As the COVID-19 virus continues to transform nearly every sector of life, financial advisors across the country are left with 2020 marketing plans that are now defunct, obsolete or require substantial modifications. Many states are prolonging stay-at-home ordinances, which means we are entering a summer of social distancing and similar measures that will limit group gatherings. For financial advisors who centered their 2020 marketing campaigns around hosting seminars, attending networking events and participating in community functions, all is not lost.
This void can be filled by readjusting your focus to local search engine optimization (SEO). Consumers are in need of guidance, and they are going online in record numbers to find it. In fact, a recent Google Report found that the query “coronavirus money help” spiked 3,600 percent over the last month in the U.S. This increase followed the federal government approving a $2 trillion stimulus package in March that included sending a $1,200 relief check to Americans who qualify. Following a supply and demand model, advisors can gain consultation requests and clients by improving their local Google rankings so they appear in the search results of prospective clients navigating through these times of financial uncertainty.
Relevance Leads to Revenue
Local SEO, when done right, can forge a reliable, effective and sustainable growth pipeline for financial advisors in markets large and small. With over 175 million internet searches per hour, over 40 percent of all click-through traffic is received by the top four results on Google, according to a 2019 study. As more financial advisors are catching on to this opportunity, the time to invest is now before increased competition makes it tough to crack the first page.
Positioning your website to appear in local Google searches is by no means a new marketing tactic, but it has gained recent traction in the financial planning industry. In 2019, search was ranked the number one driver of traffic to a website out performing social media by over 300 percent. Further proving the power of SEO, Google recently published an article dedicated to SEO case studies. The study found that in addition to heightened organic traffic, the quality of traffic also increased. One study revealed a 93 percent increase in number of new sign ups and a 9 percent increase in conversions.
Google is in the business of relevance. When a user enters a search term, they expect to see the most relevant results. That is what the algorithm is designed to produce. For advisors to rank on Google today, they must be relevant, and that requires an integrated public relations and content marketing approach incorporating Google’s search engine optimization best practices.
Another word all financial advisors should be familiar with is backlinks. We recommend consistently securing high authority backlinks from trusted third-party websites, such as news outlets. These backlinks help to power websites and webpages up the Google ladder toward first page rankings for targeted search terms and key phrases.
Window of Opportunity
Local SEO can place financial advisors on the fast track for success. In such a high-demanding role, financial advisors are often late adopters in the digital marketing realm. While industries like law, real estate and insurance caught onto SEO years ago, many financial advisors are just now seeing this as a window of opportunity for a steady stream of inbound leads. Late to the game, few advisors have prioritized local SEO to date, providing opportune occasion for firms of all sizes in some of the most popular cities.
As competitive firms are catching onto the importance of SEO, advisors should act on this opportunity fast. It is much easier and less expensive to safeguard a first page ranking once it’s already been established than to delay it and attempt to catch up later. It is wise to take advantage of any COVID-19 related lull in business to invest time and resources into your firm’s website and local SEO standing.
By the nature of the field, financial advisors want to see measurable results for their marketing investments. Fortunately, SEO is completely quantifiable. At Flackable, we send our SEO clients monthly reports tracking their rankings for specific search terms, domain authority, organic search traffic and other essential metrics. Given the right customer relationship management (CRM) system, advisors can even track exactly which online leads originated from Google and other search engines.
Luckily, you do not have to be an SEO expert to understand the importance of ranking high on Google and other trusted search engines – a degree in finance and a passion for business development is plenty. Prioritizing local SEO can help financial advisors stand out in a crowded industry and steadily drive new business opportunities. While 2020 may be the summer of social distancing, it should also be the season of local SEO for financial advisors.
To learn more about our approach to search engine optimization, please download our free Understanding Search Engine Optimization infographic.