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SEO

Common SEO Mistakes Financial Advisors Need to Avoid

The world of SEO can be very confusing and difficult to understand even for the most intelligent and digital savvy individuals. For a typical financial advisor, it’s new and uncharted territory that presents new challenges. But it’s essential to the success of your website and the growth of your firm, so you need to have a good grasp of its fundamentals. 

In this article, instead of walking you through the ABCs of SEO, we’ll take a closer look at the common mistakes you need to avoid. 

If you already understand some of the basics of SEO, this should serve as a checklist of the things you need to look out for the next time you update your SEO strategy or create new content for your site.

Keyword Stuffing

In the old days of the Internet, barely a decade ago, keyword stuffing was an effective tactic that could easily get you to the top of the search engine results. A lot of unsavory sites and content creators would just pack their posts with the same keywords over and over again even if it didn’t make sense to do so. Some websites would even hide keywords in the page by changing the font color to make them invisible. 

Nowadays, Google has learned its lesson and puts these types of pages in the bottom of the search results. It understands that this is not the type of content that people want to see and penalizes websites that still use this very old tactic. 

Targeting the Wrong Keywords

If you’re new to SEO, you might be tempted to create content around popular and highly competitive keywords like ‘best financial advisor’. The bad news is, every other financial advisor has the same idea. And only established websites with the largest budgets will be able to successfully rank for very competitive keywords.

You’ll have better success if you look for unique and more specific long-tail keywords that aren’t as competitive. For example, you can add your location to your target keyword and come up with something like, ‘award-winning financial advisor miami florida’. There may be a couple dozen financial advisors who are targeting the same long-tail keywords, but at least you’ve narrowed down the playing field a fair bit. 

Low-Quality Content

If you want your pages to rank, it has to be able to meet the expectations of your target audience, as well as Google. You need high quality content if you want to build up your site’s credibility so you have to provide accurate information that’s valuable to your audience.

When people click on your link and see that your content is only 200 to 300 words long, they’ll get the impression that you’re not really discussing the topic properly or in depth. According to Buffer, your posts should ideally be at least 1,600 words long which translates to around 7 minutes of reading time. 

It’s also important to keep in mind that Google keeps track of how much time a visitor spends on your page. If they quickly back out of your page in just a couple of seconds, it gives Google the signal that your content is not appropriate for the user’s search query. If they spend more time on your page, it tells Google that your page offers a lot of value.

Low-Quality Backlinks

One of the ways that Google determines your site’s credibility is if it’s being referenced and linked to by a lot of other websites. People used to exploit this ranking factor by creating a lot of different websites and linking their pages together to create the illusion that these websites were related and sharing relevant information with each other. 

Nowadays, Google penalizes these low-quality backlinks from private blog networks. If you want to build up your backlinks, make sure you’re reaching out to highly credible and well-established websites.

Incomplete Metadata

One of the easiest ways to improve your SEO is to make sure all your on-page SEO elements are properly updated. On-page SEO and metadata is the first thing search engines look at to determine what your page is about and what the different elements of your pages (such as images and videos) are. Aside from making sure your titles and subheadings are in order, you need to fill up your meta description, and add the right meta tags and image tags.

Categories
SEO

SEO for Financial Advisors: 6 Tips You Should Know

The world of SEO is always evolving. As a financial advisor, it’s hard to keep up with the latest SEO best practices, or even be on top of fundamental SEO issues. 

It’s understandable though. Your primary focus should always be your clients and you shouldn’t be worrying too much about search rankings. 

But if you feel like your website is struggling to get traffic and is generally not very effective at generating new leads, you should at least have a basic understanding of SEO.

Let’s take a look at a couple of SEO tactics that the professionals use to boost traffic.

Keyword Research

A huge aspect of SEO deals with keywords and keyword research. You can start by making a list of target keywords that you want to rank higher for. Use tools like Google Keyword Planner to find out how much competition there is for each keyword and how many people actually search for them. 

If the difficulty of the keyword is high due to too much competition, look for new long-tail keywords that are easier to rank for. Long-tail keywords and keyphrases mix in more specific yet relevant search terms with the main target keyword. If you can provide great content that addresses these long-tail keywords, you can capture a small subsection of your target audience much easier. 

Optimizing On-Page SEO

On-page or on-site SEO refers to the technical aspects of your website that search engines use to understand what your site is all about. Search engines crawl all the pages on the site to index your titles, URLs, headings, web copy, links, meta tags, and images, so you have to make sure that these are all properly optimized. Otherwise, you’re throwing away lots of potential traffic that could have come your way.

Link-Building and Backlinks

Search engines rank pages higher if they consider it as a legitimate source and if it’s relevant to the search. A new website will not have much value in the eyes of search engines even if it offers outstanding content. 

An effective workaround to this common issue is by soliciting already established sites to add links to your site. You can reach out to bloggers and online media outlets and ask them to link to your website in a guest post or a press release. You can also submit your website info to websites that just have directory listings. When search engines crawl those established external sites and see a link to your page, it will have a better understanding of what your site is about and it also increases your site’s relevance. 

Local SEO

Search engines display search results from pages based all over the world. But they also try their best to match people’s search queries with businesses and websites that are local to the area. It’s much easier to rank higher on local search results since you’re not competing with the entire world. 

To have a better chance at showing up on local searches, you should have your firm’s name, address, and phone number on every page of your site. You can easily take care of this by including the information in the footer of your website. 

You should also include location-specific keywords, like your city or town, in your web copy and content. This way, if someone happens to type in ‘financial planner’ plus ‘your city’, there’s a better chance that your home page or one of your pages will be displayed in the first search results. 

