Almost every financial adviser we talk wants their marketing to get their website into the top spot in Google local search. But how do you do it?
The process of making your financial website climb to these top positions is called search engine optimisation (SEO), and there are many moving parts to it.
In fact, some studies have suggested that Google factors in as many as 200+ ranking signals on your financial website when deciding how to rank your web pages in the search results.
So getting your website onto page 1 is no small task! That said, however, it is totally possible with the right strategy, commitment and resources.
SEO for Financial Advvisers: local or national?
Before we proceed to the “how to” of SEO, it’s important to think about what “type” of SEO is appropriate for your financial firm.
For instance, it might be that you are a financial adviser working with British expats. Perhaps you have offices in the UK, Thailand and elsewhere. Your target audience not only lives in the UK but also in various other parts of the world.
In this case, you will likely need to factor in a degree of “international SEO” into your overall financial marketing plan. This looks slightly different from other types of SEO.
For example, other financial advisers are likely to want to focus primarily on “local SEO”. Since most of their target market live within a defined local radius (E.g. within 20 miles of their offices), these financial advisers might not be too concerned about attracting website traffic from other parts of the country – let alone from abroad. This type of SEO, again, requires a different approach.
For the purposes of this article, we’re going to assume that you are a financial adviser in the latter category. In other words, you are looking to build up your exposure to high net worth individuals in and around your local area.
With that in mind, let’s consider some of the key elements of a successful financial SEO strategy:
One of the most important aspects of a strong SEO strategy is compelling, unique and relevant content which your target audience will perceive as valuable and useful.
For instance, this might take the form of regular articles about pensions, inheritance tax and investing on your blog. It might also involve creating a set of landing pages which target specific keywords used by your target audience.
For instance, if you can see that your target audience is typing in keywords like “financial adviser st albans”, then you could create a landing page to target these specific people.
The landing page would need to refer to St Alban’s, for instance, as well as other areas nearby and associated with this location in order for Google to see it as more relevant to this type of search query.
#2 Google My Business
Many SEO industry leaders now believe that a strong Google My Business profile (GMB) is possibly the most important ingredient in a successful local SEO strategy.
If you do not yet have a profile, then you can set one up here. You should aim to make your profile information as comprehensive and as accurate as possible. Make sure that anything you include here is consistent with other business profiles you might possible (e.g. your company Facebook page).
You should also endeavour to build up a strong set of Google Reviews, publish some Google Posts and answer frequently asked questions within the Q&A section.
You can have great content and a strong Google My Business profile. However, if no one takes notice of them then Google is likely to see your financial website as less relevant and therefore mark it down.
One of the best ways to show Google that others see value in your financial website is to build backlinks. This involves getting other relevant, authoritative websites to link to your own.
There are many good ways to do this and also many dubious ways. The latter approach is sometimes called “black hat SEO”, and typically involves “buying” backlinks from an online vendor. This is a big mistake and will be punished by Google if they notice (and they almost certainly will do).
Healthy ways of building backlinks involve registering your business with trusted local directories (e.g. Yelp, Unbiased or ThomsonLocal) and through guest blogging on other websites (make sure you ask for a link back to your own website within the guest post).
#4 On-site SEO
When it comes to financial SEO, you also need to make sure your website is “configured” in the right way if Google is going to find your pages and, hopefully, rank them strongly in its search results.
There are many aspects to this and it is sometimes called “on-site SEO” or “technical SEO”.
For instance, one area of technical SEO is to make sure that all of the images on your financial website hae an appropriate “alt tag”. In brief, this is a short description of what the image contains and means. This allows blind users to interpret the image through a screen reader.
Alt tags also allow Google to discern what images are about. After all, Google cannot tell from “looking” at a picture whether it shows an image of a cat or a dog. For it to display the image within appropriate search engine results, it needs access to a good alt tag which is attached to the image.