About Brien Shanahan

https://www.seo4advisors.com

Posts by Brien Shanahan:

What Makes A Great Financial Advisor Website?

What Makes A Great Financial Advisor Website?

As a financial advisor, you’re so busy trying to grow and manage your firm that you have little time to focus on creating a great website. I’ve been working with financial advisors since 2008 and have seen hundreds of terrible sites. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Your website should be your #1 tool for growing your business. You can build a great website — one that’s beautiful and easy to manage — with minimal work. Here are the 11 must-have elements of a great financial advisor website.

11 elements of a great financial advisor website

1. The Right Web PlatformWordpress websites for financial advisors

There are now many “easy-to-use” platforms out there, including WordPress, Wix, Weebly, and SquareSpace. Of these options, WordPress offers the best combination of simplicity and customization. The key advantage of WordPress over closed proprietary systems is that it is open source, so there are literally thousands of themes and plugins to choose from to build a site exactly to your liking. Twenty five percent of all websites are built on WordPress. That’s 60 million votes of confidence.

2. Easy to Manage and Create ContentEasily add new content to your website

Financial advisors should be able to easily log in to their websites and add or update content. This could include writing a new blog post or editing a static page to reflect a recent achievement. If you have to pay someone every time you need to add a paragraph or image to your site, you’re doing it wrong. Do yourself a favor and get a WordPress site.

3. Beautiful and User Friendly

Your website is a reflection of your business as a whole and the quality of your work. A beautiful, user-friendly site gives you instant credibility while a 10-year-old design reflects a an antiquated business that is behind the curve.

Not sure if your site is user friendly? Watch a non-savvy friend or family member use it for the first time. Can they easily navigate the site or does it confuse them? Do they click where you would like them to click? Can they quickly and easily reach your contact form? Your site should direct them along a certain path using well-placed links and calls to action.

4. Search Engine Optimization

There’s little point to creating a beautiful site if no one will see it. SEO gets your website in front of leads at just the right time — when they’re searching for a financial advisor in search engines. An investment in good search engine optimization can quickly pay for itself by giving you a steady stream of new business leads. Just be sure to choose a firm that understands your business and does SEO the right way. That means successful case studies, transparent reporting of results, and a focus on content creation and optimization over “link building”.

5. Responsive, Lean DesignResponsive financial advisor websites

Websites should adjust automatically whether the visitor is on a PC, tablet, or smartphone. If your site isn’t responsive, it won’t load properly on mobile devices, neglecting a rapidly-growing segment of internet users. One third of all web traffic is now via tablet or smartphone.

Websites should be fast. About half of all internet users expect a web page to load in 2 seconds or less. A study by Kissmetrics found that just a 1-second delay can decrease customer satisfaction by 16%, resulting in a 7% reduction in sales conversions.

6. Calls To Action

The purpose of a good financial advisor website is to present your services and start a conversation with people who need your help. Present your value and use calls to action to direct visitors to a contact form or an integrated calendar. For leads that might not yet be ready to set up an appointment, offer a newsletter subscription form or white paper download.

7. Meaningful Media

Beautiful images and well-produced videos will engage and delight visitors. Unfortunately, too many financial advisor websites either have a wall of text or the same old stock images. Boring! Use relevant media to add value to the information presented on the page. A useful infographic or an informative 2-minute video will keep users engaged longer on your site, which is a key factor for search engine rankings and your likelihood of getting that lead to contact you. Just be sure to resize images so that they load quickly. Using oversized images or embedding multiple videos per page can slow down your site.

8. Easy Social Media IntegrationSocial media integration for websites

Creating content that people love and share is key to establishing yourself as an expert. It also happens to be great for SEO and creates a new conduit for building your business. Every share is like a soft referral of your services to the sharer’s entire social network.

9. Auto Archiving

As a financial advisor, you should be backing up and archiving your website for compliance purposes. WordPress has dozens of great archiving plugins, most of them free, that can email you a zip file or save backups to Dropbox, Amazon Cloud Drive, Box.com, or Google Drive whenever you set it to (every day, every week, or every time you make a change).

10. Compatibility with Business Toolssalesforce

You surely have a number of tools that are essential to managing your practice. These include mailing list services (eg. MailChimp, Constant Contact), scheduling software, and CRM systems such as SalesForce. Your website should easily integrate with all of these tools to establish a continuity between all digital services for your business. Luckily, the WordPress platform does just that.

11. Quality Hosting CompanyBluehost website hosting

Your hosting company can be your friend or enemy. Most hosting is relatively inexpensive, but excessive frugality when choosing your hosting company is a big mistake. The lowest-cost hosting companies will have more frequent outages, be less willing to help, and will keep you on hold for up to an hour every time you call. Our preferred hosting company, Bluehost (well-earned affiliate link), generally answers phone calls within 10 minutes and has reps that go out of their way to help. WP Engine is also well-regarded for self-hosted WordPress sites.

 

Missing any of these elements in your website? Let us help you turn your financial advisor website into a lead-generating machine. See our case study to see how we can help or ask for examples of our recent work. 

Book by July 4 and Mention promo code “JULY25” and get 25% off a basic or premium WordPress site or any SEO package. Call us today at  516 299-6063.

