Search engine optimization (SEO) can feel like an extremely complex topic and it’s true that there are a number of technical elements you need to get right in order to boost your rankings. But at the end of the day, one of the best ways to improve search rankings, bring people to your site and convert them is to create great content.
A majority of internet users rely on search engines like Google to find information online. In order to be found on page one of Google search results—which captures 71% of search traffic clicks—your content needs to best answer users’ search query.
In our three-part blog series, we’ll cover on-page SEO tactics financial advisors can do to create great content that reaches potential customers.
On-page vs. off-page SEO
First, let’s talk about the difference between on- and off-page SEO, which are the two broad categories of SEO tactics. On-page SEO refers to the elements on the page that Google looks at in order to determine your ranking. This includes H1s, the URL structure, keyword usage, alt. text, meta descriptions, internal links, page load speed, mobile responsiveness and, of course, the content itself. Off-page SEO refers to outside variables Google considers, like backlinks, domain authority and social sharing.
Strategies for both on- and off-page SEO should start with great content. That’s because a page that reads well and provides valuable content will get noticed by Google. It is also more likely to be shared more on social sites and linked to from other industry blogs. So it’s a win-win for you.
The good news about on-page SEO is that all factors are within your control and tactics should slide right in with your other marketing initiatives. If you’re building a new website, adding pages or writing a blog for your financial advisory firm, it’s essential to understand on-page SEO best practices to make sure you’re building your pages so they can be found on Google.
You can’t trick Google
In the early days of SEO, many tried to beat Google’s algorithm by stuffing keywords into content. However, Google has outsmarted that strategy and is able to determine whether or not your content truly answers users’ queries based on how long users remain on your page, how many other pages they click to, whether or not they share your page and a number of other factors. If your keyword-littered page doesn’t provide real value to users, you’ll be penalized by Google. According to Google Webmaster Guidelines, the best way to impress Google is to write primarily for users, not search engines. The better your content, the more people will read and share it and the more Google will take note.
Good content is relevant
Creating quality content is probably easier than you think. Great content is relevant to your target audience, unique to your offering, well-written and timely. When creating a blog calendar or informational pages, keyword research is important, but it’s not a bad idea to start with an internal brainstorm.
The deeper your understanding of your offering, unique market position, and your customer needs and wants, the easier it will be to come up with content ideas. What is your business known for? What is your mission? Who are your customers and what are their most common questions? Talk to your advisors about questions that frequently come in in meetings and review the questions submitted on your social media platforms and website. Then create unique content that answers those questions.
Creating valuable content is all about getting inside your customers’ heads and answering their biggest questions.
Good content is well-written
If your content is well-written it will be easier to read for both your potential customers and Google. It also builds trust that you are a legitimate authority on the topic matter. Despite the fact that financial planning and wealth management are complex topics, your users will respond best if the content is easy to read and devoid of jargon.
Unfortunately, many people don’t read articles on the first pass—they scan. So make sure your articles are skimmable. Write enticing, yet informative, headlines and include subheads throughout the page that provide the reader with key pieces of information.
Good content is timely
The best wealth-building strategies from 2008 probably aren’t of interest to your customers, so it’s essential to update your content frequently. Studies also suggest that Google monitors content freshness, so posting new content can potentially improve your search rankings. This doesn’t, however, mean you need to post a new blog every day.
Ensuring your content is timely comes down to two factors: churning out new content and updating old content. The more content you post, the more your users have to explore on your site, so creating a hefty library of content can only help with your rankings. By regularly posting, it also ensures you’re creating content that is timely.
But you’ve no doubt heard (or seen for yourself) that a good chunk content of blog traffic comes from compounding blog posts or older posts whose traffic grows steadily over time. So one of the best ways to grow older posts while keeping the information relevant, is to conduct regular audits and update old blogs posts with new information.
Now that you understand what makes for good content, check back for the second post in our on-page SEO series that covers keywords and how to use them.