SEO

3 Ways to Utilize Financial Statements for SEO

Publicly traded companies (like Apple and Snapchat) have a responsibility to their investors to disclose information about their financial performance and business operations. Within these financial statements, there is plenty of great information that SEO practitioners can incorporate to better serve clients. In this post, we’ll give you a brief overview of these financial statements, and help you understand how to use these documents in your SEO strategy.  

Note: The company examples referenced in this blog post are not Seer clients, and all financial information is publicly available. 

How to Read a 10-K (and other SEC Filings) for SEO

If you’re not familiar with these documents, here’s a quick summary to understand the difference between each one:

    • 10-k statements – These are filed annually and often include a lot of information about business and marketing strategy, competitors, risks facing the business and the industry, in addition to financial performance. 
    • 10-q statements– These are filed quarterly and similar to a 10-k, often include strategy information along with financial performance information.
    • 8-K and 8-Q statements – These are broad forms used to notify investors of important but irregular updates with the business. This may include changes in C-suite like a new CMO. 

Not sure if a client is publicly traded? Search for the company name in the Edgar Database. If a client isn’t publicly traded, check to see if a competitor is. Information like Risk Factors and Competition facing competitors may be similar for your client, and can help keep your SEO strategy competitive. 

3 Things SEO Practitioners Should Look for in a 10-K

There is a lot to learn from these statements, but they’re extremely lengthy. With that in mind, you can parse through these documents in 10 minutes or less when you know what you’re looking for. 

Risk Factors

Easy find: Ctrl + F + “Risk Factors”

Time to complete: < 5 minutes

Publicly traded companies report the risks facing their business and industry in item 1.A “Risk Factors” in the 10-k financial statement. These risks are typically ordered by descending level of importance. SEOs can use this information in multiple ways including to build empathy for clients.

As an example, let’s say Dell Technologies (Ticker: DELL) is your client and they constantly switch their business priorities. Your team may not understand the why behind these changes, but it could be a reaction to one of the risk factors listed in their 10-k, like an entire product line becoming outdated quickly. This information can help you become more empathetic to why there are changing business priorities and the importance of an adaptable SEO project strategy.

3 ways to utilize financial statements for SEO

Marketing

Easy find: Ctrl + F + “Marketing”

Time to complete: < 5 minutes

Preparing for a planning meeting is an excellent time to check out your client’s 10-k to identify opportunities for your SEO strategy. By searching for ”marketing,” you can uncover where your client is currently investing in marketing and learn more about their marketing strategy.

For example, if Planet Fitness (Ticker: PLNT) is your client, you may uncover new information by simply searching “Marketing” in their 10-k, like that they’re franchised. This could create an opportunity to talk to your point of contact at Planet Fitness to determine who owns the Google My Business Listings (the franchises or corporate) and develop a Local SEO strategy. 

3 ways to utilize financial statements for SEO

Competition

Easy find: Ctrl + F + “Competition”

Time to complete: < 5 minutes

Are you looking at all your client’s competitors? Chances are you may be missing out on some key competitive information without taking a look at your client’s 10-k. 

Let’s go back to Planet Fitness. As the name implies, they’re a fitness center, but some of their competitive information may surprise you. For example, Planet Fitness competes for both fitness and non-fitness consumer discretionary spending, but your strategy may only be looking at fitness competitors. 

Planet Fitness’s competitive information takes it one step further and also lists out the industries they consider their competition. One of which may surprise you; local tanning salons. This may be atypical of your perception of Planet Fitness if you’ve never visited one of their locations. 

3 ways to utilize financial statements for SEO

Revisiting competitors can help eliminate your blind spots to competition and challenge your biases.

Additional Opportunities for Financial Statements in SEO

These examples just scratch the surface of what looking at financial statements can do for your SEO strategy. There are two great ways to ensure you stay up to date with how Seer is using non-traditional methods to improve SEO strategies: join the team or subscribe to our newsletter!