For financial advisers, a website is a vital marketing channel to draw in new clients via digital marketing. So how do you ensure that your website can actually be found in Google’s search engine?
Unfortunately, it isn’t as simple as just hitting the “publish” button when launching a new financial website. Google needs to then go on and “index” your website.
This tends to happen automatically after publication, over the course of weeks and perhaps months. However, you can alternatively submit your website to Google manually, for faster results.
Below, we’re going to outline some possible ways financial advisers can do this with their website. First of all, however, it’s important to understand a bit more about how Google indexing works.
Google Indexing: A Closer Look
It’s when you start to take a closer look at indexing that you begin to realise how vast Google is.
Google states that it uses a huge network of computers, called Googlebot (also known as a “spider”), to crawl over billions of web pages. Googlebot starts crawling by taking a list of URLs from previous crawls, and then refines this process by using sitemap information from Google Search Console.
From here, Googlebot looks for updates to pages that it might have crawled in the past – as well as new pages, sites and broken links – to potentially list them in Google’s search results.
Because Google crawls the internet like this, some financial advisers might not need to submit their website if it is discovered naturally.
However, bear in mind that this might not happen as rapidly as you might want it to.
To check that your financial website is appearing in Google, use the string “Site:Sitename.com” in the Google search bar. For instance, here’s what happened when we searched for MarketingAdviser:
If our content had not been indexed by Google, then our website would not have appeared here. So this should be the first step for financial advisers – find out if your website is being indexed by Google.
If it is not, then you need to create a sitemap and submit it to Google.
How To Submit A Sitemap For A Financial Website
There are basically two ways for a financial adviser to submit their sitemap to Google. Both with require you to be the website owner, and registered with Google Search Console.
#1 If your financial website is brand new…
In this case, you will need to verify your ownership of the website using Google Search Console.
From there, you can submit your sitemap by following the instructions here.
#2 If you are adding/amending pages to an existing website…
In this case, you already have a domain launched. You just need Google to recognise the changes you have made to the website – be it large amends to existing pages, or new pages that have been added on.
Just as in the first case, you will need to be the website owner with Google Search Console access. from here, you can do one of two things to get Google to re-crawl the website:
i). Fetch as Google
This free tool allows you to look at your website’s pages through the eyes of Google’s crawlers.
In addition, you can also use it to re-index specific URLs on your website. For this to work, you’ll need to log in to Google Search Console and select your website property.
On the left, select Crawl > Fetch as Google. This will pull up a search bar, where you can enter the URL of the new/updated web page you wish to index.
Simply press “Fetch” after you’ve entered the URL. If Google allows you to do it, then you’ll see a “Request Indexing” button appear below. Press this and Google will start re-crawling the page.
ii). Submit an up-to-date sitemap
This is probably the easier of the two options, assuming you don’t have one uploaded to Google Search Console already.
To do this, log into GSC and find your financial website in the list of properties. From there, press “Try the new Search Console” on the left.
In the new tab that appears, select “sitemaps” on the left.
From here, enter the URL of your sitemap and press “Submit” (for most IFAs and financial planners, this URL will probably be “sitemap-xml”).