Should Financial Advisors Care About the Backlinks on Their Websites?
Any high quality digital marketing agency will tell you that backlinks have always had a major impact on the visibility of financial advisor websites. That’s because, to determine how your website ranks in the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages), Google takes a VERY close look at your backlink profile.
As a financial advisor with an online presence, you need to drill this notion deep into your mind if you want to get more traffic and clients from your digital marketing efforts.
Currently, the digital marketplace for financial advisors is more competitive than ever before, and without a good backlink profile, you can’t expect Google to rank your website on page one that is visited by 91.5% of Google users.
What exactly is a backlink?
Before getting into the details, let’s look at the definition from the 500 foot level: A backlink is a hyperlink that points from one website to another one. That’s it. There are many examples of backlinks in this blog post. (Look for underlined text in blue)
Most linking is done because content creators want to provide valuable resources to their readers or to give credit. While doing so, they automagically create backlinks.
Why you should care about backlinks on your financial advisor website
High-quality backlinks are crucial to build an effective website and digitally market your financial advisory business.
If you follow any high-quality marketing blogs like ours, you’ll see the “backlink” term covered very often. This isn’t a surprise considering the importance and value of high-quality backlinks that show us their importance for marketing is being widely acknowledged.
Here are the main reasons why you should care about backlinks as a financial advisor. A backlink profile is one of the most important search engine ranking factors, so let’s begin with the #1 reason why you should care.
Generally, the most important reason for financial advisors to care about backlinks is that they are critical for SEO.
Google (and other search engines) take a close look at the backlinks pointing to your website. If your financial advice site doesn’t have enough high-quality backlinks, here’s what will likely happen.
“Backlinks remain an extremely important Google ranking factor. We found the number of domains linking to a page correlated with rankings more than any other factor”.
As you can see, Google takes a very close look at your backlink profile. If you fail in this regard, it’s very unlikely that your website will rank in a favorable spot.
Backlinks bring visitors to your site
Other than directly and indirectly improving your SEO, backlinks have a few more benefits that impact the visibility of financial advisor websites and content.
One of the most important considerations is the traffic that comes from the hyperlinks themselves. When someone else hyperlinks to your website or one of its pages, it’s likely because their readers will find it useful.
If that holds true, you’ll get a very-much-wanted stream of additional traffic that you can turn into leads for your financial advisor business.
Backlinks improve your reputation
Backlinks increase your website’s reputation and authority. Like we said before, from Google’s perspective, this is rewarded with higher rankings in the major search engines.
But Google isn’t the only one affected - its users also take notice.
You’re more likely to trust a business if other reliable sources are linking to it. The reasons are obvious - especially when it comes to the trust and credibility of financial advisors!
Some backlinks can hurt your site’s SEO!
Backlinks can actually hurt your SEO efforts if they’re coming from the wrong places.
Backlinks are generally good, but there’s an exception - toxic backlinks.
The Opposite of positive backlinks, bad backlinks weaken your backlink profile and negatively impact your SEO. Google sees toxic backlinks as indicators of lower authority, poor quality, or lack of trustworthiness.
How they impact your website
Toxic backlinks can occur from grey-hat and black-hat SEO attempts. These are actions by competitors to weaken your site. Regardless of the source or their motive, these bad actors negatively impact your financial advisor website by weakening its backlink profile and position in the SERPs.
What Google sees as a toxic backlink
“In some circumstances, incoming links can affect Google’s opinion of a page or site. For example, you or a search engine optimizer (SEO) you’ve hired may have built bad links to your site via paid links or other link schemes that violate our quality guidelines. First and foremost, we recommend that you remove as many spammy or low-quality links from the web as possible.” (Google)
Google’s definition isn’t very clear, but at least it tells us that toxic backlinks are often unnatural backlinks intended to manipulate a site’s SEO. If your website has a large quantity of these links pointing at it, you should remove them to avoid being penalized.
Toxic backlinks can happen to anyone and can negatively impact your website’s digital marketing efforts, sometimes to the point of severely damaging your website’s rankings so you are invisible. As a result, it’s in your best interest to take measures against them by identifying and removing them.
Identifying toxic backlinks
Ahrefs simplified the definition of bad backlinks very well:
- Links which are editorially controlled by the linking site = good (high quality)
- Links which are built automatically without editorial control = bad (low quality)
*Toxic backlinks aren’t that simple and are actually much more complex than this. This is just an oversimplification of how they work, but it should be good enough for our description in this article.
You can read more about the details of what makes a link toxic on Ahrefs’ post, but the most important thing to take home is that backlinks are generally toxic if:
- They intend to manipulate a site’s SEO rankings without any editorial control.
- They come from low-quality sites or sites that violate Google’s webmaster guidelines.
To get rid of bad backlinks, the first step is to have a trained professional review the site and identify any suspect links.
It is good to know there are several backlink analysis tools to help you collect data and identify toxic backlinks, making this process that much easier.
Note how I just created a couple of backlinks that point to SEMrush and Ahrefs. Google sees backlinks like these as proof of the quality and value of the pages. Thanks to backlinks like the ones above, both pages rank in the top positions of their search terms and consequently get a LOT of traffic.
These tools are great to learn about the toxicity of your backlink profile as a whole, and can also help you to identify which individual links are toxic.
Here’s the guide for Ahrefs backlink tool.
And here’s some help if you want to use SEMrush.
Getting rid of toxic backlinks
Now that you’ve successfully identified your toxic backlinks, the last step is to get rid of them.
Google states that the first thing you should do to remove a backlink is directly contacting the webmaster of the site where it’s coming from.
Look for a contact email, and request to get the link manually removed. If all goes well, this is all you have to do.
Needless to say, sometimes this strategy does not work because the webmaster is unreachable, doesn’t reply, or refuses to fulfill your request.
That’s when Google’s disavow tool comes in.
The disavow tool allows you to manually block backlinks, and should only be used if contacting the webmaster directly didn’t work. Disavowing is pretty easy, just select the sites you want to block on the disavow tool and click “disavow.”
Google has a few suggestions and warnings about disavowing links, so we recommend reading their disavow backlinks help page before using their tool.
And that’s it! You did it! Policing your own website takes a small amount of time to produce a big result.