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The Basics of SEO for Financial Advisors

Untangling the secrets of SEO can be a real challenge. Even if you spend countless hours learning through articles, tutorials and videos, you still need to test out what works and what doesn’t which can take years to master.

What makes it even harder is the fact that search algorithms are constantly changing. What worked 2 or 3 years ago isn’t guaranteed to work today. You have to constantly be on top of current trends to stay ahead of the game.

Obviously, if you’re running a business, you’re better off hiring professionals to take care of your website’s SEO. You’ll see results much faster, giving your practice a better chance at surviving even through difficult times.

Why Financial Advisors Need a Good SEO Strategy

Simply having a website for your financial advisor website doesn’t automatically mean people will start flocking to your door. In order for your website to do its job properly, people need to be able to find you first. 

Without a proper SEO strategy, there’s no guarantee that your website will even show up in search results even if people search for you or your company’s name. 

If you’re not showing up as the top search result when people try to find out more about your practice, your reputation and credibility might take a hit. People will wonder why you haven’t made such an important part of your online identity a priority and might make unfounded assumptions about how you conduct business.

Even worse is if one of your competitor’s pages rank higher up the search results over your own home page. You’re essentially giving up leads and potential new business that is essential to your firm’s growth. 

With a well planned SEO strategy, you’ll be able to improve your brand’s visibility and increase awareness for it. People who have never even heard of your practice will be able to discover you when your links show up in their search results. The ultimate goal is to turn your website into a lead-generation machine that easily converts website visitors into prospects.

SEO for Financial Advisors is More Difficult

Compared to other industries, SEO for financial advisors is more challenging. Not only is the industry highly regulated when it comes to advertising and marketing, but Google itself puts any website that deals with financial topics under much more scrutiny. 

These are significant issues that even seasoned SEO professionals will have difficulty addressing. They won’t be able to use many of their go-to SEO tactics because it might draw the attention of regulatory bodies or run afoul Google’s guidelines. 

For example, they’ll have to make sure their ad copy for any paid ads are all above board. They’ll also need to be very careful about how testimonials and reviews are worded.

It’s more difficult to rank financial websites on Google because it falls under the ‘Your Money Your Life’ category. Google wants to make sure that it provides the most accurate information to its users, especially when it comes to websites that can directly affect their happiness and quality of life. Since your pages tackle financial topics that affect the reader’s financial future and stability, you’ll have to show Google that you’re a credible source, which can take a lot of time and effort.

This is why it’s important to find an SEO professional who specializes in the financial industry and has lots of experience working with different financial advisors. 

If you’re doing everything in-house, you’ll want to run things by your compliance officer first. If there are any doubts about compliance, you’ll have to rethink your campaign which takes up more time. 

You’ll also need to continuously pump out high quality content that people will want to click on before you can start moving up to the first few pages of the search results.

Here are some of the most important things to remember when working on any financial website’s SEO.

Establish Credibility Using E.A.T.

In order to pass Google’s scrutiny, your financial website has to establish its credibility. You can build this up by showing that you have the expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness to talk about financial topics. 

If you run a search for a common financial topic, you’ll probably notice that the top 3 to 5 search results are from very well established websites. This is because Google recognizes that these are highly credible sources and are able to provide the most accurate information.

How exactly can you achieve similar results? You’ll need great content that offers real value to the reader. 

It can take some time to build up your site’s credibility. But if you’re on top of your content strategy, there will be occasions where you’re one of the first to discuss a topic which gives you a better chance of hitting the first page of the search results.

Build Up Backlinks

Another very effective way you can build up your credibility is to reach out to more established websites and ask them to link to your website or one of your pages. When Google sees your links in a website that already has a good reputation, it signals that your page is also a trustworthy source. 

In a way, some of the credibility is transferred to or becomes associated with your site. SEO professionals typically refer to this as ‘link juice’.

This is so effective that a lot of SEO professionals try to game the system and create lots of different pages that link to each other in what is known as a private blog network or PBN. You want to avoid this type of low quality link building because if you get caught, you’ll be given a penalty which will send your pages further down the rankings.

Target Long-tail Keywords

Keywords in the financial niche are highly competitive and there are tons of websites vying for the top spot. If you’re a smaller operation, the best you can hope for is to at least get to the first few pages of the search results. 

The alternative is to target long-tail keywords. Instead of targeting a common keyword like ‘student loan’, you can develop content that discusses ‘how to pay of student loans faster’. 

Now, that phrase is just an example, and there is probably already a lot of competition for it. But you can look for other phrases, questions or angles that are still very relevant to the main keyword that you’re targeting. 

You can use different variations of a phrase or long-tail keyword because Google can understand semantically similar keywords and will still include your page in the search results if it is relevant to the search query.

Focus on Your Local Market

When Google chooses which pages to display in a search result, it also considers the user’s location. It understands that if you’re searching for a pizza restaurant, you’re probably not looking for a place that’s too far away. 

Unless you’re an extremely large practice, you probably aren’t registered in every state. You’ll have a much better chance of reaching the first page if you focus a good portion of your content on locally relevant topics and come up with a local SEO strategy. 

You should also make sure your website contains important contact information such as your address and phone number so that it will include your website when people search for ‘financial advisors near me’ or ‘financial advisors’ + ‘city’.

Even better is if you can claim and set up your Google My Business and Yelp pages, and sign up for different online directories and listings. This increases your chances of showing up in local search results.

Optimize Your On-Page SEO

Aside from content, you also need to pay attention to your on-page SEO. This involves optimizing the different elements and technical aspects of your pages to make sure search engines and users can easily understand what the page is about. 

On-page elements such as titles, descriptions, URL structure and metadata all have to be descriptive and directly relevant to the page’s content. 

Imagine a scenario where a user sees one of your links in the search results, but the accompanying page description is vague and unappealing. They’re just going to skip your page and look for something more interesting. Even if your content is exactly what they were looking for, they’ll never know it because your title and descriptions were created as an afterthought.

Find Ways to Reduce Bounce Rates

Bounce rate is a measure of the number of users who open your page from the search results and quickly exit without interacting with anything on your page. This sends a signal to Google that the user wasn’t satisfied with what he/she found.

Lower bounce rates will increase your search ranking, while a significantly high bounce rate tells Google that something is wrong and that your page is not relevant to the search.

One of the most common reasons people bounce is unoptimized page speed. If your pages take more than a couple of seconds to show up, there’s a good chance that the user will click the back button and move on to the next result. So you want to take steps to make sure your pages load as quickly as possible.

Another reason why people leave a page is due to bad web design. They might not like the design at all, or your UI and navigation may be difficult to use. Mobile compatibility and mobile-friendliness is another issue that could affect your bounce rates. In any of these cases, you’ll need to think about updating or completely redesigning your website.

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