When a financial adviser approaches our agency for SEO, it’s quite common for them to ask what we actually get up to. A fair question; in fact, don’t invest in an SEO agency until they tell you!
Most financial SEO agencies will start with an “SEO audit”. This is where they sit down, analyse the “SEO profile” of your website, identify areas for improvement, and then put forward a list of recommendations to address these.
That’s all fine, and the ideal place to start. However, it only takes you so far.
In a financial adviser’s world, the closest thing an SEO audit compares to is a pension review. You do it once, maybe every 12 months or so to see how things going. But it doesn’t make sense to do such an audit every month.
Even putting the recommendations of the SEO audit into place only takes you so far. For instance, the kinds of issues an SEO audit identifies are usually on-site issues such as:
- Missing / poor meta descriptions and titles
- Missing / insufficient alt tags
- Broken links which need removing or replacing
- 404 errors which need addressing
And other one-off fixes.
Addressing these sorts of points from an SEO audit can really be thought more of as an SEO project, rather than a SEO campaign.
The former has a fixed start and finish to the work. The latter provides ongoing, monthly value to increase your search engine rankings, and bring in more leads.
Which brings us back to the original question – what’s involved with the latter exactly?
Approach 1: The Daily Activity of A Financial SEO Agency
One way SEO agencies will help financial advisers is to run an SEO audit, and then move onto another stage of work. This can effectively be summarised as follows:
- Find keywords which the client says they want to target
- Do some link building, and create some content to target the keywords mentioned above
- Check the results. Report to the client
- Return to point 1. Rinse and repeat
This is often called the “old school” way of doing SEO for financial advisers. It has some merits, but standing alone it’s actually a very broken model.
Yet countless financial SEO agencies still peddle this as the right way to do SEO for financial firms. So it’s important that you ask them what their process is, prior to agreeing any work with them.
Approach 2: A Better Way (Incremental)
For SEO to work and provide ongoing value to financial advisers, it needs a more sophisticated, incremental approach.
The way this work at MarketingAdviser is that we first ask what your top-level, overarching marketing goals are for your business. From there, we analyse which SEO areas can best contribute to these goals.
Of course, part of this whole process will involve doing the aforementioned SEO audit, and putting the technical, on-site deficiencies right on your financial website. But it then goes much further than that.
What SEO looks like, under this approach, is to see the ongoing work as a series of “SEO projects”, running alongside and one after the other, to contribute to the business’s overall marketing goals.
For instance, one marketing goal for a financial business might be to form partnerships and client relationships with more legal firms.
This will then inform some of the ongoing SEO work that your agency then does, to increase your search engine exposure to this market.
- Writing guest articles on websites frequented by the legal profession, and building links back to your financial website within those articles.
- Approaching legal firms to guest-blog on your website, and link back to their own website.
- Building dedicated landing pages on your website, targeting search terms used by the legal profession in order to capture their attention.
And so on. As you can see, this SEO work is effectively focused on the business marketing goals, and the customer / client profile.
In all likelihood, however, you will have multiple marketing goals for your business, as well as multiple profile you wish to target (Profile A, Profile B and so on).
This then quickly adds up to a fair amount of ongoing work for a financial SEO agency. Depending on the number and nature of your goals and profiles, as well as the SEO competition you are facing, this can vary the required monthly investment quite considerably.
Example of the Incremental Approach
Suppose, however, that you are an IFA with one main target profile – dentists. There is only one real marketing goal linked to this profile as well. Namely, attract and convert this demographic as traffic on your financial website.
Once the work for the SEO audit is done, the next step is to ask what kinds of topics this target market is interested in. From here, a list of target keywords can be created, along with suggested content topics which could be based around these keywords.
These keywords and topics should be grouped into relevant themes, before focusing on one group.
It’s also important to ask what kinds of content are consumed by this target market, and how this can link into the content you will produce for the SEO strategy. For instance, this might include:
- Video interviews
- Blog posts
- eBook downloads and whitepapers
And so on. Choose the form or types which not only work best in the search engines, but which will likely better-engage your target profile.
Once your content list is created, it time to produce the actual content and then amplify / promote it.
After a set period has passed, your financial SEO agency then needs to review, measure and learn from this. From there, the content strategy can be refined, improved and built upon.
Going back to your content and topic groups however, you should then apply these insights to your next set of keywords and topics. This ensures that the next “SEO project” gets off to a better, more effective start than the first.
Once you’ve gone through the above process with this second group, you can then apply the things you’ve learned to the next group. And then the next group, and so on. Each time, your SEO work becomes more targeted and cost-effective.