 

SEO4Advisors Partners with Public Relations Firm Influence Advisor

SEO4Advisors Partners with Public Relations Firm Influence Advisor

Among the many challenges of independent advisory firms is integrating public relations with digital marketing efforts. With so many business management priorities, good PR is often left to the wayside leaving the bulk of press mentions to the few firms that have an integrated PR strategy.

Influence Advisor public relations firm for financial advisorsOur new partner, Influence Advisor, is not just any public relations firm for financial advisors. Influence Advisor helps advisors generate publicity and get in front of their target constituents by combining traditional PR with content marketing, SEO, social media, and other marketing efforts. We support the firm because of the team’s vast experience and its focus on integrating PR into the overall marketing plan, something we view as essential for independent advisory firms to best compete with industry giants.

The firm was founded by Mark Rose, who has 20+ years experience crafting and implementing public relations programs for start-ups, mid-size and large companies in a wide range of industries. Rose was senior vice president at Edelman Worldwide in New York and Los Angeles, and has held positions at Middleberg Communications, Howard Rubenstein Associates, Marston Communications, and Makovsky + Co.

See CMG Advisor Central for the company’s latest content marketing program for financial clients.

Contact mark@influenceadvisor.commention “SEO4Advisors” and get 10% off your first project.

Named Among The 28 Best SEO Guides of 2013, Twice

Search Engine Optimization

Credit: http://www.raidenhttpd.com/

SEO4Advisors Founder Brien Shanahan had two articles named among the B2B Marketing blog Webbiquity.com’s 28 Best Search Engine Optimization Guides of 2013.

Webbiquity acknowledges that 2013 has been a major year for SEO, given the challenges created for marketing professionals and webmasters by Google’s recent changes to its search algorithm and the emergence of social media.

Shanahan’s recent articles address the changing SEO landscape and answer key concerns of marketers, including:

  • How to perform a comprehensive SEO audit of your website
  • How do Google Penguin algorithm updates penalize websites that don’t comply with Google’s Webmaster guidelines?
  • What are the newest long-lasting Google-friendly SEO strategies to adopt?

Two of Shanahan’s articles for Steamfeed.com were honored in the category “Post-Penguin SEO Guides.”

  1. Google Penguin 2.0 vs. Black Hat SEO” reminds marketers that “you are who you hang with” by demonstrating examples of seemingly non-spammy websites being penalized by Google for a past history of low-quality link building.
  2. Winning with White Hat SEO in the Post-Penguin Era” offers useful insights and tips to build a successful inbound SEO marketing strategy and overcome or avoid a search engine penalty.

Shanahan’s other SEO Guides include:

 

Webbiquity’s Best SEO Guides are a collection of clear, in-depth, and actionable articles and infographics on a wide range of specialty marketing topics by the leading names in SEO and Marketing including:

Rand Fishkin on Weighting the Clusters of Ranking Factors in Google’s Algorithm

Neil Patel on How to Think Like Google

AJ Kumar on How to Do an SEO Audit of Your Website

Glenn Gabe on 10 Insights from a Lite SEO Audit That Any Small Business Can Benefit From, Phanteguin: A Phantom & Penguin One-Two Punch From Google and Google Panda, Penguin & Phantom: 3 Recovery Examples

Jim Dougherty: Infographic: How up-to-date are your SEO practices?

David Harry: It’s Time to Change the SEO Mindset

Kristine Shachinger on The Myth of Content Marketing, the New SEO & Penguin 2.0

Jason Acidre on How to Recover from Panda Dance

Elisa Gabbert on 3 SEO Tactics We’re Easing Up On in 2013

Rebecca Churt on How to Conduct a Competitive SEO Audit to Outrank Industry Rivals

Debra Murphy on SEO Best Practices – 5 Tips to Get You Noticed

Amanda DiSilvestro and Nick LaRosa on The Latest and Greatest SEO Strategies

David Mercer: Step-by-step guide to my Google Panda penalty recovery

Krista LaRiviere on SEO Reporting & Metrics: How to Prove Progress

Brian Rauschenbach on Google Panda And SEO: Updated Tips For Online Marketers

Matt Peters on 2013 Search Engine Ranking Factors

Dennis Miedema on 7 Awesome Competitive Niche SEO Strategies

Matt Burns on Penguin 2.0: PANIIIIIIIIC!!!…(or not)

 

About Webbiquity.com:

The Webbiquity blog was named among the 13 best marketing industry blogs of 2012 by MarketingSherpa. It provides informative and how-to posts about all aspect of maximizing online visibility to drive business results. Content is written by managing editor Tom Pick as well as other experts in digital marketing and PR execution.

About Brien Shanahan:

Brien Shanahan is founder of SEO4Advisors.com and co-founder and Chief Marketing Officer of the travel booking website Voyhoy. He is fluent in Spanish and has been living between Chile and New York since 2004. After founding SEO4Advisors in 2011, he within a year led the firm to be widely recognized as the premier SEO firm for financial advisors. He’s been featured numerous industry publications like the Wall Street JournalRIA Central, and Financial Advisor Magazine, and is a frequent presenter on SEO and online marketing topics for small business owners. In 2014, he was named among the top-10 Entrepreneurs in Chile by the Entrepreneurs Association of Chile (ASECH).

