This post was originally written in June 2018 and was updated in January 2020.
Optimizing your advisor website for search engines like Google is certainly a hot topic lately and for a good reason! When it comes to SEO (search engine optimization), this is something that many financial planning firms want to excel in so that they can drive more traffic to their website, which in turn, can mean more potential leads. So, what exactly do you begin? There are hundreds if not more factors that play into where your site ranks in search engines. Today we’re distilling the top 10 site-level SEO ranking factors for advisors and sharing instructions on how to implement these SEO boosts in a matter of minutes within the Twenty Over Ten platform.
1. Keyword Targeted
If you want to boost your SEO, it’s very important to use strategic keywords in your website’s content. In order to figure out what keywords to use, you need to conduct some research about your target market’s searching behaviors. There are also tools you can use to find the best keywords that work for you. Google Trends finds top keywords and topics being actively searched now. Google Search Console is more specific to your website and shows keyword queries that are currently being used and clicked on by your visitors.
2. Fresh Content
Website updates, especially when new content is added to the site, allow for a website-wide “freshness factor.” It is important to update new content, such as blog posts on a regular basis, because this will oftentimes result in more traffic to your site. If you continue to update the material on your site, then this will garner trust between your advisor site and your users. You want customers to know that the information they are seeking can be found on your site and that you will continuously offer fresh, new information. Frequently updated information also helps build your domain authority, which in a nut-shell is how much of an authority on a particular subject your website has. Adding fresh content is a great way to rank for more keywords, which will help boost SEO.
Here is the blog page of Attune Financial Planning, and you can see that they offer continuous fresh content.
3. Unique Content
You have probably heard the saying “content is king” for a very long time now. When it comes to SEO in 2020, this has still not changed. Google recognizes and rewards unique content that will ultimately help its users. When we talk about unique content, we mean content that is original and not duplicated anywhere else. Google’s algorithms reward this type of content while punishing duplicate content.
At Twenty Over Ten, we make content creation easier for our users, that’s why we launched Lead Pilot. With Lead Pilot, our users have access to content that is fast, affordable and customizable. With LP, users are able to choose blog posts by category (retirement, business owners, young adults, etc.), load them into their website, and then edit and further optimize the content for search engines. Advisors have the ability to customize and edit the content to add their voice, SEO keywords, and further promote their expertise, or use the content as-is.
While you’ll often hear us say to keep it short and sweet, with SEO, it is a good rule of thumb to have at least 2,000 words on your webpages to be SEO-friendly. Research by Quicksprout found that the average content length for a webpage that ranks in the top 10 results for any keyword on Google has at least 2,000 words. The higher up you go on the search listings page, the more content each webpage has. Why is this so? We’re seeing that search engines and the social web prefers content-rich pages and often times these more content-rich sites get more clicks, which in turn, leads to more content. This also applies for your blog posts. However, remember not to ramble! You want to give your visitors and searchers the information they’re seeking in a timely and informational manner.
When creating content, it’s important to always keep your site visitors and anyone that may be perusing google in mind! What type of information will they be searching for? Is the content on your website relevant to them? Do not fill your blog, website or landing pages with useless jargon or long words that don’t actually bring anything pertinent to the table. Google has even stated that they will penalize any site that doesn’t bring anything new or useful to the table. They want sites that will provide value to readers, not just something that will take up space.
4. Satisfies User Intent
In the simplest of terms, user intent is basically what motivates the user. And to say that Google’s algorithms are smart would be an understatement. They have evolved so much and now they can better understand what people mean when they type in particular queries, as well as how different words interact with one another. As an advisor, it’s important to create content that will align with your target audience. For example, let’s say that someone is searching for the broad term “financial plan.” If the user is a younger millennial they may be hoping to find “how-to’s” on how to create their own financial plan. Someone who may be older could be looking for someone to help with a financial plan to prepare for retirement.
