If you’re a financial advisor, you probably already know about the benefits of blogging. The original content that you post on your financial advisor blog is a key component in generating traffic for your website, but the content doesn’t work by itself. There are some other necessary ingredients to maximize marketing magic.
One important ingredient is SEO, or Search Engine Optimization. SEO is a method of increasing the rank and visibility of your website in search engine results. Since many users who are looking for your service will be searching through engines such as Google or Bing, you need to be close to the top of the list for clients to find you. So instead of just writing a blog post and publishing it as is, you take the time to “optimize” it. The better your optimization, the higher Google (or any other search engine) will rank your site when someone searches for what you offer. The higher your ranking, the more likely a user will click on your link and visit your site.
SEO can get quite technical and is constantly evolving, but fortunately, you can begin to optimize your blog articles by following just a few simple steps:
1. Add keywords to the article
Keywords are simply the words people type into Google or other search engines to begin the search process. For example, if I’m looking for financial help, I might type “Financial Planner” or Financial Advisor” into the search engine. These are now keywords, and if a blog article has these words in it, it will be picked up by the search. The problem is, there are many articles using these keywords, so you’re likely to see a whole lot of listings come up—literally millions. Unless you have other SEO methods in place, you’re not likely to rank high. If you can pick a more unusual keyword that targets a niche that you like to work with, you may be able to improve your rankings.
For example, if you specialize in planning for parents of special needs children, an article with the keywords “financial planning special needs trust” is likely to yield far fewer competitors in your search.
You should conduct a keyword analysis as part of a broader strategy, but in the meantime, just be sure to use keywords that people would normally use to search for your services and incorporate them into a few places in the article. Don’t overuse them, just write naturally and insert where it makes sense, about once per two or three hundred words. If you place them unnaturally, a technique known as ‘keyword stuffing,’ Google’s smart search robots will send you back to the end of the line again.
2. Add keywords to the title
Next up, you should optimize the title of your blog post. For SEO purposes, you should always include one of your keywords in the title.
Keep in mind that it does not have to be word for word, and in fact Google frowns upon unnatural language. Try to tweak it a bit to sound completely natural. If your keyword phrase is “Financial planning small business owners,” you can try something like this:
“Financial Planning for Small Business Owners: Top Five Moves to Make by Year End”
Just make sure the title and keyword sound natural, and the search engines should pick it up.
3. Optimize your images
Your blog posts will get more readers when they contain images, so use them. Pages that are read more get ranked higher in the search results, which explains somewhat why the big guys come up higher in the results in general.
While your readers can see images, search engines can’t. Also, readers who have compromised vision may not see them at all and will rely on text readers to tell them what they would otherwise be seeing. So we always name our graphics using something called “alt text (alt being alternative),” which is what shows up if the image doesn’t. This makes the image findable through the image search on search engines as well, so you should always add alt text for every image in your blog. Use brief but descriptive labels for these entries, and include a keyword if possible.
4. Optimize the URL for the post
Search engines also pay attention to the URL you use when you publish your article. Instead of just using the default, use this opportunity to give your post its own unique URL that includes a keyword.
For example, if you’re trying to improve the ranking for “Financial planning small business owners”, make sure the URL looks something like this:
5. Link to your own website when possible
Linking is another way to help search engines understand your content. Through linking to your own previous content (like a blog or web page), you help validate the relevance of the content. It can also help keep readers on your site, which is another extremely valuable benefit. So anytime you can reference something on your website with a hyperlink, do it.
Try to get other blogs and websites to link to your blogs and articles as well. Linking is highly appreciated by the search engines, and it helps generate greater traffic for your blog.
These are some easy steps to get started. Once you’re publishing regularly, evaluate your results. If you’re getting the results you want – in other words, if your website is generating quality leads for you, keep doing what you’re doing! If you’re not getting those results, consider talking with a digital marketing firm that understands your field, so that the time and money you spend on your website and blog can begin yielding tangible results for your firm.
Jeanne Klimowski is the founder of Wavelength Financial Content Inc. Wavelength is a Paladin Digital Marketing Partner.