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Some hints and tips to untangle the gobbledegook
In response to a growing number of requests for help and ideas to improve the effectiveness of an IFA website, TCF Investment has engaged with SEO consultant Richard Nolan of Electric Sock. Richard has produced some hints and tips to untangle the gobbledegook and provide some practical advice.
How IFAs can use SEO to engage and win customers.
So what is SEO? Search engine optimisation (SEO) is the process of nurturing the quantity and quality of visitors to your website. By making sure that you appear at the top of search results via organic search engines. More on organic search shortly.
Your prospects have never had so much choice – but at the same time it’s becoming harder for you to get on their radar: FCA compliance, email filters, browser ad-blocking, and GDPR1 kicking in on 25th May 2018 – all of this makes for an incredibly competitive marketplace.
So what can you do?
An effective IFA website has never been so important. Today, almost every IFA business has a website, but you need more than just a simple web presence. You need a website that engages with your target audience. To inform, educate and convert. More often than not, adviser firms are very clear on who their target audience is, but this is very rarely reflected on their websites. Why?
“Nimble advisers that think local can beat the big brands that don’t.”
All too often IFA websites are dated, slow and cumbersome to navigate. They haven’t even been designed to cater for increasingly popular mobile and tablet devices. 61% of our internet time is now spent on mobile devices. But more importantly, the content is often uninspiring. Even when it’s interesting, the chances are that it hasn’t been optimised for the search engines (Google, Bing, Yahoo etc), so no one’s ever going to find you.
There’s absolutely no excuse for this. Putting it right is relatively simple and needn’t cost the earth.
Content is key to a successful IFA website
There’s absolutely no point in having an IFA website that doesn’t engage with your target audience. Engaging with your target audience is really very simple. You create engaging content that is written around what you already know your prospects are searching for.
Keyword: Financial Advisor or Adviser?
For example, what would you say most people type into Google UK; advisor or adviser (see table below)?
|Google Keyword (UK)||Average
|*Correct as of September 2017|
Yes, I was surprised by this. It goes to show how important keyword research is. This is driven by the fact that Google’s predictive text tool selects advisor for the user.
The search term is known as a ‘keyword‘. The above examples are standard keywords. You should also discover the key ‘longtail keywords’ for your business.
These are longer phrases which allow you to better match with what your prospects are searching for – “best isa rates for over 50s” for example.
More importantly, understanding your keywords allows you to filter out, or segment, the prospects that are the best match for you. And, more importantly, ignore the searches that are not.
Capturing search traffic for an IFA website
From above you can see that there are a huge number of searches carried out each month by people looking for advice via an IFA website. We’ve only listed some of the very general search terms here. With no longtail examples, and no local geographical searches. E.g. “Help to buy ISA, Chelmsford”. With the “near me” keyword becoming increasingly popular – “Help to buy ISA near me”.
The more research that goes into your keyword strategy, matching that to your firm’s own business strategy. E.g. using your unique selling points, the more likely you are to be found in search of the potential clients you want. Pension advisers in Exeter are unlikely to want Mortgage prospects in Aberdeen.
Creating a keyword strategy is affordable and essential. If you want to get your business in front of interested buyers who are ready to take the next step. And once you have your target keywords, you can begin to use them to optimise your website. Also, use online advertising and social media presence to drive those clients to your website.
Where to start
First of all, when you enter a search term into a search engine (Google, Yahoo, Bing etc) it returns a set of results. It’s important to understand the difference between Paid/Sponsored, Local and Organic search.
The following image shows all three:
There are three separate SEO strategies as shown above:
- Pay-Per-Click (PPC/Paid/Sponsored)
- Local ‘3-Pack’ – as the name suggests on a map nearby
- Organic – national search
Each has its strengths and weaknesses. Research says that financial adviser firms of all sizes should particularly consider local search. This is important even for the largest adviser firms. Clients are more likely to do a geographical search than a general one. Those firms that grasp the nettle and commit to working strategically with all three of the above strands will benefit most from an IFA website.
Above image: Contact page optimised for Local SEO
Digital disruption is shaking the foundations of every business. There’s never been a better time for nimble IFAs to win more customers.
Showing Google Map, NAP (company: Name, Address, Phone number) and opening hours.
This is currently a relatively straightforward and affordable process for an IFA website. But the longer you put this off, the more difficult it becomes to secure the most popular keywords. And the more time-consuming and expensive the whole process will become.
Dynamic Content for an IFA website
From our website, you can see that we’ve used an engaging video on our homepage. Along with some great financial widgets at the bottom of this page (IFA website).
Also, this content is ‘responsive’. It automatically delivers the right content depending on the device it’s being consumed on. Which would be a video on a desktop PC and a static image on a phone. This helps to deliver the fastest possible response time while keeping your prospects engaged.
There are some great stock videos available. And the good news is that they needn’t cost the earth (the one we’ve used was under £50 ex VAT).
Also, we’ve used some of the financial tools available from Stockdio. These tools are great as they not only engage your prospects, they’re fully customisable and free (up to 500 views per month).
So there’s no longer any excuse for having a dull, unexciting, static website.
If you would like a free audit of your current IFA website drop a line to firstname.lastname@example.org
Or to find out the costs involved in sharpening up your website and getting it to work harder for you (with a compelling local strategy) drop Richard a line.
Contact Richard Nolan
Tel: 01494 816286 / 07971 101814
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