Quick Guide to SEO Using Your FMG Suite Website
Search engine optimization. It’s the watercooler topic of the marketing world and everyone is talking about it, regardless of the industry. While financial services is unique from many other industries in that it is largely a referral-based business, financial advisors still want in on the SEO game. As you’re competing with millions of other websites, SEO is how you separate yourself from the overcrowded pack. If your website appears high on a Google search, more people will visit your site, and more people will purchase what you’re selling.
Because SEO is such an in demand topic, we’re sharing a few tips for incorporating SEO elements into your website using the FMG Suite dashboard.
SEO-Friendly Content and Keywords
How to access: Click on the “Home,” “About,” or “Custom pages” tab to the left to add your own content to your website.
The biggest impact you can make on your SEO is your website content. There are two elements within this: your overall content, and the keywords within your content. Let’s start with the first.
Having well-written, customized, and keyword-enhanced content not only helps your SEO, but also makes your website look more professional and more interesting. By providing you with a library of videos, presentations, and articles, FMG Suite helps you build up your website with a lot of interesting content designed to keep viewers on your site longer (which can help your SEO). But it’s up to you to add the personal touch and create customized content tailored specifically to you. Talk about your history in the industry, feature your team members, welcome visitors to your site, explain your services…the options are endless.
The second element is keywords. Try to feature a few keywords multiple times throughout your content. The ideal amount is 1-4%. Finding this balance can be more difficult than it sounds.
First of all, mentioning “retirement planning” several times likely won’t make a major impact on your SEO. Why? Because there are around 25,100,000 other pages mentioning retirement planning. “Retirement planning in San Diego” drops that number significantly to 1,830,000, but it’s still overwhelming. If you get even more specific with “retirement planning in Carlsbad,” you get a much more tolerable 223,000. But, how many times can you really say “retirement planning in Carlsbad” within your website content without it sounding redundant or forced? This is why if you must choose between SEO-friendly content and well-written content, we always recommend the latter.
How to access: Click on the “Home,” “About,” or “Custom pages” tab to the left. At the top of each page is a toolbar.
Just like a human, search engines look for clearly organized and visually structured content. How do you do this on a website? Use headers. In html speak, we’re referring to <h1>, <h2>, <h3>, etc. For those who aren’t web designers, you can accomplish this by clicking on the “paragraph style” drop down on the page toolbar.
Heading 1 is the largest header and should only be used once on a page. It also receives the greatest priority in search engine rank and should feature keywords that accurately describe the content that will follow. Heading 2 is the second largest, and so forth. Your “regular” content (the content that isn’t a title) will be in the standard paragraph style, or as well call it in the dashboard, “Normal.” As these headings are numbered based on size and importance, there is a hierarchy that should be followed. For instance, you could layout your content in the following format:
Heading 1: ABC Wealth Management Services
Paragraph: Based in Carlsbad, ABC Wealth Management offers a wide array of services to high net worth families in the greater San Diego area.
Heading 2: Retirement Planning
Paragraph: There are many critical elements that fall within your retirement plan, including:
Heading 3: Income Planning
Paragraph: To help you create a consistent income stream, we…
Heading 3: Social Security
Paragraph: To maximize your Social Security benefits…
Some SEO and marketing experts also believe having bulleted lists, and bold, italicized, and/or underlined words and phrases contribute to your SEO. You can accomplish each of these items at the top of each page’s toolbar.
How to access: Click on the “Home,” “About,” or “Custom pages” tab to the left. On each page, scroll to the bottom to see a SEO Toolkit.
Each of your content pages features a SEO Toolkit where you can add a title tag and description tag. This can be very helpful for your SEO. Here’s how it works. In this toolkit, you want to write a title and a summary for that specific page (for your home page, it may be a general summary of your firm).
Internal Links with Keywords
How to access: Click on the “Home,” “About,” or “Custom pages” tab to the left. On each page’s toolbar, you’ll see an icon of a globe with a plus sign and link.
Linking to other pages within your website is a great way to give your SEO a boost for several reasons – they make it easier to navigate to certain pages within your website, they help establish information hierarchy, and they help spread ranking power. While you shouldn’t stuff every page with multiple links, aim to include one or two on at least a few of your pages. You should be linking to key pages with relevant information you want to highlight.