Brien Shanahan on Google+
Brien Shanahan on LinkedIn

SEO4Advisors Named Among Top 10 Websites for Financial Advisors

As a financial advisor, you need to be knowledgeable on many topics, from financial planning and investment management to marketing, technology, and business development. Luckily, the Internet is full of information to help you manage and grow your business. The Trust Advisor, a leading wealth management e-Newsletter, recently published its list of the Top 10 Websites for Advisors and How to Use Them. SEO4Advisors had the honor of being included in this list, which was compiled by Mike Byrnes, CEO of Byrnes Consulting.

As Byrnes advises, you can easily keep track of the newest content on these websites by subscribing to their RSS Feeds and following their Twitter accounts.

Get the best search engine optimization and marketing tips to gain visibility for your company, by subscribing to the SEO4Advisors RSS feed or by following us on Twitter @SEO4Advisors  and @brienshanahan. Also be sure to follow Byrnes Consulting (twitter handle: @byrnesconsultin), The Trust Advisor, and the other top websites for financial advisors:

Top 10 financial advisors websites

photo credit: Gizmodo

 

 

About The Trust Advisor:

The Trust Advisor is a website and e-newsletter founded in July 2009 and currently serving 120,000 registered investment advisors, independent broker-dealer representatives, wire house brokers, estate planners, bank or trust advisors, and others. The Trust Advisor features articles on bank regulations, trust administration, estate planning, and wealth management strategies.

About Byrnes Consulting:

Byrnes Consulting provides business planning and marketing consulting services to financial advisors. Mike Byrnes founded Byrnes Consulting to utilize his experience in business planning, marketing strategy, business development, client service, and management effectiveness to help advisors become more successful.

About SEO4Advisors:

SEO4Advisors is a boutique search engine optimization (SEO) and financial advisor marketing firm that helps financial advisors use the Web to gain new clients and market niche advisory services. SEO4Advisors Founder Brien Shanahan regularly teaches advisors about SEO best practices through webinars and blog posts, and is a featured author on SEO topics for Steamfeed.com, a leading blog site for marketing professionals.

Get Top Rankings With White Hat SEO

In the latest article I posted on Steamfeed.com, “Winning with White Hat SEO in the Post-Penguin Era”, I explain how to implement a clean SEO strategy that complies with all the new Google anti-webspam restrictions and creates a long-lasting competitive edge for your website.

After undoing (or hopefully, avoiding) all Black Hat techniques described in my previous post “Black Hat SEO: What It Is And How To Avoid It”, such as optimizing your website for SEO and not users, building inbound links from multiple unrelated websites, and manipulating cracks in Google’s algorithms for short-term gain, you should concentrate on ethical tactics that help gain strong and long-lasting search-engine rankings.

Google Penguin SEO

Photo credit: LaserGuided via photopin cc

Building Long-Term Authority: Some Keys to Success

Here are some efficient White Hat SEO principles you can apply:

  • Use the Google Authorship tag to build authority, improve click-through rates, and gain faster indexing of your website.
  • Expand your social sharing potential, especially on Google+.
  • Write guest blog posts on authoritative sites and use their reputation to reach a wider audience and gain valuable inbound links.
  • Seek out real partnerships with trusted websites for your inbound links.
  • Leverage your expertise to build an affiliation network and gain referrals from influential people in your target industry, including new social media contacts.
  • Build your local search presence by creating Google Places and Bing Local profiles and getting listed on high quality local business directories like Yelp, Foursquare, and Local.com.
  • Focus on user experience rather than solely on SEO-oriented improvements, by fixing errors, improving page loading speed, embedding video, and adjusting your site according to user satisfaction surveys.

Most of these methods are faster to implement than Black Hat techniques and will help you build a long-lasting presence on search engine results pages (SERPs). Check the full article for more insight on how to Gain Top Rankings With White Hat SEO.

 

Steamfeed.com is a website covering advanced topics in all areas of marketing with some of the top experts in the industry. See all of Brien Shanahan’s articles on Steamfeed.

Black Hat SEO: What It Is And How To Avoid It

Black Hat SEO: What It Is And How To Avoid It

Black hat SEO strategies go against search engine guidelines in an attempt to manipulate search results and obtain top rankings. Google and other search engines have been trying to limit the success of websites that use black-hat strategies, but webmasters have often remained a step ahead in taking advantage of certain elements of search algorithms.

Google, with its anti web spam algorithms “Panda” and “Penguin,” finally started turning the tide in the battle to rid search results of the worst web spam transgressors. For the first time, Google is penalizing websites for link spam offenses that happen outside of the would-be punished website. At the same time, it is cracking down on on-page black hat techniques that fall out of compliance with its search engine guidelines. And the punishment is swift and steep: banishment to the lower depths of search engine rankings or complete delisting until the website complies.

While Google’s Panda algorithm targets low-quality and duplicate content, the Penguin algorithm targets link spam.

Black Hat SEO Strategies

Don’t bother with these common black hat SEO strategies. Photo courtesy of photosinbox.com.

If you’ve hired someone in the past to “grow the visibility of your website” that probably meant they were implementing a link spam strategy. Google’s first Penguin update targeted the worst offenders — those with 80% or more of their inbound links being suspicious (Source). However, in the six months following the initial release of Penguin, Google has incrementally dropped that threshold to 50% low-quality or suspicious links. And the search engine giant will likely keep lowering the bar, possibly eventually to as low as 10%-15%. So if you haven’t already been bit by Penguin and have engaged in link spam, you should already be cleaning up your link portfolio.