Lower Bounce Rates

Lowering your bounce rate is closely related to optimizing on-page SEO. Search engines can track if people don’t spend much time on your site and just quickly exit out of your page. Bounce rate is the term used for this particular metric. 

Most people will just move on to the next search result if your page doesn’t load instantly. This could be caused by images that are too large or unoptimized code. You’re basically wasting valuable clicks to your site if you don’t address these issues. 

Optimizing for both desktop and mobile users is also crucial. You have to make sure your page looks good and is easy to use no matter what device or browser your visitors are using. If your page layout doesn’t look good on one device, people won’t bother checking out the other sections of your site. 

Of course, people will only stay on your site if they think your content is valuable. So you have to make sure the content you’re offering is relevant, accurate, and easy to digest. 

Give People What They Want

When dealing with SEO, it’s easy to over prioritize the needs of search engines over what your target audience is looking for. Search engines have made lots of advances over the years and have gotten better at filtering out websites that aren’t useful from their search results—but they’re still far from perfect. Gone are the days when all you had to do was dump a bunch of keywords on a page along with content that barely made any sense.

If your content provides value to the reader, the clicks will come naturally. When search engines detect that more and more people are clicking on your links, your site will eventually move up the search rankings. Good content also makes your site more resilient over time even after search engine algorithms get updated. 

In Conclusion

Coming up with a good SEO strategy takes a lot of analysis, planning, and plain old hard work. Hopefully, the tips we’ve mentioned can give you a better idea of how to approach any SEO or site traffic issues you may have now or in the future.

Categories
Marketing SEO

15 Stats That Prove How Important Local SEO is to Your Business

When people think about SEO, the first things that come to mind are usually page ranks and search results. There’s nothing wrong with this type of thinking though since it’s been the main goal of SEO ever since the Internet became mainstream. 

However, over the last decade, local SEO has become more and more important – especially to businesses that have a local presence and those that conduct business face-to-face.

In a nutshell, local SEO is a branch of SEO that takes into account the location of a search so that results can be matched with sites and pages from the same area. Search engines will display both organic SEO and local SEO results, and will rank one higher than the other depending on its relevance to the keywords being used. 

Optimizing your local SEO or local search strategy becomes even more important once you consider how much people use mobile devices nowadays and use the Internet while on the go at any given time. Mobile devices can accurately pinpoint exactly where someone is currently located, and search engines use this data to make localized search results even more relevant and powerful. 

If you’re still focusing all of your digital marketing efforts on traditional organic SEO, and you’re trying to compete with every other business in your niche no matter where they’re located, you’re losing out on a huge chunk of the market and giving up lots of qualified leads who may be right in your backyard. 

Don’t believe us? Take a look at these local SEO key statistics and see for yourself.

  1. 46% of Google searches have local intent. (Search Engine Roundtable)
  2. 97% of people use the Internet to learn more about a local company before even attempting to make contact or visit a store or office. (SEO Tribunal)
  3. 88% of users who search for a local business on their mobile device will visit it within a week. (ThinkWithGoogle)
  4. 72% of users who search locally end up visiting locations that are within five miles. (SocialMediaToday)
  5. 60% of smartphone users have contacted a business directly using the ‘Call’ button that shows up in search results. (ThinkWithGoogle)
  6. Mobile searches that contain the search terms ‘near me today’ or ‘near me tonight’ increased by 900+% from 2015 to 2017. (ThinkWithGoogle)
  7. In the same time period, searches that don’t have the ‘near me’ qualifier have grown 150% since people know that search results will always be relevant to their location. (ThinkWithGoogle)
  8. 75% of smartphone users expect information instantly when using their mobile devices (ThinkWithGoogle)
  9. 64% of consumers have used My Google Business listings from search results to find contact information or an address. (BrightLocal)
  10. 44% use Google Maps to find addresses and contact information. (BrightLocal)
  11. 49% of consumers use local business websites for addresses and contact information. (BrightLocal)
  12. 56% believe that a company’s website has the most accurate information. (BrightLocal)
  13. 50% of people say they are less likely to use a local business if the information on its website is incorrect. (BrightLocal)
  14. Online reviews are one of the top local SEO ranking factors. (Moz)
  15. Yelp appears in the top five search results for 92% of Google searches that contain a city and a business category. (FreshChalk)


Here’s another statistic from Google that’s quite eye-opening for financial advisors:

  • Mobile searches related to financial planning and management have grown 70% over the past two years. (ThinkWithGoogle, 2018)


What Local SEO Means to Your Business

Looking at all this data, it’s abundantly clear from the numbers that local SEO is not something that should be taken lightly, or put off for later. If you don’t have a solid local SEO strategy, you’re giving up potential customers to your competitors. We live in a fast-paced world where people expect to find all the information they need online. If you’re not prepared to serve up that information using the proper channels, your target market will just move on to somebody else who will. 

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Marketing SEO

10 SEO Copywriting Tips for Financial Advisors

Copywriting for financial planners and financial management websites is no walk in the park. It’s one of the most competitive markets out there and it’s growing larger year after year. In fact, by 2024, the personal finance market is expected to grow to over $2.6 billion worldwide.

You’re not only competing with large and established organizations, there are also tons of freely available online resources and user-generated content that promote financial literacy. 

If that’s not enough, Google has also made it more difficult for financial content to reach the top of its search results ever since the ‘Medic’ update in late 2018. This update puts ‘pages that could potentially impact the future happiness, health, financial stability, or safety of users’ under much more scrutiny than before. Sites that fall under the category of YMYL or ‘Your Money, Your Life’ need to have more ‘Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness’ or ‘E-A-T’ in order to show up in search results pages. 

