3 SEO Tips Based on 1,500+ Conversations with Fee-Only Financial Advisors
As the founder of FeeOnlyNetwork.com (exclusive to financial advisors meeting NAPFA’s high standards), I talk with as many members as I can about their online marketing to ensure our service fully supports and enhances their efforts. Each call covers ways to improve search engine optimization (SEO) and online reputation. In reflecting on more than 1,500 conversations in the past 7 years, I found myself offering the same recommendations to nearly every advisor. In most cases, these are small changes that can have a significant impact to their online visibility, but will likely not require a webmaster. Let’s get right to it.
- Say “who you are, what you do, and where you do it” on your homepage
This is basic, but surprisingly overlooked. Google and other search engines strive to present results that are most relevant to the searched phrase. A major consideration for ranking is website content. Simply put, if you want to rank for a phrase like “financial planner Atlanta GA,” you have to have a website that is considered a relevant resource about financial planning services in the Atlanta, GA, area.
An easy way for a firm to establish relevancy is with a structured paragraph on their homepage that states their name and/or firm name, the types of services they provide, and the city and surrounding areas that they serve. For example:
William Foxburn is a fee-only financial planner in Atlanta, GA, serving the downtown, Marietta, and Alpharetta areas. Foxburn Financial Group specializes in financial planning, retirement planning, and investment management.
This straightforward content provides the information that prospects might be looking for first and allows advisors to naturally include valuable search engine keywords, providing a foundation for getting meaningful rankings. Homepage content should assure the visitor that they are on a website that meets their basic expectations and leads them to click deeper.
- Optimize your professional profiles as you would your website
Advisor profiles on sites like FeeOnlyNetwork.com, NAPFA.org, XYPlanningNetwork.com, GarrettPlanningNetwork.com, PlannerSearch.org (FPA), and LetsMakeAplan.com (CFP) and others can be a planner’s greatest asset in growing their online footprint and boosting their website rankings. In fact, some professional profile pages might rank higher than an advisor’s own website because of quality links, fresh content, and social media prominence.
To take advantage of these profiles, advisors should complete all information fields, such as their biography, firm information, website link, services, etc., and work in the same keywords that they are targeting for their website. An efficient way to do this is to begin the biography with the same structured paragraph that I recommended for their homepage: who you are, what you do, and where you do it.
If the profile text editor permits adding links within the content, consider this to be an SEO golden opportunity—advisors should work their most valuable keyword phrase into the content and make those words a link to their website. FeeOnlyNetwork.com implements this strategy for our Premium members. This will help the search engines understand what their site is about and greatly improve the ranking for specific terms.
- Link your website to important outside web pages in a meaningful way
Once they have optimized their professional profiles, I encourage advisors to emulate the linking strategy that we use on FeeOnlyNetwork.com. Our Premium advisor profile pages are the hub of all information that showcases credibility and expertise. This can include links to websites for social media, designations and associations, media mentions, quotes, articles, press releases, and community involvement.
Advisors shouldn’t just link to the homepages of their associations (like NAPFA.org, XYPlanningNetwork.com, PlannerSearch.org) from their websites. Instead, they should link directly to their profile page or listing within the organization’s directory, using the full web address of that page to be the target link from their website, so that it navigates directly to their profile.
This strategy will help the search engines connect the dots between similar and relevant information about an advisor that is spread across the Internet, making all of their information more visible and valuable. Everybody “Googles” everybody today, and this strategy will help an advisor’s important Web pages to become more prominent to prospects, clients, and anyone looking for more information about them.
The bottom line
Never underestimate the power of basic search engine optimization (SEO) and online reputation management. To summarize:
- Include quality original content that includes specific keywords throughout a firm’s site – most importantly on the homepage.
- Optimize the content of professional profiles as you would your own website.
- Link together all information that shows an advisor’s credibility and expertise (professional associations, designations, articles, media mentions, quotes, press releases, community involvement, etc.)
Taking time to make a few changes now can put you ahead of your competition and set a foundation for long-term online marketing success.
Allan Slider is the founder of FeeOnlyNetwork.com and an industry expert in search engine optimization and online reputation management. FeeOnlyNetwork.com elevates the visibility of fee-only financial advisors, individually and collectively, in a systematic and powerful way.