Google launched the latest Penguin algorithm update, referred to inside the company as Penguin 2.0, on Wednesday May 22, and 2.3% of English-language search queries were affected. Some of the worst link spam offenders have already lost their search engine rankings, but subsequent updates will keep lowering the bar for what amount of link spam is tolerated.

The End of Black Hat SEO?

While black hat SEO strategies may have worked in the past, the risk no longer equals the reward for most businesses. It’s important that you know the strategies that are frowned upon by search engines and make sure your website complies with guidelines.

The short rule: if it only serves the purpose of improving SEO, skip it. Focus on marketing and website design efforts that improve the user experience, while also providing search engine optimization benefits as a bonus. Google doesn’t want any more web spam. It want’s valuable content that users love. Give Google and users what they want and you’ll be rewarded.

Avoid the following black hat SEO strategies that only serve to attempt to manipulate search engine rankings:

  • Content spinning: writing a blog post and posting it to many sites, which all link to your website. Google’s Panda algorithm is countering this by eliminating the benefit of duplicate content and even penalizing sites that have it. If you use existing content in your posts, be sure to take a new angle or greatly expand on the topic. Make sure you’re creating something of unique value to the reader.
  • Low quality content. Creating many low quality pages with duplicate content, for example spinning pages with multiple city and state long tail keywords may still work for some industries, but Google’s Panda update is making this tactic obsolete.
  • Over-optimized anchor text. Keyword rich anchor text can help your SEO, but not when all of your links have keywords in them. You should have varied anchor text to pages on your site and, naturally, a significant percentage should just be your company name or text that doesn’t include keywords.
  • Unnatural link building: Keep your link profile natural. Don’t ever buy links and don’t spam blogs with useless comments that link to your site. A more advanced black hat SEO technique is to build up affiliated (feeder) sites with lots of inbound links and then link those feeder sites to your website. The feeder sites may eventually get penalized but your site would be safe. Now, Google is catching on and may penalize all sites in the link network.
  • Keyword stuffing: You used to be able to just load up a page with keywords and rank well for searches. While you may have gotten traffic, did anyone even enjoy reading the words on your page? Probably not. Now, keyword stuffing could be detrimental to your site. Instead of worrying about how many times you use your keywords, just write content that your users will find valuable. Keep each page very targeted to a specific topic and you’ll be well on your way to a well-optimized page.
  • Hidden content: This is linked to the idea of keywords stuffing, but search engines have gotten smarter and your white keyword-stuffed text on a white background isn’t fooling them.
  • Link stuffing: Limit the amount of links on each page. The more links you have, the more the value of those links gets diluted. Only link to pages that you want users to click to. Use just a few prominent links to shape where you want them to go on your website.
  • Footer links from affiliates: Having your clients link to your site in their website footers can greatly grow your inbound links. However, Google has already devalued these links compared to body text links and may even penalize the target site. If you want those links so users can see the affiliation of the sites, make them no-follow links. You’ll still get the traffic but it won’t pass the page rank and you won’t be seen as only doing it for SEO purposes. Better yet, instead of these footer links that users very rarely click on, write a case study about how you helped the client or affiliate and make it engaging with a testimonial, images, and other media. Then share it on social media and see if it catches on. This will give you much more value than a footer link.

For more on Black Hat SEO, how Google is countering it, and how you can stay in Google’s favor at the top of search results, see Brien Shanahan‘s post on  Steamfeed.com, “Google Penguin 2.0 vs. Black Hat SEO.”

How To Do A Website SEO Audit

How To Do A Website SEO Audit

A Website SEO audit is a quick way to analyze the optimization of a website and see what improvements need to be made. It’s a great initial step in reviewing and revamping your online marketing strategy.

A Website SEO audit involves reviewing your most important pages and assuring the content and Meta data (page titles, description, keywords) correspond and that you’re targeting the ideal keywords for your business.

SEO Auditor ExtraordinaireIt may sound complicated, but it’s not. In my first blog post for Steamfeed.com, I explain How To Do A Website SEO Audit in just a few minutes using a helpful Firefox plugin. Follow my step-by-step instructions and you’ll know everything you need to quickly perform an SEO audit on your website and those of your competitors.

Check out the full Website SEO Audit article and learn:

  • What information you should be focusing on in your SEO audit
  • What are page titles, Meta descriptions, and keywords?
  • How to properly optimize your page titles and Meta descriptions
  • What are header tags and how to use them for better optimization
  • How to build domain authority and see what sites are linking to you
  • The easiest way check your keyword rankings 

SEO4Advisors does comprehensive SEO audits for financial advisors every week. If you would like us to review your website with you over the phone free of charge, please schedule an appointment.

 

SEO4Advisors In Wall Street Journal On SEO Tips For Financial Advisors

SEO4Advisors In Wall Street Journal On SEO Tips For Financial Advisors

SEO4Advisors founder Brien Shanahan was featured in a recent Wall Street Journal article on SEO Tips For Financial Advisors To Improve Their Online Visibility. In the article by Caitlin Nish, Shanahan provided a few clear and important SEO tips that financial advisors can implement right away to start getting found in search engines.