Does this mean your financial planning website has nope of ranking on Google and other search engines? 

No. Updates like these merely reinforce the fact that your site needs to always provide high-quality content. It severely penalizes pages that rely on keyword stuffing, misleading information, and poorly written content that try to ‘game’ the system to get higher ranking pages. 

Check out these tips if you want to make your financial copywriting more effective.
  • Start with great keywords.

Before even typing your first sentence, you should make a list of keywords to target. Defining the keywords you want to rank for will guide your overall content strategy and content writing process. If it’s a highly competitive keyword, you’ll have to make more of an effort to create content that will offer more than what your competitors have already published.

  • Include LSI keywords in your content

LSI keywords refer to the use of Latent Semantic Indexing so that search engines can better understand what your web copy, article or blog post is all about. When a search engine crawls your content, it keeps track of synonyms and semantically related words to figure out the message you’re trying to convey. This way, users can find your content even if they don’t type in the exact keyword you’re using. 

Someone looking for information on ‘car loans’ can find your content even if your target keywords are ‘auto loans’. If you sprinkle in more related keywords, or add more sections related to the main topic, there’s a higher chance that people will see your content. 

  • Write content for people 

It’s easy to fall into the trap of writing content specifically to satisfy a search engine’s requirements. Content like this tends to look awful and unappealing to regular people. 

Writing content that people will want to read is much more effective overall. It also has the added effect of giving your website more credibility in the eyes of the search engine. 

  • Identify your target market

Figuring out your target market is a key component to writing compelling copy. As the old saying goes, ‘You can’t please everybody’. It’s much easier to create outstanding content when you can put yourself in your readers’ shoes because it allows you to focus on their most pressing concerns. 

For example, retirees will have different financial goals compared to young families who are just starting out. 

If you want to see higher conversions, you’ll need to adjust your tone and style to appeal to specific markets. This applies to all aspects of your brand identity and messaging, which includes your web copy, emails, blog posts, and social media. 

  • Prioritize local SEO

If you’re not a huge organization that already serves different markets nationwide, it’s best to focus on topics that concern people in your local market. This will allow you to narrow down your target keywords to a more manageable list that are less competitive. Discussing local events and regulations will likely lead to more page views from people you can actually offer your services to.

  • Create an emotional connection

When you choose the right words, you can make a great lasting impression that will benefit your brand. When talking about financial planning, you can either fill your pages with numbers and statistics, or focus on how people can improve their lives. The latter is more effective if you’re just at the beginning of the customer journey. In many cases, even clients who have already signed up with you won’t bother too much about the nitty-gritty details. That’s what they’re paying you for anyway. You’ll get more attention and inquiries by showing people what you can do for them rather than how you’ll be doing it.

  • Use the Bucket Brigade 

A bucket brigade is a copywriting technique that slowly drips the information to the reader to keep them interested and encourage them to scroll down and keep on reading. Bucket brigades use short and punchy one-liners that ask questions or make bold claims that capture the reader’s attention. 

It’s a great way to break up long blocks of text and segue into another talking point. 

Using bucket brigades is a sure-fire way to decrease bounce rates and increase dwell time on your pages. Using catchy one-liners makes it easier for people to digest the general ideas that the article is trying to convey. If they’re not particularly interested in a particular section, you can bring them back by calling their attention to the next sections. 

This is really effective in online copywriting since people expect instant gratification and just want to get to the meat of content without having to read through long introductions.

  • Don’t forget the mobile aspect

Mobile devices account for roughly half of the world’s website traffic. It would be foolish to ignore this huge population of users, so you have to make sure your website and its content looks great and is easy to read even on smaller screens. 

Structure your content so that it’s easy to scroll through, and don’t flood it with long paragraphs like you would in an academic or white paper. Readers should be able to judge whether your content is worth reading through just by looking at your intros and outros. You should also generously use visual aids like bullet points and infographics to make things easier to read and digest. 

  • Provide credible information

As a financial advisor, you want to project an image that you’re extremely reliable and trustworthy. It will be impossible to make a good first impression and build any kind of trust with your readers if your content is filled with misinformation and just generally poorly written. 

Whenever you link to another page to back up your claims, make sure it’s a respectable site with lots of authority on the subject. Otherwise, your site might be put in the same category as tabloids or fake news sites. 

  • Put more thought into titles, meta tags and descriptions

You should put just as much thought into your titles, meta tags and descriptions as you do with the main body of your content. These are the first things that people will see whenever your page shows up in search results, so it should reflect the quality of the article it’s associated with. Otherwise, people will just scroll past your link and move on to the next one in the list. 

Categories
SEO

Why Financial Advisors Need Local SEO

Local SEO is essential for all companies that conduct any sort of business face to face with customers either at an office, a store, or any physical location. Of course, this applies to financial advisors, financial planners, and wealth management firms where you’re always meeting with clients.

Local SEO makes it easier for clients to know where you’re located and how to contact you by phone when they look up your name. It also increases your company’s visibility when people search for similar businesses or type in keywords used in your industry while they’re in your general area.

Almost half of the world’s Internet usage is done through mobile devices. Smartphones and mobile Internet usage have simply become part of people’s daily lives. And when it comes to SEO, search engines can easily identify where you’re located and serve up relevant pages from related businesses around the area. If you don’t have a local SEO strategy, your competitors are going to get those clicks. 

Aside from these obvious benefits, there are many other key advantages to actively managing your local SEO strategy. Let’s take a closer look at a couple of the more important ones.

