SEO Strategies for Financial Advisors

Because of the keyword-driven nature of the internet, search is a personalized medium. For this reason, SEO can act as a type of prospecting or pre-qualification for individuals seeking to find a financial advisor. This is an important step because a lot of client-advisor relationships come from impulse or convenience rather than thoughtful selection. By selecting to use an SEO service, advisors can position themselves directly in front of their ideal clients at a time when they are seeking the services of a financial advisor. Ideal clients can be further defined as a certain type of demographic or clients with certain financial planning needs. By identifying and understanding who your ideal clients are, you can base your SEO efforts on trying to get in front of those specific types of clients. This can benefit financial advisors in knowing that the clients they are getting are the ones that are the most profitable and the best fit for their advisory practice. SEO can also offer the analytics and feedback to see which strategies are effective and which are not. This is something that is lacking in many traditional forms of advertising for financial advisors. High-quality SEO can provide a high return on investment compared to other marketing efforts and can be easily evaluated with web traffic and lead conversion data.

SEO for financial advisors is critical to ensuring a steady flow of clients, steady growth, and a solid business infrastructure in place. Without utilizing a search engine optimization strategy, advisors are missing out on one of the most effective forms of marketing available to them. A properly implemented SEO strategy will get your advisory business in front of your ideal clients, generating the types of leads and subsequent business that you want to be involved in. SEO is the process of improving the volume or quality of traffic to a website from search engines via “natural” or unpaid (“organic” or “algorithmic”) search results. This may sound complex, but it’s simply the practice of tagging your site and creating quality content that ranks well in search engines.

Importance of SEO for Financial Advisors

The internet has become the first place the majority of consumers will look for information on products and services. It is also true that the use of search engines has become increasingly popular when looking for financial advice or information. This makes having a prominent search engine ranking vital for financial advisers. According to Global Market Insite, around 80% of Internet users rely on search engines to locate key sites which require a product or service. So a great deal of people looking for financial advice will use search engines as a tool to find information. Statistics also show that around 42% of users click on the top ranking search result (source: iProspect Study), therefore it is highly beneficial to strive for a top position in search engine results.

Search engine optimization, or SEO, is a process designed to help websites increase their ranking in search engine listings. The higher your website appears on a search engine results page, typically means more traffic to your website, more visits that convert into clients. With financial services being an increasingly crowded field, the necessity of a niche area such as financial advice to make use of SEO cannot be overstated. The fact is, people are interested in financial matters. Data from Google shows that around 635,000 UK consumers search for a financial product each month and there are over 775,000 searches for the term ‘loan’.

Benefits of an Effective SEO Strategy

More clients with less effort Once you have a good SEO strategy in place, you will get consistent leads without having to put in continuous effort. Sure you have to maintain your search ranking but just having an effective strategy in place will bring in clients on an ongoing basis. It is an effective way to grow your client base without having to put too much effort in and is much more efficient than traditional marketing methods, such as cold calling. SEO also brings in clients who are actively searching for your services. This means the leads are better quality than the ones you get from cold calling because the client has already made the decision to look for a financial advisor. They are no longer in the research phase, trying to decide whether they need a financial advisor. This makes them more likely to become long-term clients. Overall, SEO is an efficient method to growing your business and client base. Reach out to the expert web designer in Kenya dubbed Kenya Website.

Increased visibility and credibility When a prospective client goes to Google and types in “financial advisor,” it is safe to assume whoever appears at the top of the search results is the one that potential client will go with. Google is a trusted source of information for most people and if Google says you are a top result, that is as good as a personal endorsement. The client thinks, “If this expert is good enough for Google, they must be good enough for me.” Being at the top of search results instills a sense of credibility in that client and can make all the difference in gaining their business. Basically, when you come up as a top result in Google, you are the industry authority whether you are the best advisor or not. People trust Google and getting to the top of search results makes them trust you. While the aim of SEO is to get to the top of the page, even just being on the first or second page of the search results is a huge increase in visibility. This is still far above other advisors who are not on the first few pages because, let’s face it, most people do not go past page 2 when Googling something. The bottom line is that the closer you are to the top of the search results, the more clients you will get.

