More and more, financial advisers are seeing the value of a blog to their marketing. Not only does it provide thought leadership and brand credibility, it has the potential to increase your search engine rankings in Google. The result is more brand exposure, and the chance to generate higher volumes of leads for your business.
However, writing an effective blog for your financial marketing is anything but straightforward. Google’s algorithm, for instance, frequently changes. In other words, the tactics which helped your blog rank high last year might not work so well this year.
To make your blog work for you, therefore, you need to keep on top of Google’s updates and adapt your content and financial website accordingly. (This is one reason why IFAs find value outsourcing their content marketing and SEO to a financial marketing agency, like ourselves).
Moreover, there are many moving parts to SEO. This means that you cannot simply write a blog on pensions, publish it on your WordPress website, and expect it to propel you to the top of Google search in the coming days and weeks.
There are technical aspects of SEO you need to consider (e.g. alt tags, meta descriptions and appropriate use of H tags). Moreover, you need to be hitting the right keywords with your content, and truly meet the user’s need as well. If the user perceives your content to be irrelevant or boring, then they will likely leave quickly. This can really hurt your rankings.
If this is making you panic, try not to. Although we believe it is best to outsource the bulk of your content marketing so you can focus on your business, there is value in doing some of this yourself. To do that, you need to know a bit about what you are doing.
So, in this article we’re going to outline 6 SEO tips to help you optimise your blog for Google:
#1 Focus on User Intent
In the not-too-distant past, you used to be able to rank a blog high in Google through “keyword stuffing”. Essentially, this would involve taking a keyword you wanted to rank on page 1 for (e.g. “financial adviser essex”), and simply overloading your web page with this exact phrase.
The user experience would typically be appalling on web pages that did this. So Google, ever on the quest to improve the experience of users on their platform, updated their algorithm in order to punish websites that did this. Today, keywords need to be chosen carefully and placed strategically within your content. They should sound and read naturally, and not appear too often.
Nowadays, Google really likes blogs which focus on user intent. In other words, you should be concentrating on really answering your users’ questions, and addressing their needs.
For instance, suppose one of your target keywords is “pension transfer advice”. Clearly, the user who uses this search phrase is looking for tips on how to transfer their pension. They might not necessarily be looking for a pension transfer adviser at this stage. Or they could well be.
Either way, the user is seeking to educate themselves on what is involved in a pension transfer. So, if you can provide an excellent landing page on this topic, and make occasional reference to the keyword within the body copy, then you are onto a winner.
You might want to provide answers to commonly-asked questions about pension transfers, for instance, within the page. You could provide case studies of clients who have recently transferred. And so on. The point is, the more epic the page or post is, and the more relevant and helpful it is, the higher you are going to rank in Google.
#2 Choose Your Header Carefully
The headline (or title) of your blog post is truly crucial. Readers will judge whether or not to click on your post in search results largely based on your headline. Google, moreover, will look at your headline when determining where to rank your content in the user’s search engine results.
Try and keep your title under 60 characters, and also try to include your target keyword somewhere within that limit. If your blog title is quite long, try and include the keyword somewhere at the beginning (like we have done here in this blog post).
#3 URL Structure
Google will look at your blog post’s URL to determine what it is about. So make sure your URLs are optimised for Google search by including your keyword somewhere in there.
#4 Meta Description
Your blog post’s “meta description” is the text you see under the titles of listings in Google search engine results. It tells your readers and also Google what your content is about, prior to your blog post being clicked on and then actually read.
Again, make sure your keyword is in there and that your content is appealing and enticing to click on. The higher your click-through-rate on your blog posts, the more favourably Google will perceive your content in the search engine.
#5 Keep It Mobile-Friendly
It may surprise you to learn that most people view websites from their mobile devices, not desktops. So if your content is difficult to read on a smartphone or tablet, users will likely get frustrated and bounce off your page or post.
Google also takes the mobile-responsiveness of your website into account when determining where to rank your website. In fact, the most recent Google algorithm update now only looks at mobile versions of web pages when determining search engine rankings. They no longer look at desktop versions. So if your financial website is not currently mobile-optimised, we urge you to make this a priority before you look valuable brand exposure and search engine real estate.
#6 Optimise Image Alt Text
If your blog has any images, then you need to ensure each one has an appropriate “alt text” assigned to it. This is simply a short description about what is contained within the image, for the benefit of Google’s bots and also for blind users who are using a screen reader.