What you need to know about SEO
December 12, 2016
No, we didn’t mean CEO! Search engine optimization, or SEO, is an important tool for business owners, especially financial advisors, to increase their visibility online.
In working with advisors on developing LinkedIn strategies, I found that many of them wanted to learn one thing more than anything else: How to use advanced search to find, and be found by, a target audience. Having your target audience find you is where SEO comes in.
What is SEO?
Search engine optimization (SEO) is a set of techniques you can use to help improve the rankings of your website or page in search engine results when someone searches for a particular word or phrase.
For example, if your practice is known for estate planning, you would want to optimize your web pages for the phrase “estate planning” — meaning you could choose that phrase as a keyword for your site — so when someone searches for “estate planning,” your site appears at or near the top of the search engine results page. That’s SEO in a nutshell.
In addition, SEO is free and not ad-based.
How can you get started with SEO?
Below are four ways you can begin using SEO to help improve your ranking in search results. If you’re not the one who codes your website, don’t worry! Work with your webmaster or site provider to institute the changes that tend to take place behind the scenes.
1. Publish high-quality, unique content. Search engines try to determine authority on specific subjects and topics. Typically the greater the authority, the higher your pages rank. Use your website or even your LinkedIn page to publish and to share quality content that reflects your unique value proposition. Over time, this can increase your authority and increase your ranking in search engine results. Here’s an example of content sharing:
2. Include your chosen keyword in your page title. The page title is the blue heading that people see on a search engine results page. The page title tagged in your site’s coding should include the keyword that you’re optimizing for.
I’ll give an example, using an older article for The Evolving Advisor. The keyword phrase we chose for this article was “LinkedIn privacy settings.” You can see we included that exact phrase in the article’s page title, “Control your visibility with LinkedIn privacy settings.”
Most web content management systems have a title page input field that you can use without having to dig into the html code — the backbone of your websites. If not, provide the page title to your web administrator and they can update the html.
3. Include the keyword in your page URL as well. As with the page title, the page URL should also refer to the keyword phrase that you’re optimizing for. Again, using same example as above, you can see how we did this.
4. Drive inbound traffic with links on partner sites. Links from other websites also factor into your page authority. The more traffic to your site from trusted sources, the greater authority you will have, and this can drive better rankings. For example, if you work with a center of influence, such as an estate attorney or a local realtor, offer to promote their business on your website. They may do the same!
Unfortunately, there’s no magic bullet to SEO, but with minimal effort you can begin to see results. By employing the techniques outlined above, you can begin to build the authority to move up in search rankings.
It’s an ongoing process that can be well worth the time investment, as you start to see more traffic and are able to convert that traffic into new business.
Resources to learn more about search engine optimization.
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