Key Elements of SEO for Financial Advisors

After you have made a list of keywords, the next step is the tricky task of optimizing these keywords. This process involves improving the quality and volume of traffic to your website from search engines. This can be done with correct keyword placement, meta tags, themed content pages, site maps, and high-quality articles or blog posts. This is a crucial step to spend some time and go about it carefully, as an incorrect change can ultimately lose your site’s rank.

– Branded keywords – specific to your business.

– Non-branded keywords – related to the problems and issues you can solve, financial literacy questions, or specific terms related to industry products.

– Local keywords – location-specific keywords targeted to local customers.

– Action keywords – these are specific financial terms such as investment options, tax implications, retirement planning, etc.

– Long-tail keywords – these are longer phrases which are highly specific to what you would like to target. E.g. “cost of investment of passive vs active investment”.

These keywords are very specific and it’s easier to rank higher for these. But remember, traffic for long-tail keywords might be lower even though it may be high in relevance.

Keywords play a vital role and hold together the entire SEO process. Keywords are like a menu card for the search engines, highlighting the exact topics and phases. Here, you need to target the correct keywords relevant for your financial services. There are several types of keywords, such as:

Keyword Research and Optimization

At the pinnacle of keyword specificity are brand keywords. The keyword ‘Wall Street Journal’ is used by visitors who know exactly what they are looking for, and it could be a great strategy, but it, of course, needs a higher cost. Step back from it and check the keyword itself, all financial advisor sites could exploit brand keywords from their corporate affiliates. Brand keywords generally refer to the highest click quality and close to a 100% conversion rate, but the search quantity is likely to be low.

In the same way that client’s asset allocation selections can range from the cautious to the aggressively speculative, keyword choice can serve as a barometer for the desired level of success and competitiveness that a campaign wishes to achieve. A site targeting the keyword ‘investment’ is likely to find the path to SEO success is a long and arduous one. The keyword is very broad and will compete against a huge number of corporations and businesses for search engine referrals. The keyword phrase ‘stock investment’ is another matter. This keyword is much closer to the buying cycle/point of action, and targeting this keyword tells that the visitor quality is somewhat higher than those who used the simple ‘investment’ when widely researching. This is because they are more specific in finding information about stock investment.

Keywords, often framed as “the glue that ties organization web business objectives with customer interest,” are the first stage on the road to successful SEO. Keyword choice is fundamental. It is the fundamental building block on which a site’s duplication has been created. Keyword research is the method of unearthing which keyword phrases are used to search for in a search engine, and then choosing the best keywords for a site to effectively target.

On-Page Optimization Techniques

With the right direction and aid from one of our team, you can research and implement new keywords to your page content which will ultimately require the rebuilding of the webpage to further include the new keywords in strategic locations in compliance with the website keywords. Such strategic locations would be the usage of keywords in title tags, the usage of headers (H1, H2, H3), alt tags for image optimization, and the actual visible content on the website itself. We also provide aid in creating new keyword-rich content to boost page rankings and recommend the usage of blogs to create incoming links and further implement keywords on the website.

Now that you have a collection of keywords, we are now going to use these keywords in strategic locations on your website in order to increase your rankings. But before you throw meta tags in the same category as title and headers, it’s important to know that unlike title or headers, meta tags are frequently not visible to a regular visitor on your website. But they are implemented to index pages which include them and for spiders to crawl the meta tags and check for consistency between the visibility and the relevance of your content.

Link Building Strategies

Link building is the process of gathering relevant inbound links to your site and is a well-known and tested tactic that increases your site’s worth to search engines and has a distinct correlation to easier keyword rankings and greater site authority. A common mistake financial advisors make is in attaining quality links too rapidly. In a natural algorithmic world, this could raise a flag of impropriety to search engines. It is best to increment links over a period of time with a healthy mix of sources. Start with local directories for financial service providers. These usually provide a modest yet worthwhile link and an exceptional conversion rate in terms of traffic. It is common for these types of directories to have a manual human review – always a good thing for link building. When it comes to the financial industry, compliance is always a concern for financial advisors. It is wise to avoid mass link building packages in favor of higher quality, manually implemented links. Always mind the relevance of the linking site. You may gain a link from a well-respected site, but if the content is not relevant to your own, this could be seen as a low-quality link. High-quality news sources and .edu and .org sites are great for link building in the financial industry, but these are tough links to get at times. Often, it is best to network with news writers or editors to attain links of this nature. Building quality content is the most effective way to garner high-quality links. If you have the best content in the industry, readers will share and other webmasters will link to you. This is the safest and most desirable way to build links. Always avoid black hat link building techniques such as link buying, link farms, and automated link insertions as these could lead to search engine penalization.

