As a financial advisor in today’s digital economy, if your services cannot easily be discovered via search engines, you are doing prospective clients—in your community and beyond—a grand disservice by neglecting to establish a potentially powerful online sales pipeline. Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of increasing visibility in organic search engine results to improve rankings, drive traffic, increase brand awareness and gain an edge over the competition. While you won’t achieve your ideal search ranking in one sitting, here are 10 actions every advisor should take to get started:
1. Make sure your internal links are strong. Links indicate importance and strength. They point to different pages on your website and help both users and web crawlers navigate through the site. A website needs strong internal linking to maximize the strength of the most important pages because pages such as the product, service or contact pages should only be a few clicks away from the homepage.
2. Use keywords to determine relevance. A keyword is a word or string of words that users type into a search engine to find web content that matches what they are looking for. However, you want to avoid a high keyword density — the number of words on a page divided by the number of instances of a specific keyword.
3. Review the U.S. Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) and Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) regulations. Recent updates to SEC and FINRA regulations give advisors more room to grow and increase their presence online. It is important to know the recent updates before starting a digital strategy.
4. Keep yourself current with Google algorithm updates. Since Google’s search algorithm is constantly changing, it is important to continually update website content and adapt to the evolving playing field.
5. Make your website mobile-friendly. Websites and pages that are not optimized for mobile see a significant decrease in rankings in mobile search results. Google gives priority on mobile search engine results pages (SERPs) to businesses with mobile-responsive sites and mobile apps. If your website is not optimized for mobile, it may lose quality leads and traffic.