Financial Marketing – Pilar Cecilia

Pilar Cecilia is an expert in financial marketing. She is currently the Lead SEO of a credit company that stands out for offering instant risk assessments that are made thanks to an algorithm that analyzes hundreds of factors about the user accessible online. Prior to her current position, Pilar worked for Casa del Libro, in which she learned all the peculiarities of SEO for bookstores. She reveals them to us in this interview, with special emphasis on the importance of working in local SEO within this sector. In addition, we asked Pilar about all the important aspects that surround financial marketing and, especially, about how SEO is done in this sector. We talked about the perfect combination of strategies in financial companies, the importance of the content and the banks apps, how reputation is managed and its value in the sector or how to work local and international strategies.

How did you end up working at financial marketing? What do you like most about this sector?

I started working in financial marketing in 2010, specifically for an online trading company in London. The activity of this sector and in particular in the niche of online investments, is 100% marked by the news and events that directly affect the market. This means that, in addition to a long-term strategy, there are thousands of occasions in which you will have to improvise due to the eventualities of today. It is difficult, but at the same time each project becomes a great challenge. Another peculiarity is that normally companies in this sector have to deal with fairly low online reputation levels. So it is necessary emphasize that there is no bad or good financial product, but depends on the suitability of the product for the customer; according to their circumstances. Hence the need for a cross-sectional analysis to know the client and be able to make a good segmentation.  


Where you currently work offers loans through risk assessments through accessible data on the internet. Could you explain a little about how the process works?

It is a completely automated procedure: the risk assessment is carried out through an algorithm based on machine learning that analyzes hundreds of factors related to the user to decide on his debt capacity and whether or not to grant the loan. This analysis is done in a matter of minutes, allowing the immediacy of the service.  


Previously, you worked as SEO responsible for Casa del libro, how does SEO work for libraries? What are its peculiarities? How does Google Books affect you?

Casa del Libro is one of the most important projects in which I have had the opportunity to work. By having a very consolidated brand, the emphasis was on the technical part for e-commerce, in addition to the local SEO for the physical bookstores. In the project of the physical stores we work together with the team of the bookstores to increase the reviews, the pages of Google My Business and we work very well the landings with a consistent NAP, together with the calendar of events of each bookstore, images and comments of the clients. Today, more than 45 physical stores are still well positioned. More than for the arrival of Google Books, they were affected by other players like Amazon with very aggressive strategies that had to be followed closely. Some medium called the trajectory of the Bezos giant as a transition from an online bookstore to a supermarket-bazaar. This impacts businesses with a more traditional brand image, such as Casa del Libro.

“It is necessary to offer resources, tools and content of value to the user, guiding them to the final goal, the conversion, which is the content marketing game that any SEO strategy should contemplate”.
Pilar Cecilia

How does SEO work in financial companies?

It must be taken into account that in this sector the user who is looking for the financial product needs to mature a lot the informational and educational phase before moving on to the transaction. That is why it is necessary to offer resources, tools and content of value to the user guiding it to the final goal, the conversion. Here comes the game content marketing that every SEO strategy should contemplate.  


What is the perfect combination of financial marketing strategies?

It is very important to have a good mix of channels and to know at what moment, with what purpose and with which audience to work each one. It is essential that all marketing channels are aligned and that we know what one is better for than another. As well as knowing in which phase of the funnel to use one or the other and with which segment of users.  


Is the content within financial marketing important? Could you give us advice to plan a strategy?

Content remains one of the key factors for Google and has to be integrated into our search marketing strategy. For content actions to have the expected result we must:

  • Knowing our audience and being clear about our objective: in which topics our users are interested, who they are, in which phase of the funnel they are and what we can provide with this content.
  • Establish measurable KPIs
  • Decide on the best type of format.
  • Take care of both the content creation phase and the distribution phase and the results analysis phase.

How do you work local strategies? Are they important in your sector?

Right now I work in a 100% online business, which has no physical office since the service is carried out from start to finish in digital form. In this case we do not use local SEO but it is essential for those who have physical offices, such as traditional banks.  


You work for an international company, what differences have you observed when doing SEO in different countries? What is it that catches your attention the most?

What most catchs my attention about international SEO is the diversity of elements to be worked on: from domain structure, to hreflang labeling, content localization and link building strategy, among many others. In the past I have seen how the US and British market have been affected by changes in the Google algorithm much faster than the rest of the countries, or how techniques that worked in 2010 in the UK and that are no longer applicable are still being used in Latin America with good results in SERPs. Therefore, in this type of companies it is important to have a global strategy, but even more important is to locate it according to the needs of each market.


Reputation is very important in marketing, what steps can we take to protect it?

Reputation is one of the most difficult battles to fight within the financial sector. I believe that, to the extent possible, the comments should be answered; even if they are negative, trying to offer the client a solution to that problem or a valid response to that complaint.


Are the apps within the sector valuable? What characteristics should they have?

We had been hearing for years that we were living through a transition to the mobile era and it has already become a reality. Most organic traffic is already mobile, and this has become the device par excellence. Today apps are the ideal tool to offer the customer what they want in the most simplified way possible. Although, in the financial sector we have a very strict regulation and with the great standard of personal data security. The apps in the financial sector must contemplate these two pillars and add the ingredient of good usability to succeed.


What book would you recommend us?

The Art of SEO by Eric Enge y Stephan Spencer is the most important book for SEO. In spanish I recommend Técnicas Avanzadas, de Fernando Maciá.