Building Trust with SEO

You should begin by identifying the keyword themes that are most relevant to the clients you are looking to attract and be sure to include these themes in your content. It is important that you do not overuse these keywords. Rather, all content should be written for the visitor first and foremost. Your content should be well-organized, with each page focusing on a single main idea and a clear path for the visitor to learn more. It should be easily readable, with an appropriate balance of text and visuals. All information should be factually correct and sourced where appropriate. High-quality content will naturally contain the keywords you are targeting, but you may want to do some keyword optimization to be sure you are hitting the right themes without being too repetitive.

Google places a high emphasis on the quality and relevance of the content found on your website when determining your placement in search results. Google’s ultimate goal is to provide the most helpful and relevant information for its users. Since advisors operate within a trust-based relationship with their client, the content found on your website offers the opportunity to demonstrate your knowledge and expertise and to begin building a trusting relationship with potential clients.

Creating High-Quality and Relevant Content

High-quality content is content that is original, factual, error-free, fair, and balanced. This is the type of content that you should aim to create for your site. Original content is the best way to distinguish your website from others and is also what Google says the Panda update aims to do – surface “higher quality” sites. Factual content that is free from spelling and grammatical errors is also a must to build trust with clients and provide a professional image. Finally, your content should be written to inform and not to persuade. This means that it should be balanced and should not lead the reader to a predetermined conclusion. Although it seems logical that a financial adviser would write content to persuade clients to use his/her services, content that is too sales-oriented may turn off potential clients. The better approach is to give potential clients useful information in a balanced manner. If the content is well-written and informative, your favorable opinion will be implied.

Google’s May 2010 May Day update and its 2011 Panda update were clear indications that Google is looking for “high-quality sites” to index and is considering quality as a ranking factor. A spokesperson for Google has indicated that with the Panda update, webmasters should ask themselves the question whether their site contains content that is so good, useful, and compelling that it could become viral. If content meets this standard, it is likely to improve its ranking. Clearly, it is in the best interest for your website to have content that is high-quality, not just for improving its ranking in search engine results, but to also build trust with clients.

Establishing Credibility through Client Testimonials

In the age of technology, more and more people are turning to the internet for service professionals. A great way to develop a personal model and create an emotional connection with potential clients is through a video testimonial. You can explain to your client that it does not have to be perfect or scripted. It can be a casual conversation about their experience and how you have helped. You can offer to set some time to help them with any filming or simply providing some tips to create a great testimonial.

There has been success for a lot of service professionals in offering an incentive for their clients to write a testimonial. If a client has had great satisfaction in your service, it would not be hard to get them to write something positive. Some past successful incentives have been discounts on future services, entries into a prize drawing, or even charitable incentives where the professional will donate a sum of money to a non-profit organization for each testimonial received.

When working with a client, express the importance of a testimonial to their success in their service. The best time to ask for a testimonial is in the positive outcome or experience. Explain how their story can create hope for others in similar situations and the impact their words may have on potential clients. Always ask for permission to use their comments as a testimonial, they will most likely provide consent and may even tailor their comments knowing that it will be featured on your site.

Utilizing Social Proof and Trust Signals

Another important aspect is to avoid clutter and distractions, do not forget the ultimate goal is to have the visitor contact you. A cluttered site that has too many irrelevant photos or distracting popups will reduce user experience and result in lower conversion rates. Focus on simplicity and giving the visitor the information that they are looking for. A good strategy is to have a well-written homepage providing a brief overview of your services, and then provide more details deeper into the site.

An imperative element to building trust is originating from a professional looking website that is well designed and free of clutter and distractions. A clean and professional website design matters more than you think. Studies show that the website’s overall design is the number one criteria for discerning the credibility of the company for 48% of people. So it is very important for financial advisors to ensure that their website is high quality, and adheres to web-design best practices.

When we talk about building trust on the internet’s grand stage, your website is a reflection of your business. It is essential to ensure that your site is the visual representative of the level of quality, service, and trust that your clients can expect to receive. It is very probable that you are offering superior service compared to your competitors, however, they could have a more professional website than you that places higher in search engine results.

