Financial advisers still underestimate the power and importance of search engine optimisation (SEO) to attract traffic to their practice websites and are losing new business as a result, says US-based i-Impact Group president and founder Claudio O. Pannunzio.
Pannunzio describes the most popular search engines – such as Google, Bing and Yahoo –
as the librarians of the Internet. Their core task is to collect information and catalogue it in a way that helps people immediately find what they are searching for.
To store information, every search engine employs an algorithm, which advisers should think of it as a secret recipe that turns information into search results, he says.
Therefore, SEO is the process of ensuring that adviser websites possess all the ingredients that match search engines’ recipes (algorithms). For financial advisers, search results are very important as they increase the odds that their business is easily found on the Internet, Pannunzio says.
The correct approach in using social media is to establish an ongoing and consistent conversation that drives traffic to the adviser’s website with the ultimate goal of converting visitors into clients. In marketing lingo, this is defined as a hub-and-spoke model, he says.
Pannunzio has four key suggestions and zero-cost ideas to create an SEO strategy that will help advisers achieve an effective online presence:
- First, go to Google and set up the free Google Analytics to find out the most common terms or search words people use to find a financial adviser. Make sure these terms are included in the practice website and social media interactions. The more specific the adviser gets with their keywords, the better the chances of ranking high in search engines. The key words should be placed strategically throughout the website content. For example, if the key phrase is “comfortable retirement”, make sure to create content about it and provide ideas and tips on how to achieve this objective.
- Advisers can optimise their website for local search by ensuring they have a detailed listing of their practice on Google Local and other engines.
- If advisers do not have a blog yet, they should consider creating one as way to increase their website ranking in the search engines and boost brand exposure. Managing a blog can be time consuming. However, it will help to attract potential clients.
- Advisers should consider using videos on their website or blog. It will achieve two key strategic goals: increase the time visitors spend on the site, and boost SEO ranking.