finance blogging question

Dear Floyd: My Finance Blog is Not Ranking in Search Results What Can I do?

This article features a question — and my answer — from a content publisher running a blog in the finance niche. After blogging for about a year, the blog isn’t getting much traffic and his organic search engine rankings are under performing for the keywords he’s targeting. What should he do to help his financial blog rank higher in organic search engine results pages and get more traffic to his website?

The Question

I need some advice for my blog and I’ll summarize my situation. I’ve started my blog for about a year now and I am not getting lots of traffic as I am ranked quite low in the keywords I ranked for and I am also not consistently uploading every week.

My blog is in the Finance niche and probably that is why it’s so competitive.

Question.. Should I continue targeting lower competition keywords and be more consistent (is that the main issue?) or start a new blog with a Niche topic with some knowledge on hand now? My worry is, since I am ranked quite badly for all my articles, the effort to continue in this blog may not be justifiable as compared to starting a new one with slightly more understanding now.

Any advice or suggestion is greatly appreciated!

My Answer

Hi,

It sounds like you may simply need to create “better” content.

Look, I don’t know the first thing about finance or what constitutes “good financial advice”, but I do know a thing or two about optimizing website traffic by evaluating what you’re currently doing and offering suggestions to improve your approach to encourage more people to visit your website — providing you more opportunities to spread your message and convert more clicks into more customers.

Let me ask you a question… Are you answering the bell as to why someone should read your articles instead of any of the other sites that are ranking better than you?

Why Choose Your Finance Blog?

What makes your financial blog and its content unique?

Do you have more experience, unique experience, free tools, traffic magnets, or something else special to make your content stand out from the crowd? Are you being helpful and solving a specific problem for a specific keyword or search phrase? How do the solutions you’re offering align to your audience’s needs?

How Do Your Financial Keywords Measure Up?

Aside from Google Analytics, how are you measuring results? As in, how do you know what financial keywords your ranking low for and where you’re ranking for them?

Are you using a search engine marketing tool like SEMRush or Ahrefs or are you just eyeballing it and speculating? Google has a way of showing slightly personalized results to different people at different times. It’s how they experiment and decide which results are actually the best results to show.

Search engine marketing tools are for optimization. They’ll help you chart a path and improve upon your results. They’re a North start to guide you, a compass for your map — but don’t rely on them to dictate your effort. You’re in your niche because you have a passion — you know stuff about finance and you’re good at what you do, so you’re blogging as an industry thought-leader.

Write for people first and search engines second. Produce a high-quality product — your articles — and the results will follow — your success.

What Financial Blogs are You Competing Against?

Have you identified what financial blogs your competing against?

You said you’re ranking low for the financial keywords you’re targeting, so you must be aware of which other financial blogs are ranking ahead of you, right?

Identifying the competition gives you the ground floor. If you know who you need to beat out in search engine result pages then you already know what they’re doing to out perform you.

Knowing what it takes to qualify for the top spot provides you insight into opportunities to compete. In other words, at the bare minimum make sure you’re doing at least as much as the competition is and then start competing for top ranks in SERPs by doing more — make other financial blogs compete with yours instead of the other way around.

What’s Your Point?

I imagine it helps in the financial niche to identify who you’re writing for, what they’re searching for, why they’re searching for it, and how your content is going to provide the answer(s) they are both looking for and need.

Identify:

  • Who are you writing for?
  • What are they searching for?
  • Why are they searching for it?
  • How are you helping them solve the issue?

Write for People

Heads up to you and others, Google’s rolling out an update this week (week of 8/22/2022) called the “Helpful Content Update”. It’s penalizing websites and blogs publishing content aimed at gaming search engine results instead of being aimed at being helpful to people.

In my humble opinion, Google wants to serve up better search results to its customers (i.e. people searching on Google) and encourage more ad revenue from people trying to earn organic traffic that aren’t putting in the effort to write high-quality content.

I mention the update because it affects rankings for entire website’s — not only the unhelpful content page’s rank. So, if you’re writing finance articles strictly for search rankings it’s best to evaluate and adjust your content strategy moving forward.

Try Something Different

If what you’re doing so far isn’t working then try something different.

Combine Blog Articles

As an experiment, combine a few underperforming articles into a single, larger, more comprehensive article and see how it affects your organic traffic.

Direct the Flow of Traffic

Also (if you’re not already doing this), start linking from your high-performing articles to some of your other related under-discovered-articles, and vice versa. Get people flowing from page to page throughout your website and move more eyes from where they are to where you think they ought to be.

Supplement Paid Traffic

Beyond that, there’s always the option to buy traffic to your website. Figure out a cost effective way to earn more than you spend — but, that circles back to having good content with messaging that converts, displayed in a way that’s easy to consume, and visually appealing. Use branding to create emotional responses mixed with marketing to create a reason for people to take action — you’re in control of both.

Publish Consistently

Create the consistency you talked about lacking. Publish regularly to set expectations for your readers. Once they catch on, they’ll become repeat customers without you having to entice them over and over again. The ones who really love your blogs advice will become your brand evangelists — the people who promote you because you have good content and not because you asked or paid them to.

Spread the Word

Once you believe your content is good enough — better than those ranking above you — figure out a way to spread the word. People won’t know about your financial blog if you don’t tell them about it.

Start hammering the social networks, discussion boards, blog comments, and guest posting where your target audience hangs out. But do it in a way that makes sense in each environment. People tune out ads — don’t be the social media account that’s shouting at everyone. Instead, try to actually engage and talk to your audience like they’re real people — because they are.

People connect with people — not with businesses.

Leverage Your Peers

Ask your network to visit your site and share your posts. Write articles for those people that link back to your own and offer them the opportunity to do the same, in reverse. Find other blogs with an established audience and partake in customer sharing.

Cross Pollinate Social Media

Cross pollinate your social networks with teasers and content that encourages people to visit your website. Use your audience from one social network to help build your blog audience and use your blog audience to help circulate those people to your other social networks. People like to consume consume content in different ways at different places, so let them get your stuff their way, so they can enjoy it how they like best — at their pace, in their favorite place, in a timely manner that fits in.

When you publish a new blog article drop an excerpt on your Instagram feed, a headline on your Twitter, a lead-in paragraph on your Facebook. Use visuals to catch someone’s attention and your words to get them excited enough to take action and click-through to your blog.

Send Positive Signals

If your goal is ranking better in search results then it’s helpful to send positive signals to the search engines. Show your site is worth ranking higher — it’s up to you to build an environment that reflects those positive signals.

Create a Destination

Create a destination spot.

On its own, your website is like an island. If you’re not building bridges and inroads for people to reach your island then no one’s going to visit. And when people do visit you better make sure they’re having a good experience, so they’ll want to tell their friends about you and help spread the good word.

Be like Hawaii — not like that abysmal island from the Tom Hanks movie Cast Away or the TV series Lost.

Size is Your Advantage

When you’re a small operation you have the advantage of speed.

Innovate, adapt, and overcome — try something, see how it works, and adjust accordingly. Fail, fail fast, and fail forward — keep moving, keep trying, and keep growing. If something isn’t working cut your losses and move on. Know what I mean?

Never Stop Trying

Whatever you do — if you haven’t reached success yet, you can’t do nothing. Never stop trying — a blog is like a shark in the sense that if stops swimming it will die.

Albert Einstein once said only idiots expect different results from doing the same thing over and over again. Continue optimizing what you’re doing and trying new strategies until you achieve your goals. Success is not an accident and blogging success does not happen overnight.

Devise a plan. See it through. Measure the results. Adjust accordingly.