Hearsay Systems and software maker Moz say Edward Jones is the best-performing wealth management firm as measured by search engine optimization (or SEO).
The two firms gathered data for a week in April based on the use of phrases like “financial advisor,” “financial planning” and “wealth management” in the largest 5,000 U.S. cities and tracked the organic, local and paid results.
“Showing up near the top of a search-engine results page is the new imperative," the report says. "Brands that don’t invest in SEO technologies and best practices are at a massive disadvantage. They are missing a huge opportunity.”
In local SEO, Edward Jones had “a dominant lead,” capturing almost 40% of total click share. This result included more than 7,000 of its roughly 15,000 advisors.
Morgan Stanley was the top firm in paid positioning, garnering nearly 20% of click share; Wells Fargo Advisors had 9%. According to Hearsay and Moz, UBS and Chase did well in paid search but not in organic or local search.
Edward Jones topped the overall category with 14.3% of click share vs. 7.9% for Morgan Stanley and 3.5% for Wells Fargo.
“I don’t think we were surprised. We are very pleased with the results,” said Jim Olsen, head of marketing and communications for Edward Jones.
“Our business [model] puts advisors in local communities where they can serve clients. We make sure we have a solid digital presence to connect clients with the right advisors at the right time.”
For its part, Morgan Stanley says it relies on a “comprehensive multi-pronged approach for paid search at both the corporate and regional level, and [is] in the process of ramping this up at the individual level, which is a unique program for our financial advisors to support their business development initiatives and drive customers to an advisor aligned to their needs.”
Of the top-25 ranked sites for organic search, just five are owned by wealth management firms, according to the study. "This leaves more than 80% of available consumer attention to firms that, with the correct technology, can improve their rankings," the authors wrote.
“We’re seeing a steady uptick in consumers going online, especially on mobile devices, to find a local financial advisor or financial planning information from an expert source,” said Greg Kroleski, Hearsay data manager, in a statement.
“Wealth management firms that don’t invest in best practices and technologies to boost their advisors’ search positions are missing out on a massive group of high-interest prospects. With this report, we wanted to find out which companies are doing it right, and how,” he explained.
The study shared the following four strategies for SEO success:
- Invest in a combination of organic, local and paid search;
- Leverage local advisor sites and online listings, including properly configured local websites;
- Keep in mind that paid search (advertising) alone has no guarantees;
- See organic search as untapped opportunity.
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