Blogging is one of the best ways to generate organic traffic to your websites. That’s because the average company with a blog produces 67% more leads. More organic traffic means more free traffic, which means more clients.
But for many financial advisors, blogging is time-consuming, and sometimes the cost feels like it outweighs the benefit.
This is because writing a blog feels simple, but there are some technical features you should keep an eye on. To make the process easier and maximize the benefits of a blog, you’ll want a plan.
Breaking down the content strategy we provide to clients through our SEO Essentials package, we will look at each step of the perfect blog post structure to help you create that plan and improve your SEO.
Here’s what we’ll cover:
1. Research Your Keywords and Topic
Understanding your topic, and the language used to find it, is integral to any blog post. Below are several ways to discover the keywords your audience and prospects are using, and what topics you should cover.
Check Google Search Console
Search Console is often confused with Google Analytics, and it’s understandable why. They compliment each other but achieve different goals. Google Search Console is looking at the terms users are searching on Google to show your website on the search engine results page. While Google Analytics is showing you what visitors do once they are on your website.
Search console is a great location to discover the exact keyword queries your visitors are searching to find your website. Looking through these queries you can find searches that would be helpful for creating content.
For example, the Google Search Console for Dream Financial Planning contains searches related to specific services:
These queries tell you what sorts of financial services visitors are looking for. By answering these queries, you increase the chances of ranking in these searches.
Record Client Questions
The most common questions you receive are a great source of content. Listen to your leads and clients, and record the questions they ask.
What are their biggest concerns? How can you solve their challenges?
Answering the questions of leads and clients is a great way to understand the words visitors use, and make your post more searchable.
You will also want to create an FAQ page to improve SEO. Common questions should be answered here. But you will also want to answer more niche questions related to your firm to help your page stand out.
For example, Victus Capital Wealth uses its FAQ page to answers specific questions that apply to its services:
Use Google’s Search Result Page
Google provides answers based on the searchers intent. Once you’ve decided on a few keywords, you’ll want to perform a reverse search — type the keyword into Google and see what comes up.
Are there blog posts in the results? Does Google Maps come up? How about video? The type of content that appears on the search engine result page (SERP) can tell you a lot about a keyword. There are two places you’ll want to look at on the search result page to acquire more context.
First, is the “People also ask” section, located near the middle of the page.
For example, the “People also ask” section for the search query “Financial advisor,” looks like this:
This section will show you what types of questions people are asking that include your keyword. You can use these in a variety of ways, from further keyword research to creating titles and headers in your content.
The second is the “Suggested Searches” section, located at the bottom of the page. Here’s an example from the same search query:
The keywords here are all related to your search, showing you similar terms related to your chosen content. Feel free to perform reverse searches on these, or to include them in your own posts.
2. Choose a Killer Title
With your keyword and topic ready, you can start writing the outline of your blog post. First, you’ll want to decide on a title for your post.
A strong title is integral to catching your reader’s attention.
But it also needs to be searchable.
There are several ways to write an effective title. Here are a few things to consider to make it searchable and attention-grabbing:
- Include numbers: Number show your reader your list is broken down, skimmable and quantifiable.
- Target your niche: Focusing on your specific niche will improve the chances your post appears in search
- Use action-oriented language: This can be language to get your reader to read, or to show that the information you provide is actionable.
- Use those keywords: Use your keyword research to include relevant terms in the title, order matters, but make sure your title still makes sense.
- Start with “how to”: Blogs that begin with “how to” show your content will be educational and provide specific actions. It’s like steps 1 and 3 combined.
- Use brackets: If your post contains a video, place “[Video]” in your title to attract attention, that way you can leverage the benefits of other content types, like videos and inforgraphics.
- Make it short: Your title should get right to the point.
- Ask a question: Remember the “people also ask” section from above? Creating relevant questions is helpful for search.
- Show value: Your title should be valuable. To the reader, ask yourself, “why would someone want to click this?”
You will want to use the points above where they are applicable. For example, this title on our Lead Pilot Blog does not use a numbered list. Instead, the title includes a question to appeal to the related search.
3. Use Header Tags
What are header tags?
Header tags are the larger snippets of text before a small subheading or paragraph. For example, the text above, “What Are Header Tags?” is a header tag.
Header tags come in different sizes and types. The types are H1, H2, H3, H4, and so on. As for size, each header is typically smaller than the last.
This is an H2
This is an H3
This is an H4
Headers help improve your SEO in two main ways.
How Are Header Tags Beneficial for SEO?
First, from a visual standpoint, headers delineate sections, subsections and normal text for readers to make your text more skimmable. This helps improve the user experience of your blog by allowing the reader to skim to the information they want to read.
