Updated Saturday, August 2, 2014 as of 12:30 AM ET
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Quick SEO Tips for Financial Advisors
Monday, July 22, 2013
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Search Engine Optimization is the process of improving the visibility of a website in a search engine’s results. The earlier and more frequently a site appears in the search result list, the more visitors it will receive from the search engine’s users.

Two key factors come into play in order to improve your advisor website’s SEO: off-page SEO and on-page SEO. Off-page SEO refers to optimization strategies outside of your website’s design. The biggest element in off-page SEO is getting other quality websites to link back to your site. On page SEO consists of strategically placing your most important keywords within the content elements of your actual pages.

Off page SEO:

Search engines rank websites that they believe are authoritative and relevant. One way search engines measure relevance is by analyzing content on a website based on the number and quality of other webpages that link back to a website. Think of it like votes: each link back to your website counts as one vote; the website with the most votes gets ranked higher by search engines, and finally, as a result, the site is more likely to appear first on the results page.

Search engines favor websites with more inbound links and give them a higher ranking. The more inbound links you have, the more important and relevant your site must be, thus, the higher you’ll rank. Because link building is mostly out of your control, it isn’t an easy feat. But when it’s done right it’s worth the work and creates very lucrative results.

So, how do you increase the number of websites that link back to your site? Here are three ideas:

1. Create high-quality content that others find valuable and useful. When visitors find information that is helpful and relevant, they are likely to share it. The more people that share a link to your high-quality content, the more relevancy your website has.

2. Begin guest-blogging. Seek out opportunities to write articles for well-established online publications. Your audience will begin to view you as an expert and you’ll naturally create buzz around yourself and your site. (Don’t forget to include a link back to your advisor website - it would fit nicely with your bio!)

3. Submit your website to online directories. These are the easy ones. Yep, even online directories like the Better Business Bureau and YellowPages.com count, too. Another idea: make sure all of your social media outlets link back to your site (another easy one!).

On page SEO

The other part of SEO takes place within the pages of your website. Properly optimizing your on page search engine ranking takes time and consistency. One of the simplest – yet most important – ways to improve your search engine ranking is to optimize the keywords within your website content. Here’s an easy definition of the term:

Keyword (ke?w?rd), noun: the search terms that are inputted to Google (or any other search engine) that searchers use to describe what they’re looking for.

On-page elements include headlines, sub-headlines, image tags and links – but the most important place to include keywords? Naturally throughout the content of your site (including your blog).

Google uses those search words (or keywords) to identify what people are looking for online. From there, the search engine matches searchers keywords with the keywords used within websites (like yours) to determine the ranking of search results.

When marketers refer to the term “long tail keywords” they are talking about a very targeted search phrase that contains at least three words. Long tail keywords are what searchers usually search for. Here’s an example:

Keyword: advisor; money; planning

Long tail keywords: how to find a financial advisor; advisors in Atlanta; tips from a financial advisor

By using more specific and descriptive keyworkds within the content of a website, you dramatically enhance the odds of ranking higher in the search engine results page. Tie the keywords in with local terms in your page title, URL, tags, pages and blog posts.

The bottom line?

1. Build links to your webpages to show search engines that they are important and relevant.

2. Create quality content that uses words and phrases used by people who search for your service.

3. Make pages shareable through social media to increase your reach.

If you’re looking for more ways to improve your advisor website, check out this free guide from AdvisorWebsites.com, The Financial Advisor’s Ultimate Guide to Maximizing Your Website’s Potential.

Maggie Crowley is the Marketing Coordinator for Advisor Websites where she manages the company's online presence. A graduate of Georgia Southern University, Maggie specializes in developing inbound marketing strategies. Email Maggie at maggiec@advisorwebsites.com.

(2) Comments
Very nice article, Maggie. I've found that SEO is still a mystery to most financial advisors. This article keeps things simple and accurately portrays the two key elements to gaining top rankings (on page and off-page SEO).

Another way of explaining this is that gaining top search engine rankings is essentially based on the equation of Relevancy + Authority. Search engines are looking to give Web searchers content that is most relevant to their searches and from the most authoritative sources.

As you pointed out, authority is best built over time by gaining inbound links to one's website (I'd also add by building social media clout and Google authorship rankings). However, it's important to note that not every inbound link is valued equally. It's generally best to focus on quality over quantity. So advisors should be selective on which sites they seek out for guest blogging opportunities and should not seek inbound links that don't add any value to the user. So, for example, if an advisor has a chance to get a link from a business directory or another site, they should ask themselves "would I likely get any useful traffic to my website by potential leads clicking this link or am I doing this only for the potential SEO benefits." If the latter, it is not a valuable link.

In the advisor space, I've found that focusing on "Relevancy" is a better strategy than link building and is often sufficient in gaining Page 1 rankings for at least some of the most important keywords that will drive new business. Even if an advisor's website has low authority and very few inbound links, it can still gain strong rankings if the content of the site is extremely targeted and well optimized.

Nevertheless, apart from optimizing the on-page content, it is still a good idea to create a Google Places profile and get listed in the most important local business directories, as this drives strong results in local searches (most notably, the results that appear within Google Maps).

My recent blog post goes into more depth about how to gain top rankings while still complying with Google's rules and guidelines. http://www.steamfeed.com/white-hat-seo-post-penguin/

Posted by SEO4Advisors - Brien S | Wednesday, August 21 2013 at 1:40PM ET
Both off page and on page seo are important for your website and from both of them you can get higher ranking. Although off page optimization is quite time consuming, sometimes it takes hours or days or weeks, in short off page optimization is a never ending process but is a effective way for getting good ranking. On page optimization is directly reflect on your website that means it can be easily noticeable. On the other hand off page optimization is hidden.
Posted by Steve B | Thursday, September 19 2013 at 4:21AM ET
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