When was the last time you Googled your name or your business’ name?
I know what you’re thinking; only egomaniacs or those searching for their next dopamine hit Google themselves. Seriously though, there’s a very good reason for searching for yourself…because other people are.
The people Googling your name or your business’ name are suspects. These are people who know you but haven’t got in touch yet, so you don’t know them. They might have:
- Been referred to you by an existing client or professional connection
- Walked past your office
- Seen you on social media
- Met you at a networking event
- Found you on a directory
Whichever way they’ve ‘met’ you, they’ve had a trigger (a financial problem or aspiration) which they think you can help with. Standing between them becoming aware of you and taking action is Google.
Some suspects might simply be looking for basic information such as your phone number, office address or parking arrangements. Others will be carrying out deeper due diligence, perhaps because they’ve been referred to more than one adviser or planner. They might want to understand more about your fees, your qualifications, how highly rated you are or whether you work with ‘people like them.’ Either way, what they see online dictates their next step; will they contact you or continue their search elsewhere?
All this brings us to the two reasons why you need to regularly Google yourself and your business:
- To check you’re visible and suspects can find you
- To check that what suspects find about you is impressive.
In other words, put yourself in the shoes of potential clients.
The curse of invisibility
There are generally two occasions when a business is hard to find online:
- When it’s new
- When its name is so generic the competition for the first page of the search results is just too strong.
If your business is new and the name you’ve chosen isn’t generic, you should be fine within a couple of months if you:
- Develop a website
- Follow some basic on-page fundamentals
- Claim your Google My Business listing
However, if you’re struggling to be found because your business name is too generic, your options are limited. A brand-based Google Ads campaign might help, but you still won’t dominate the first page of Google for a brand search. In many cases, it might take a full name change and rebrand to solve the problem.
Ideally, you want to dominate the search results page with links appearing to:
- Your website, ideally at the top of the search results, plus site extensions to individual pages
- Your Google My Business listing
- Your social media profiles
- Press coverage and awards you’ve won
- Your entry on the FCA Register
- Directory profiles (Unbiased, VouchedFor and AdviserBook)
Appearing in the search results for your own name is harder, simply because more people will share your name than that of your business. Nevertheless, it’s important that people can find you, or other advisers/planners in your firm, who they are looking for. Ideally, the following will appear:
- Individual team pages on your website
- VouchedFor ratings (which will also impress suspects)
- Social media profiles, especially LinkedIn
- Press coverage
- The FCA Register (although since the changes this is a double-edged sword)
So, now you can be found you need to impress. How do you do that?
- Build a website which will give suspects the information they need. It’s where most people who search for you or your business will head
- Fully complete your Google My Business listing, regularly add blogs to it and, most importantly, build reviews. They will impress potential clients, differentiate your business from others and improve your SEO. Our ultimate guide to collecting ratings and reviews online explains more
- Enter and, ideally, win awards (yes, they work; no, they aren’t all based on the number of tables you buy!)
- Develop your press coverage
- Build your reviews on VouchedFor as well as Google. Remember, VouchedFor is no longer simply a platform for individual advisers/planners – your firm will have a rating too.
It takes time, effort, good habits and processes, but it works.
If you’re in any doubt about the number of people searching for your brand online, open up your Google My Business listing and head to the Insights section (as shown below) on the left-hand navigation. Scroll down to the pie chart and look at the proportion of visitors to your website after brand search. These are the ones shown in green. You might be surprised by the results!
Get yourself a cuppa and carry out these three simple tasks:
- Open a private or incognito window in your browser and Google your name and that of your business. Could a potential client find you easily? Remember to search for things that clients will look for, not just your full name. If you can be found, move to step two. If you can’t, we’re here to help!
- Now consider how impressive you are. How many things on the above list can you tick off?
- Make a plan to fill in the blanks. If you’re like most firms, the thing you will need to focus on is Google reviews. That’s where our ultimate guide for collecting reviews will help.
Things change, so we recommend searching for yourself regularly – at least once a month. If generating new enquiries from the right type of people is important to you, it’s vital that you’re visible and impressive online.
If you don’t tick both boxes we’re here to help. Email email@example.com or call us on 0115 8965 300.