Statistically speaking, there is likely at least one potential client out there right now searching for financial services and advice in your area.
If that person is a high-value prospect, then unless you want to risk letting that business go straight to your competitors, you want to be appearing high in their search results.
Marketing for financial services, in other words, should involve SEO (search engine optimisation) as part of a wider, comprehensive marketing strategy. But how do you do SEO effectively?
In all likelihood, you won’t have the time or the knowledge to do it yourself. You’ll need to outsource it to a competent financial marketer. However, how do you know they’re doing their job properly? How can you hold them to account?
At MarketingAdviser, we believe transparency is vital when it comes to marketing for financial services, and we take pride in nurturing deep, long-lasting relationships with our clients.
In this spirit, we’ve therefore compiled a checklist of 5 financial marketing questions that any SEO should be prepared to answer, including ourselves:
1. Have you included my primary keyword (or something close) into my page URL?
Your SEO firm should have sat down with you and identified your primary keyword already. (If not, it’s time to get a new financial marketing provider). This keyword should be appearing in your URL relevant web pages.
For instance, if your primary keyword is “financial adviser inverness”, then there should be a page on your website that reads something along the lines of: “www.yourcompany.com/financial-adviser-inverness”
2. Have you installed Google Analytics onto my website?
Google Analytics tracks your website visitors, and it’s vital that this is plugged into all of your web pages.
There’s a way you can check this for yourself. Open up Google Chrome and search for “Google Tag Assistant”. In the Chrome extensions page that appears, install the Google Tag Assistant extension onto your browser. From here, you’ll see a little blue, tag-like icon appear in the top right of your browser.
Now go to your website homepage. After it loads, click on the blue tag. Press the “Enable Button” and then refresh the page. The blue tag should turn green after a few seconds to show that a tracking code is on your website.
Click on the tag icon again and it should list a green, smiley tag with your Analytics code next to it (it should look something like this: UA-XXXXXXX-XX).
3. Have you created an XML sitemap for my financial website?
Imagine you stepped into a hotel or mansion that you’d never visited before. You could spend considerable time exploring it, and still not discover every room, cupboard or passageway inside.
Google feels a little like that when it visits a website without a “sitemap”. It will have a look around as best it can, but if you want Google to know about the existence of your web pages, you need your SEO to submit an XML sitemap to Google.
4. Do all my images have descriptive file names and ALT tags?
There are two big reasons you need each of your website images to have descriptive ALT tags.
The first is user accessibility. If blind users are visiting your website, they need to be able to “read” the image through a screen reader which describes the image to them. Alt tags help the screen reader to do that.
Second, good ALT tags are loved by search engines like Google, and so will give your financial marketing a leg-up.
5. Are my meta description tags less than 155 characters?
Marketing for financial services isn’t complete without meta tags…
Now you might think that meta tags sound like some kind of alien technology out of Star Trek. Never fear, we shall explain it in non-techno speak!
A meta tag is text that sits on your web page, but it isn’t visible to your users. However, this text is readable to web browsers, other web services and search engines.
Essentially, meta tags help Google to gain a better understanding of the content of your website pages, so they can rank them for relevant search results.
To check that your homepage has meta tags included, simply visit your web page and right click on it. On the drop down menu, click on “View Source” (or “View Page Source”) and a bunch of ugly, scary code will come up. Don’t panic.
Simply press “CTRL + F” to open the finder, and type “meta” into it. The finder should highlight the meta tag near the top of the page. If not, you need to approach your SEO and ask them about it!