There is no debate that how a business is viewed by Google can have a major impact on their online visibility on Google’s platforms such as search, ads, and new for financial advisors – reviews!
Google reviews are nothing new, however, a recent SEC ad rule change, subject to a few constraints, allows financial advisers to use Google reviews in their marketing. If executed effectively and within compliance standards, including obtaining permission from the reviewer, this can help financial advisors up their digital marketing game with enhanced SEO from these reviews.
While Google keeps its exact SEO formula under tight lock and key, there are some things we know for sure about online reviews and SEO for financial advisors. Even before this new SEC ad rule, reviews from clients have been known to prove valuable for SEO purposes. For example, having Google reviews from (especially local) clients helps Google validate your local presence and that benefits your business when someone enters a geo-specific search query for financial advisors on Google.
Now that the restrictions on using these client reviews in financial advisor marketing have been reduced, these reviews can have a greater impact on financial advisor online visibility. By adding these reviews to your own website as well as on Google’s own platform, it can greatly increase the number of times these reviews are seen by investors.
This also allows you to add even more content – in the form of client testimonials – to your existing web content. And the fact that it’s using Google’s own content can only add to the SEO value of these reviews. After all, who’s content should they trust more than their own?
By adding to the credibility of your firm by publishing Google reviews, you’re not only building trust with potential clients who read those reviews, but also with Google. That’s because the majority of consumers are social by nature and are more likely to trust the opinions and experiences of other people who have used your services than to simply take your word for it (usually considered a sales pitch).
And what Google thinks of you absolutely matters. While Google has become many things over the past few years, at its core it is first and foremost a search engine that helps users find and research information, service providers, and products.
That means the primary focus of Google is to help people find exactly what they’re looking for online. In order to deliver the best experience to their users, Google rewards websites with the best content with higher rankings in its search engine.
While it’s not always just about quantity, having high traffic to your website certainly boosts your SEO, and likewise having good SEO can increase traffic to your website. Google Reviews can help improve SEO by driving the right types of traffic to your website.
For example, a review by a client can produce a click to your site for more information. Of course, from there it’s up to the UX and the quality of your content to convert a visitor to a lead or contact.
As with any digital marketing effort, it’s important to have an updated and optimized, lead generation website or landing page to inform and capture the contact information of visitors. Otherwise, you may achieve some brand visibility, but you missed the boat if your website fails to complete the conversion process.
It is actually more complicated than that., Google also monitors your website’s bounce rate and that can affect your overall SEO. A “bounce” occurs when a visitor lands on your website and then leaves without clicking on anything else. This can be a result of an accidental click, or signs of a deeper issue with your website content or relevance.
Google takes these actions very seriously because it is always concerned about the user experience. Consequently, high traffic and high bounce rates are considered a big negative. it’s important to always think about the big picture when it comes to how people arrive at your site and how long they stay.
Don’t Underestimate Local SEO
When it comes to reviews, it’s no secret that Google shows a preference for local business reviews. That’s because, once again, it’s Google’s goal to deliver the most helpful and relevant information to any given user at any given time. As a search engine, Google needs information to make decisions. By having local reviews, you’re giving Google the information it needs to determine the visibility you deserve compared to other financial advisor websites.
For someone in Dallas, Texas searching for a financial advisor, Google will give higher rankings to a financial advisor firm with reviews based in the Dallas area than those from national advisory firms with no local presence. This is a pivotal point for financial advisor firms with no local reviews, as it can be the reason they do or don’t get shown to a prospect searching for their services in their area.
How to Get Google Reviews
Getting a review can be as simple as providing good service and having a client share their experience online. However, some clients may need prompting to leave a review. Remember, you can’t ask your clients to leave you a “good review” but only to ask them to leave a review.
Also, remember to follow all regulatory guidelines and compliance rules to make sure you’re not violating any rules. Some ways to get clients to leave reviews are to place links in your emails and on your website to the Google reviews page, or even have signs or placards in your office that clients can see when coming in for meetings.
One thing to note is that negative reviews can happen, too. Depending on the current rules and platform the review was left on, you may likely not be able to directly respond. While this can be frustrating and seem unfair, keep in mind that the most effective way to combat these negative reviews is to increase your total reviews. If your negative reviews are drowned out by your positive reviews, that speaks louder to Google than any rebuttal comment.
If you’re new to the concept of leveraging Google reviews as a marketing tool, or as a means of increasing SEO – don’t fear. Partnering with a digital marketing agency can both save you time and help bolster your online presence by utilizing Google reviews in tandem with your other SEO and digital marketing efforts to increase brand awareness and drive the right types of traffic to your website.