Increase Brand Awareness

In order to get more people to visit your page, your pages need to show up higher on search results. But it goes without saying that competing with other financial websites worldwide or even nationwide is an extremely difficult task – even for experienced SEO professionals. 

When you narrow down your SEO efforts to target your local area, you’ll dramatically reduce the number of companies and firms you’ll need to compete with. You’ll also get better results from your target keywords. This increases your chances of showing in the first few search results pages. 

When people in your area see more of your pages showing up in their quest to find financial planning information, awareness for your brand will go up. You’ll also get more visits from people who haven’t even heard of your company before, but are actively looking for local financial advisors.

Better Brand Image

Search engines will display local business pages whenever it’s relevant to a search query. If your local business information is incomplete or not up-to-date, it creates the impression that you’re not staying on top of your game.

As a financial advisor, displaying trustworthiness and creating positive impressions are key to your business growth. You need to make sure that the basic information about your business such as its name, address and phone number are easily accessible to show potential clients that you’re always available to discuss plans and options. Otherwise, people might see you as someone who is difficult to get a hold of, or even a shady fly-by-night operation.

Your Google My Business page also gives people a better idea of how your firm is run. If you actively manage your business profile, you can add hours of operation, answer Q&As, and respond to reviews. It’s also a great place to showcase pictures of your physical location and offices.

Put simply, local SEO lets you improve your clients’ user experience at every point of their customer journey.

More High Quality Leads

You’re more likely to do business with people in your local market than someone who’s hundreds of miles away. So it makes sense to focus your SEO efforts locally first and maximize the potential of your local market before you try to rank for competitive keywords on a larger scale.

Here are a few key stats from Google that show who local search is extremely effective at driving up conversion rates:

  • 88% of people who conduct a local search on their smartphone visit a related store within a week.
  • 76% of people who search on their smartphones for something nearby visit a business within a day.
  • 28% of searches for something nearby result in a purchase.

As you can see, people who search locally are quite motivated to do business with someone who’s nearby – and they’re not going to waste much time in doing so.

Overhauling your local SEO strategy will give you results in a short amount of time. It not only improves your visibility in your local market, but will also improve the user experience for existing and potential clients.. 

Categories
SEO

Optimizing Financial Advisor Websites for Voice Search

Voice search is growing rapidly and it’s important for your financial website to keep up with this trend early on if you want to stay ahead of your competitors.

According to Google, around 27% of the world was already using voice search on their mobile devices in 2018. This number has likely grown significantly since then with the surge in popularity of smart speakers like Amazon Alexa, Apple HomePod and Google Home. 

What Makes Voice Search Results Different?

People who use voice search expect direct answers to their questions that are read back to them. Most won’t bother scrolling through other search results as long as they’re satisfied with the voice assistant’s answer. When it comes to smart speakers, scrolling isn’t really an option because they don’t have screens. 

In a lot of cases, the answer that’s read back isn’t the first result that comes up in the search engine results page. It’s actually from the featured snippet that’s chosen by the search engine for that particular query or keyword. Featured snippets usually contain the most direct answer to a question or search query.

How do you optimize your website and your content for voice search? We’ll discuss a couple of ways below.

Target Conversational Long-Tail Keywords

When someone uses voice search, they won’t use the same keywords they would type into a search engine. 

Instead of:

‘ideal 401k contribution amount’

They’ll say:

‘How much should I put in my 401k?’

Of course, search engines are smart enough to deduce the user’s intent and will provide the same featured snippet for both search queries. But if you want to have more of your pages show up in voice searches, then you should come up with a content strategy that focuses on conversational long-tail keywords using questions that your target audience might use.

Come Up With More FAQ Pages

A good way to directly target conversational long-tail keywords is to come up with more informational FAQ-type pages. This lets you address the most common questions in the most direct way possible. 

An important thing to note about featured snippets is that they provide very concise information, and aren’t very wordy. They’re not like blog posts or articles used for content marketing wherein you’re writing to capture the reader’s interest. Featured snippets get to the point in as few words as possible. 

Of course, you can always include direct responses to long-tail keywords in your regular blog posts. But you may have to go back and rewrite a lot of your successful pages just so it has a better chance of being a featured snippet. It’s going to be much easier to come up with new pages that specifically target voice search users.

Think Local 

A lot of voice search users look for local businesses using the ‘near me’ modifier. 

For example, they might be searching for:

‘financial advisor near me’

In order to show up on their radar, you’ll need a solid local SEO strategy. This starts by making sure you’ve updated your Google My Business and Yelp pages with all the information they might need like your name, address, phone number, email, and operating hours.

You should also use structured data to be able to provide search engines with more data about your practice and show up in more rich snippets. 

Using schema markup, you can include additional information like:

  • Areas served
  • Customer reviews and ratings
  • Products and services

 

This helps users and search engines quickly figure out important details about your practice.

Categories
SEO

Proven Tips That Increase Organic Traffic to Your Financial Website

Increasing organic traffic to your site doesn’t have to rely purely on SEO tactics. You also don’t have to spend on ads and PPC to get more visitors to your site. 

Financial websites have a much harder time getting to the top of search engine results because it involves topics that deal with people’s money and happiness. Google puts these websites under much tighter scrutiny to ensure that people only get the most accurate information. 

Your website needs to have expertise, authoritativeness and trustworthiness before you can get to the first few pages of search results. This means that simple SEO strategies are not as effective. You’ll have to pour a lot of time and effort into increasing your website’s credibility in the eyes of both search engines and your target audience.

Let’s take a closer look at 8 proven strategies you can use to increase traffic to your site.

Optimize Your Site

Optimizing your website should be one of your top priorities. People won’t bother waiting more than a couple of seconds just to see what you’re offering, so make sure your pages load up quickly. It should also be mobile friendly since roughly half of the world’s web traffic occurs on mobile devices.

