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Inside Investopedia: How to Outrank the Big Financial Brands

With publishers like Bloomberg and Marketwatch cranking out finance and investment news on a minute-by-minute basis, it’s tough for any financial company to draw in new customers with content.

Yet after two consecutive quarters of organic market share dominance, 18-year-old Investopedia shows a strong grip on the online financial market.

Earlier this year, they swept the field with an impressive 17% of the organic market share around mutual funds. The publisher ranked #1 for the mutual funds category, and globally took #10 against all other financial institutions. You can see more of their success in our quarterly organic market share report.

How does Investopedia compete with much larger and older organizations? We asked them to share their SEO & content strategy with you:

What is Investopedia?

Investopedia offers timely, trusted and actionable financial information for every investor, from early investors to financial advisors to high net worth individuals. We provide our readers with a one-stop-shop where they can keep up with major financial news, upskill themselves through our training courses, and find actionable content written by financial experts.

Investopedia content aims to provide our readers with everything you need to take action on your financial journey.

financial content marketing

A snapshot of Investopedia’s homepage.

Is organic search a channel you focus on?

Organic search has always been and will likely continue to be our largest traffic source. That impacts every part of our business, from the products we build and the content we write to the advertisers we pursue.

Search users have much more intent than a user coming through other marketing channels and so it’s important that our content and our site are tailored to match. While it takes significant investment to drive material traffic from organic search, it’s an investment that continues to pay dividends for years afterwards.

Do search insights inform any other aspects of the business besides content strategy?

Definitely! They also inform our product and monetization strategies, which to be fair tend to be supported by a lot of content.

For example we used search insights to identify users that were looking to open a brokerage account and then combined that with user surveys to identify what the most important aspects for them were in selecting a brokerage.

With those insights, we began building a tool that lets the user do a comparison of the various functions within a Charles Schwab brokerage account and then the functionality to allow them to compare Etrade vs. Charles Schwab as well as other brokers in the same tool.

Investopedia created a side-by-side comparison tool for consumers choosing between Charles Schwab and E*Trade.

For the user it’s a win because it gives them an easy way to compare the features they care about across brokers and get our perspective on them, and for advertisers it’s a win because there’s a more informed user that’s now potentially ready to open up an account.

The finance industry is crowded — how do you get your content to stand out?

As with any product the key is to figure out what the customer is really after and a way to differentiate yourself.

The key is to figure out what the customer is really after and a way to differentiate yourself.

In the case of Investopedia’s origin with finance/investing dictionary definitions that meant presenting the user with the succinct definition and then supplementing that with a layman’s version, real world examples and video explanations to help them learn the topic.

Our term for Brexit is a perfect example of this:

financial content marketing

Investopedia capitalized on a timely topic with a succinct definition.

When we pivoted from being a straight educational resource to covering investing and market news we approached it in a similar matter.

We knew we couldn’t couldn’t compete with publishers like Bloomberg and Marketwatch in breaking stories.

But what we can do is tell our readers WHY the news is important for them as investors, and try to distill the most important tidbit for them so that the news is actionable. You can see this approach in action with our coverage of President Trump and his influence on the economy.

What we can do is tell our readers WHY the news is important for them as investors, and try to distill the most important tidbit for them so that the news is actionable.

How do you identify content opportunities? Does search influence the editorial calendar?

We identify content opportunities in a number of ways. Sometimes we see search interest for a topic spiking on our site and then look for related search terms that we can cover.

In other cases we have a particular content area that we know we want more traffic in and so we research the universe of search terms that are applicable, set aside what we already rank on and then come up with an editorial plan to deliver on the rest.

There are also situations where we may already rank on the first page of a valuable search term and want to move up. In those cases we do a competitive assessment to figure out how we can differentiate our content and product and really deliver something unique to the users. This should lead to less bouncing, more backlinks and hopefully more traffic.

We do a competitive assessment to figure out how we can differentiate our content and product and really deliver something unique to the users.

Search definitely influences our editorial calendar, if you think about a topic like taxes there is a clear seasonality to it and a time of year that it is more important for people. So we make sure that all our tax content is improved every year and up to date well ahead of when the search interest begins to pick up.

How often do you optimize/update underperforming content?

This is as ongoing process for us that is happening every day. We’re constantly looking at pages that are underperforming and then figuring out tactics to improve.

Maybe the page needs a better optimized title and subheadings, or it could be that the content needs to be entirely re-worked because it isn’t delivering on the user’s search intent.

Identifying the low performers is very data-centric whereas figuring out what needs to be done with them takes more intuition and experience.

We have also found success in continually updating our evergreen content on the same URL as opposed to publishing updates on new URLs.

We know that financial information changes over time. For our users it is critical that they have the most up to date information.

By continuously updating the same URL, we are able to keep content relevant and fresh, resulting in strong search traffic month after month.

How do you measure success?

We measure success in a couple of ways. For long plays we often are just looking at the rank we achieve on the keywords we are targeting, obviously we are aiming to rank as high as possible. Often that means #1, though in cases where we are competing on a search that is a direct match to someone’s domain/brand we’re aiming for just below their pages.

More often though we are looking at the ROI of a piece of content. On the cost side we add up what it cost to write it, editorial overhead, and any traffic acquisition costs. Then we model the projected traffic of the piece (after giving it some time to rank) along with the revenue per pageview against that cost to arrive at a breakeven point.

What should other SEOs and content marketers be paying attention to?

The way that Google has expanded featured snippets both in terms of form factor and also search query coverage will continue to have a big effect on organic marketing.

Recently they’ve been testing the removal of an organic listing if that URL is already in the featured snippet. If they move forward with that, it’s going to put publishers who currently appear in both the featured snippet and at the top of the organic listing in a tough position.

Those publishers have to decide between keeping the featured snippet and losing their organic listing, or excluding themselves from the snippet to keep their organic listing and knowing that a competitor will take their spot in the snippet. Tough call.

Did you hear? Educational content makes consumers 131% more likely to buy from your brand. Read all about the latest content marketing research.

  • You said “But what we can do is tell our readers WHY the news is important for them as investors, and try to distill the most important tidbit for them so that the news is actionable.” — This seems like a key point; thoughtful value-added commentary is often helpful, and therefore also likely to be influential.

    • Charity

      Yes — and well said! I think this is true for content in most verticals.

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