When researching SEO for financial advisors, most of the content you will encounter will focus on optimizing for a national audience, and if you’re looking to attract clients from all around the country, that’s what you should be paying attention to.
Examples of firms that should take a nationally focused approach to financial advisor SEO are niche or specialty firms, those with truly national presence, and advisors based in less-populous areas. But most everyone else’s search engine optimization efforts should be focused on a 50-100 mile radius of their primary location. The reason for this is obvious: that’s where most of your clients come from.
Before we get into ‘what’ and ‘how’ of local search, let’s address ‘why.’
The image below indicates the monthly search volume (number of queries) in the US for the term “financial advisor near me.”
Taking out the “jobs” search, that’s about 26,000 searches per month!
More generally speaking, according to recent research published by local SEO firm BrightLocal:
When it comes to finding information on local products and services, search engines are the first choice of 72 percent of American consumers. And the share of that 72 percent that does so regularly comes in at around 90 percent.
With the massive Millennial generation quickly becoming the core client base of wealth management firms, it’s notable that, according to Google, 55 percent of millennials turn to search engines first when searching for products and services.
Getting to Number 1
So, it’s pretty clear that local search must figure heavily into most firms’ marketing strategy, but what exactly does it take win at SEO for financial advisors? It does take some work, but it may not be as complex as you think.
- Identify keywords that your search listing to show up for. For example, “financial advisor,” “best financial planner,” etc. Then add a location modifier, e.g. “financial advisor Frisco, TX.” There are two reasons you want the location in there: first, it’s much easier to beat all the wealth managers in your town than in the country. And second, as I pointed out earlier, that’s where most of your clients are going to come from.
- Conduct keyword research to uncover keywords that have the highest search volume (number of monthly searches) and the lowest competition (a measure of the number and popularity of sites trying to rank for a particular keyword). The image above shows volume for searchs term, but not competition – though competition stats are present in the columns that aren’t included in the screenshot.
My favorite keyword research tool is SEMRush, but it costs at least $99 per month. If that’s more than you’re willing to invest, you can try Google’s free Keyword Planner. It’s meant to be used to buy paid search ads, but it works for organic search too.
- Create & Optimize Website Content using the keywords you’ve identified. It’s often done by blogging, but you can also create new marketing content on your site or even optimize existing content.Optimization is the practice of making sure that the search engines can tell exactly what each page is about. This activity is called “on-page” SEO. Explaining the ins and outs of it is an entire article in itself; so for the purpose of brevity, I’ll forgo the nuts-and-bolts, and point you to this excellent guide to on-page SEO.
Oh, and one simple rule of thumb for content creation is that the more content you create and more often you post, the more website traffic (and leads) you’re going to get.
- Link Building, aka “off-site” SEO refers to the practice of getting other websites to link to your site. Link building is perhaps the most tedious and difficult part of SEO, as it involves researching sites, manually placing the links where you can, and reaching out to site admins to request links. That said, the work tends to be well-rewarded if you make a go of it. Search engines see an inbound link as a “vote” for your site, and the more popular the site linking to you is, the more powerful the boost will be. SEMRush has some great tools for identifying sites to try to get links from – if you’re willing to pay for it.
- Get local. There are thousands of location and industry-specific directories across the Web, from Google Local/My Business to Facebook to YP.com. Your firm should be listed on the ones I mentioned, plus Yelp! and a slew of others. Not only should they be there, but it’s also important that the information is correct, consistent, and complete. If it’s not, your rankings will suffer. This is not something I would recommend doing manually, there are just too many directories and too much potential for error. Not to fear, we can do it for you.
There are many ways to do SEO for financial advisors. You can do the work internally, checking off an area every month or even quarter, or you can hire an agency or consultancy like us.
But whatever you do, do something. As I’ve pointed out, there is a wealth of opportunity available to wealth management firms, who go beyond a simple brochure site and truly embrace SEO for financial advisors.
At this point, the bar is pretty low in the industry – but it gets higher every day. So get in the game and establish your presence now, because defending an established position is much less expensive than trying to unseat a well-entrenched competitor.