Audit and update your on-page SEO to make sure search engines can properly understand what your content is all about. You may have valuable information on your site that is not properly referenced and is just going to waste.

Focus on Your Content Strategy

When it comes to establishing a new brand and building up your website’s credibility, the best thing you can do is to focus on the quality of your content. Each piece you put out should provide lots of value to the reader. It should answer questions that your target audience are asking. On top of it all, it should all be written well and interesting to read.

The quality of your content is a direct reflection of how your company does business. If you just put out poorly written content just to target specific keywords, you’re also wasting the opportunities to earn people’s trust.

Keep in mind, simply increasing traffic to your site doesn’t guarantee higher conversions. You should make the most out of every website visit and make sure they leave with a positive impression of your brand.

Think Local

Focusing on a solid local SEO strategy lets you target a much smaller audience, but these local individuals are also more likely to do business with someone who is nearby. There’s little point in trying to market to people who are on the other side of the country, especially in the financial services industry. People will always choose a business they can easily reach and meet with face-to-face when it comes to important matters like their money and their health. 

When you’re on top of your local SEO strategy, you’ll be more visible to people in your area. People are always searching for nearby businesses, and they’ll want to see all your details in an instant. 

You can start by claiming your Google Business and Yelp pages so people can see that you’re a legitimate business. These pages will also show user reviews about your business, which helps build your credibility. 

All this helps build interest in your website. If they really need your products and services, they’ll eventually check out your website and compare it with your competitors. 

Leverage the Power of Social Media

Social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube and LinkedIn give your brand more exposure to a very large audience. Lots of people search for brands and businesses on social media. Just having an active profile ensures you’ll get more visibility from interested parties.

You can also build a following that can share your posts and content on their own feeds – and give your brand more visibility. 

It’s important to be active on social media. Otherwise, people might think you’ve gone out of business. To stay active, you can simply post regular updates that lead to different landing pages and blog posts on your site. You can also come up with special promotions that can only be redeemed directly through your site.

Reach Out to Other Established Brands and Websites

Building up a website’s credibility from scratch is extremely difficult. If you’re starting from the very bottom, you can reach out to established websites and ask them to link to your sites.

When people see that your site has been recommended by someone they trust, they’re more likely to click on your links. This also has the added effect of giving your site more credibility when search engines see your links on an established site.

When a website with high credibility links to your site, search engines consider these links as a vote of confidence. You can think of these backlinks as a way to transfer some of their credibility over to your website. SEO professionals call this transfer of value or credibility as ‘link juice’.

Email Marketing

Email marketing is still one of the most effective digital marketing strategies. Pretty much everyone has an email address that they check on a regular basis. If you don’t have a mailing list yet, it’s time to get one up and running. 

People who sign up for your mailing list are already interested in your products and services. All you have to do is nurture this interest and convert them into clients. 

A well planned email marketing campaign not only drives up traffic to your site, but also significantly boosts conversions. 

Analyze Your Metrics

You can’t have a successful site if you don’t pay attention to the data it’s giving you. Here are some key metrics you should be paying attention to.

  • Find out where your traffic is coming from
  • What’s the ratio of new and return visitors
  • How much time does each visitor spend on your site

 

Use this data as a baseline and look for ways to improve them. You’ll need this information to be able to ask the right questions. 

Is a lot of your traffic coming from visitors in a different country? What can you do to attract your target market?

Why are you not getting more return visitors?

How can you get people to spend more time on your site?

Finding the answers to these questions will help guide your content and SEO strategy. 

Revamp Your Old Content

If you already have lots of content that’s just not performing as expected, you shouldn’t necessarily throw it all away and start over from scratch. 

It may just need a couple of tweaks. Even if it needs a complete rewrite, the overall topic may still be viable. 

Check out what your competitors and other successful sites are doing with the keywords and put a different spin on it. Personalise your content more to appeal to a specific niche. The most important thing to remember is you always have to be authentic and be consistent in your messaging to build up your brand image.

Categories
Marketing SEO

How to Overcome a Financial Advisor’s Worst Nightmare

You’re giving a motivational presentation to your staff. You are wooing potential business partners. Yet you find all your Powerpoint presentation pages in the wrong order. You panic. In fact, your entire presentation is just full of words from a Chinese menu.

This scene can certainly wake you up in the middle of the night. But it’s far from a financial advisor’s worst nightmare. 

An even more terrible scenario is getting back to your desk from a presentation, only to realize that you don’t have any clients left. 

This is a real scenario that far too many financial advisors have to face every day. It’s the unfortunate reality for businesses that fail to maintain a proper online presence. Just take a look at all the brick-and-mortar stores that have failed to change with the times.

You may be a traditional financial firm with traditional values, but you’re probably starting to notice that more and more of your prospects and potential clients are not so traditional. 

They like smartphones, wearables, voice assistants and self-driving cars. They want to do all their business online through a mobile app. If you’re not there to meet them halfway, they’ll surf over to the next practice that can give them what they want.

Today’s customers want outstanding customer service, their way, and they want it now. For an increasing number of financial clients, this means being able to interact with their financial advisor’s digital presence whenever they wish from wherever they are. If they don’t get it, don’t expect a strongly worded telegram or a picket line outside your building. Expect tumbleweeds.

Why do financial advisors need a web presence?

Since more and more people are using the web to do business, you need to be online to keep up with their demands and stay ahead of your competitors. A well-maintained online presence will help your business in many ways.

Let’s take a closer look at how a great website can help your practice grow.

