Of all the challenges you were prepared to face as a financial advisor, search engine optimization, or SEO, probably didn’t even feature in your top ten list, right? I know it took me by surprise. But to thrive in the digital world we live in, you’ve got to think about your marketing and all the things you can do to bring in more clients.
When I first walked this path, it was quite a steep learning curve, but I soon learned what an asset optimized SEO could be in my marketing toolkit. Every month, thousands of people turn to Google, Bing, and Yahoo to search for “registered investment advisors”, “financial advisors near me”, “best financial advisors”, “investment advice”, “retirement planning”, and so on.
What’s the first thing you do when you’re looking for a product or service? If you’re anything like me, you probably turn to Google, right? Search engines are the first port of call for most people these days. But did you know that the majority of people never click past the first page of search results? There are just 10 top spots available on that first page of results. And it takes work to get there…
What is SEO and why does it matter?
To ensure I showed up in those search results, I had to make sure my website was optimized to improve my chances of connecting with potential clients. I learned that there were different strategies I could use to rank higher in search engines and that a better ranking ultimately resulted in more website traffic and more leads.
SEO is about making changes to your website (i.e., optimizing your content for search engines) so that your rankings start to improve and your site moves up in the search results. The higher you rank, the more likely people are to discover your business and click through to your website. And the great news is that SEO work now can pay off consistently for years to come.
In order to generate a steady flow of new leads (prospective clients), you’ve got to be more visible to people searching online. This means ranking for certain keywords (the search terms that people are entering into Google and other engines) and improving your website so that your visitors are more likely to convert (submit a contact form or get in touch). I’ve put together some SEO tips for financial advisors to help you improve your search rankings – read on to see how you can get started…
Start thinking about keywords
The majority of search engine optimization revolves around keywords – these are the words or phrases that people type into the search bar to find what they’re looking for. Google, Bing, and Yahoo all have bots that crawl web pages to analyze and index their contents. The search engines then look for a match between the user’s search terms and the content on your website.
For your website to appear in the search results for a specific keyword or phrase, you need to strategically use that keyword or phrase in your content. For example, to rank for “financial advisor”, you would need to include this keyword throughout your website, which tells search engines that your content is relevant to what the user is searching for.
This is an oversimplification, I would need to write a book to explain the full process and what’s happening behind-the-scenes at Google! Basically, to improve your visibility online, you need to know what keywords your potential clients are searching for. Then incorporate those keywords into your website content.
Perform keyword research
Keyword research is the process of finding words and phrases that people are searching for. Before you can optimize your financial advisor website, you need to know what keywords to target. There are two metrics that matter when it comes to keyword research: volume (the average number of monthly searches) and competition (how difficult it is to rank for that keyword).
The trick with targeting keywords is to try and find keywords with the highest search volume and the lowest competition. There are loads of free tools you can use to conduct your research, such as WordStream and Ahrefs. Google Keyword Planner is also great. Let’s look at an example. You can see below that “financial planner” features in 26,000 searches every month, but the keyword difficulty is quite high at 87.
There are fewer searches for “fee only financial planner”, but it will be easier to rank for with a difficulty score of only 48. When using a free tool, you’re going to want to try lots of variations of different keywords and phrases to find the ones that will work for your business. Search for keywords around your expertise, experience, service offering, and location. This is a clear example of why getting crystal clear on your ideal client niche is so important. Without doing so you are creating a situation where you are competing with more advisors.
Optimize your website SEO with keywords
Once you’ve identified the keywords you want to target, you need to start incorporating these into your website content. Here are all of the places your keywords should appear on an individual web page:
- the page title
- the H1 heading
- within the first paragraph, or first 150 words
- in the meta description
- image alt text
- the page slug (part of the URL)
- and throughout the content of the page.
Each page of your website will target a different keyword or phrase. The content of that page will need to be relevant to the keyword you’ve chosen, the point is to make it clear what the page is about. All of these instances are signals to search engines. They indicate what the page is about and whether it is a match for the end user searching on that subject.
Another thing to bear in mind is that search engines do not like ‘keyword stuffing’. This is when your target keyword is overused on a page, so much so that the content becomes difficult to read – search engines see this as spam. Write for humans first, and search engines second. Your use of keywords should fit naturally into the flow of writing, and not account for more than 3% of the text on the page.
Create new content for target keywords
Once you’ve optimized all of your existing web pages to target different key phrases, the best way to continue to build on your search engine performance is to keep publishing new content. For most financial advisors, a blog can be a useful tool to keep targeting new keywords and bring in new leads. A great example of an advisor blogging for growth is Jason Wenk. He was able to bring in ~$79 million in AUM in one year simply from blogging. If he can do it, so can any of us!
Here’s an example of the kind of blog posts you could create to target “wealth management” as a keyword:
- The Ultimate Guide to Wealth Management
- How to Take The Headache Out of Wealth Management
- 5 Simple Steps to an Effective Wealth Management Strategy
- Where Can You Find Free Wealth Management Resources?
One of the tricks Jason used was getting laser focused on very specific financial products people were searching for. He had virtually no competition with this tactic and it clearly worked.
The trick is to use your expertise to attract prospective clients. Perform keyword research to look for keyword opportunities and create content around the questions or search queries that will bring you business. Remember, most potential clients are looking for information when they turn to search engines. If you’re the person to provide that information, that builds trust and credibility, both of which are hugely important for an independent financial advisor.
If you’re a financial advisor looking to optimize your website SEO you might might be feeling overwhelmed right now. Well, no worries! The first step is to understand that SEO is important. We teach the basics of this in the Conneqtor financial advisor coaching course. However, ultimately you’ll want to work with a website vendor that can do all of this for you.
At the end of the day, search engine optimization is about increasing your visibility online to improve your chances of getting discovered. It’s about drawing people in, so, instead of going out looking for business, clients come looking for you. This is thought leadership! If you want to learn more about how your website is performing and how to make it better, try my free Website & SEO Analyzer tool – you’ll receive the results via email in just a few minutes and get a better idea of what you need to do to optimize your website for better search engines rankings.