For many firms, search engine optimization (SEO) is an unexplored frontier. It’s the thing you know you’re supposed to be doing to help your firm’s marketing, but at the same time – you’re not really sure what it is or how you’re supposed to do it. It’s enticing and vague, and often pushed to the back burner amidst busy schedules and client meetings.
Luckily, SEO for financial advisors isn’t all that big of a mystery and there are several ways you can boost your firm’s SEO without spending much money or time on the topic. That’s one of the best things about SEO marketing: Even a little bit of effort goes a long way.
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In today’s blog, we’re exploring the definition and goals of SEO, as well as five ways financial professionals can jumpstart their SEO marketing efforts.
Search engine optimization is anything you do to make your site rank higher in search engine results, thus driving prospects to your website.
To that end, there are two main forms of SEO for financial advisors: on-page and off-page.
On-page SEO is any website optimization strategy you use to make your web pages more visible to search engines like Google or Bing. This includes content your website visitors (i.e., clients and prospects) see, like your homepage, as well as the content within HTML coding that’s working behind the scenes. While that may sound intimidating, with an SEO plugin like Yoast SEO, you can easily optimize your pages without any coding involved.
If on-page SEO has a focus on directly optimizing your web pages, off-page SEO is any action you take outside of your website to drive traffic back toward it. Off-page could include face-to-face interactions with clients, sponsoring local little league teams, guest blogs, social media posts, Google reviews, and more.
Related: Download our free on-page SEO checklist
SEO is all about driving people to your website and keeping them engaged while they’re there. And while there are entire professional careers dedicated to the study of SEO, you don’t have to be an expert to begin optimizing your firm.
Proper SEO techniques can make a world of difference in getting your firm’s site seen. But if you’re just jumping on the SEO bandwagon, it can be tough to know where to start.
Like I said above – the foundation of SEO is the audience experience – how are prospects and clients finding and interacting with your website? How does that experience tell them about your firm?
With these five basics, you’re off to the right start with SEO. From getting your site seen to improving your user experience, these five tips will help get your SEO machine up and running in 2023 – let’s get started.
One recent study showed that nearly half of all people looking for professional services begin their search with a simple Google search. For example, if I was looking for an advisor in my area, I would search “financial advisors in Omaha” or “financial advisors near me.” Most likely, I would browse the top few options on Google, maybe look at reviews and then check out their websites.
Many SEO-ers out there know that getting a top spot on a search engine results page (SERP) is SEO gold – it’s one of the best ways to get your site clicked on. Frankly, if you can’t rank on the first page for some searches, then there’s not much point in having a website – that’s because less than one percent of Google-ers end up clicking to the second page of search results.
In fact, SEO specialists have an old joke: Where do you hide a dead body? On page 2 of Google – no one will ever find it.
One surefire way to increase your visibility in search results is to sign up for a Google Business Profile (formerly known as Google My Business). It’s easy and free to do, and can increase your chances of landing top SERP spots in local SEO.
Once approved, your firm will have a nifty spot in Google that looks something like this:
Follow the instructions here to get started with Google Business Profile.
Sometimes firms feel like they’re doing everything they can to boost SEO, and still not seeing much traction. Oftentimes, this can be chalked up to your competitors.
SEO doesn’t live in a vacuum – just as your firm is doing the most to improve your online presence, so are other firms. You may be targeting the same keywords, publishing similar content or perhaps struggling to gain as much social media traction as the other guys.
A great SEO strategy involves identifying top competitors, identifying their SEO strengths and weaknesses, and building a gameplan based on those findings.
Related: How to Conduct a Competitor Analysis
We’re not talking about those afternoon snooze fests you’ve been sneaking in the break room – NAP stands for name, address and phone number, and it should be available on each page of your site, typically in the footer.
Your NAP helps out SEO in several ways. One, it lets prospects know how to contact your firm. Think about it – nobody wants to hunt down your contact information. NAP information also helps search engines, so you’ll want your NAP to be the same on your website, social accounts, and online directories where you claim your business (e.g., white pages, gbp, yelp).
Once prospects find your site, you want to make sure they have a positive experience. Does the site flow well? Is it easy to find relevant information? Is the content helpful?
If no one has looked at the U/X of your site in a while, it may be useful to perform a content audit. A content audit is a way to take stock of every piece of content your company has created and consider every individual piece’s strengths and weaknesses. After a successful content audit, you will be able to identify any gaps in your messaging and gain insight into how to best move forward in your content strategy and practices.
Related: The Financial Advisor’s Guide to Conducting a Content Audit
Here are a few key issues you can address during a content audit:
Like I said before, you don’t have to be an SEO expert (or know how to code) to start optimizing your site. Instead, use a helpful SEO plug-in to help guide your content.
For example, we love Yoast SEO, which works directly in WordPress. Yoast prompts you to set SEO titles and descriptions, tells you if you’ve used a keyword too much (or not enough), gives recommendations to improve readability, and more. It’s simple, and allows you to see results in real time.
The best part is that many of these SEO plug-ins (including Yoast) have a free basic membership. Once you learn the ropes and want to upgrade, they also have premium memberships available for a minimal fee (currently just $99/year).
When it comes to SEO for financial advisors, it seems like there are a million and one ways you could be doing more – and that may be true. But with these five tips, you’ll put your firm leaps ahead of less SEO-savvy competitors, improve your digital visibility, and deliver a better overall online experience to prospects and clients.
Looking for a quick boost with your SEO? We offer SEO Sprints that could help you improve your site’s standings in as little as six weeks. Click here to learn more.