Improve Discoverability

With an effective web presence, you’ll spend less time looking for new clients, because new prospects are always calling or filling your inbox with inquiries. By keeping your website current, and employing tried and tested digital marketing strategies, you’ll have no problem attracting new clients who’ve come across your brand through online searches and social media platforms.

According to Google, more than three-quarters of people who search for a business via a mobile device visit that business within a day. More than a quarter of visits results in a successful transaction.

If people can’t find you and you’re not even showing up on searches for “financial advisors near me” – you are losing lots of potential new business every day.

Establishing Trust and Gaining People’s Confidence

A well-designed website is a sign that your business means business. Your website is the first thing people will check to find out more about what you do, who you are, and how you do business.

When two financial advisors have similar websites and offer the same set of services, the one that has an up-to-date blog and downloadable content is going to generate more inquiries and have better conversions. 

A site that hasn’t been updated for months will look like a store with dusty shop windows and dimly lit shop lights.

“It could be open, but… Let’s try this other store first; the one with the welcome sign and people inside.”

Improve Customer Service

If you only offer customer service by phone during regular business hours, you are missing out on a huge chunk of the market who are looking for more availability from their financial advisors.

In our experience, many prefer to communicate via text, instant message, Skype, or email. Your job is to know exactly what your customers want, and go the extra mile to make sure they’re happy. In many cases, you should know what they need even before they do.

With a solid Internet presence, you can chat with clients and potential clients in real-time using different communications platforms. You should have a social media presence on every platform whether it be Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or LinkedIn, so that clients and prospects can easily reach out to you and get their questions answered. 

We can even help you set up a chatbot on your site, so you don’t have to allocate additional resources for simple customer service tasks. Chatbots give your website visitors and clients the impression that you’re always available and can always be reached no matter what time it is.

How to Wake Up From the Nightmare of a Tired Internet Presence

If you think of your website merely as an online business card or brochure, you’re not maximizing its true potential. 

The Internet is much more than a simple digitized version of static print marketing. In fact, your website visitors, prospects and clients expect to see more than this. 

Here are some additional tips that can help you maintain a better web presence.

Optimize Your Branding

All aspects of your digital presence, whether it’s your website or social media profiles, should have consistent branding. Everything from your emails, brochures, downloadable content, videos, pictures, letterheads, as well as other printed and digital marketing collaterals should all feature this same branding. This helps build brand awareness and reinforces your brand’s identity in people’s minds. 

It goes without saying that your branding strategy, which includes your visual identity and your messaging, should be professionally designed and well thought out. A cheap template or DIY solution just won’t have the same impact on your target audience.

Make Your Contact Info Easily Available

Your contact page should have all the details about your business. Make sure it has an updated phone number, a customer service email address, and your office addresses as well. 

You should also claim your Google My Business page and update all the information on your profile. This should increase your visibility in local searches and give people the ability to rate your practice.

Add links to your social media pages on your website so that people can follow you and regularly see your posts and updates. 

Consider adding a contact form so that it’s easier for people to reach you for quotes, advice, or any additional information they may need.

Perform an SEO Audit

An SEO audit will identify areas you can improve on so you can have better visibility and show up higher in search results pages. You may have lots of great content, but if the page and the website itself is not optimized, people won’t be able to see it when they search for similar topics and keywords.

After performing an audit, you can develop a new SEO strategy that can significantly boost your website traffic and increase awareness for your brand. 

When you employ SEO best practices you can deliver a better user experience to your visitors, which has a positive effect on your brand image. Your pages will load up faster. You’ll be more visible in local searches. And you’ll also have a better overall content strategy.

Optimize Conversions 

A good website can attract lots of visitors. A great website, however, can also convert those visitors into clients.

You can use analytics to see how visitors end up on your website, which pages they visit, how much time they spend on a page, and which pages they go to afterward. All this data can be used to create supercharged pages that will give your visitors exactly what they’re looking for and compel them to take immediate action.

Final Words

A professionally designed and well-maintained website is the foundation of all your digital marketing efforts. It’s very cost-effective considering all the new clients and business growth it can provide.

Keep in mind, you can’t expect much growth just from random site traffic. You also have to have a solid SEO and marketing strategy so that you can effectively target markets who are more likely to convert. 

Make no mistake, revamping an outdated website isn’t an easy task. But once your tech is up to date, and after adopting a solid digital strategy, it will do most of the legwork for you – 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, all-year-round. 

We have the skills and experience to help you develop and maintain the best financial advisory website for your exact needs. We understand the financial industry and digital marketing inside out. 

If you want to grow or streamline your business the smart way, give us a call at (216) 894 5193, email Dan Stark at dan@altastreet.com, or use our online form.

Categories
SEO

How to Save Your Financial Website From Google Penalties

Google is, without a doubt, the most popular search engine in the world. If you want your website to be successful and increase organic traffic, you have to keep Google happy.

This isn’t a bad thing at all though. Google tries its best to give people what they want. It regularly updates its algorithms and search guidelines to make sure people have easy access to the best content on the Internet. If you follow the spirit of Google’s ever changing guidelines, you’ll be making your visitors happy too.

Since financial websites rely on gaining people’s trust to convert visitors into clients, it’s in your best interest to provide the best and most informative content possible. Higher traffic is always good, but it won’t necessarily translate into better conversions. 

Google also hands out manual penalties when its reviewers find something sneaky on your site. However, when your site gets a penalty, you’ll be notified through Google Search Console. You can also request to have it removed once you’ve fixed the violation.

If you don’t want to play nice with Google, and decide to go against the grain, your website rankings will go tumbling down. Their goal isn’t to punish you though. They want to elevate content that its users will like, and push pages content that contains nothing but meaningless keywords and spam down the rankings.