Some of these valuable SEO tips include:

SEO Tips For Advisors

  1. Figure out what prospects are searching for. Don’t guess at the keywords, but instead do real research using the Google AdWords Keyword Tool and other similar online tools.
  2. Be direct and avoid jargon. Don’t confuse the search engine robots with poetic language. Clearly explain what services you offer and use your keywords.
  3. Focus on quality over quantity of inbound links. Links should be unpaid and related to your industry from reputable sources.
  4. Get on social media. A social media presence can bring you prospects and also replace any potentially negative entries in search results with your new higher-ranking social media profiles.
  5. Start blogging. A blog enables you to create regular content, target more keywords, and build website domain authority.

Read the full article on the Wall Street Journal’s website: SEO Tips To Gain More Visibility Online.

Download the .PDF for SEO Tips To Gain More Visibility Online 

See our other media mentions.

Get More Online Leads With Website SEO

Use Search Engine Optimization To Gain Online Leads

In a recent article on RIA Central, SEO4Advisors founder Brien Shanahan shared three things that advisors can do today to gain more online leads with website SEO (search engine optimization).

  1. Do effective keyword research (don’t guess)
    RIA Central Logo

    RIA Central is a community of registered investment advisors, aspiring RIAs and thought leaders whose mission is a free and open exchange of ideas and resources for the betterment of the RIA industry.

  2. Write engaging content around your keywords
  3. Update website content regularly.

The article, written by Kevin Feehily of Byrnes Consulting, also gives a good introduction to search engine optimization and explains the importance of good local SEO.

See the full article on RIA Central.

About RIA Central:
RIA Central is a community of registered investment advisors, aspiring RIAs and thought leaders. Founded in December 2008, RIA Central’s mission is to provide a free and open exchange of ideas and resources for the betterment of the RIA industry.

About Author Kevin Feehily and Byrnes Consulting:
Kevin Feehily works for Byrnes Consulting, providing consulting services to help advisors become even more successful. His expertise is in client service, operational efficiencies and management effectiveness, along with several other areas.

 

Social Security Income Planning and Website SEO: Financial Advisor Niche Marketing

Social Security Income Planning and Website SEO: Financial Advisor Niche Marketing

Website SEO is the key to marketing a Social Security income planning niche for financial advisors and other professionals

Bulls Eye - Financial Advisor Niche SEOA Social Security income planning is a great niche for advisors. Everyone nearing retirement age can benefit from it, the niche is often shunned by other advisors, and there is great opportunity for marketing this service on the Web, as demonstrated by the thousands of Internet search queries every month on social security income planning topics.

See our full webinar on Social Security Income Planning and Website SEO for Financial Advisors.

Download the Social Security Planning Webinar Slides

Why do financial advisors need a niche?

I believe wholeheartedly that all advisors should have a unique niche market. A niche helps you stand out among the competition and gives you unique selling points for gaining new clients. It’s always good marketing to stand out and be great at something. Rather than limiting your available client base as many niche-naysayer advisors would respond, it actually better qualifies you for your target clients, which can strengthen prospect close rates, open better marketing opportunities, increase client retention, improve client service, and make you a go-to resource for media interviews on your area of expertise.

Why is Social Security income planning a good niche for financial advisors and other financial professionals?

A good niche should be marketable. There should not only be a demand for your services, but you should be able to market yourself as an expert in your niche and prospects should be able to find you.

That’s what makes Social Security income planning such a good niche for advisors. Every month there are thousands of people searching for information on how they can maximize social security benefits. The public doesn’t understand Social Security spousal or survivor benefit rules. They want to minimize taxes on Social Security income. But most of the information provided on the Web is from journalists, not the expert advisors. In compiling a list of keywords on Social Security income planning, I quickly came up with over 150 high-traffic, low-competition keywords. Here are just a few Social Security income planning keywords with their total U.S. monthly searches, level of competition, and approximate cost per click if you were to pay for Website visitors via Google AdWords.

Social Security Income Planning SEO Keyword Terms

There tens of thousands of monthly Internet searches for Social Security income planning keyword terms.

 

Unlike other SEO keyword terms that advisors often use to market themselves, Social Security income planning keywords have low competition. That means it’s much easier to rank for a term like “social security advisor” than it is for a term like “financial advisor San Francisco” even though they have the same search volume. And if you’re still having trouble ranking in the first page of search results for your keywords after optimizing your website, you could always pay for each visitor to your Website via Google AdWords. Each visitor for the term “financial advisor San Francisco would cost you $12.52 on average, while the term “social security advisor” would only cost $7.44 per click.

If you instead pursued the niche of serving doctors, it would be much more competitive to rank organically, there are significantly less monthly Web searches, and paying for Web visitors would cost you $10.76 each.

 

Keyword

Competition

U.S. Monthly Searches

Approx. CPC

social security advisor

0.62

720

$7.44

social security advice

0.70

590

$4.04

maximize social security benefits

0.46

590

$0.94

financial advisor for doctors

0.95

170

$10.76

financial advisor san francisco

0.88

720

$12.52

cfp miami

0.85

91

$12.77

financial planning new york

0.79

1300

$10.29

 

To succeed in a niche market, you must first know your market. That means not only the practical side of how to advise clients on maximizing social security income benefits for example. But also how you plan on marketing yourself as an expert in your niche.

Social Security income planning as a service niche presents great opportunity for marketing yourself on the Web. I’ll show exactly how to do this in our free recorded webinar on Social Security Income Planning and Website SEO for Financial Advisors.

