SEO Basics for Financial Advisors [Checklist] - YFCD #29

Getting discovered via Google, tips for growing on Twitter, niche marketing gone wrong

Welcome back,

This week, I want to share the most helpful things I know about SEO.

Below is a quick checklist & the rest of the newsletter expands on the following points:

I'll preface this by saying that I'm far from an "expert", but I've built my own sites to a few thousand regular visitors per month, primarily from search:

And as an RIA, a few thousand regular, intentional visitors may be all you need to build a successful business.

If you're a solo advisor, I'd be willing to guess 50-150 clients is all you need—so always keep your ideal client base in mind when thinking about marketing & numbers.

Since your website is the most important part of your digital presence, and the primary driver of SEO, these are a few key things to know.

Your Website Structure

For starters, your website is primarily identified in search engines by the "H1" tag on your home page and the given title. Below is an example of the H1 tag for Creatorbread - "money & business for self-employed creatives":

The idea is that if someone searches that phrase, or something close to it, they eventually end up finding my website.

Your own website should reflect something similar to your target audience - like "retirement advice for boeing employees" or "helping millennial families plan for financial independence".

Since it's hard to rank for competitive keywords like "retirement" and "financial advice", it can be worth it to sacrifice the H1 title for a different tagline.

For example, on Define Financial's site, someone likely isn't searching "mark & jenn finally have a tax-smart retirement plan" - but it's a great headline and describes the service being offered:

Outside of the H1 tag, you can give the website itself a title and description, which will identify it within search:

In an ideal world, the H1 tag, title, and description are all similar to help Google identify & rank your website as high as possible.

If they're not perfect, it's okay. We'll dive into driving traffic in a minute.

Here's another example of what the website title & meta description could look like:

All of this information & data can be updated within your website platform.

Once you've got the basics of your page & website structure down, you need to have Google Search Console set up. Google Search Console lets you understand how your website is performing via search, and gives you updates if there are issues needing to be addressed.

Below is a guide to setting up an account, and the two primary steps:

    • First, you need to verify site ownership
    • Then, if the pages aren't already indexed, you need to submit your sitemap to Google so it displays all of the pages via search
View the Google Search Console Guide

After you've got Google Search Console set up, you should have a tool to monitor website analytics. I recommend Plausible, but there are a lot of different tools out there - including Google Analytics.

View Plausible
Analytics help you see the most popular pages on your site, where traffic is coming from, and more so you can make strategic decisions with future content.

With a properly structured website, Google Search Console, and analytics, the last thing you want to make sure you have taken care of is website speed & performance. This is easy to overlook, but can play a big role your site's ability to be found via search over time.

Below is an example of AllStreet Wealth's website report, pulled from Google's Page Speed Test:

View Website Speed & Performance Tool
I recommend running your own website through the page speed tool & making necessary adjustments to get all numbers over 85-90

Your Content

A website itself can only do so much. If you're not actively driving people to it, it doesn't matter how good the copywriting or call-to-actions are.

And the best way I've found to get new visitors and improve SEO is through regular content.

You should know the most relevant topics in your client's lives, which makes it a lot easier to start creating content for your website.

Think about the type of financial questions someone you typically work with would Google

In my niche of self-employed creatives, taxes are a common concern.

And I know a lot of people make money from YouTube, and there's not a lot of content for YouTube taxes on the internet, so I wrote an article about them.

A year later, it's now ranked #3 in Google and drives ~1,000 visitors to my site each month:

That's how Google Search and targeted discovery works.

It doesn't have to be complicated.

It just has to be intentional.

Write about questions you see online or get from clients, and post the 500+ word articles on your website. You'll be surprised what starts to happen.

For example, I heard the question "can i write off business expenses without an LLC?" multiple times, and now have the 4th ranked article for that search term:

Not completely related to SEO, but to help drive business from your search efforts, you want to have call-to-actions placed at the end of every blog post.

The primary CTA for Creatorbread is to download my free book, so this is what I include at the end of every article:

Other SEO

Outside of website structure & intentional content, there are a few things you can do to further build your SEO presence.

The most powerful is backlinks–which are links from other websites to yours.

So if I linked to your site right here, you'd get one (1) backlink 🎉

The reason they're important is because Google likes to see your website is trusted and that others refer to your site as a source.

The easiest way to get backlinks is getting quoted or featured in media publications, and some of the most common sites that actively take new advisor quotes are:

  • InvestmentNews
  • ThinkAdvisor
  • Investor's Business Daily
  • Financial Planning

When you get quoted somewhere, they should include your name & business and a link to your preferred website. When this happens, Google recognizes it and assigns a "backlink" to your website.

The reason you want to build backlinks is because is helps build your domain authority.

Domain authority signals how strong a website's SEO presence is and the stronger the rating, the better your articles can rank in search

You can check your current ranking with a free tool like this:

View Domain Authority Checker

For example, comparing my freelance website to Kitces' industry website - his domain authority outranks mine by a lot, so similar articles from both websites would likely result in his being shown first & ranked higher:

If you're a new RIA, your website will likely start with a domain rating of zero—meaning it'll be hard to rank in search until you establish all of the above areas and produce consistent content from your new domain.

And as you can see in the comparison above, each website has thousands of backlinks yet neither one have a rating over 75.

SEO is a long game and shouldn't be measured week-to-week.

Kitces has been building his blog & digital presence for years.

Don't compare yourself to others, but know that an intentional, consistent strategy will pay off over time.

I know we covered a lot and SEO is a very niche topic - so if you have any questions, just reply to this email and I'll get back to you!

Or come to tomorrow's Club Catch Up and ask questions in-person

Design Matters

The first few years of my entrepreneurial career have been dedicated to design.

When I started my firm in 2020, I spent way too much time playing with the website, making graphics, and trying to build a brand that didn't look or feel like other financial planning firms.

At the time, I didn't see much return on my efforts.

But more recently, the focus on design has started to pay off.

From building more websites for other advisors, to clients referring friends to us because of the way our financial planning documents are put together:

Which areas of your business could be improved or revamped with better design?

Some social media tips

There are unlimited ways to market yourself.

But this is one of the best, to-the-point list of tips to successfully growing on social media that I've seen.

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