A Brief History of Important Google Updates

In 2010, Google rolled out its Panda update to combat shallow content that was largely written by high-volume content farms. Its goal was to reward unique and compelling content that is typically written by experts and enthusiasts.

Google rolled out its Penguin update in 2012. It’s gone through many updates since then with the primary goal of downgrading sites that try to trick Google with low quality backlinks through manipulative link building techniques. 

2013 saw the introduction of the Hummingbird algorithm which is designed to better understand the user’s intent. Instead of just serving up results based on the keywords alone, it tries to derive more context out of the string of keywords to give more relevant results. This makes searching the web more conversational, with the user’s search string being treated like a question instead of being just a combination of words.

In 2018, Google rolled out what’s commonly referred to as the Medic update. This significantly affected YMYL or ‘Your Money Your Life’ pages. Websites that take on topics that directly affect a person’s well-being and happiness, such as health and finance websites, were put under much more scrutiny. 

In order to show up on the first pages of search results, YMYL websites need to display a high level of Expertise, Authority and Trustworthiness, or E-A-T. Websites with possibly misleading content are relegated to the bottom of search rankings.

Now that we have a basic understanding of what Google likes, let’s take a closer look at what you can do to avoid Google’s wrath.

Don’t Copy Content

While Google doesn’t necessarily penalize your site for copied content, it filters duplicate content, as well as content that’s appreciably similar to other blocks of text that’s already on other pages. 

Google sends pages with duplicate, spun, and low-value thin content to the very bottom of search results pages, and in some cases, completely removes these pages from the search results. It also doesn’t matter much if you cite the sources of your copied content.

You may also have duplicate pages within your site that’s automatically generated by your CMS or content management system. In these cases, Google doesn’t know which page it should index and rank, which will eventually dilute your search ranking. To avoid this, you can just tell Google which page is the original version by setting up 301 redirects, adding a canonical attribute or robot meta tags.

Avoid Link Spam

Since the Penguin update, Google has been very strict when it comes to link schemes and manipulative backlinks. 

Some examples of this include:

  • Low quality backlinks
  • Unnatural outbound links or selling outbound links 
  • Excessive reciprocal links

 

To avoid getting penalized, you can audit your backlinks by checking your Links Report to see who is linking to your pages. You can easily disavow any low quality backlinks you find. 

If you allow guest posts or user comments on your pages, check to see that they’re not spamming your pages with outbound links. Otherwise, Google might think that you’re selling links as part of a link building scheme. 

Partnering with other pages to trade a large number of links back and forth is also frowned upon. Of course, exchanging links and developing relationships with other websites is part of maintaining a successful website. But it has to be done in an authentic and natural way. 

Keyword Stuffing and Hiding Keywords

Adding an unnecessary number of keywords to a page is one of the oldest tricks in the book. This resulted in lots of pages with poorly written content that don’t truly provide valuable information getting to the top of search results pages. 

Google has since stamped these pages out of existence when they started implementing the Panda update. Nowadays, pages have to have a high quality score in order to get higher rankings. 

You also can’t trick Google by adding hidden or invisible keywords somewhere on the page. You’ll be given a manual penalty if a reviewer finds unethically hidden keywords on your site.

Cloaking 

Similar to hidden keywords, cloaking involves showing search engines a different version of a page while users get a completely different page. One example would be if you show a complete page to Google’s crawlers to index, but users have to sign up for something in order to access the same content.

To check if your content is cloaked, go to your Search Console and click on Fetch as Google under Crawl. The page that Google fetches should be the same as what you see when you load the page on your browser.

Protect Your Site From Hackers

If your site gets hacked, the hacker can replace pages or redirect users to a different page. This will set off Google’s alarm bells and you’ll be dinged for the suspicious activity.In most cases, you’ll get a notification that your site has been hacked, but there will be times when the hacking won’t be easy to detect. 

If you notice a decline in traffic or some other strange behavior in your analytics, try to get to the bottom of the issue as soon as possible. If all else fails, make sure you have backups ready to go and redeploy your site so you can start over with a clean slate.

Be Mobile Friendly

This isn’t really a penalty, but since Google completely switched over to mobile-first indexing in 2020, your site will not show up on the first page of search results if your site isn’t mobile friendly. To avoid this issue, make sure your site is responsive and shows up properly on different screen sizes. You might also want to consider a separate mobile site if your current site is too complex to adapt to an all-in-one responsive design.

You should also avoid intrusive pop-ups that block the content of your pages. Google has been cracking down on interstitial pop-ups since 2017.

Final Thoughts

Keeping up with Google to make sure you avoid algorithm and manual penalties is a never ending process. You can make it easier on yourself by running a complete audit on your site to take care of all the major issues and familiarize yourself with current best practices. 

If you want it done quickly and thoroughly, it’s best to find a team that specializes in your niche to sort out your SEO, web design, and content issues. While some issues require just a bit of research and common sense, others take a lot of expertise to understand, unravel, and repair.

Categories
SEO

7 SEO Tips that Will Boost Your Financial Website’s Ranking

No matter how much time and money you put into developing and designing your website, you won’t get any meaningful traffic if you don’t work on your SEO strategy. 

A website is an amazing marketing tool that can constantly bring in new leads and clients. But before this can happen, you need to make sure that people can see your pages when they search for financial information.

You also have to regularly update your SEO strategy since search engines are always updating their search algorithms. If you’re not continuously improving, your competitors will completely dominate the first few search results pages and will have much better chances of getting those precious clicks.