My co-presenter, Frank Horath of ClientFirst Financial, will demo some really neat planning software and show you how to become an expert in Social Security income planning. I’ll show you how to market that Social Security income planning expertise on the Web with search engine optimization.

Title: Social Security Income Planning and Website SEO for Financial Advisors
Download the Social Security Planning Webinar Slides

Generating Business From Google Local SEO

Generating Business From Google Local SEO

How Financial Advisors Can Use Google Local SEO To Gain New Business

SEO4Advisors Quoted in Financial Advisor Magazine Article On Local SEO

Brien Shanahan, Founder of SEO4Advisors, was quoted in a recent Financial Advisor Magazine article called “How Financial Advisors Can Use Google Local Search To Gain New Business, which introduces Google+ and how it can help advisors increase their presence in local web searches by their target clients.

Google Plus and Local SEO

The article, written by Mike Byrnes of Byrnes Consulting, then goes on to explain the powerful new features brought through the integration of Google Places and Google+ and the need for regulatory changes to address the rapidly changing medium of social media. We also covered this topic in a recent blog post and webinar, Local SEO For Financial Advisors And How Google+ Can Help.

Here are some excerpts from the Financial Advisor Magazine article:

Shanahan on the importance of local SEO for financial advisors:

“Local search has always been important for advisors as the prospects who use local search terms are often buy-ready prospects, looking for an advisor in their area,” says Brien Shanahan, founder of SEO4Advisors, which specializes in providing search engine optimization services to advisors. “If, as an advisor, you can get your firm to the top of those local rankings, you can have a new client almost handed to you from search engines.”

Shanahan on how financial advisors can improve Google local SEO rankings:

“Google’s local search rankings have always been partially determined by the number of reviews a business has and if they are favorable,” Shanahan says. “Say you are an advisor based in Massachusetts and your client writes a review on your Google Places page. If a friend of your client who is connected to him on Google+ does a search for ‘financial advisor Massachusetts’ they will see that their friend wrote a review for your firm and your firm’s entry will rank ahead of others for that search. That’s huge.”

Google Enhancements

Byrnes details the new enhancements that Google+ brings to Google Places including “an improved look and feel, with integrated reviews from both Google and Zagat users. The changes make it easier for individuals to discover, learn and share information about businesses.”

Regulatory Changes Needed

The regulatory stance on Google+ and other social websites is still uncertain, But Patrick J. Burns Jr., managing attorney at The Law Offices of Patrick J. Burns, Jr. P.C., asks the question, “Why can’t advisors have truthful and non-misleading testimonials?’ As long as testimonials do not inaccurately take quotes out of context, etc., I think an update to the Advisers Act may be in order. The SEC should concentrate on fraudulent statements, not truthful and accurate [and in context] testimonials.”

Read the full article on FA-Mag.com.

Local SEO For Financial Advisors And How Google+ Can Help

Local SEO For Financial Advisors And How Google+ Can Help

Search engine optimization (SEO) for financial advisors should at least include optimizing around local search terms. That’s because local keywords are the most targeted terms used by buy-ready prospects searching for an advisor in their local area.

Local SEO for financial advisors and how Google+ can help

See our Local SEO and Google+ Webinar for financial advisors.

Yes, it can get competitive to rank well in search engines for these golden search terms, but the key to gaining traffic for local seo terms is claiming and optimizing a Google local business profile, and still only 10-15% of local businesses have even claimed their Google business profiles! With a little bit of work, you may be able to get Google-assisted referrals for years. I show you how to do it at my Local SEO for Financial Advisors webinar.

In this webinar, I teach you to:

  • Determine the right local keywords to target on your website
  • Claim and optimize your Google Places business profile
  • Improve your profile’s ranking in search results
  • Identify the most important online business directories
  • Use Google+ to engage your audience and grow your business

Google+Local = Huge SEO Potential For Local Businesses

Google has been trying to find ways to make Google+ relevant despite its low adoption and engagement rates compared to Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. Since Google is the king of search, its trump card is to integrate Google+ with search results. And that is what will differentiate Google+ from other social networks and drive new business to early adopters.

To illustrate the potential benefits to advisory firms, here’s an example. Say your firm is based in New York City and a client reviews your firm on your Google business page. If someone who is connected to your client on Google+ searches for “financial advisor in New York,” your firm has a greater likelihood of being at the top of the personalized results. It will also list your client, as having reviewed your firm. That’s huge as it’s essentially a Google-assisted referral to that new prospect. Even if the searcher has no connection to those who have reviewed your firm, profiles with many positive reviews usually rank better in search results.

Web Reviews Are The Modern-Day Referrals

Reviews have always been important to Google Places rankings, but Google+Local adds the social element to the mix and can lead to referrals without clients having to fork over the contact info of their friends and family.

I’ve always thought the referral-based system for new business that so many advisors and other financial professionals rely on to be far from ideal. Many clients may not feel comfortable putting their reputation on the line by directly referring people, and prospects who get an unsolicited call from an advisor will guardedly approach the first consultation, if you even get that far.

I know there are some firms that have a great system for getting referrals and often its because they’re able to re-frame the discussion around the advisor helping the referred rather than the happy client helping out the advisor. But for many new prospects being contacted by an advisor, even one referred by a friend, it feels too much like a sales pitch.

