As a financial planner or investment advisor, you’re in the business of helping people get from where they are to where they want to be. In most cases, this means guiding people through the process of building wealth through smart investments and savvy financial decision making. But how often do you sit down and think about how you can take your business from where it is to where you’d like it to be?
In terms of growing your financial planning business, there are few investments that provide a bigger ROI than search engine optimization (SEO). And if you want to excel with SEO, you need to master the art of link building.
Everyone has their own favorite definition, but link building is essentially the process of acquiring hyperlinks from other websites to your own domains and URLs. A hyperlink is just a fancy word for a link that’s embedded into the text of a blog post, article, or website copy. It allows users to click and quickly navigate to another page. (See there, we just threw in a helpful hyperlink for you!)
In link building, the goal is to acquire as many inbound hyperlinks as possible. More often than not, we refer to these as “backlinks.” There are numerous strategies for acquiring backlinks; therefore every investment advisor is ultimately charged with developing an approach that’s tailored to their individual needs and goals.
SEO goes above and beyond link building. However, if you’re going to develop a strong SEO strategy that’s built on sustainable principles, there’s no better place to start. The benefits of link building include:
So while link building requires time, creative energy, and (in most cases) a financial investment, there’s clear value on the back end. Just like you encourage your clients to make short-term sacrifices for long-term gains, we advise our financial planning clients to put in the work now so they can enjoy the fruits of their labor down the road.
There are right and wrong ways to go about link building. If you aren’t careful, your research will lead you down a path toward black hat SEO techniques that put your website’s future in peril. Be sure to do your due diligence and gather information from resources that are experienced, dependable, and transparent.
At SEO.co, link building is what we do. We’ve been in the industry for nearly a decade. Over that time, we’ve discovered what works, what doesn’t, and how financial advisors, like yourself, can use link building to enhance online visibility and generate more business.
Here are a few of our top suggestions:
There are plenty of in-depth, time-consuming link building tactics that are necessary in order to establish a sustainable and high-returning strategy. But before you begin investing in these methods, it’s important to grab the low hanging fruit. There are some basic backlinks that are easy to pick up and will help you set the foundation for bigger and better things. They include:
You aren’t going to see massive gains by building out these links. These are links that every financial planner needs in order to have an online presence. But if you don’t have them, you’re missing out on freebies that your competitors are almost certainly utilizing.
Once you have the basic building blocks in place, you’re ready to dig your heels in and get to work. From an SEO point of view, you should start with basic keyword research. This will help you determine the best type of content to publish, which websites and blogs to target for backlinks, and what sort of anchor text is best for your hyperlinks.
A lot of your keyword research will be specific to your practice, location, and niche, but there may also be some general industry terms worth targeting. Google’s keyword planner tool can help you zero in on what your audience is searching for.
In the past, you could get away with basic keywords like “financial planner” and “best investment advisor.” Today, high competition and tweaks to Google’s algorithm have changed the rules. It’s now best to target natural, long-tail keywords. For example, you may find it useful to build out content around a keyword such as “best retirement strategies for teachers” or “how to find a financial planner in my area.” It all depends on what your audience is searching for and what services you provide.
With keyword research in hand, you need to build out some quality content for your website. In anticipation of building links and finding quick success, this is the piece that most financial advisors overlook. But without quality content, there’s nothing for other websites and bloggers to link to.
Quality content is useful, authoritative, specific to your audience, and thorough. A 250-word blog post on a generic topic that’s irrelevant to your target demographic won’t work. A 3,000-word post about a high-level topic that your audience is currently working through stands a better chance of being effective.
For best results, create a content calendar and make a commitment to publishing content on a regular basis. One to three pieces of original content every week – at least in the early stages – will give you a solid foundation.
As a financial advisor, you’re in a unique position. Since you’re selling a service – rather than a physical product – you have a chance to produce interactive content that serves the needs of your prospective clients. Interactive content is particularly helpful because of its high level of engagement. This makes it sticky – compelling for other people to link back to.
You can develop any number of interactive resources on your website, but financial calculators are the most commonly used. Financial calculators – such as the ones shown on Bankrate’s website – help visitors perform any number of tasks. Depending on how you set them up, they can help users do things like calculate retirement savings, estimate the ROI of an investment, or develop a budget.
Up until this point, we haven’t discussed the process of link placement very much – and that’s intentional. The actual accumulation of links is only a small part of the process. But once you have some high-quality content in place that’s relevant to your target market, you can begin the process of building out backlinks.
Some backlinks will happen organically. But in the beginning stages, you may need to solicit links in order to jumpstart your campaign. This will happen primarily through outreach to bloggers and journalists.
If you run across a blog post that you believe aligns with content on your website, don’t be afraid to send an email with your link explaining how your link will add value to their content. However, you may get better results if you offer to write a guest blog post.
Another popular strategy is to reach out to journalists who are looking for stories and to provide them with an interview, facts, or research. Not only does this provide you with a link back to your site, but it also enhances your visibility. (Being cited as an authoritative figure in your industry is excellent for PR.)
Constantly tracking down bloggers and journalists to ask for links can get old. Thankfully there are other ways to organically generate some backlinks.
One idea is to do something noteworthy that will create some positive press for your financial planning business. This could include offering free advisement sessions to teachers, setting up a scholarship program for high school graduates, or volunteering in the local community. All of these things generate buzz, which then produces backlinks to your website.
Finally, make sure you’re tracking your results through a website analytics platform like Google Analytics. This will help you understand who is linking to your site, where your referral traffic is coming from, and how effective your strategy is. Moving forward, you can further optimize your approach.
There are a lot of so-called SEO gurus and digital marketing experts who will tell you that they have the secret sauce to link building. But the truth is that there is no proprietary formula or five-minute hack. In order to use link building to grow your business, you have to make an investment in sound principles that deliver long-term value.
At SEO.co, we’ve been working with financial planners and investment advisors for years – helping them develop robust content and powerful link building strategies that generate visibility, traffic, conversions and improve your website SEO. If you’re interested in doing link building the right way, we’d love to help. Contact us today to learn more about our no-risk, money-back guarantee!