This is important because your user experience is a ranking factor within Google.
Second, from a technical standpoint, headers improve SEO as they are one of the first locations Google and other search engines look to understand what your blog is about.
These search engines will read headers in order, from H1, to H2 and so on. For this reason, you should always include your most important keywords in your header tags as high up as possible.
For example, the highest header tag in this blog post is the H1, which contains several keywords we want to target with this post:
4. Write Meta Descriptions
Imagine your blog post as a book. The title of your blog is the title of your book, while your meta description would be the synopsis on the back.
For this reason, meta descriptions are a perfect location to insert additional keywords and provide additional context to the reader.
Meta descriptions appear on search engine results pages, just beneath the main title text that you would click to visit a page. For example, this is a meta description from Arista Wealth Management:
Meta descriptions have a few general rules to help improve your SEO, so keep these in mind:
- Aim for 150-160 characters: Google will cut off meta descriptions after this point, and though that’s not the worst, it won’t provide readers with the most context.
- Include keywords: You’ll want to include as many keywords as you can while still keeping the text natural. Don’t keyword stuff.
- Provide value: Your meta description should show why your content is valuable without giving it all away.
5. Add Images With Alt-Text
Just like header tags, images are going to help improve your blog post by enhancing user experience.
Images should be included as an example, or to provide readers with additional context.
Once your image is uploaded to your blog, you will want to add alt text to it.
What Is Alt-Text?
Alt text labels an image within a webpage’s HTML to tell Google and other search engines what the image is about, often in the form of a simple description. Alt-text helps improve the accessibility and SEO of a website in two ways.
First, alt-text improves the ADA compliance of your website by providing a more accessible experience.
Second, alt-text descriptions often contain a keyword, helping improve your website’s searchability by providing another entry-point.
How Do You Write Alt-Text?
Alt text will help a search engine understand your uploaded image, but the Google Images best practices page states that the name of the file will be used as well.
So before inputting your alt text description, start by giving your file an effective name.
For example, imagine we’re including an image from our blog post about landing on the first page of Google. In one section, we discuss retargeting and provide the following image:
For uploading the image, we would rename the following:
- Filename: The name of this file should be simple, something like “retargeting” will work.
- Alt-text: Alt text should be descriptive. For this, we’ll use “a chart describing what retargeting is.”
For your own images, you will want to keep Google’s best practices in mind — make your file names short, provide descriptive alt-text.
6. Incorporate a Link Building Strategy
Links are one of the factors that Google looks at when determining the rank of your website on a search results page. They are important for showing Google what your website is about, improving your credibility and developing authority.
Links come in two general types, outbound and inbound.
What Are Outbound Links?
Outbound links are links that lead to another webpage. These links can be away from your website or lead to another page on your website to create an internal linking structure.
For example, this would be an outbound link to Hubspot.
Outbound links to another website help improve the credibility of your site and tell Google what your site is about. While an outbound link to your own piece of content tells Google how your content relates to one another.
What Are Inbound Links?
An inbound link, also known as a backlink, is a link from another website to your own. They are more difficult to obtain, as they occur organically, often when someone reads your content and enjoys it.
Inbound links are one of the best ways to improve your SEO, as they tell Google that you are the source of information on a given subject.
Luckily, there are a few best practices for obtaining more inbound links. Here’s a quick list:
- Creating high-quality content.
- Offer guest posts.
- Make shareable content, like videos and infographics.
- Conduct industry research and share it.
- Claim your listing in an online business directory.
Best Practices for Link-Building
Your links should be helpful to readers, provide context to Google and support your website, not harm it.
You’ll want to include links wherever it would benefit your reader. For example, want to discuss a topic in a blog post, but you have a larger piece covering it in more detail? Then give readers a summary and provide a link to the longer version if they are curious.
When you create this link, you’ll want to highlight enough space in the text to provide context to your readers and Google. You will also want to make sure your links all open in a new tab and don’t direct away from the current one. That way traffic doesn’t leave your website.
For example, Twenty Over Ten’s Website Engine provides a checkbox to open your link in a new tab:
Simply include your link URL, check “Open in new tab” and click “Insert” to add your link to a blog post.
Wrapping Things Up
Using the list above, you can help improve your website’s SEO and improve your chances of ranking in Google Search. And, if you’re looking for more help with SEO, then we’ve got you covered.
Our SEO Essentials bundle incorporates the information above and more, to set up your most important SEO tasks and equip you with a plan to improve your SEO moving forward. Check out our bundles to learn more about our process and find what works best for you.
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About The Author
Stuart is a Content Marketing Specialist at Twenty Over Ten and enjoys creating content that both entertains and educates. A Game Designer at heart, he can be found pursuing one of his many hobbies during his free time.