Nowadays, it seems like everything is going virtual. Even financial advisors are pivoting to virtual advice and services. The ongoing pandemic is certainly hastening the transition to the virtual realm yet this progression would have occurred in due time thanks to advances in technology.
The shift toward online service has put the spotlight directly on search engine optimization or SEO. Virtual financial advisors are now that much more dependent on SEO to connect with prospective clients and convert them into revenue-producing clients.
In particular, local SEO is of the utmost importance. Here’s why.
Local SEO Connects Virtual Financial Advisors With new Clients
Take a moment to consider what the average person in need of financial advisory services does to find those services. Most people use their smartphone or another web-connected device to conduct a search for local financial advisors. In fact, some of those in need of the assistance of a financial advisor perform a voice search on their smartphone, verbalizing a search command similar to “financial advisor near me”.
The public’s reliance on search engines has grown exponentially during the pandemic as investors look for service providers they can connect with on the Internet and telephone. As you already know in-person contact has been greatly restricted. This means financial advisors that make the leap to the virtual realm and focus on strengthening their local SEO brand will win more business during and after the pandemic is behind us.
Even if businesses completely reopen in the next couple of months, the bottom line is business practices formed during the pandemic will be ingrained in people, meaning the increased reliance on the web to find service providers will not stop when the vast majority of people have been vaccinated.
The Quest for New Clients now Starts on the Web
It was not long ago when financial advisors primarily relied upon traditional outbound marketing (cold calling, direct mail, seminars, networking) along with word-of-mouth advertising to add new clients to their practices. Though some financial advisors still succeed in connecting with new clients through these relatively obsolete approaches, those who have transitioned to inbound marketing enjoy a meaningful competitive advantage. SEO has emerged as one of the most important components of inbound marketing for financial advisors.
It is quite possible the pandemic will continue for another six months or possibly even another year. Financial advisors who rely on word-of-mouth advertising and “pressing the flesh” through meet-and-greets and general socialization will definitely lose opportunities to those who transition to the virtual route.
This trend is likely to hold strong as the pandemic eventually comes to a close as that many more people will be comfortable finding financial advisors through online searches and connecting with those professionals through Zoom video sessions that take place on a screen.
Localized SEO is Particularly Important for Financial Advisors
When people in need of financial advisor services search the web for these professionals, they typically type in their city name, zip code, area code, the words “near me” or another local identifier such as their region. Sometimes it gets down to their locations: Big city, small city, suburb, rural, etc. Google’s search engine algorithm is now sophisticated enough to account for most local identifiers. This means financial advisors who add localized information to their homepage, service pages, blog posts, social media and other components of their online footprint will rank that much higher in the search engine results pages (SERPs).
A high ranking in the SERPs is essential for online visibility that steers online traffic to the financial advisory firm’s website, ultimately creating an opportunity to convert interested visitors into active prospects and revenue-producing clients. Financial advisory firms that fail to implement localized SEO will end up buried deep down in the SERPs and miss out on those valuable opportunities to connect with investors who are using the Internet to find local service providers.
Recognize the Importance of Keyword Density for Local SEO
Now that financial advisors are aware of the fact that using local identifiers matter a great deal to Google and other search engines, there will undoubtedly be the temptation to overload online content with such important words. However, adding an abundance of local keywords in an attempt to move up in the SERPs has the potential to backfire.
The implementation of local keywords should be performed in a thoughtful manner. This means it is a grave mistake to seize every opportunity to jam local information into online content in an attempt to win the SEO battle.
The better approach is to add localized words and phrases in a strategic manner throughout the entirety of your online content. In general, SEO experts insist the optimal keyword density rate is between 1% and 2.5%. If you suspect your local keyword density is around 3% or higher, be sure to double-check it before publishing your online content to avoid potential penalties from Google and other search engines for oversaturation.
Consider Google’s Local Service Ads
Localized SEO is not strictly limited to the use of keywords and local identifiers. Consider taking advantage of Google’s Local Services Ads. This program helps shore up your SEO weaknesses, providing your financial advisory firm with important online visibility throughout your targeted service area.
As long as your business is in a qualifying geographic region or industry, Google’s Local Services Ads can be run for your targeted service area. Though you will have to pay Google for such exposure and leads, doing so gets your financial advisory firm front and center for locals in need of your services when they search the web for service providers.
Sweat the Small Stuff of Local SEO
Do not fall into the trap of assuming simply adding your city name to your homepage, service pages, blog, and social media will suffice. Google’s search engine algorithms have advanced to the point that they consider localized information ranging from neighborhood names to city nicknames and even street names. So don’t be afraid to blend these subtle yet important local identifiers into the entirety of your online content.
As an example, if your business is located near a landmark or a busy street in your city’s central business district, weave in the name of that landmark and/or main drag to boost your local SEO. It even makes sense to add local SEO to your meta descriptions. These descriptions are the text shown below URLs in search results. Add local information to meta descriptions and you will reinforce your firm’s proximity to those who conduct web searches for local financial advisors.