The Internet has made it easier for financial advisors to reach a large and targeted demographic with messages designed to generate actionable leads. At their core, these online marketing efforts rely on an effective web that attracts visitors, provides them with useful resources, and then encourages them to reach out to the financial advisor. The idea is that a certain percentage of these online leads will then convert to paying clients.

In this article, we’ll take a look at how to attract a growing number of visitors over time using so-called SEO techniques that take advantage of search engine dynamics. (For related reading, see: A Guide to Corporate Social Media.)

What is SEO?

Most businesses generate online visitors through either search engine marketing (“SEM”) or search engine optimization (“SEO”). Search engine marketing is the science of placing ads alongside certain search results that cost a certain amount per click or impression, while search engine optimization is the art of fine-tuning a website to naturally appear near the top of search results for a certain keyword or phrase to generate traffic for “free.”

In general, the best way to increase search engine rankings and attract visitors is to produce high-quality resources for them. High quality resources — such as content or tools — not only helps attract visitors, but also encourages them to stay and eventually become a lead. Search engine algorithms are constantly changing, but the goals of search engines have always been the same — direct searchers to the best available information. (For related reading, see: How Financial Advisors Are Leveraging Social Media.)

Tricking search engines into a high ranking may have worked in the past, but using techniques like keyword stuffing or invisible links will now quickly result in a ban from many search engines. While newer “black hat” techniques will always exist, the risks associated with using these techniques always outweighs the benefits. Financial advisors should try to avoid the hype when it comes to SEO and instead focus on high-quality content.

How to Improve SEO

The best way to optimize a website for search engines is to produce high-quality resources, but there are many technical factors that make it easier for search engines to discover a website and understand the topics being discussed — they are machines after all! (For related reading, see: Financial Advisors are Feeling Cyber-insecure.)

Here are some common technical factors to keep in mind:

  • Focus on Keywords — Identify keywords that are highly trafficked but face little competition by using tools like WebCEO or by hiring a consultant. Then, focus on these keywords when writing website content. Example: “Denver 401K Advice.”
  • Spend Time on Titles — Write unique and descriptive titles when creating content, since these titles are the first thing that people see when they appear in search results. Example: “10 Roth IRA Gotcha’s You Need to Know for 2015.”
  • Write Well & Often — Creating regular content helps increase the likelihood of appearing in search results and tells search engines that the website is being maintained. The best websites are updated daily or weekly.

The Bottom Line

Search engine optimization is just one piece of the puzzle when it comes to creating an effective online presence. With strong SEO in place, a website will attract targeted visitors, but retaining them and converting them into a lead is another matter. High quality content helps improve SEO and these other elements, by ensuring that a website is genuinely useful to visitors searching for advice via search engines. (For related reading, see: Educating Your Clients About Cybersecurity.)