“We believe that before anyone walks into any meeting or does anything they put your name or your information into Google,” Christina Bertinelli, a senior partner at the communications and digital-first agency Lumentus, told our sister site ThinkAdvisor. “What they find will be their first impression. Their experience with your digital self is one that’s extremely intimate and fast. So before you walk into a meeting, they come in with these preconceived ideas.”
An analysis of Google keywords found that investors are increasingly using search engines as part of their due diligence process.
Between 2014 and 2015, key search terms such as “hedge fund manager,” “hedge fund,” “venture capital,” “CEO” and “managing director” increased between 25 percent and 50 percent.
“With more than 5 billion queries a day, managing the first page of results on Google, Yahoo and Bing is more crucial than ever,” Bertinelli wrote in a recent blog post.
ThinkAdvisor talked with Bertinelli, who specializes in digital reputation management at Lumentus, to find out how financial advisors can better manage their Google presence.
Lumentus works with a range of financial services firms from large broker-dealers to hedge funds and private equity firms, and from startup funds to $10 billion-plus funds.
“The financial services world has been very hesitant to be online,” Bertinelli said. “It’s something that they were not early adapters. Quite often it’s not that there’s something negative [in search results], it’s that there’s nothing.”
Bertinelli has some tips on how to avoid what she calls that “void of information,” as well as improve what information does show up in an online search.
“Ninety-two percent of people only go to the first page of Google, and most people only go to the top four or five listings,” she said. “So the more of those top four or five [listings] you can own, the stronger you will be.”
Here are Bertinelli’s top six recommendations:
1. Create a LinkedIn profile.
“Depending on firm policy, and I know there’s different rules across the board, I highly recommend a LinkedIn profile,” Bertinelli said. “It is a recognized, business-first directory. It will show up [in search results] because of what we call a ‘page authority.’ When anyone searches your name, something’s going to show up on page one.”
And a LinkedIn profile is a good way to control what shows up.
“It’s a way someone can find out who you are, what firm you work for, what your pedigree is, where you went to school,” she added.
2. Have an open website.
“I know a lot of these firms will give you a templates to have a website,” Bertinelli said. “Have a place where you can be contacted, put a biography of who your group is, what you stand for.”
The “more professional your website can be” the better, Bertinelli said.
3. Optimize your profiles and your website.
“If you put the right search engine optimization in your website you will show up for terms [in search engines’ results],” Bertinelli said.
This works especially well for financial advisors working in a niche area, she added.
Bertinelli worked with a group of advisors who specialized in LGBTQ advising. She worked with them on SEO for their website and LinkedIn pages to help them show up in LGBTQ search results.
4. Own your Twitter handle.
“I would recommend owning your Twitter handle,” Bertinelli said. “Try to get the name of your practice. You may not want to use it right now but you don’t know if you’re going to want to in the future, so own that handle.”
5. Put up content, consistently.
“There’s three things a search engine will look for: relevance, reach and recency,” Bertinelli said. “If you have something negative out there that is showing up in your search, the best way to get rid of it is by putting up content.”
6. Don’t “set it and forget it.”
“My recommendation is to be aware of it,” she said. “It’s not a ‘set it and forget it.’ You have to actively manage it and put content out – whether you put out newsletters, white papers, profiles.”
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