The Forum Buzz: web domain authority – it’s not what you know, it’s who you know

Jasmine Butler Burnham

Marketing Manager

The Financial Services Forum

Although we normally break for a few weeks over the summer months, this year The Forum has been hosting a webinar series in partnership with digital agency Receptional, looking at quick wins to optimise digital marketing strategy.

The first two webinars have centered around housekeeping: auditing your website for user experience, SEO and Google ranking and content management. The next session, on the 30 September, will look at ’25 Steps to a High Converting Financial Website’.

I’ve been getting a lot out of the series so far, particularly as most of the tips and recommendations are really easy to implement. So, for this week’s newsletter, I thought I’d share my top five takeaways so far…

1. WEBSITE DOMAIN AUTHORITY: It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.
A higher website domain authority means higher rankings on Google. Domain authority is based on both quantity and quality of third-party links i.e. any hyperlinks from other websites that link through to your site. These links might be mentions in blogs, on news articles or within web text.

If you want to improve your ranking on Google, you need to have more – and better quality – third party links than your competitors have.

Also, the web domain authority of the third-party site that has linked to you will impact upon your own score. So, if it’s also high authority (think BBC, reputable industry online publications etc), this will boost your authority. And vice versa.

It’s certainly no mean feat to have good enough content to be shared on high-authority sites. But aiming for the best can’t hurt at all.

2. GOOGLE: It’s not you, it’s (all about) me.
The Google search engine crawlers are a single-minded bunch of bots. They just care about sending search users to a website where they’ll find high quality information and have a good time.

It’s true: the better the user experience, the more likely you are to rank highly on Google. And, it’s often small, easily fixable technical hitches that might be holding you back. Conducting a standard SEO audit on a regular basis can help you to understand what common glitches are impacting your ranking.

The two most common technical setbacks Receptional come across are site speed and mobile usability. And, it’s not just the search engine crawlers who favour high performing sites. With 85% of people believing that a mobile experience should be good or better than desktop, and 53% of mobile users leaving if a site doesn’t load after 3 seconds, you really can’t afford to overlook site performance.

3. COMPETITORS: Don’t be afraid to peer over the garden fence…
…and analyse what your competitors are doing. Are they optimising use of all digital channels? Or are there weaknesses, for example under-use of a social media channel, that your business could perhaps capitalise on?

Don’t forget to check out Facebook Ad Library as well. This (we suspect) underused resource allows you to type in a brand and see all of the ads it is currently running across Facebook and Instagram, giving you insights into the topics and longevity of the campaigns.

Most brands won’t run ads for a long time unless it’s providing return and resonating with the audience, so longevity should give you a sense check of what’s going down well with the target audience – and what no so well. All without having to use your own budget to find out. Win-win.

4. AUDIENCE ANALYTICS TOOLS: More insight, better marketing. And, don’t just stop at Google Analytics.
There are some fantastic free digital marketing tools available. Check out the LinkedIn Website Demographic Tool, which is LinkedIn’s answer to Google Analytics. The value add is that it can provide some key insights into your website audience, such as visitor job titles, industry, and companies. You just need the LinkedIn Insight Tag installed on your site, which then matches visitors to a LinkedIn profile.

I also loved finding out about Answer the Public, which helps you to understand search intent in your category or product. Enter a brand, topic or product to find out what people are searching for within that category at the moment. Whilst there is an advanced paid for element, which allows you crunch data as well as unlimited searches, you can enter a certain number of queries for free each day.

5. CONTENT: Your insights may be ground-breaking, but Google judges books by their cover (read: title!)
Label your content page titles with the keywords (i.e. search terms) that you want the content to appear for. It sounds so simple, but in their analysis Receptional found that many leading institutions in financial services aren’t doing this. With potential competitors snoozing, there’s an open goal opportunity waiting for brands who are willing to step up and make this one simple change.

It’s also likely that many companies have been disappointed that great content didn’t perform as well as they’d hoped, yet haven’t considered going back and re-optimising the page title for search. If so, there is still a golden opportunity to unlock the potential of existing content by simply amending page titles.

With another week over, I’d like to wish you all a great weekend. I’m looking forward to perhaps speaking to some of our Members next week, and don’t hesitate to drop me a line if there is anything I can help with.


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