5. Expertise, Authoritativeness, Trustworthiness (EAT)
According to Google, E-A-T is among the top three considerations for page quality. When building content on your pages, you should always keep this acronym in mind. First, you need to show that you have the essential credentials and that you are an expert in your field. Next, it is important to show that you are an authority in the subject, and the quality of the conversations that you are having with users can show this. Lastly, show users that they can trust the page that they are visiting.
6. Crawlable and Accessible by Search Engine
In order to boost your SEO, you need to make sure that Google can actually see your content and your site. Search engines engage in crawling- the discovery process in which search engines send out a team of robots (known as crawlers or spiders) to find new and updated content.
In addition to crawling, search engines index, which is when the content found during the crawling process is stored and organized to show up in search queries. Given this, it should come as no surprise that your site needs to be optimized for search engines to crawl and index so that you can show up in the SERP.
So how can you ensure that search engines can crawl your site? There are many ways, some of which include making sure you avoid incorrect XML sitemaps, avoid robots.txt blocking, avoid long, dynamic URLs, etc.
On the other hand, how can you see if your pages are indexed? One way to check your indexed pages is “site:yourdomain.com”, an advanced search operator. Simple go to Google and type “site:yourdomain.com” into the search bar. This will show you which of your site’s pages have been indexed.
Page loading speed is an integral SEO ranking factor. Search engine spiders can estimate your site speed fairly accurately based on your page’s HTML code. These are also known as crawlers and are used by Internet search engines to collect information about websites and individual webpages. Google has also been known to use Chrome user data to get a better handle on a page’s loading time. That way, they can measure how quickly a page actually loads to users.
Here at Twenty Over Ten, we optimize all of our frameworks for fast loading speeds. Additionally, all images and uploaded assets utilize a global Content Delivery Network to ensure your page loads swiftly at all times.
8. Built For Multiple Devices
As people are spending more and more time on their smartphones and tablets, it is really important that your website is compatible with all screen sizes. Ever since Google released its mobile-friendly update in 2015, webmasters and SEOs have had to take “mobile-friendliness” into account as a ranking factor. Now, your mobile site will be considered your “main” website when Google’s algorithm is calculating rankings.
When searching on a mobile device, users want to find what they are looking for both quickly and efficiently. When browsing the web on your computer versus a mobile device or tablet, the design will appear very different. For example, the size of the buttons will vary, which can impact the way that you search. Every element on your website impacts a user’s experience and directly (or indirectly) affects SEO as well. Regardless if a user is on their mobile device, tablet, or their computer, they need to be able to navigate quickly, even if they are not on the homepage.
9. Earns High # Of Clicks
Pages that get clicked more in clickthrough rates may get a boost in Search Engine Results Page (SERP) for that particular keyword. Clickthrough rates reveal how often people who view your ad end up actually clicking it. Each of the ads and keywords on your site have their own CTR. High CTR’s are relevant because they are a good indication that users are finding the information on your website relevant and helpful. You can use CTR to gauge words that do well for your site and other ones that need to be changed or improved.
10. Has And Earns Quality Backlinks
What makes links so important to a website and blogs? If there is a legitimate backlink that your website is associated with, then it also makes your site look more trustworthy to search engines. Google keeps score of what sites have quality backlinks through PageRank. According to Search Engine Land, PageRank is Google’s system of counting link votes and determining which pages are most important based on them. These scores are then used along with many other things to determine if a page will rank well in a search.
In addition, having a presence on social media and sharing on those platforms is another great way to increase inbound links to your site. As mentioned above, this can improve your credibility and will signal to Google that the content you post is popular and helpful, which in turn can help boost your company’s social profiles to the top of branded searches.
Struggling With What Content to Share on Social Media or via Email?
We are offering access to our content for advisors to use via Lead Pilot for 7-days completely free (even on our month to month plans).
About the author
Namisha is a Content Creator at Twenty Over Ten, passionate about fostering community growth. A Bollywood enthusiast, she loves to travel and hopes to experience all seven wonders of the world.