Appearing on the first page of a Google search is the goal of every advisor, but with over 200 ranking factors, knowing where to start can be a challenge. To help, we’ve looked at the SEO success of our own website here at Twenty Over Ten and several financial advisor websites and boiled it down to 3 actionable steps to help anyone improve their chances of ranking on Google.
First off, it’s important to understand that appearing on the first page of Google is challenging. In fact, almost 90 percent of websites receive no traffic from Google in the first place. Acquiring a spot on the coveted first page of Google certainly requires a good deal of work, but it can be very beneficial to the overall growth of your website and firm.
But exactly how valuable is page one? And is it worth the effort? For one, over half of all website traffic comes from organic searches. Not to mention, there is a severe decline in click-through rate after the first page, and especially the first 3 results:
With more than double the click-through rate of rank two, it’s no wonder the top spots are so competitive. So how do you get there? First, start by establishing SEO best practices for your advisory site; understand how keywords work, post quality content, create a user-friendly site structure, etc. Then, use this list to start optimizing.
1. Create Content From Questions
As of writing this article, Google receives an average of 3.5 billion searches. The questions people ask become the keywords that businesses target. Therefore, many of the best pieces of content are written in the form of a question, much like the title of this post. You can imagine what kinds of questions might be asked, though being specific is important. Your content should answer these questions. Here’s where to find them.
Where To Find Questions
Start with your current clients. What are the common questions you receive? Start recording them. Using client questions, you can start to determine some keywords for your firm. What language is consistent? What specific questions are asked about your services?
Google Search Console
Another location to find questions and keywords for your website is Google Search Console. Looking in your performance tab, you can find the exact search queries being used to show your website in a Google search. Looking at the Google Search Console for Twenty Over Ten’s blog, we can see a variety of keywords:
Perform a Reverse Search
Once you have your keywords, start forming questions around them. One of the best ways to do this is to perform a reverse Google search. Let’s use the keyword “Financial advisor” as an example.
Do a quick search of “Financial advisor” and you will see a list of websites and local advisors. Looking at these pages can tell you a few things about your chosen keyword. For one, Google wants to provide the best answer to the user, so the type of content that appears on the page can tell you something about what searchers are looking for. Do you see blogs, reviews, videos, etc?
The type of content that appears will show you the type of content you might want to create with your chosen keyword.
CHECK THE “PEOPLE ALSO ASK” SECTION
Located roughly halfway down the Google search results page is the “People also ask” section:
The “People also ask” section is filled with the questions that relate to your chosen keyword. Following our example, we can see the types of questions people are asking.
These questions can be used to create titles and headers in your content. You might write a post about what financial advisors do, these questions could serve as the headers within the post. By using these questions you increase the chance of your content appearing on Google by answering the searcher’s intentions, just as Google does.
CHECK THE “RELATED SEARCHES” SECTION
The last place to look at on a Google search results page is the “Related searches” section, located at the bottom of the page:
Here you’ll see similar terms used alongside your keyword. Some of these searches can be questions or keywords to help you decide more.
2. Retargeting and PPC (Pay-Per-Click) Advertising
Retargeting and PPC advertising are two common forms of online ads. Both can drive traffic to your website (inherently improving SEO) but do not work the same.
What Are Retargeting Ads?
You’re on a website searching for a product and can’t decide what to purchase so you close the window. Later, while searching online, you begin to receive ads for the same product. These ads are an example of retargeting.
Mailchimp shows that 97% of traffic to your website will not convert. Retargeting hopes to adjust that metric and has been shown to adjust conversion rates by as much as 33% and has a 10 times higher click-through rate compared to other display ads.
HOW TO CREATE A RETARGETING AD
There are a few retargeting platforms to choose from, we prefer AdRoll at Twenty Over Ten. But your choice will depend on where you want to advertise. Once you’ve chosen a platform you will want to create your ads.
What is PPC (Pay-Per-Click)?