That’s because it’s still the advisor chasing after new prospects rather than enabling new prospects to search for and find them. It’s the same reason that traditional advertising has largely failed in recent years while Google AdWords has been eating up the majority of advertising dollars. Prospects don’t like to be sold to when they’re not in the buying frame of mind. Positive reviews, especially those from connections, integrated right into local search results can be much more effective.

What About Compliance Rules Against Testimonials?

I know, I know. You’re worried about about Rule 206(4)-1 of the Investment Advisers Act of 1940, which prohibits use of testimonials. While that rule may pertain to LinkedIn Recommendations, it shouldn’t pertain here.

That’s because LinkedIn gives you control over your recommendations; you could decide to show the favorable ones and hide the unfavorable ones. But Google doesn’t let you delete or edit any negative reviews, only address them in a comment. It’s a public site and what’s posted there is out of your control.

Financial advisor compliance consultant Chris Winn of AdvisorAssist agrees, but cautions against promoting your positive reviews or re-posting them on your own website. “Officially, it’s still a grey area for regulators (it’s under review with the SEC right now), but should be passable from a regulatory standpoint,” say Winn. “Ratings are similar to the Facebook ‘Like’ question: just because someone likes something doesn’t mean it’s a testimonial. However, if an advisor makes reference to a review in any way, it becomes a testimonial.”

Watch Out Facebook, Google+ Has The Long-Term Recipe For Success

Having a presence on Google+ doesn’t just help you get found for local search terms. If you’re writing blog posts and creating valuable content that is getting +1s and shares on Google+, you’ll get ranked better in personalized search results for people in your circles and extended circles (followers of your followers), but also for the general public.Google Plus Logo

Since Facebook is largely a closed network, Google can’t see the majority of all the “liked” content. So while Facebook “likes” give you exposure within Facebook, they don’t help your content get found in Google Web searches. But with Google +1 button, Google sees these endorsements and learns which content users like. They can then use that information to provide better search results, and personalize those search results to more prominently display content that your contacts like. They have the recipe for effectively mixing social into search. And with over 70% of all web searches, they’re the dominant restaurant in town.

Optimizing For Local SEO: Your Best Online Marketing Bet

Local SEO

Search engine optimization for local search terms is the most important online marketing task of any local business.

Like many advisors, maybe you’ve spent lots of money over the years to build a fancy website, expecting to gain new business from the Web, but seeing little to no results. That’s because SEO is much more than just building a website. It takes time and expertise to know what terms your prospects are searching for and arrange your site content around those terms.

But a Google business profile is like a free mini website in and of itself. By creating a Google+ business profile you can easily add photos, videos, and interact with clients and prospects. And how your profile page ranks in local searches is only partially determined by the authority of your website. Your Google+ business profile can still rank well, even if your website does not.

Procrastination quote: one of these days is none of these days

Google only launched Google+Local on May 30, so very few businesses have many reviews. Advisors and other professional firms may have reviews ported over to Google+Local from Google Places, but those don’t have any of the aforementioned Google+ social benefits. Now, to review a business, users must create a Google+ profile, and I believe that is one factor that will help expand the Google+ user base.

Procrastination quote: the way to get ahead is to start now | William Feather

It is minimal work to set up a Google+ profile, and Google is making it clear that it wants Google+ to stay and those businesses that use it will likely benefit.

So act now and don’t hesitate. Listen to my webinar below and learn how to optimize for local SEO. If you can bring in even one new client this year, it will be a good return on your time investment. But what if you can bring in 10, 15, 20, or 100 clients? This is so powerful that it can transform your business.

I believe that Google+Local will soon be the most important way for a local business to market itself on the Web. In the following video, I’ll teach how to do it right. 

Download the presentation slides

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Brien Shanahan is founder of SEO4Advisors, a boutique search engine optimization company dedicated to helping financial advisors and other professionals gain new business from the Web. He can be reached at bshanahan@seo4advisors.com or (516) 299-6063.

Common Financial Advisor SEO Mistakes

Common Financial Advisor SEO Mistakes

Avoid These Common Financial Advisor SEO Mistakes

Since I started working with financial advisors in 2007, I’ve seen a lot of advisor websites. And many of them suffer from the same basic search engine optimization (SEO) mistakes that prevent them from getting found on the Web by prospects. These mistakes include missing Meta data, repeated page titles, framed content that’s invisible to search engines, unproductive “splash” pages, dead links, and no keyword targeting strategy or analytics tracking.

See Our Recorded Financial Advisor SEO Mistakes Webinar And Start Gaining Prospects From The Web

In a webinar hosted by BrightTalk, “Most Common SEO Mistakes By Financial Advisors,” I simplified the SEO mystery for advisors and offered clear solutions to the most common financial financial advisor SEO mistakes. Check out the recording below to learn where your website is failing in SEO and to learn about free tools that can help you analyze your SEO and spy on your competition.

Financial Advisor SEO Mistakes Webinar

In this 45-minute webinar, you’ll learn:

  • What types of websites are nearly invisible to search engines
  • Are “splash” pages a good idea?
  • How to see if your site has page titles and meta descriptions
  • Why your competitors rank higher than you in Google
  • How to see what sites link to your competitors
  • What SEO tools can help you spy on competitors and optimize your site
  • The importance of keyword research and how to do it
  • The anatomy of a well-optimized web page
  • What to watch out for when outsourcing your SEO

Download the presentation slides.

