Search engine optimisation (or SEO for short) is a set of strategies that optimise your website and content to improve your ranking in search engines, for example, Google. SEO for financial planners is an important consideration as part of your overall marketing strategy. If you are able to rank higher for relevant keywords, then you will generate more organic traffic to your site. This increased traffic increases the likelihood that some of this traffic will convert into prospects or leads.
What is SEO?
Think about the last time you had a question. Where did you go to find the answer? Chances are that at some stage you have 'Googled' to find the answer to a question or a solution to a problem. Maybe you were looking for a service or product, but either way, the sites that you see in the search results are there as a result of SEO.
Google's algorithm works to serve searchers with the results that it believes is the most relevant to the search query. If you are able to create content that is both search engine friendly and relevant to your target buyer persona, then you will rank higher in the results.
The truth is, many financial advice firms know what SEO is, however, they do not know how to effectively deploy an SEO strategy.
SEO Strategies For Financial Planners
SEO can be a highly technical topic, but I'm going to do my best to explain it in everyday language.
The following infographic provides a high level overview, however I will drill-down deeper into each section below.
Keywords are the words that you want to rank highly in search engines for. Keyword research is the process of identifying the keywords that your target buyer persona is searching for online.
You should think about keywords that explain what you do and where you do it. For example, "financial planner Liverpool" may be a good option for a target keyword for a financial planner based in Liverpool. If you have a specific niche, you should identify keywords related to your niche, e.g. "SMSF advice".
Different keywords have different levels of competition, indicating how difficult it is to rank for that keyword. If you're wondering how competitive your keywords are, contact us for a complimentary SEO audit where we will also check keyword competition.
If you nail keywords for a common question, then you may even be featured in Google as a featured snippet. An example of a featured snippet that one of my websites managed to rank for is below:
Create a page for each of the keywords that you are targeting and then use the below on-page SEO checklist to optimise each page. Not many financial planners do this, so if you take the time to create the digital assets required then you will be rewarded over the long term.
Once you know your target keywords, it's time to start optimising your content for those keywords. There are a lot of on-page SEO factors for financial planners, however, I'm going to give you a simple 5-point checklist on-page SEO checklist.
- Header: Make sure that your target keyword for a particular page is featured in the header. For example, my target keyword for this article is "SEO for financial planners". So, the header tag of this page features that exact keyword.
- Slug: The slug is the last part of your URL for the page that you're optimising. Check out the URL of this page...
- First Paragraph: Like Stan Lee in a Marvel movie (may he RIP), your keyword should make a cameo in the first paragraph of your content.
- Meta Description: The meta description is HTML code on your site that is used by search engines to identify the content of the page. Your keyword should appear in your meta description.
- Alt-Text on Images: The alt-text helps search engines identify the content of images on your page. Make sure that you include the keyword in the alt-text of an image of your page.
If you haven't created your website with SEO in mind then there is a good chance that there are a lot of pages that need to have this on-page SEO checklist applied. Whatever you do, don't delay. The sooner you get this information onto the pages on your website, the sooner search engines will be able to accurately index your content and position your website in search results for relevant searches. If updating your existing pages seems like a daunting task, then I suggest that you outsource. This is especially true if you are the business owner. You should be focused on the important tasks, like servicing your clients, instead of admin-type adjustments to your site. Get in contact with us and we can help you fix any on-page SEO errors.
Google likes your website to perform well across a few areas. These are:
- Loading Speed: Your webpage should load quickly. If you're wondering how fast your page is, use Google PageSpeed Insights.
- Mobile Friendly: Google wants your webpage to work effectively on mobile devices. Make sure that you check out the format of your site across all device formats. To see whether your page is mobile device optimised, run the mobile-friendly test that you can learn more about by clicking here.
- Site Security: Google penalises sites that do not have an SSL certificate. This is easily spotted by seeing if your site URL starts with an https://... if it starts with
http:// then it is not secure in the eyes of Google. Learn more about the difference between HTTP and HTTPS by clicking here.
- Sitemaps: Having a sitemap helps the search 'robots' crawl your website and index all of your available pages. Learn more about sitemaps by clicking here.
Most financial planners set up their website and then do not update it for years. As a general rule of thumb, it is good to review your website every 2 years to make sure that it is still optimised for SEO best practices.
Off-page SEO is having other websites "pointing" links towards your webpage. This is achieved by:
- Submitting your website to business directories
- Submitting content to web 2.0 properties (i.e. free blogging platforms)
- Guest posting on other sites
- Article submissions to high authority directories
- Articles submitted to niche websites
- Social bookmarking
- Social sharing
- Infographics creation and submission
Off-page SEO for financial planners also involves competitor analysis and removing broken or low quality backlinks.
Content Marketing in SEO For Financial Planners
Google loves fresh content. Content marketing is the strategy of creating high-value content that engages your target audience. Content marketing can include:
- Other visual content
The above content pieces can be used as assets to encourage further
It's important to regularly publish content each month. As a minimum, I'd recommend producing a piece of content per week. However, if you have the capacity, produce more content. HubSpot found that businesses that produce 16+ blogs per month generated 4.5 times more leads than businesses that produce less than 4 blogs per month.
Social media is an opportunity to expand the reach of your content and indirectly affect your SEO. It's important to realise that social media shares are not viewed as traditional backlinks in the eyes of Google. Despite this, if people click on your content then navigate their way around your site it is still a good outcome.
Local SEO For Financial Planners
Most financial planning firms are local businesses serving a specific geographical location. The objective of local SEO is to have your business rank highly over other similar businesses in your area.
This is important since 86% of consumers read reviews of local businesses to help them make a purchasing decision.
Local SEO involves optimising your online assets to get your business to rank highly in local searches. For example, we managed to get one of our websites to rank highly for "best financial planner in Liverpool".
Local SEO is influenced through a combination of on-page SEO, off-page SEO, and using Google My Business. Online reviews also play a role in local SEO for financial planners.
What Should You Do Now?
If you already have a website, then SEO principles are already at play. You may not have paid too much attention to it until now, but your site is either ranking well (or poorly) due to the points covered in this article.
If you're wondering which areas your site needs work on, get in contact with us and we will conduct a complimentary SEO Audit to see how your site stacks up.
Finally, like a good investment strategy, SEO for financial planners is a long-term strategy. Whilst it is possible to get quick results, the real rewards come after months of work. Make the investment in SEO for you website now and your results will compound over time.