For anyone who’s been involved in financial advisor digital marketing for the last decade or so, SEO (Search Engine Optimization) has consistently been a hot topic of conversation. While SEO is still very important to any brand’s online presence and reputation, the way SEO works has been changing to accommodate the new ways people are finding service providers and accessing financial information on the Internet.
Advances in mobile device technology coupled with the increased use of machine learning and AI (Artificial Intelligence) have moved SEO past simple keywords and phrases and on to more advanced methods of finding the most accurate result to the people who are searching for providers and information. One of the biggest changes for SEO is the emergence of semantic searches.
Read on to learn more about semantic search and how you can improve your financial advisor blog’s results for semantic searches.
1) Semantic Search Is About User Intent
Semantic search is a search engine’s way of understanding what the user is looking for, rather than simply looking at keywords and presenting the best matches. This means that Google, the dominant search engine, is looking at much more than keywords to decide which search results to present to particular users.
Semantic search is looking at why someone is searching for that topic, and what they want to do with that information. Once a search engine determines that using AI and contextual factors such as a user’s previous searches, location, and demographic information, it can provide a much more relevant result than using keywords alone.
What does that mean for financial advisors and financial advisor marketing? For starters, it means that having a consistent and relevant online presence has never been more important. In particular, your financial advisor blog is a key element for SEO success based on semantic search.
2) Think Topics, Not Keywords
Content is more important than ever. If this sounds like a broken record, it’s only because the importance of content in relation to SEO cannot be overstated. Your financial advisor blog has the potential to be a great source of knowledge and information about the advice and services you provide. But if you have only been optimized for keyword SEO on your financial advisor blog, you’re likely missing out on semantic search queries.
Here’s why: With semantic search, Google is trying to provide context along with keywords used by the person searching. It’s using AI and other tools to discern what the user really is looking for, even if they haven’t said or typed those exact words into the search bar. This means that as a successful SEO strategy more topic-based onlinesearches will likely produce better SEO results.
Digging deeper, think about how you can incorporate words and phrases about similar topics in the blog content itself. Also, if there are commonly asked questions about this topic, try to answer those as well. Creating or modifying content with this strategic purpose is what separates those who experience success with semantic search, and those who don’t.
Important note: keywords still matter, but the use of what are known as “companion words” can provide additional context. An example for financial advisor blogs would be if you had written a piece of blog content about retirement. In addition to “retirement” being a keyword, providing companion words such as “IRA”, “pension”, “401k” and “advisor” would provide Google with the context it needs to decipher that you’re speaking about the financial aspects of retirement, and not retirement communities.
3) Voice Search
Voice search is simply when someone speaks their search into their device, rather than typing it into a search bar. While this simple shift from typing to talking might seem of little consequence, the SEO impact of this new kind of search is one of the biggest reasons for the emergence of semantic search in the first place.
That’s because what someone physically types in a search bar versus what they say as a voice search inquiry is almost always going to be vastly different. Most search engine users are in a hurry, looking for the right types of information quickly and correctly. When typing out a search, they will likely enter as few words as possible and hit enter. But speaking takes less time than typing and it is human nature to speak in sentences.
This means for your financial advisor blog, the more you create content that is written as people speak, the better your chances your financial advisor website will show up in Google’s search results, assuming your content is also original, relevant, current, and compelling.
Here’s an example of a keyword search vs. a voice search for a user who is looking for a financial advisor in Miami, Florida. Keyword search: “financial advisor Miami”. Voice search: “Where can I find a financial advisor who works with doctors in Miami?” The way people search in both of these forms should play a large role in your overall financial advisor SEO strategy. Keep in mind that just like keyword stuffing was frowned upon, the same thing should be avoided with semantic search SEO.
4) Use Structured Data
Also known as schema or rich snippets, structured data is essentially the way information is organized on your financial advisor blog. This is important for semantic search because it is providing additional context to the content on your site and essentially gives Google some help in determining the type of content on a site.
As a type of metadata, structured data is a topic that can get very technical, but for the purpose of semantic search for financial advisors, it needs to be discussed. Simply put, structured data communicates additional information about a page, allowing Google to display even more of that data in its search results.
The goal behind financial advisor website structured data and how it correlates with semantic search best practices is two-fold:
- To gain more credibility with Google and other search engines
- Provide a more robust search result to encourage more clicks to your financial advisor blog or website.
While we’ve outlined the major aspects of semantic search, there’s much more to learn about the way search engines are finding and displaying your financial advisor blog articles. Reach out for more information on semantic search and how it can help your SEO efforts.