If you’re like most advisors, your email inbox is flooded with search engine optimization (SEO) offers to improve your site’s ranking. But how do you know if your website needs SEO work? When SEO experts tell you that your website is failing their SEO test, how can you verify? Search engine optimization is technical and complex, but there are easy-to-use concrete tools to identify whether your site is ranking well.
In general, your site may need SEO help if any the following are true:
- You’ve never done any SEO work on your site
- You have recently changed your address or phone number
- You have multiple websites or multiple firm addresses
- Your site is old, outdated, or not mobile friendly
Understanding Local SEO
Before we review how to evaluate your site’s SEO, let’s first clarify which type of SEO you should pursue. There are two general types of SEO: national SEO for firms like Fidelity or Charles Schwab and local SEO for a specific financial advisor that belongs to one of these firms.
Google treats local businesses differently than national firms and tries to come up with the best local solutions for its customers, especially for “services” categories like “financial advisor.” For this reason, it’s critical to address your local, not national, SEO. This way, you’ll come up for a given keyword search for people in your physical location.
But what if you serve clients nationally? I still recommend focusing on local SEO, as trying to compete nationally is next to impossible unless you have a dedicated SEO specialist and tens of thousands of dollars per month in your budget, depending on the keywords you’d like to rank for. In my experience with advisors, even those who serve clients nationally are better off choosing one or two physical locations to focus their SEO efforts.
What are Search Engines Looking For?
It’s helpful to think of SEO in the context of the challenge that search engines face. Google, Yahoo, Bing, and others are constantly competing against one another to return the most useful results to their users.
How can they tell if your website is legitimate or not? They use clues that range from the way your site is built to the way you’ve registered your business to verify whether you’re a credible firm. Here are some attributes that will improve your SEO score:
- A well-functioning and up-to-date website
- Mobile friendliness across devices
- Active social media profiles associated with your website
- Consistent traffic to your site
- Use of targeted keywords throughout the text and titles on your site
- Consistent address, phone number, and business name listings across directories
- Multiple verified listings for the same business location
- Local listings like the Chamber of Commerce, Better Business Bureau, etc.
- Address listings on maps
- More than 20 identical local listings
Three Steps to Evaluate Your Website’s Local SEO
The first step to evaluate the SEO score for your website is to see whether your site comes up for a local search. Enter your keywords into Google along with your location name and see what Google comes up with. In this example, I used “financial advisor palm springs, ca.”
1. Check Google’s Local Three Pack
Google’s “Local Three Pack” is the top three local search results for a given term. Since most people who are evaluating a service provider aim to get three quotes, it’s incredibly valuable to belong to Google’s Local Three Pack. The top priority of my SEO Package is to get your listed in these featured local listings.
2. Search for Your Firm Name
A dead giveaway that your site has a poor SEO score is if it doesn’t come up when you search for your own firm name. It’s relatively easy to become the top search result for your firm name, so if you’re missing the boat here, your site definitely warrants SEO work. It’s important to be listed for your name and your own firm name because 9 out of 10 referrals will search for your on Google before they call to make an appointment. We want to make it easy to find your website, contact info, and location on a map.
3. Get Your SEO Score on WooRank.com
Woorank is an SEO and website analysis tool that can show you how your site ranks and what items are hurting your score. Go to woorank.com and enter your website URL. If your site has a score of 80 or less, we can improve the individual components of your SEO including site speed, title, description, and more. The Woorank SEO scoring tool explains and suggests what needs to be done to improve your site.
How to Fix Your Website’s SEO
SEO work is technical and best addressed by a professional for the best results with the least investment of resources. When choosing your SEO firm, follow these guidelines.
1. Outsource to an Expert Familiar with Financial Services
It’s important to use a firm that is familiar with SEO specifically for Financial Advisors, and compliance rules. Both my SEO Package and FMG Suite’s Local Search tool accomplish SEO improvement while observing compliance rules and focusing on local search.
2. Don’t Spend Over $1,000
SEO can be complex, but since it’s so widespread and important, prices have come down a lot in recent years. I don’t recommend spending more than $1,000 on your site’s SEO. My SEO Package addresses all on-site SEO issues, creates and optimizes your social profiles and Google My Business page, and verifies your business with 15 – 20 local listings for just $975.
3. Don’t Sign Up for Ongoing Maintenance
Unless you’ve changed physical locations, there is no need for ongoing SEO work. Most SEO companies will try to get you to sign an annual or monthly contract, but 90% of the value will come from the upfront work discussed above.
4. Verify the Work
Once the SEO process is complete, ask for a list of all work that was done. The firm should provide details of any changes they made to your website and links to each local listing they created or updated for your firm.
You can learn more about my SEO Package here or if you’d like to discuss your website’s SEO score and how to improve, email me today at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also get a free SEO Audit here or read our Ultimate Guide To SEO here.