You’ve probably heard about SEO – search engine optimization – and its importance for businesses that want to use the internet to reach prospective clients.
In addition to “regular” search engine optimization, there’s a sub-discipline called “local SEO” that’s important for businesses that only operate in their local area (as opposed to an e-commerce business that can sell products to anyone in the country), which includes your financial advisor business.
While many of the best practices that fall under the local SEO umbrella are also part of any effective SEO strategy for financial advisors, there are several that are specific to location-based businesses that need to be followed to help increase the chances of them being seen in local search results.
Most importantly, these will be high-intent searches such as “financial advisor near me” that have a high likelihood of converting into at least a phone call since they’re explicitly looking for a financial advisor.
These are several SEO factors that search engines use to determine which websites show up on the SERP (Search Engine Results Page). Read this article to learn some of the local SEO best practices that are important for any financial advisory practice to follow so that their website gets shown to these high-intent prospects:
1. Create/claim and verify your Google Business Profile
To be able to control how your practice shows up in local Google searches, you need to create (or claim, if a listing for your business already exists) and verify a Google Business Profile.
Creating/claiming a profile is done through Google Maps and can be done on a computer or via the mobile app. The process is slightly different depending on device type, but will probably be easiest to do on your desktop:
- Sign in to the Google account you want to use to manage the profile. Use an account you can share with your team such as email@example.com. If you don’t yet have a Google account associated with the email you want to use, you’ll have to create one.
- Search for your practice’s name and if it shows up, select the listing.
- Click the “claim this business” option on the sidebar
- If your practice doesn’t show, click the map menu and choose “Add Your Business”
Once you’ve created/claimed your profile, you’ll have to verify that you own the business. This process can take several days. Potential verification methods include phone/text, email, video recording, video call, or postcard, but not all are available for all businesses in all locations. After the verification is confirmed, you’ll be able to edit the information for your practice in the profile.
2. Set up Google Search Console
Google Search Console is one of the most important free marketing tools financial advisors can leverage for executing an SEO strategy to rank higher. It lets you see what Google and Google search thinks about your website. It will help you see if your SEO efforts are paying off, ensure Google sees the pages you want it to see, and help you troubleshoot potential issues such as low-quality links.
Search Console is a key tool for being successful with local and website SEO efforts and will be of significant help in getting your website to rank higher.
How to Access Google Search Console
To get access to your website’s data, you’ll need to prove ownership through one of several verification methods. For most websites, this will be straightforward, especially if you’re already using Google Analytics.
3. Make sure your website is fast
In recent years, Google has made site speed a significant ranking factor, meaning that having a fast-loading website is critical to all of your SEO efforts.
Fortunately, it’s easy to see what problems, if any, Google sees with your site’s performance and to provide recommendations to the web developer you’re working with. Simply run the link you want to analyze through the PageSpeed Insights tool to get the report.
Keep in mind that Google rates each page independently, so if you have a fast homepage but slow service pages, the service pages will struggle to rank and can even hurt your site rankings entirely.
Additionally, Google prioritizes performance on mobile devices mobile connections are generally slower, so make sure you keep the mobile experience in mind when working on your site.
4. Optimize homepage and service pages for location-specific keywords
Your website’s homepage is typically the most powerful page you will have, but many practices overlook its SEO usefulness and focus the homepage around their brand or a non-optimized pitch message.
Instead, you should include your location and service-related keywords in key elements of the homepage page, as well as your service pages, to help your website rank higher.
For example, this is what an optimized homepage title tag would look like for a practice that serves the Chicago area: Chicago Financial Advisor | ABC Wealth Management. The location and business type go in the front while the business name goes in the back.
For service pages, this company would use title tags like Retirement Planning | Chicago Area | ABC Wealth Management that also include the location name.
You also want to ensure the headings and subheadings include relevant keywords for your business and location and include a “meta description,” which is the descriptive snippet that you Google shows in search engine results to potential website visitors. The meta descriptions should be used in the text on the page as well. Otherwise, Google may ignore it and use a different text snippet that it feels appropriate.
How to Check on-page SEO
As a general rule, your page title should be between 40 and 60 characters long and the meta descriptions should be around 140 characters long. Aim for about 600-700 words for your homepage and service pages and at least 500 words for content such as blog posts (though increasingly, Google is looking for about 2,000 words in what it considers high-quality content). A couple of SEO tips for an on-page SEO technique is if you have videos on your website, always include the transcript so search engines can better determine what each video is about. Another SEO strategy is to include FAQs on your main services pages. Not only does this help with on-page SEO (and hopefully your search rankings), but this also helps potential clients become more familiar with your practice and services.
5. Ensure your business name, address, and phone are accurate
One of the most important concepts in local SEO is “NAP,” which stands for Name - Address - Phone Number. These need to be consistent across your practice’s online presence and easily found. This includes your website, social media pages, Google Business listing, and any other directories you may be listed in (more on these later).
In the case of your website, your primary location’s address and phone number should be listed in the footer as well as on your contact page. This will allow the potential clients to quickly and easily locate contact information. Having your on-page SEO polished will help potential clients find how to contact you.
6. Optimize contact page SEO for financial advisors
In addition to making sure your address and contact information is accurate on your contact page, there are several other steps you can take that can help you rank in local searches.
One is including an embedded map of your location. This is a simple task for an experienced web developer that can help potential clients find you and decide if your location is close to them. If you have multiple locations, be sure to create a separate page for each one even if they’re in the same city. Make sure to use that location’s address and to give it a different name (for example, appending the city name or neighborhood name to your firm name) and phone number to help ensure that Google doesn’t confuse it with your main location.
These are also good pages to add “schema markup,” which is a type of additional code that helps control how your website appears in search results. Though having it does not directly affect your potential Google rankings, its presence makes it easier for Google’s robot to go through your site and identify what information is important.
Additionally, the extra information that could be shown if you have this code can increase the chances of someone clicking on your listing instead of a competitor’s, increasing traffic through an improved click-through rate. There are several types of this markup that can be used for different purposes. For an advisor practice, the most suitable one is LocalBusiness. Like optimizing page speed or implementing a map, you’ll want some help from a developer or SEO professional to implement it.
7. Set up listings in secondary directories
Besides Google, there are many other sites out there that people use to find businesses offering services they need. While being listed on local directory sites doesn’t help your Google rankings directly, they can be an incremental source of leads and can be important for managing your online reputation.
Some of the highest-potential directories include:
- Bing places - https://www.bingplaces.com/
- Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/business/help/473994396650734?id=939256796236247
- Yelp - https://www.yelp.com/
- Nextdoor - https://business.nextdoor.com/en-us/small-business
- Yellowpages - https://www.yellowpages.com/
As mentioned above, make sure you use the same name, address, and phone number across all of these listings.
Want to Grow Your Advisory Practice?
If you’re looking to get more leads, close more prospects, run your practice more efficiently, or serve your clients better, Brookstone Capital Management offers the services and solutions to help you achieve those goals.
Our turnkey asset management platform, practice management solutions, training programs, and Retirement Wealth Academy marketing program were designed to help independent financial advisors scale their practice and grow their AUM.
With over 1,000+ investment advisors doing business in all 50 states, we are a leader in the independent financial advisory space. Contact us today to learn how we can help you grow your independent advisory practice!
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