According to a Kitces Research study, one of the best ways for advisors to improve the return on their marketing investment is to appear higher in search results and, as a result, drive more traffic to their websites, a strategy called search engine optimization (SEO). But many advisors aren’t even sure where to begin.

There are a lot of factors that play into this strategy, which is why I often recommend advisors start with the basics. To help you do that, I’ve outlined five steps that will go a long way toward improving your SEO efforts and ultimately result in more visitors—and conversions—from your website.

1. Think Local
Think of how your prospective client is likely going about searching for an advisor. What words and phrases might they use?

Most advisors appear in local searches—when people ask for things like “the best financial advisor near me.” That means it’s critical to make your location clear throughout your website. There are a few steps you can take to do that.

When you do a search on Google, the results include a title tag (the headline for each website) and a meta description—a brief blurb about what the website offers. These are like tiny signs that tell you what each website is about before you even click.

The great thing is that you can control title tags and meta descriptions for each page of your own website! Most website builders (like the one at our firm, FMG) make it easy. Just log in to your website, navigate to the page you want to edit (like your home page or a service page), and look for a section on SEO or settings. There, you’ll find fields for editing the title tag and meta description for your pages.

And here’s where you can really shine:

• Include relevant key words: Think about the words or phrases people might use to search for a financial advisor in your area. Include those key words within your title tag and meta description.

• Keep it concise: Remember, space is limited! Aim for less than 70 characters in your title tag and less than 160 characters for your meta description.

• Write compelling descriptions: Don’t just list key words. Craft a clear and concise description that entices users to click on your website and learn more about your services.

• Avoid key word stuffing: Don’t try to force key words in. Focus on natural language that accurately describes what you offer as a financial advisor.

By following these tips and using your website’s built-in search engine optimization tools, you can create clear and informative title tags and meta descriptions. This will help search engines understand your website’s content and improve your chances of appearing in relevant searches for potential clients looking for a financial advisor.

If your compliance team allows it, you can also claim and optimize your Google Business listing. This is what appears for a business on the right side of a Google search and typically displays reviews, links and other information about a business. Claiming this page and filling out all the relevant information can help improve your appearance in searches.

2. Set Up Analytics
Besides the Google Business page, there are two other free Google tools that can significantly boost your searches over time: Google Analytics and Google Search Console.

Google Analytics: This tool allows you to see what visitors do once they land on your website. How long do they stay? What pages do they visit? As you can imagine, this data is invaluable for understanding your audience and optimizing your website for a better user experience. To set up Google Analytics, go to and click “Get started today.”

Google Search Console: This works hand-in-hand with Google Analytics. It allows you to see the actual search queries people have used to find your website. This helps you understand what key words are working well and where you might have opportunities to improve. Signing up for Google Search Console is just as easy. Visit and follow the steps to get started.

3. Select The Right Key Words
When people look for financial advisors, they’re usually looking for someone who understands their specific needs. That means your content should include key words and topics so you can showcase your expertise and attract your ideal clientele.

So what are those important words and phrases? Here are some steps to take to identify them as you configure your page:

Brainstorm Seed Key Words: Think about the services you offer, evergreen financial topics (things people are always interested in, like retirement planning or budgeting), and your niche (a specific area of focus, like financial planning for millennials). In these cases, some of your seed key words could be things like “retirement planning tips” or “student loan debt management.”

Use Long-Tail Key Words: Instead of competing for broad, high-volume key words like “financial advisor,” you should instead focus on “long-tail” key words—phrases with three or more words for more specific searches. Why? Because they have lower search volume and much less competition. This means you have a higher chance of ranking well in search results and attracting targeted website traffic.

Here are some examples of long-tail key words for a financial advisor:

• “Tax planning strategies for small business owners”;

• “How to save for a down payment on a house in San Diego”; and

• “Financial advisor specializing in student loan debt management.”

Long-tail key words are like laser beams, attracting those relevant website visitors who are actively searching for the specific services you offer.

Pro Tip: There are both free and paid key-word research tools available online. These tools can help you discover long-tail key word variations and even estimate their search volume and competition level. I would recommend using free tools to start.

4. Create Content That Has An Impact
Now that you have your list of phrases, it’s time to create content that attracts your ideal clients. Think of your content as something that will establish you as a financial expert while you’re also using the key words to improve your search ranking.

Here are some steps to get you started:

1. Research Top-Ranking Content: Before diving in, look at what’s already ranking well for your chosen key words. Use Google to search for those phrases and see what kind of content appears on the first page.

Analyze the format: Are they mostly blog posts, infographics or videos? Understanding the preferred format can help you tailor your content for better user engagement.

Look for content gaps: Are there specific aspects of the topic you cover that have not been thoroughly discussed? If so, this can be your opportunity to shine! To stand out, you’ll want to craft content that offers a unique perspective or dives deeper into these areas. After all, Google wants your content to be valuable.

2. Craft Content Users Crave: People searching online are looking for solutions and information. Here are some tips to create content that resonates with your audience:

Focus on value: Provide actionable advice, insightful strategies and clear explanations of complex financial topics.

Write in an engaging style: Avoid heavy financial jargon. Use clear language, storytelling elements and bullet points to break down information for easy understanding.

Optimize for readability: Use subheadings, shorter paragraphs, bullets and visuals to make your content easy to scan and digest.

3. Related Searches: You’ll want to create content that can also appear in the “Related Searches” sections of Google, or under the heading “People Also Ask.” These page sections are gold mines for content ideas. They reveal additional questions users have about your chosen topic and related key words. Integrate these questions and key words naturally into your content to make it even more comprehensive and relevant.

For example, let’s say your key word phrase is “How to save for a down payment on a house in San Diego.” When you do research, you find that the top-ranking content for such questions mostly comes in the forms of blog posts with lists and infographics. You could create a blog post titled “The Ultimate Guide to Saving for a Down Payment in San Diego” and address the common questions from the “People Also Ask” section, such as “How much should I save for closing costs?” or “What types of government assistance programs are available?”

5. The Power Of Back Links: Getting Others To Notice Your Expertise
High-quality content is like a magnet, but sometimes it needs a little extra boost to attract visitors. In the world of searches, that boost comes from “back links”—the links from other websites that point back to yours. Think of them as endorsements from trusted sources, telling search engines (and potential clients) that your content is valuable.

So how do you encourage others to link to your awesome content?

Create link-worthy content: People are more likely to link to insightful information and perspectives. So you should make sure your content stands out.

Network with influencers: You should build relationships with bloggers, journalists and other professionals in your target niche. They might be interested in featuring your expertise or linking to your content in their own work.

Offer to share: Offer to share your articles with other relevant websites. Everyone is always looking to share great new content. This allows you to share your knowledge, reach a wider audience and secure valuable back links.

Pro Tip: You’ll want to avoid exchanging links or providing a back link in return for a product or service. These practices are against Google’s spam policies and can be harmful to your website’s search engine results. Links should come from an organic exchange of information—not from a trade meant to intentionally dupe Google’s algorithm.

Remember, link-building is a long-term strategy. By consistently creating high-quality content and sharing it with those in your target markets, you’ll attract back links naturally and see your website’s search power grow over time.

Wrapping Up
Your results will require an investment of time and effort—even if you hire an SEO consultant—but this can be one of the most effective marketing strategies to drive organic growth. I hope this list serves as a foundation on which you can build and begin to see results!

Susan Theder is the chief marketing and experience officer at FMG Suite.