You can watch the Financial Advisor SEO Mistakes Webinar right here or on Brighttalk’s website. And please be sure to rate it so we learn if you like it.

Brien Shanahan is founder of SEO4Advisors, a boutique search engine optimization company dedicated to helping financial advisors and other professionals gain new business from the Web. He can be reached at bshanahan@seo4advisors.com or +1 (516) 554-0126.

What Is The Best SEO Company For Financial Advisors?

What Is The Best SEO Company For Financial Advisors?

The Best SEO Company For Financial Advisors

Unsuspecting advisors may not take the time to compare SEO service providers before buying search engine optimization services. But skipping your due diligence on this investment is a mistake. SEO companies serving financial advisors are not created equal.

What makes SEO4Advisors different? Here are 10 reasons SEO4Advisors is the best SEO company for financial advisors.

SEO4Advisors Is The Best SEO Company For Financial Advisors

Here are 10 reasons SEO4Advisors is the best SEO company for financial advisors

1. We treat SEO as a service, not a commodity. The industry’s leading website vendors offer SEO services as a website add-on. But good SEO is an ongoing process, not an add-on. We track your website for 5 months after optimizing it to tweak accordingly and make ongoing recommendations.
2. Keyword research. We provide up to 10 hours of keyword research per client before even starting to write your website content. The leading all-in-one advisor website vendors skip keyword research entirely and spend only 10 hours total on optimizing your website.
3. Cut out the middle man. Most website vendors serving financial advisors farm out optimization work to cheap writers with little SEO experience and strict limits on the amount of time they can spend on the project. We spend as long as it takes to do the job right and save you lots of cash by cutting out the expensive middle man.
4. SEO and Online Marketing is our only service. We provide the best SEO and online marketing services because we stick to our strenth and let our partner firms offer other services like turnkey websites, public relations, and practice management coaching. This lets us offer advanced SEO services for advisors like content creation, blog optimization, and white-hat link building, which no other major player in the industry offers.
5. We know your business. Our founder, Brien Shanahan, worked for one of the most recognized financial advisor website vendors and a leading practice management website for over four years before founding SEO4Advisors in 2011. He started SEO4Advisors because he was frustrated with the limited SEO offerings of the biggest industry players and wanted to do better.
6. Transparency. Unsure which SEO firm is best for you? Ask them about what kind of transparency they provide. Do they track your site’s post-optimization improvement with clear reports that compare you with the competition? Do they analyze your Google Analytics and make recommendations to help improve conversion ratios? Probably not. We provide transparent post-engagement reports for at least 5 months after every engagement.
7. Error reports galore. We run comprehensive reports to check your website for dead links and html errors, while most website vendors avoid this as it would bring attention the html coding flaws of their programmers and website creation systems.
8. Discounts! Our industry-leading SEO services don’t have to cost you a fortune. We offer 5% discounts just for liking us on Facebook, connecting on Google+ or LinkedIn, or signing up for our E-newsletter.
9. Good Karma. We give 5% of net profits to charity. Choose where your 5% goes: either to one of our pre-screened and favorite charities or your own favorite. Together we’ll not only bring you new business but help make the world a better place.
10. Free custom SEO quote. We’ll analyze your website and compare with your local competition to create a custom SEO analysis and price quote. No more paying for services you don’t need. Just complete the contact form and request a free quote (serious inquiries only please).

 

**Bonus: For a limited time, get your website optimized for only half the risk! We only get the second 50% payment after we get you results! Check out the details on our promotions page.

Need more proof that we’re the best SEO company for financial advisors? Ask for a case study of a recent client and see how much they’ve improved their keyword rankings and Website traffic after hiring us. For a quicker test, google the term “best SEO company for financial advisors” and check out the top listings.

SEO4Advisors Featured in FA Magazine Blog About SEO Tips For Advisors

SEO4Advisors Featured in FA Magazine Blog About SEO Tips For Advisors

Most financial advisors know very little about search engine optimization, and their websites reflect it. Luckily Mike Byrnes of Byrnes Consulting is working to change that. In a recent article for his Social Business Blog on Financial Advisor magazine’s website, Byrnes interviewed SEO4Advisors founder Brien Shanahan to provide 8 SEO tips to help financial advisors get found on the Web.Featured in Financial Advisor Magazine

Shanahan presented alongside Marie Swift, founder of Impact Communications, at NAPFA’s 2011 Practice Management and Investments conference in October 2011. In his presentation, Shanahan outlined how advisors can use SEO to gain automatic referrals from search engines and then use video marketing to engage the new prospects and clients.

Mike Byrnes

Mike Byrnes, founder of Byrnes Consulting

Some of Shanahan’s SEO tips from the NAPFA presentation are highlighted in Byrnes’ article, including:

  • How advisors should structure web page titles.
  • How to write effective Meta descriptions that appeal to both search engines and Web searchers.
  • How to use text formatting like bold and bullets to strengthen on-page SEO.
  • How to create SEO-friendly URLs.
  • How to effectively target the keywords prospects are searching for.
  • Why Local SEO is so important and how to optimize for your region.
  • The importance of inbound links and how to get them.
  • How web analytics can help strengthen your SEO and online marketing plans.

See the full article, titled “Increase the Chances of Prospects Finding You” on Mike Byrnes’ Social Business Blog at FA-mag.com.