In a crowded industry like financial services, SEO (search engine optimization) is one of the biggest things you should focus on when it comes to your website and digital marketing strategy. Your website can only be helpful if people can find it easily and this means becoming an SEO master! By picking the best keywords, focusing in on local search and continuously adding fresh content to your site, you’ll start to see some big results.
Because its such an important topic, we get a lot of questions regarding SEO. We always love to answer any specific questions our clients have, but we’ve found that most advisors often have the same general questions when it comes to SEO. So today we’ve decided to address and answer some of the most frequently asked SEO-related questions so you can start creating the best SEO ranking website!
Q: What Is My Current Ranking in Search Engines Like Google?
A: This is where most people like to start so they can see how much room they have to improve. There’s a few different ways you can check your current ranking in searching engines. For starters, we recommend checking out these free SERPs tools. Here you’ll find ways to check your keyword and location search rankings. This is a great way to get a good analysis of what keywords to use as part of our SEO strategy.
One important thing to remember that many people don’t realize is that most search engines, such as Google, have personalized search features. This means that individual users may see different rankings based on their previous online history, cookies, location, browser and other factors. This means your site might have a different ranking based on who is searching for it and what your potential clients see may not be the same as what you see.
One you can get the best (most neutral) reading of your current site’s search raking is to turn off personalized search in your browser. You can do this by signing out of your gmail account, changing your location to your country, state or city (depending on how personalized you want to get) and opening up a new google window for every key word you want to check. You can also check by opening an “incognito” or “private” browser page. Doing so removes your browser cookies, eliminating any personalized features. Or, if you don’t mind clearing your history, you can also delete or clear the cookies off of your browser before you search for your keywords or site.
Q: Why Has My Ranking Changed Since Moving My CMS?
A: When you switch to a different CMS (content management system), there can be changes made that affect your SEO ranking. Updating your site can definitely make a positive or neutral impact but, if you’re not careful, you may accidentally remove information, pages or headings from your website that hurt your SEO ranking. Therefore, its important to compare your rankings after moving to a new CMS and make sure nothing has slipped by.
There are several important things to keep in mind to avoid a negative change to your search rankings when moving CMS. If you can, try to keep the same or a very similar domain name. This will help your traffic stay a little more consistent. The same goes for your URLs and sitemap. If you change many of your pages, your ranking may take a hit. This is because search engines may be using your old sitemap and URLs to rank your site. Any abrupt changes could have a negative impact. Additionally, any old linked URLs will now direct to error messages meaning you’ll have to fix this by using 301 redirects or go back and update all of your URL slugs.
Another great tool to keep in mind when making the change to a new CMS is Google Search Console. You can use Google Search Console to learn more about your site’s SEO and request to index any new pages that have been added to your domain. It’s also important that once you migrate your site to another content management system that you login to your Google Search Console and ensure your new site gets re-indexed and you submit your new sitemap.
Similarly, Google Analytics can give you more information on your site’s activity. Using this information can help you keep up to date with your ranking, along with details such as meta descriptions, alt text, headers and website structure.
Q: Aren’t Google Analytics and Google Search Console the Same?
A: While Google Analytics and Google Search Console may seem similar, they actually serve two completely different functions. Google Analytics gives us data points about the number of visitors to your site, where exactly visitors are coming from, how much time they spend on your site and the nature of their visit.
On the other hand, Google Search Console shares information specific to your site. We can see stats such as who is linking to your site, if there are any technical errors on your site and most importantly intel into the keyword queries people are typing into Google that land on your site. However, it is possible to link the two and SERPs has a great tutorial on how to do so.
Q: How Long Does It Take to See SEO Results?
A: This really depends on a lot of factors, such as meta descriptions, websites from your competition, traffic and location. Usually, we tell our clients to follow the 6-12-2 rule. This stands for six months to see traction with Google, 12 months to see your traffic go up and two years to really be killing it with Google and other search engines. While this may seem like a long time to wait, remember that you should view updating your SEO as an investment and a journey. While it may take a while, but it will be well worth it when you start seeing the results you’ve been looking for!
