SEO for Financial Services and Compliant Content

As a financial advisor, you know that compliance in the financial services industry refers to regulations that govern the activities of financial advisors and firms. From ensuring protection for investors to reducing financial crimes, the compliance department uses external and internal controls to achieve their goals. But to the dismay of many advisors trying to grow AUM through marketing, this same department also governs advertising, customer communications, and other elements at the core of digital marketing.

So how do you create engaging content, implement SEO for financial services, and maintain a website that drives traffic when your content has to go through a review process before you can publish it? Can you create content that gets the results you need AND be in compliance? With planning and a better understanding of how to work with the perceived limitations of compliance rules, you can create high-quality content with SEO and promote your brand with a modern, optimized website.


SEO & Content Marketing Bottlenecks


Search engines like Google and Bing give higher ranking to websites that feature high-quality content that is original and relevant. Valuable content and other SEO elements like keywords and phrases are vital for getting your message in front of your targeted audience. But your content has to do much more than meet SEO objectives. It also has to give your audience insights, answer questions, and establish your authority. You want to provide the very best content you can to meet the needs of your clients, but meeting compliance requirements can often seem at odds with SEO and content marketing.


If you’ve ever created any kind of content for your services before, you know firsthand that compliance issues and even the sometimes lengthy review process itself can hinder your marketing efforts. The content approval process can often be frustrating and leave you feeling demotivated. If you have a financial advisor website, then you know the whole process can be even more exasperating. From creating offers to answering commonly asked questions on your site, meeting compliance rules can create a bottleneck that can stop a marketing campaign dead in its tracks.


So how do you create and maintain a successful online presence, meet content and website compliance, and keep your marketing plans on track? It all starts with understanding what the rules are, getting organized, and knowing how to create compliant-friendly content.


Here’s a quick video with some good tips for organizing the compliance process so your marketing strategy can move full-steam ahead.



As part of FMG Suite’s commitment to providing financial advisors with the most powerful marketing tools available, we offer a quick and easy way to move your content through compliance with our Enterprise™ services. You’ll find that all of our marketing solutions, from professionally designed websites to engaging content are designed to keep you and your firm in compliance while growing your business with powerful marketing tools.


How One Advisor Found Simplicity and Compliance Tie-In with FMG Suite


Darren is a financial advisor based in Georgia whose firm, Matthew 25 Advisors, Inc., specializes in serving clients that are interested in value-based, debt-free investing. Here, he shares his experience meeting the compliance obstacle head-on using FMG Suite.


“My broker-dealer, Cambridge Investment Research, recommended FMG Suite, as well as a few other options. I researched them all and chose FMG Suite because they had the best offerings for the most reasonable cost. I now have a website I am proud to refer potential clients to. In the financial services industry, it is too common to have a website that is outdated, boring, and merely serves as an online brochure. My site is filled with useful content and can be edited with custom information.


Having my website tie in with compliance automatically is a time-saver. In the past, it was so difficult to make changes to my site because I would have to contact my compliance officer, go through the whole process, and quickly lose interest. Now, I just hit “publish” and compliance is automatically notified and they can let me know of any necessary changes.


I really enjoy the educational resources, such as the videos. They are always changing, which means that if someone comes to my website one day, they can come back another day and see new videos. I know that FMG Suite also updates their content library every month, so I’m excited to see this new content populate my site. The interface is great for people who have little experience with web design and I’m happy with how my website looks.”



How to Create High-Quality Content and SEO That’s Also Compliant


If you see the value in blogging and using other marketing platforms but are still worried about compliance, these tips on writing high-quality and compliant-friendly content will help your marketing efforts breeze through the review process.


Use buffers. You already know that compliance won’t allow promissory language such as “I create financial plans that will help you achieve your goals,” but that doesn’t mean you need to avoid explaining the benefits of financial planning. Add a few buffer words to your content such as “I create a financial plan designed to lead you on a path toward your financial stability.” If you’re unclear about it, reach out to your compliance officer to determine which wording will be acceptable.


Sorry, no comment. Because you can’t control what a visitor might say in a comment, broker-dealers typically require you to disable the reader’s ability to leave a comment. Instead, invite readers to connect with you directly via your website or social media and continue the conversation one-on-one by email.


Disclose, disclose, disclose. Your broker-dealer may require you to use disclosures on your blog or other marketing platforms just as you do on your website. For example, if you mention certain services or specific advisors, you may need to include a disclosure at the end.


Play by your rules. Don’t forget that different broker-dealers have different rules for what’s permitted. Just because you hear an advisor say something isn’t allowed to another broker-dealer, it doesn’t mean that’s true for your home office. Review the rules in your office before you start writing.


Mix up your message. If the gist of compliance could be summed up in one sentence, it would be, “Don’t give the same advice to everyone.” Basically, any mass communication or advertisement can’t come across as making a specific recommendation. “The bottom line here is do not make specific recommendations in any of your communications,” says Stephanie Sammons, CEO of Wired Advisor. “You should keep your comments, posts, and interactions general in nature if you are referring to anything that is financially related.”


Get personal. Many advisors are hesitant to share too much personal information because they believe clients won’t find it interesting or it will diminish their professionalism. However, relating a personal story about a common financial issue that many people face is a great way to explain a concept or service. As dry as financial advice can sometimes be, weaving an intriguing story is critical to introduce the human element and help clients connect.


Incorporate lead times. Does your blog post or whitepaper need to simply be passed off with the compliance department or does it require a more comprehensive review? Your first few posts will require a higher level of scrutiny, but once your compliance officer and management oversight committee sees that you are blogging responsibly, the scrutiny may decrease and your turn-over time for your blogs can improve.



How Compliant Content Can Still Be Geared for Powerful Marketing


Briana Oltmann, a financial advisor at C.E. Williams Financial, enjoys our compliant content and easily updated websites. She heard about FMG Suite through her broker-dealer, HD Vest. Here are her thoughts on how compliance and effectiveness can work together successfully.


“FMG Suite’s tools have allowed us to have an effective and compliant website in the financial services industry, something we didn’t have in the past. We love the Content Library because it is so helpful to have a selection of compliance-approved material that we can use on the website. My biggest client to date said he looked through our website extensively to see what kind of company we were, what our background and credentials were, and whether or not we would be a good fit for him and his situation.


He was impressed with the website and has become a great client! It looks professional without being too difficult to set up or maintain. FMG has been really helpful since we began working with them, and they have provided the tools and resources we need to be able to have a website in the financial services industry that is both useful and compliant.”


Briana isn’t the only advisor who has experienced success with compliant-friendly content and other marketing tools from FMG Suite. You can start writing your own success story — get your demo today!