If you’re in the business of financial planning, you likely know the value of a good strategy. The same is true with local optimization, or local SEO, which is an integral part of marketing for the modern local business. Google and other search engines have a lot of criteria by which they rank your local efforts, but understanding how they work can help you get the most out of your optimization, no matter what your exact strategy.
Financial planners need to understand how to build a strong online reputation and network with related businesses, such as banks, insurance companies, and even local employers that you may be able to create partnerships with. Although keywords are part of the process, the former is far more important to your local SEO ranking. Read on to learn the best practices for local SEO when you’re in the business of financial planning.
Before you start a whole new strategy, you’ll want to know where you’re starting from. That means doing an audit of your existing website, as well as all of your off-page listings and profiles. Take the time to review the content, find out what you can optimize and how, and come up with a strategy to work on the existing content so that the new additions will fit and deliver the better lead generation that you seek.
You can also hire someone to do the audit for you and make recommendations on what to improve or change, which could help more than going through it all yourself and trying to find things that you can do to make it better.
As with any optimization strategy, you need to make sure that your keywords are on point. This starts by performing the right keyword research and making sure that you know what words to optimize for. Financial planners, for example, might find keywords like “local financial planner” or “financial planning services near me” are popular, as well as those that include the actual city or location where the firm is located. You won’t know this, though, until you do the research and create a list of keywords that will hit the mark.
Your online listings should be plentiful, but they should also be reputable. Feel free to take advantage of directory listings and online forums that are related to financial planning. Make sure that when you’re listing your business on these pages, or anywhere, you need a standard name, address, and phone number. Known as the NAP, this has to be consistent, 100%, or you will get points deducted by Google. Remember to look for quality connections first and foremost, and to choose related forums, directories, or websites so that you attract the right audiences.
This is one of the most valuable online listings that you will obtain. You need to claim and complete your Google Business Profile, including categories, tags, and other sections so that Google can see just what kind of business you are and what you have to offer. Complete this entire profile and use keywords where you can. Google will generally pull the top results from the companies that have the best Google profile because they’re the most credible, so make sure that your profile lands at the top.
Financial planning businesses have been getting a bad reputation for years. People often think of these firms as stuffy and formal, cold and impersonal, and not the type of company to be “friendly.” Now is your chance to change that perception. Get involved on social media (beyond just having a profile) and make sure that you’re engaging with your audience, partners, peers, and other local businesses in as many ways as possible. This kind of engagement shows Google that you care about your reputation and your customers, which will help you rank higher in local search in the long run.
Networking is a great way to get reputation points. Just as you network in person or over the phone, you should also be networking online. This could be with similar businesses, other local organizations, etc. The point is that you’re connected to other reputable companies, which thereby increases your reputation value in the eyes of Google. This is a great place to get links for backlinking, too, which is another big part of your local SEO success.
Financial planners can even create relationships with local organizations and offer special products or services for the employees of these organizations, creating brand value and reputation points for the employees and the community alike.
Before diving into any of these efforts, you need to remember to develop a strategy focused on creating quality listings, online social media profiles, relationships with peers and other companies, and so forth. Google values even a dozen good links far more than a business that shows up with 50 backlinks that aren’t all from a high-quality source. Make sure that when you’re building your reputation, you focus on quality, not quantity.
Now that you’ve got the means to execute a solid local SEO strategy, you’re going to see an influx of new leads just waiting to do business with your financial planning firm. The first thing that you need is a 24/7 answering service in place to ensure that you never miss a beat. When you work with the virtual receptionists at Smith.ai, you’ll get that along with support for appointment scheduling, lead screening and intake, and everything else you need.
We can even pitch in with outreach campaigns and outbound sales support if you need help getting the leads in the first place. Plus, it comes with a custom strategy so that every last detail is covered.