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The quick guide to SEO for financial planners

Technology has transformed marketing. Gone are the days of relying on printed documents and word of mouth to drum up interest in a business. Today, it’s crucial that you consider your online presence and SEO is an essential part of this.

What is SEO?

The short answer is Search Engine Optimisation. It’s essentially the steps you take to increase traffic to your website and increase those all-important search engine rankings. Why’s it so important to rank highly on search engines?

Spending time on your SEO means more people find your website. With the right content, you’re in a position to turn traffic into leads and clients. SEO should be something that’s integrated into your marketing strategy. Whether you’re writing a blog or reviewing website navigation, it’s something to keep in the back of your mind.

Whilst SEO should be a fundamental part of your strategy, there may be things you can do to boost your SEO.

8 ways to improve your SEO now

1. Check your website loading speed

How fast does it take your website to load? Users expect instant results and will abandon websites that take too long. In fact, 40% of visitors will abandon a website that takes longer than three seconds to load. Having a higher abandonment rate will lower your search engine ranking. As a result, assessing your website speed is a worthwhile task. Optimising images and compressing code, for example, could help improve speed and SEO.

2. Identify your keywords

Understanding your keywords is essential for improving SEO. These are the words or phrases that potential visitors will search when looking for services like yours. These may be local or service references, such as ‘financial planner in Nottingham’. Or they could refer to a problem you could solve, for example, ‘Defined Benefit transfer’.

These keywords should then be used throughout your website. This signals to search engines that your website is relevant for these search terms. Whilst there will be hundreds of search terms that apply to you, choosing a few to focus SEO efforts on is advisable.

3. Review and update your metadata

Metadata is the text that appears beside your link on search engine pages. It should provide information about your website and encourage users to click through. You have up to 160 characters to capture attention.

But aside from providing information to users, it’s used by SEO too. When search engines crawl pages, they use metadata to assess what it’s about. This influences what search terms will lead to your link being displayed and how far down the result it is. You should carefully choose the words used in your metadata to reflect what you do. Ideally, your keyword should feature in both the meta title and meta description.

4. Commit to updating your content regularly

Content is king! Visitors value fresh, regular content. As a result, search engine algorithms value it too. Committing to updating your blog with (relevant) regular content can help you climb up the rankings. Coming up with original ideas week in week out can be challenging. But once it becomes a habit, you’ll often find it far easier. Luckily, one of our recent blogs covers beating writer’s block.

5. Keep readability in mind

When writing for the web, keeping readability in mind is crucial. Short, easy to read sentences are ideal for web content. If your content can end up wordy and complex, Hemingway Editor is a great tool. It’ll highlight where sentences have gotten too long and difficult to read.

Pages filled with huge blocks of text can quickly put readers off. Break up your text with sub-headers (extra points if you use a keyword in them), bullet points and lists. Not only does this help make the content more appealing, but it also encourages your users to stay for longer. Getting people to read right to the very end can be tricky but we have some tips here.

6. Don’t rely on written content

Text is important. But don’t forget images and videos. They’re an excellent way to engage with readers and offer an alternative way to pass on information. 2018 research suggests video content is 50 times more likely to drive organic search results than plain text. The accessibility of videos means people are likely to spend more time watching them. As a result, search engines recognise the content as adding value.

Suggested video clips are appearing more frequently on search page results. Produce highly-rated videos and you have a chance to start engaging with prospects before they even click on your website. Client videos are a great way for finance professionals to show off testimonials too.

7. Add alt tags to videos and images

Alt tags are the text you write that appear behind images. If images don’t load, the alt tags will appear instead. Given that they typically won’t appear on your website, you may give writing these a miss. Yet, they do serve two important purposes.

First, the text can help improve your SEO and gives you another opportunity to use your keywords. The text used helps search engines rank your website. Second, the text can provide a description for visually impaired users. When writing alt tags, be specific but keep it relatively short.

8. Use internal and external links

Links within webpages are incredibly important for SEO.

Internal links (those that go to other pages of your website) help keep visitors on your website for longer. These links can provide further information or act as a call to action. The text you’re hyperlinking should use words that help search engine bots to better understand the page.

Using external links to trustworthy and informative websites boosts your credibility. If you’re citing research or a news story, linking to it improves authority. When using external links, be sure they open in a new window to keep visitors on your site.

Building up your search engine rankings

The above can help set the foundations for improved SEO and organic search. But it’s important to continue building on this. SEO algorithms change and the digital world is competitive. Embedding SEO into your marketing strategy can help maintain and improve rankings. This is an area we can help with. From delivering regular, relevant content to improving website performance, our services can improve your SEO. To learn more, please get in touch.

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