How do you ensure your name and/or firm comes up in a Google search? What’s the secret combination of words that places you at the top of the results? What will RIA leads type into Google to find you?
Is it the name of your business? The city and state where you practice? The specific services you provide?
Yes, yes and yes!
There are actually 200 known factors that Google uses to determine organic search page rankings. Yes, 200! There are domain-related factors, on- and off-page factors, site-level factors and a number of SEO factors that contribute to where your website falls in Google search results.
That’s a lot to consider!
While there’s no black-and-white answer as to what specific words will make your name appear first in a Google search, there are ways to better your chances of appearing at the top of an RIA lead’s search results.
Let’s take a look at 6 of them.
1. Use Clear Website URLs
There are factors that have a greater impact on your Google ranking than a URL, but website architecture is the first thing you should consider, especially when launching a new, financial advisor website.
According to Google, if you use clear strings of text at the end of a URL, it will be that much easier to find you and understand what topics you want to be an authority on.
For example, when designing the Paladin Digital Marketing website, we made sure to organize it in a very user-friendly way – our “About Us” page can be accessed through a URL that includes that title: www.paladindigitalmarketing.com/about-us.
When publishing a blog, we make sure our URLs match the title of an article. For example, the link to Paladin Digital Marketing’s recent blog post titled, “How to Follow Up with Leads Generated for Financial Advisors,” is blog.paladindigitialmarketing.com/how-to-follow-up-with-leads-generated-for-financial-advisors. This makes it easy for Google to understand the topic, and easy for an RIA to know what the site they’re being directed to is all about.
(If you’re hiring a marketing firm to revamp your current site, it is crucial that your team understands this.)
2. Include Inbound Links
Inbound links are phrases that are hyperlinked on a website or in a blog that direct leads back to your page. Like this one.
When found on other websites, these links can make a huge difference in how you rank in a Google search, because they tell Google that people trust what you have to say and are actually directing their traffic to your website. Trust is huge in the eyes of Google – and to RIA leads!
While inbound links don’t carry the same amount of weight when linking from, say, one of your recent blog posts to another, these links are still useful. They make your website more “sticky,” keeping your leads on your site for longer – and away from your competitor’s site.
3. Use the Right Keywords
While more and more marketing strategies are focusing on topics rather than keywords, specific long-tail keywords are still crucial in gaining website traffic, especially geo-specific keywords that utilize the city, state and/or metropolitan area in which you practice.
However, keywords must be used correctly.
A good marketing firm should be well-versed in keyword strategies and optimize your pages in the best way.
When a keyword does rank high for a specific web page, Google understands this and gives your pages higher rankings for engagement.
4. Create Informative Topic Cluster Pages
As mentioned above, creating topic cluster pages is a newer way of gaining site traffic that results in better rankings through Google.
When done right, a topic cluster page will link to six to eight different pages on your site, such as blog posts or reference pages. When any of these six or eight pages are clicked on, it gives a nod to the topic cluster page as well, giving it more traffic and showing Google that you are a real expert on a specific topic. Again, higher engagement results in higher Google rankings.
5. Optimize Your Pages so They Load Quickly
When it comes to the Web, timing is key. RIA leads will likely leave your site for your competitors if a page takes too long to load or loads incorrectly. There are too many options out there for your leads to waste time on your site.
There are many factors that can cause your site to take a long time to load. Multiple videos, uncompressed images and too much on one page are common mistakes. When designing your pages, keep this in mind and distribute information in different ways.
6. Take Advantage of Social Media
While there are hundreds of little factors that Google considers when ranking website pages, the most important is the amount of traffic a page receives. With this in mind, financial advisors should use every opportunity to promote their site, their blogs and their services. Social media is just one more way to do that. And most times, it’s free!
Use the different platforms – Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and LinkedIn – to share your blog posts and create interest in your site. Google will see these hits as interest and rank your site higher if its algorithms believe your site is a true expert. A financial advisor’s social media pages should always provide a link to their home page, and a home page should always link back to a firm’s (and sometimes its advisors’) social media sites.
Social media pages are also another way to attract a different audience. While some investors will search for eBooks and articles on specific topics, others may look for photos or videos. A blog post on a home page is often received differently than when found on social media.