Enhancing User Experience on Your Website

User experience (UX) is another key factor in establishing trust with prospects. A more user-friendly site will likely lead to prolonged site visits or longer time on site, which Google takes as a positive signal. This can impact search rankings and cause an increase in organic traffic. When users interact with a well-designed site that fulfills their needs, they are likely to return to the search results page at a later date, which can also impact dwell time. Sites with a high click-through rate and long dwell time are rewarded with a traffic increase for those search terms and related long-tail terms. According to Google, the purpose of their algorithms is to sort the best possible results in terms of relevance to a query. They rank these results in hopes that the user will not need to scroll past the first page. Though SEO success can be achieved while placing on the highest point of page two, it’s important that webmasters aim for first page placement. With continual algorithm updates, many financial advisor websites’ rankings have fluctuated. Regardless of whether these are Panda or Penguin updates, all of Google’s actions underline the common theme of trying to enhance the user experience. Though this can be quite ambiguous, Google interprets it as rewarding high-quality, relevant sites with increased rankings. Steps to enhance the page user-friendly interface and decrease bounce rate. Bounce rate is defined as single page visits divided by all visits. A high bounce rate can indicate that a site is not meeting visitor expectations. This could be the result of a misleading meta description or simply a failure to provide the information the user is trying to seek. Because a well-designed site can cater to a variety of users, it’s important to be mindful of conflicting needs and make your site’s navigation easy and clear. Keep in mind that improving user experience also leads to an increase in the likelihood that visitors to your site will return.

Attracting Clients with SEO

The days of overloading a website with specific keywords are over. The major search engines are now much more intuitive and can recognize synonyms of keywords being used. Overusing a specific keyword too many times can be flagged as “keyword stuffing” and actually have a negative impact on the website’s ranking. The general rule of thumb is to optimize a page for a single keyword along with closely related search terms. An easy way to do this is to come up with a primary keyword for each page or blog post on your site.

The primary goal of effective SEO for financial advisors is to attract potential clients to the advisor’s website. This is typically accomplished through employing the most common search terms and phrases being used by people seeking financial advice or investigating the services of financial advisors. In Step 3 and Step 4, we discussed identifying your target market and developing a keyword list. Now it’s time to put that to use. This step, in many cases, is the make or break for whether an SEO campaign is successful. It’s vitally important to ensure that you’re getting the search terms down pat and that they match what your ideal clients are typing into the search engines. Bear in mind that this can be a fluid process, so even changes down the road to the keyword list for better optimization can make a difference.

Local SEO Strategies for Financial Advisors

The third step is to think about what the target audience is looking for most and create content based on that. “The piece that is usually missed in local SEO is the interesting content that can drive traffic back to the adviser’s website. Primarily local prospects are using Google to search for information on a given topic. A financial adviser that often works with seniors may create a series of articles on retirement planning. The probability of one finding this agent in a local search result may be slim, but by having the article indexed on Google, the odds of it yielding long-term traffic are much higher.” Step three can also involve the creation of location-specific landing pages and the use of schema markup to try to get certain content displayed in rich snippets in local search results.

Step two would be to make on-site and off-site NAP (name, address, phone number) citations. Adding the business’s NAP info to the footer of the website and pushing to get this information indexed by local data aggregators such as Infogroup or Localeze will help to increase the odds that the adviser’s business information will be displayed in more local search results. Uploading this information to various local directories such as Yelp, Angie’s List, and Yellow Pages will also create citations that can help improve the odds of local search visibility.” (1) This is all great advice. Creating more indexed content is what every SEO is looking to do, and the point of local SEO is to have information about a business displayed when local prospects are looking for the services offered. With Google’s local search results, it is important that the information about a business is consistent and widespread.

“First, a financial adviser needs to claim his or her Google My Business page. This is essential to getting displayed in Google’s local search results. Beginning with the basics, the adviser needs to make sure his or her name, address, and phone number are consistent with what is actually used. Next, the advisor should select the financial services category, upload a profile image and cover photo, and establish a plan to garner reviews. Doing so will greatly increase the odds of showing up in the local map pack.

Where a financial advisor is located will be one of the primary driving factors for his or her business. For this reason, local SEO is especially important. There are several SEO activities that can be employed to target local prospects. Guardian’s Chris Haines provides insight on how a financial advisor can impact the local community through local SEO.