Your home page is a great location to link to a page you want your site visitors to read. For example, let’s say you run a firm, but want to highlight your role as the advisor. You may consider including your name in the content and linking your name to your bio page.
This serves two purposes. First, it makes it easy for visitors to learn more about you and encourages them to do so with a link. Second, more links to a specific page may help your SEO for that specific page. In this case, a page about John Doe.
Remember to use keywords within your links. Often, people use phrases such as, “click here” to direct a reader to another page, but this won’t help your SEO as much as using keywords.
Images are great to add to your website pages. Not only do they contribute to the overall style and feel of your site, but they can also help with your SEO. For an extra boost, optimize your images with relevant keywords. To do so, upload a photo and insert it onto your page. On a page’s toolbar, you’ll see an image of a mountain and, when you hover over it, you’ll see the text “Insert Image.”
Once the image is in place, click on the image so it is selected and then click the “Set Image Properties” icon, which is directly to the right of the “Insert Image” icon on the toolbar.
Fill in the “Alt Text” space and “Long Description” space. In the “Alt Text” space, include a brief name for the image using your keywords. If the image is featuring a retirement readiness kit, keep the “Alt Text” short and simple and name it “Retirement Readiness Kit.” For the “Long Description,” expand on the “Alt Text,” such as “Download your free Retirement Readiness Kit from ABC Wealth Management.”
How to access: When customizing your website, click on the “Advanced” tab to the left.
Within your dashboard, you may have noticed an Advanced SEO tab. Here, you have the option to add global website meta data and an XML sitemap. This page is largely offered for the advisor who chooses to work with a SEO company. Unless you are a SEO professional, we don’t recommend tinkering with this page.
While we help with other elements of your site, we don’t offer services for this page. Why? First of all, we automatically generate a sitemap for you. A sitemap is a list of your website pages that are accessible to website crawler technologies or users. This helps search engines understand the DNA of your website. While we automatically create a basic sitemap for you, we do offer the option to create your own XML sitemap, should you choose to do so.
As for your global website meta data, this is where the SEO rules get fuzzy. In this section is where you would enter html code that includes keywords for your entire site, such as “ABC Wealth Management, financial firm in Dallas Texas, Dallas retirement planning…” A few years ago, this was a great way to help direct search engines to your site. With those example keywords we listed, Google, Yahoo, and other search engines would understand that your website is about retirement planning in Dallas, Texas.
However, the rules have changed. Google has explicitly stated they no longer utilize these meta keyword tags in their algorithm for search rankings. You can hear them explain it in this video:
Yahoo has stated that while they still index the meta keyword tag, it receives the lowest ranking signal in their system. And in a blog article from Bing, they explained that meta keywords are just one of a thousand signals they recognize. “Getting it right is a nice perk for us, but won’t rock your world. Abusing meta keywords can hurt you.”
This is an important point and a reason why we don’t recommend adding keywords to this section yourself. Even if you do properly add keywords, there’s a good chance it won’t affect your SEO. If you don’t properly add keywords (and this could mean adding too many similar keywords or not creating the “right” ones), it could hurt your site’s SEO. Long story short, we offer this option for those who’d like to take a shot at getting it right and working with a SEO company.
How to access: When customizing your website, click on the “Design” tab to the left. Scroll down toward the bottom, where you’ll see a “Favicon” section. Here you can add a favicon and/or smart phone favicon.
If you have a logo, we recommend uploading a favicon. Will it significantly impact your SEO? No. Will it help a little? Maybe. Maybe not. Does it contribute to your website’s overall design and aesthetic? We think so.
First of all, what is a favicon? See the small logo at the top of the tab? That is a favicon. It’s your logo (or a portion of it) miniaturized. Many experts agree that there are no direct SEO benefits to having a favicon. However, some believe there may be indirect benefits. It can add some credibility to your site and contributes to your overall branding, which never hurt anyone.
Just as you have your disclosures, we have ours. We think it’s important for you to know that we aren’t SEO experts, nor do we offer SEO services. SEO is constantly changing and it takes a lot of manpower to keep up. This is why there are companies that only offer SEO services. While we certainly recommend incorporating SEO elements into your website, the jury is still out on whether or not a SEO service can guarantee you make it to the first page of a Google search (and if it will result in increased business).