PPC ads, as they apply to Google, appear at the top of a search results page and marked with the Ad tag. A quick search of FMG Suite shows an example of a PPC Ad:
The owner of PPC ads pays a small amount every time an ad is clicked, hence the name. But be aware, PPC ads do not provide immediate access to the top spot of a Google search results page. Instead, Google uses ad rank to determine where and when a website’s ads will appear.
Google states that ad rank measures multiple factors, but can be boiled down to six. One of the biggest factors to impact your ad rank though will be your keywords and the quality of your website, landing pages and ad. In short, PPC ads will not guarantee the top spot in a search but are a factor in your ranking.
When comparing PPC to SEO, PPC is faster and provides immediate results at a cost. SEO on the other hand is free, but it can take six or more months to gain some traction in organic rankings. ROI also differs between the two, SEO provides long-term benefits, while the benefits of PPC stop with your ads.
HOW TO CREATE A PPC AD
SEO is responsible for 53% of web traffic, where PPC is responsible for 27%. But It should be noted that these strategies are not mutually exclusive. Advisors can leverage both. If you’re set on creating PPC ads, there are a few steps to take:
3. Be Patient
SEO is an investment. It takes a lot of time and effort to improve your ranking. Patience is key and SEO results do not happen overnight.
Several months to a year are necessary to see a drastic difference, but the benefits are worth the effort. A well-developed SEO strategy requires consistency, here’s where to focus your efforts:
Create High-Quality Content
Always keep quality at the top of your priority list. Google wants to provide searchers with the best results. So if your content doesn’t provide the best experience for a visitor, it won’t rank well. Here are a few tips to maintain content and site quality:
Similar to the question tip above, make sure you’re answering the needs of your visitor. Start by asking yourself how your content is helpful? What sort of information do readers want? Make sure the content answers your visitor’s questions and is relevant and strategic.
USE KEYWORDS PROPERLY
Keywords tell Google what your content is about. But don’t diminish your writing by forcing keywords into your text, or listing them in hidden locations. For blogs, include high-end keywords you want to target in your title and headers. For video, include keywords in your video tags, title and description.
Establish a plan to post content at a rate that doesn’t diminish quality. Posting a few times a week is beneficial, but might not be sustainable for your team. Tools like Lead Pilot can help advisors keep up with their posting schedule.
Focus on Link Building
Creating links in your content is one of the best ways to impact SEO. Links improve the credibility and authority of your site and come in two forms, backlinks and internal links.
WHAT IS A BACKLINK?
Backlinks are links from one website to another. They improve credibility and transparency to show resources for your information and credit other creators. Backlinks can come from another website, linking to you. Or, your website, linking elsewhere. A link from another website to your content is the most beneficial, but also the most difficult to acquire. It happens organically, via SEO or sharing and creating quality content and distributing it is the best way to acquire these links.
WHAT IS AN INTERNAL LINK?
Internal links are links that connect the content on your website. The best example of an internal link is the link in the sentence before this. This link leads to another article on the Twenty Over Ten blog. Creating internal links improves SEO by showing Google and other search engines how your website and content are structured and relate to one another.
Internal links can be created whenever there is an opportunity to reference your other content, but you’ll want a strategy. HubSpot’s Pillar Page’s approach gives advisors a strategy to organize both their current and future content. By creating larger, comprehensive pieces of content, then creating smaller articles to answer specific questions, advisors can focus most of their SEO optimization on the larger pages.
Add or Optimize Your FAQ Page
Many of the tips that apply to content creation can apply to your FAQ page. Like your content, an FAQ page should answer the questions you receive most and incorporate keywords. The biggest advantage of an FAQ page is to answer both broad and precise questions to allow more SEO opportunities.
This example from Huguenot Financial Planning shows how advisors can structure their FAQ page to answer both broad and precise questions:
Wrapping Things Up
Landing on page one of a Google search is worth the efforts. But for many advisors, the biggest challenge to their marketing strategy is time and clarity. By understanding how Google determines search ranking and adjusting your content strategy to accommodate, you can establish a content strategy that improves SEO and drives your opportunity to appear on page one of a search result.