Optimizing for Mobile Devices

Creating a mobile-friendly version of your website is a great way to optimize for mobile devices. A mobile-friendly website is one that is designed specifically for handheld devices, such as smartphones or tablet PCs. When a mobile device user accesses a URL, a website that lacks a mobile-friendly version, the user is simply viewing a smaller version of the website similar to what they would see on a PC. Considering this, a mobile-friendly website is often a separate instance of the full site, hosting content that is tailored specifically to mobile device users. Many CMS-powered websites, such as WordPress, have the ability to automatically create mobile-friendly versions of a website. Depending on the CMS used, increasing the speed and efficiency of a mobile site can often be as simple as choosing a mobile-optimized theme. Since mobile device usability is now a factor in Google search rankings, making a mobile site indexable is crucial. This essentially involves creating a mobile site sitemap and submitting it to the site’s robots.txt file. Always redirect mobile users to the mobile site and PC users to the PC site. Doing so will significantly improve the SEO potential of a mobile site by making it easier for Google to crawl and interpret.

Recent studies have shown that mobile internet usage is rapidly beginning to exceed PC internet usage. The increasing popularity of the iPhone, iPad, and other smartphones and tablet PCs has led to a significant change in the way customers access online information. It is very likely that potential clients seeking a financial advisor are no exception to this trend. One might predict that mobile internet usage will become even more prevalent among clients in the process of transitioning between financial advisors – certainly an ample SEO clientele.

Leveraging Video Content for SEO

A solid SEO strategy can get your site to be a top performer in search results, but there are plenty of ways to stand out from the competition. Websites littered with blocks of text with no images, video or any kind of multimedia can be quite mundane. Sure, this might not apply to a legal or extremely professional audience, but most of the time people take it upon themselves to read into topics they don’t really need to be researching. You may be giving away all the information you would want to charge potential clients for in your services! Creating an interesting video explaining the information you are trying to get across might even bring current clients back to your site to check it out. This could even benefit client retention. A website visitor may be more intrigued to click on embedded video content, which could take them to your very own YouTube channel! Although the video can explain a concept very well, it should not serve as a complete replacement for text. In order to get SEO benefits, it is important to transcribe the content of the video, as search engine spiders cannot crawl video and audio at this time. This is quite an easy means to create keyword-rich content. All you need is the right persona and a good fluent speech about whatever it is you are trying to inform your audience of. Video content is an efficient means to syndicate information in today’s fast-paced world. Videos can convey a message in a matter of seconds what would normally take several minutes to read. This brings rise to an entirely different audience, the impulsive surfers. These are the people who might not even notice your text link, but with a bold video link right in the middle of the page, you have just got a new viewer. A user who might not usually have the time to browse through texts now has an alternate means to gather the information he needs. This can sometimes be the same audience you are targeting with your regular text content, and as stated before, they are more likely to ‘click and run’, viewing only the most relevant information. Videos can also be a significant social media tool. With the huge rise in the social media-savvy audience, people are more likely to share an entertaining video than an article with their friends. Uploading a video to an over-the-top social media site like Facebook can even bring a new stream of traffic to your site. Who knows, it may even go viral!

Tracking and Analyzing SEO Performance

Onsite tracking is implemented easily through use of Google Analytics. This free tool can be pasted into the code of every page on your website to track visitor data. A number of settings can be altered to suit your campaign aims and it is even possible to track which links are generating the most traffic to each page. Tracking offsite SEO is a little more complex as there are a great number of variables to consider. The primary focus will be tracking keyword rank as this is the main aim of most SEO campaigns – to have specific keywords appear on the first page of search engine results. Keyword rank can be checked manually for individual search terms by simply entering them into a search engine, but this process is very time consuming. There are a number of tools and software available for keyword rank tracking which will save a lot of time and effort. A secondary focus when tracking offsite SEO is to monitor the increase in PageRank and the number of indexed pages in search engines. These factors can be monitored using various link tracking tools from multiple sources to compare data.

The purpose of tracking and analyzing SEO performance is to discover the success of your work. This result tracking enables you to find out which strategies are performing the best, and where changes need to be made to improve your campaign. There are two types of results that need tracking – onsite and offsite.

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