise are topics which have become commonplace in digital marketing strategies in recent years. As search engines look towards how trustworthy websites are as a contributor towards the hundreds of ranking factors, marketeers are looking for ways that they can showcase a websites’ trust and expertise, while adding value to the user journey and overall, a great marketing experience.
Google has a concept called “Your Money Your Life” and it alludes to it a number of times within the Google Quality Rater Guidelines. This concept basically highlights that these pages are held to high standards within the Page Quality Rating Standards, given the potential negative impact they could have on a users’ safety, health or financial stability. As a result, if your website falls into this category then adhering to the YMYL guidelines and looking at the concept of Expertise, Authority and Trust should be central to your marketing campaigns.
Websites which fall into this category tend to include those in the health, medical, financial services and eCommerce sectors as these tend to have the potential to have the biggest impact on a user’s safety, health or financial stability. As such, if you’re marketing for websites in this sector it’s important to be aware of the Page Quality Rating guidelines for search engines and to take on board tips to help your website perform with these.
The key principles of YMYL centre around giving clear expertise and guidance early on in any content served to the user, ensuring that the website has a clearly defined purpose and keeping content relevant and up to date where possible. There’s also the concept of authoring, that’s highlighting who has created the content and their credentials – did it come from a trustworthy source? How is the website’s overall reputation? These are all questions that you’ll be looking to answer to showcase clear expertise and trust throughout your website.
As a marketeer it can be hard to know where to start when looking at the above as, in many cases, it can seem like there’s so much to do – but that isn’t necessarily the case. Breaking it down into actionable segments helps you to effectively review the trust signals on your website and put a plan of action in place; we’d usually do something along the following lines:
Intent and Purpose
Evaluating the intent of each of the individual pages – are they well signposted? Do they tell the user (and Google) what they are about? Do they have clear definitions early on so that the user understands the content? Does the content answer users questions quickly and does it give them a clear path to conversion or getting to where they need to be?
Is your content up to date and relevant? Could it be more frequently updated or could additional expertise be added? Does your content link externally to other trusted resources which are also up to date and authoritative or does it link to other related content on the website through a solid internal linking strategy?
Expertise and Authoring
Is your content written by an expert and does it show that? Do you have clear author profiles which demonstrate the expertise of your writers and are these marked up with relevant Schema? Do you have specific author profile pages which detail expertise and are these linked to the articles that have been written?
Overall Credentials and Trust
How are the overall credentials of your website? Do they exhibit trust? Do you have trusted reviews on external sources and websites? Are you encouraging users to leave reviews and testimonials to help build the trust within your brand?
This is an often crucial and overlooked element of the strategy. We understand how important external links are for SEO in general, but do we look at the types of links to understand how they might be conveying the trust and expertise, to really build this across your website? Thought leadership, newsjacking and expertise-driven links are a great way to build this across your external link profile. Reviewing your profile to understand how you can really push your website’s expertise through is a really valuable way to build expertise, authority and trust in your website.
All of the above are clear actionable points that you can undertake to help build the overall authority in your website and you can even break these down into different segments to help action them easier if you need to. When it comes to search engine optimisation, having a website which exudes this level of trust and expertise is important to ensure that not only search engines understand how trustworthy your website is, but also that you provide a great user experience and user journey throughout the website which will be reinforced by great trust signals at every step of the way.