Set Up Google Search Console for Your Financial Advisor Website in 5 Steps
For financial advisor marketing to be successful, having an online presence has never been more important. From websites and blogs to social media and online reviews, everywhere your financial advisory firm appears online contributes to its overall online credibility and reputation. And all of this can be tied back to SEO, and the all-important Google search results.
But how do you know how your online entities are performing when it comes to Google’s algorithms? And more importantly, how do you stack up to the competition? Ultimately, for Google’s search engine to be successful, it must deliver the most accurate and relevant content available for that specific search topic.
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And for financial advisors to be successful, they need to deliver accurate and relevant content for those searches. Because of this relationship, Google wants online content providers (such as financial advisory websites) to have all the information necessary to deliver the best search results possible. One way it accomplishes this is through the Google Search Console platform.
While Google Search Console may sound similar to the Google Analytics platform, the major difference is that Google Analytics measures all aspects of a website’s performance, and Google Search Console measures how that website is performing on Google Search specifically.
This makes it a must-have for financial advisors looking to analyze and improve their financial advisor website’s Google Search rankings.
Keep reading to learn how you can set up Google Search Console for your financial advisor website, as well as some SEO best practices for financial advisor websites.
Step 1: Verify Your Website
This step is necessary to prove ownership and prevent unauthorized parties from accessing your financial advisor website. If someone else manages your site, you will need to either get the website access from them or ask them to help you verify that you own the site.
Step 2: Get Familiar with Google Search Console’s Dashboard and Tools
As the go-to search engine for most people on the planet, Google has a seemingly endless supply of information about everyone and everything on the web. Because of this, Google’s Search Console can be overwhelming and sometimes downright intimidating to anyone with a less-than-expert level of SEO experience and knowledge.
However, there are some best practices for financial advisors when first setting up Google Search Console. The first recommended step after verifying your domain is to become familiar with the platform’s dashboard and identify which tools and reports will be the most helpful for your financial advisor SEO strategy.
Of course, the argument could be made that all of Google’s Search Console’s tools, but for most busy financial advisors, it may be unrealistic to dive into all the available tools from the start.
Instead, here are the recommended tools for financial advisors to use right away:
- URL Inspection Tool: As a website owner, you can designate which pages on your financial advisor website you’d like searchable by Google, and which ones you don’t. This is known as indexing. The URL Inspection tool will tell you if a URL on your financial advisor website is indexed, and therefore eligible to be shown in a search result.
While this tool can point out pages that should be (searchable) indexed and are not, it can also identify any pages that you don’t want to be searchable for one reason or another.
For example, most financial advisor websites have private “client-only” pages for logins and other client-facing information and access. These pages are likely secure in nature, and ideally should not appear in search results.
- Performance: This is where you can find the search results for your financial advisor website, broken down by query (A.K.A. the keyword or phrase used in that search). According to Google, these results include:
- Clicks: How many times a user clicked through to your financial advisor website
- Impressions: How many times a user saw a link to your financial advisor website in the search results
- Click-Through-Rate (CTR): The percentage of impressions that resulted in a click.
- Position: the average position of your site in search results, based on its highest position whenever it appeared in a search.
- (Bonus) Page Experience: While not listed as one of the most critical tools for financial advisors to use when first getting started with Google Search Console, that doesn’t mean this tool should be left out of the mix indefinitely. This tool measures something near and dear to Google — user experience. More specifically, this tool measures if a given page of your financial advisor website is determined by Google to “provide a good, safe, and secure experience for your users.”
Step 3: Submit a Sitemap to Google
While it’s true that indexing (or not indexing) a page, tells Google to display that page in search results, doing this one page at a time can be time-consuming and opens the door to making errors. A best practice is to submit a sitemap to Google, specifying all of the pages to index in one submission. And while Google acknowledges that this can be achieved on a page-by-page basis, submitting a site map often speeds up the discovery of those indexed pages.
Step 4: Find and Fix Errors on Your Financial Advisor Website
In addition to showing you what your financial advisor website is doing well when it comes to SEO and overall search rankings, Google’s Search Console also gives financial advisors the opportunity to find errors within their site and then subsequently fix them. This can not only improve search results but can also stop the spread of inaccurate or outdated information. Pro Tip: Use the Removals feature to make requests for content from your financial advisor website to be removed from search results altogether.
Step 5: Monitor Your Financial Advisor Website’s Progress
Once your financial advisor website has been established on Google’s Search Console platform, you can (and should) continually monitor the performance of your financial advisor website on Google Search.
The good news? You can set up email alerts that notify you if something needs your attention within the platform. However, that still may not mean you have time to drop everything and address the issue. In that case, consider a partnership with a digital marketing agency to help stay on track.