If you want to quickly improve your financial website’s organic traffic, here are 7 SEO tips that you should implement immediately.

Produce Content That Gives You Credibility

In 2018, Google rolled out a huge update that affected lots of websites in the financial and health space. Commonly known as the ‘Medic’ update, it puts websites and pages dealing with topics that can directly affect a person’s overall happiness, health and financial security under much closer scrutiny. SEO professionals often refer to these types of pages as YMYL or ‘Your Money, Your Life’ pages. 

If you want to improve your search engine ranking, your content needs to provide valuable information that people will find useful. Your website also needs to be able to display a higher level of Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness or E-A-T before it will show up on the first few pages of search results. Using old tactics like keyword stuffing and poorly written spam content won’t even make you show up on Google’s radar anymore.

Your content needs to be developed by professional copywriters who are experts and have a lot of experience in their respective fields. Pages with higher word counts are also more effective at getting to the top of search results. 

Make Your Site Mobile Friendly

Roughly half of the world’s web traffic comes from mobile users. Google also recognizes this fact and has switched over to mobile-first indexing as of 2020. This means that if you want your pages to rank higher, they have to be mobile friendly. You can use Google’s own Mobile Friendly Test to check how easily mobile users can view your site, as well as how well search engines can index it.

You can improve your site’s mobile friendliness by updating your website and adopting a mobile-first design philosophy. Websites that were primarily designed with desktop users in mind will have more difficulty adapting and adjusting to smaller screens. It’s often much easier to scale up a mobile optimized website to a larger display. When you redesign your website, you can make sure your user interface, website navigation, call-to-action buttons, and content are all easily accessible and usable no matter what device your visitors are using.

Improve Page Load Times

Improving page speed has been a top priority for webmasters ever since the days of dialup. Even in today’s digital landscape where fiber Internet and fast mobile connections are ubiquitous, it’s still extremely important. You never know whether your visitors are stuck with  spotty mobile Internet or are using slower machines and mobile devices.

Page speed is one of the ranking factors that Google measures. This means that slow pages that are filled with large unoptimized photos and buggy code will rank lower in search results. 

In addition, if your pages don’t show up instantly, people will think there’s something broken and will quickly hit the back button. Search engines will see this and consider it as a bounce. In general, higher bounce rates will lower your search engine ranking.

Optimize Your Local SEO Strategy

Local SEO is extremely beneficial to businesses that deal with clients and customers face to face. Financial advisors, in particular, are better off targeting local audiences first since these are the people who are more likely to do business with you. It’s natural for people to be more trusting of people who they know they can reach out to easily, especially when it concerns their finances.

Focusing on local SEO also gives you the added benefit of not having to compete so much for keywords on a national or global level with businesses and websites that have much larger budgets. 

To get started with local SEO, you need to make sure your updated address and phone numbers are listed prominently not only on your website, but also on other business directories such as Google My Business and Yelp. This ensures that people who live and work near your place of business can see your company when they search for topics and keywords related to your services. They’ll also be able to see your exact location on digital map services like Google Maps. This also helps you target mobile users since search engines can easily pinpoint their locations and match more relevant search results from their surrounding area.

Claiming your Google My Business and Yelp page also means people will be able to post reviews about your business. If you are able to provide great service and manage bad reviews by promptly responding to them, your audience will trust you more.

Another way to better target local audiences is by producing content that’s more relevant to people in your city and state. Discussing local regulations and situations will resonate more with people in your local market and will make you a more recognized authority in the area. You’ll also be able to target keywords that fewer competitors are even considering – giving you an edge when it comes to discoverability. 

Audit and Update Your On-Page SEO

If you haven’t done much to improve your website SEO in a while, the first thing you should do is perform a thorough audit. This will help you identify all the technical on-page SEO issues that you can easily fix to get a significant boost in your search engine ranking. 

Here are just a couple of on-page SEO elements you can optimize: 

  • Meta tags 
  • Descriptions 
  • Titles and headings
  • URL structure 
  • Image ALT text
  • Internal and external links
  • Adding structured data for rich snippets

 

All of these seemingly small and minor improvements will make your website easier to index and will help search engines understand your pages better. When done properly, on-page SEO will push your pages further up the SERP (Search Engine Results Rages).

Use More Infographics and Explainer Videos

Aside from text-based content, you can also attract new audiences by using more images and videos on your pages. If your goal is to educate and inform your target market, you can add infographics and explainer videos to make your content more dynamic and engaging. 

When you have really attractive and intriguing multimedia content, you’ll be more visible on the ‘Images’ and ‘Videos’ search tabs. If you’re one of the very few websites that tackles a particular subject or keyword using infographics and explainer videos, you can get way ahead of your competition in the search rankings. And when it comes to videos, you have a good chance of showing up on the top of the search results page when you use video rich snippets. 

Get Higher Quality Backlinks

It’s hard to build the credibility that search engines look for to rank your website higher if you’re just starting out. But you can speed up this process by reaching out to already established sites and asking them to link to your content. 

When Google sees your links on well-known websites, it sees it as a signal that your site also offers valuable content. In a way, some of the credibility that the well-known site has gets transferred over to your site. 

It may be hard to convince other websites to link to your page especially if you’re relatively unknown even in your own industry. But if you have lots of unique content that incorporates your own personal experiences and specialized expertise on a particular subject, you’ll have a much better chance of actually getting those precious backlinks. 

You can also attract new backlinks if you’ve got really useful infographics, white papers, or additional multimedia content like explainer videos. You’re basically doing all the hard work for these pages, all in exchange for a link to your own site.

If your company has important new updates or deals, make sure to send out press releases to local news outlets and websites that feature topics in your space.