A digital gap has emerged in the quality of websites in the Australian finance Industry. Leaders have recognised the critical need for a high quality digital experiences as Australians increasingly move their financial services online. While others have neglected their websites and now risk undermining vital consumer trust.

Siteimprove crawled the first 500 web pages of Australia’s 50 largest (by revenue) finance companies, to determine their Digital Certainty Index (DCI) – a website performance rating based on quality assurance, SEO and Accessibility. The results are available in a “Digital Industry Snapshot” report.

The average website performance DCI score was 72 – a “medium” rating and just two marks above the “poor” cutoff. In an industry where organisations handle users’ private financial data, trust is paramount and organisations should take no complacency from a medium mark.

“Many of our platform users are increasingly using the analytics capabilities as a synergy between content, SEO and overall marketing strategies” Says Managing Director of Siteimprove Australia and New Zealand, Jay Mahoney.

The stakes are higher for finance

Australia’s financial services scene is changing rapidly with savvy FinTech’s using technology to drive competition and take business from the big banks.

With a growing number of aggressive Fintech startups moving into the Australian market, search engine discoverability was a standout factor, returning concerning results. More than 86% of financial companies in the report have an SEO score below ”Good”. For the financial service industry, this means important information and product offers are not easily discovered online, leaving the door open to competition.

The true cost of poor quality content

Consumers now expect smooth and consistent digital experiences that maintain their security and privacy, particularly in financial services. A company’s website is a chance to introduce a customer to the business or maintain the digital experience, and low quality content like misspellings or broken links quickly damage brand reputation and threatens consumer trust.

The highest scoring finance company achieved a near-perfect QA score of 99 out of 100, while the lowest scored 41. That gulf carries through the industry, with most institutions scoring either very high or very low, suggesting that a significant number of organisations risk being left behind.

“If your website’s Quality Assurance Score is sitting around 80 or below, quite a lot of your visitors are likely to come across dead links or misspellings, which reflects badly on your brand without you ever noticing” said Kasper Kappel, Product Owner Quality Assurance at Siteimprove.

Our research reveals leaders who know this deliver consistent, high quality websites and experiences – a particularly important aspect in a country which leads the world in mobile banking preference.

Those who don’t recognise or address website quality are facing a crucial problem, because any poor website experience is directly associated with the brand and incurs a significant cost.

UX is key

User experience remains a challenge for Australian finance companies, according to our research. Nearly two thirds of companies failed to reach our UX target rating with a quarter falling into the “very poor” category.

That’s concerning for financial services companies who, under pressure from fintechs, are shifting their focus to customer experience. Poor website content can damage customer experiences and block customer engagement.

The test also revealed nearly all Australian finance industry companies are doing poorly on website accessibility and potentially excluding people with a disability from accessing their website.

As more Australians take their banking online and with open banking potentially removing barriers to switching, the need to deliver outstanding online experiences are even more critical. A more discoverable, high quality, accessible digital presence will help to protect organisations against digital disruption and provide a better experience for consumers.

About the author

Siteimprove is a corporate member of the Which-50 Digital Intelligence Unit. Members provide their insights and analysis for the benefit of our readers. Membership fees apply.

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