Q: Should I Hire Someone to Do My SEO?
A: SEO can be a complicated and time consuming task to do right, especially when you don’t have a lot of training or knowledge around the topic. If your firm does not have the marketing expertise in-house, then outsourcing your SEO efforts can definitely help you get to your goal of ranking higher in search engines like Google.
There’s many experts that offer SEO assistance based on how much help you need and what your goals are. At Twenty Over Ten, our SEO Kickstarter package has helped many advisors kickstart their SEO efforts. With this package our team gets you all set with the major on- and off-page SEO tactics while giving you basic SEO knowledge so you have the tools to make adjustments as needed down the road. We find that if you can nail down the basics, and give your website the initial boost it needs, staying up to date and consistent with your SEO efforts becomes much more manageable!
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Q: What Is a Sitemap?
A: Your website’s sitemap is the way you organize your website, including pages, subpages, headers, and the rest of your content. Think of it like an outline for your business! Your sitemap and overall website structure should make it easy for prospects and clients to navigate and be organized logically.
This is important for those visiting your site but it’s also necessary to effectively communicate to search engines. Search engine crawlers use the sitemap to reference what content is on your site and best match it with similar searches.
At Twenty Over Ten, every website on our platform, whether you’ve decided to use our self builder package or are working with our internal team of copywriters and designers, has an XML sitemap. Our platform continuously generates updated XML sitemaps for your website so as you add or remove information and pages, search engines will be notified if these changes.
If you’re a current Twenty Over Ten user, you can access your sitemap at anytime by typing the following into your web browser: yourwebsitedomainhere.com/sitemap.xml.
Q: What Keywords Should I Be Using to Improve My SEO?
A: Keywords are words throughout your website that define what your content is about. They can be anywhere on your website, but they should be specific to what phrases you want your website to be found for on search engines.
For your advisor business, some typical keywords include phrases like “financial planning,” “fiduciary” or “fee-only.” However, if you offer a very unique service or serve a specific niche, it is best to tailor your keywords this way because there will be less competition and your niche target market to find your site more easily.
Ultimately, keywords communicate to top search engines like Google what information is on your website. When you think of which keywords you want to use, try to put yourself in the shoes of your prospects. What would they search for? Whatever it may be, you will want to include those words and phrases into your website.
A good exercise is to have yourself and your employees write down all of the words they associate with your company in 30 seconds and work from there. These can give you a useful general sense of the culture of your firm and how you want to portray it to potential clients. You can use these as a base and then get more specific.
Q: I Serve Clients Nationwide, Why Do I Need to Be Geo-Specific?
A: We have found that the most advantageous way to use H1 tags is to optimize them for local searches only. By using a location in H1 tags, your website’s and web page’s SEO ranking for that location rise. Even if your firm conducts business nationally or internationally, concentrating on growing your local search and local prospects can greatly progress your overall financial advising business. Competing with the advisors in your local area is a much more attainable goal than competing with every advisor in the country or world, especially if you’re a new or smaller independent RIA.
Q: What’s a Good Ongoing/Continuous Goal for My Site’s SEO?
A: When starting out, the main goal you should focus on is checking your analytics regularly. As mentioned previously, this includes checking both Google Search Console & Google Analytics. This will help make inferences based on what types of content, such as blogs, your visitors like to read to keep them coming back to your site and what types of keywords are working (or not working) for your rankings. When you’re making your site’s first SEO adjustments, these tools can be a huge help in seeing what direction you should go in.
Another good goal to have when it comes to SEO is to always keep increasing the amount of original content you’re pushing out. Blogging can seem overwhelming at first, but keeping up with it can result in huge payoffs! Not only do new and returning visitors like to see consistent new content but search engines do too!
In addition, it’s also important to also continuously improve your link building. The more places your site can be found on different pages, the higher your ranking and the traffic on your page is going to be. Focus on building relevant, authoritative links that drive real traffic over time.
Need SEO Help?
Our team is here to help you make sense of it all! Our SEO Kickstarter Package delivers maximum impact by completing the most important SEO tasks in regards to how your website is setup and registered with Google.