There’s no question that we are becoming accustomed to instant gratification (or close to it.) It’s hard to wait for something when it seems like you can get just about anything you want with same day delivery thanks to Amazon and Instacart! And yes, while digital marketing for financial advisors offers results and feedback faster than any other medium before (think: newspaper, television, etc.), it’s still not instantaneous.
This is especially true in the case of financial advisor website Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Of all the digital marketing options out there, this one may seem the most daunting to financial advisors.
But the truth is, it’s necessary for financial advisors who want to grow their RIA by getting in the good graces of Google. The latter is more powerful than ever, given Google processes an estimated 5.6 billion searches per day.
What is SEO and How Does it Help RIAs?
According to HubSpot, SEO refers to the process that helps a website build online visibility by ranking higher in Google’s organic search results. Page one ranks are the ones that matter for keywords that drive the right types of traffic to financial advisor websites. This in turn makes the website more visible to those searching for your type of service using search engines like Google.
For financial advisor websites, this means organically landing near the top of a Google search. Again, it is page one visibility that matters, because 91.5% of Google users do not scroll to page two. Paid search results are different.
You don’t work your way to the top like you do with SEO, you buy your way onto page one by paying for it. This is achieved by spending a lot of money on Google Ads to rank higher in each search query based on keywords or phrases.
While there is value in using paid search efforts, financial advisors will see more long-term success by investing their resources in organic SEO efforts. Here are some of the crucial elements of an SEO enhancement campaign.
The age of your website domain plays a role in your SEO rankings. While there may not be anything you can do about how old your domain is, this piece of information can help you determine if it’s worth starting a brand-new domain due to a business name change, etc.
Unless there has been some negative association on that domain from Google, such as any violations to SEO rules or guidelines, it’s best to keep the older, established domain.
This covers everything on your website that needs cleaned up or optimized. While this can get very technical and granular, the basics include removing dead links, adding alt tags to images, removing duplicate content, and cleaning up the speed load time by optimizing images.
There’s no way around it. Content still rules SEO. Google’s primary goal as a search engine is to match a search query with the most relevant information. That means it’s looking at the content on your site and determining if it’s relevant and current.
As in most cases, quantity does not win over quality, so consider the content you produce on the site through Google’s lens.
Backlinks are simply when another website links to yours. This is basically a vote of confidence from another website giving validation to yours. Of course, the quality of the website linking to yours matters. Consider your business partners and offer backlinks on your site in return.
Examples could be local chambers of commerce or other professional affiliations. A word of caution: there are plenty of opportunistic – if less than above-board – companies that offer backlinks on hundreds of websites all at once offering to boost your SEO faster. These are not quality backlinks (Google knows this) and can actually hurt your SEO more than help it.
You may be wondering why keywords weren’t mentioned before now. While keywords are still a factor for SEO, they’re not the holy grail of SEO as they used to be regarded. As search has evolved, it has grown to accommodate how people launch their searches, versus what they type in the search bar.
Or, in some cases, what they speak into their mobile devices. SEO is now driven by what’s known as semantic search – the ability for the search engine to infer what someone actually means when they conduct searches, without them actually saying it.
For example, if you type the phrase “golden arches” into Google, results about McDonald's come up. You may not have said the word McDonald's, but Google’s semantic search inferred that’s what you were looking for. This means that the elements mentioned above hold more weight in SEO and search rankings than keywords, period.
How Long Will It Take to See Results?
There’s no simple answer to that question because there are many things to consider when declaring SEO efforts a success. Here are some ways you can determine the effectiveness of your financial advisor website SEO enhancement.
Clearly Define Your Goals at the Start
Without clearly defined goals, it can be difficult to measure success. Start at the beginning and take stock of the current “health” of your financial advisor website by taking note of important KPIs (Key Performance Indicators). These KPIs include but are not limited to website traffic, sessions, bounces, conversions, keyword rankings, and backlinks.
SEO is a Marathon, Not a Sprint
It’s important to understand that in this case, slow and steady wins the race. Through the SEO efforts mentioned above, it can take time for search engines like Google to acknowledge these efforts and for you to see results for your target KPIs. One of the biggest mistakes you can make would be to give up too early on your financial advisor website SEO.
While some digital marketing professionals estimate it takes 3-6 months to see SEO results, there are others who say it can take 7-12 months to see any improvement in overall traffic and conversions. It’s important to note that these numbers are based on when you *start* to see SEO improvements. If done correctly and continuously supported, these efforts will continue to pay off in the long run.
SEO is Never Really Done
Because of the ever-evolving digital landscape, nothing about SEO ever stays the same for very long. As technology changes, so do the ways people search and find what they are seeking online. This means that while you may hit your initial goals from any given SEO campaign, you are never truly done. You will be constantly refining, testing, and trying new strategies.
It pays to always have an eye on those KPIs and an ear to the SEO trends of the future. Of course, this may not be something you have time to do on your own. Digital marketing agencies can help manage SEO for financial advisor websites, letting you manage your clients’ assets by putting their needs ahead of your own. If you’re interested in a partnership, reach out today and initiate a conversation with an agency that specializes in working with firms in your industry.