Welcome back to the RIA Marketing podcast! One of the biggest secrets to boosting your AUM is getting your advising practice on the map, digitally. That’s why Nolan has tips for boosting your RIA’s local SEO through your Google Business Profile.
Word of mouth is great, but it’s not enough to compete anymore. Prospects can live and work blocks away, but—unless you’re listed online—they may not know you exist.
That’s why your RIA website should be locally search-engine-optimized (SEO-ed). In other words, it needs to be configured for neighborhood online searches.
If you are larger than a solo, but not sure if you have a profile, just go to Google: Input “financial planner” in your city and choose “Maps.”
The bad news is that if you’re not listed on page one—unless you’re seeing clients 100% virtually online—you’re behind the curve.
The good news is that the following steps can help your practice rank up.
1.Go to Google Business’ creation page here.
2.Enter your RIA’s name.
If a similar one comes up in your area, look closer.It may be another type of business, like a dry cleaner.
Enter your name exactly as it would appear on the outside of an envelope. Don’t add any keywords (unless you want your profile suspended).
Under “Business category,” type in F-I-N: You’ll see “Financial planner” on the list. Don’t worry if your RIA fits more than one category, though. You can add others later.
3.List your location.
Assuming you have a public office, this is where you add it to Google Maps.
4.Enter your address.
Spell everything out, adding new lines to make sure it reads easily.
5.Review similar listings.
Google will review existing listings nearby. Unless you have multiple locations, choose “None of these.”
6.Specify whether you will serve people outside your location.
Unless you’re only seeing clients in person, select “Yes.”
7.Add areas you serve.
This continues the previous step.
8.Enter your contact information.
You guessed it: enter your advising practice’s phone number and URL.
9.Accept Google’s updates and recommendations?
It might not hurt, but it’s your call.
10.Finish up and verify your listing.
Click “Finish”—and your Google Business Profile is nearly set up.
You just need to verify it. We recommend the instant method, which generates an automated phone call. The postal alternative takes 3-4 days.
Once it’s verified, you can see your Google Business Profile dashboard. Now you can add photos, your business hours, a logo, and more.
You can also edit your description—and yes, that can include keywords. Just don’t use more than 2.
Last but not least, thank you for listening!
Local SEO is an important factor for financial advisors looking to stand out to their ideal future clients. Let’s learn what is important—and focus on optimizing your RIAs Google Business Profile. Coming up.
WELCOME TO ANOTHER EPISODE OF THE RIA MARKETING PODCAST. I’M YOUR CHIEF MARKETING OFFICER AND HOST, NOLAN MARTIN.
Today, I want to discuss the importance of Local SEO. I’ve got tips for helping your RIA stand out on the world’s largest search engine.
And, if your RIA is mainly focused on the local, geographic market, let’s make sure you’re set up correctly for that.
So, what is “Local SEO” for financial advisors?
It’s the process of optimizing your financial advisor firm’s website for location-specific online searches.
When someone uses Google or another search engine, the physical location of the device they’re browsing from is noted.
Next, that information; their IP address is used to determine their closest RIAs. That’s how the nearest firms show up in the results.
You see why it’s important?
By focusing on Local SEO, you can improve your chances of ranking higher when someone searches for your services.
It’s really an entire strategy in and of itself. So, I wanted to focus this episode on your Google Business Profile. That will give you some quick Local SEO wins.
For those of you who didn’t know Google Business Profile existed, I’ll take just a minute to explain:
When you want to find a restaurant or a movie theater, maybe in an area you aren’t entirely familiar with, you probably go to Google, right?
You know that map that pops up and shows you all of the pins of the restaurants near you? The one that lets you find places with the best reviews?
That restaurant or theater has set up a Google Business Profile. Do that for your RIA—and you can respond to your reviews, provide a link to your website, add your business hours, contact information, and more.
If you are larger than a solo, but not sure if you have a Google Business Profile, just go to Google: Input “financial planner” in your city and choose “Maps.”
That will show all the profiled financial planners in the area. If you primarily focus on the local market, your RIA should be showing up on page one of a Google search.
If you aren’t on page one… that’s not good.
In fact… there’s no way to sugar coat this: you’re behind the curve. You need to fine tune your website—and make sure it appeals to your ideal clients.
So, let’s break down how you can do that for your firm. The following steps should improve your site’s chances of ranking on page one.
If that’s all it is, you’re in the clear. From here, let’s assume nothing else is listed. You’re ready to start your profile.
Make sure your name appears just like it would on a sign outside your brick-and-mortar practice. Don’t try to work any extra keywords in: Google would flag that and suspend your listing.
The blank under “Business category” is predictive. So, if you type in F-I-N, you should see “Financial planner” on the list of options it generates.
That’s just for now. If you feel your RIA belongs under more than one category, don’t worry: You can add other ones later.
Unless your practice is strictly online and you never meet clients in-person, I’d choose “Yes.”
This is meant for convenience, in case your firm has multiple locations. Unless you do, just choose “None of these.”
Unless you’re only going to see clients in-person exclusively, I’d select “Yes.”
Be sure to list your website’s URL, too.
Hang in there. We’re almost done.
The last big hurdle is verifying it. When I had to verify my business, my only option was for Google to send a postcard to my mailing address with a verification code. It took about 3 days for it to arrive.
You could even choose to wait and verify it later... But, you won’t have complete control of your profile until you do. I recommend you go ahead and go through the verification process.
As soon as you get it verified, you’ll be able to see your dashboard. It gets a little more fun here: You can flesh the rest of your listing out with photos, your business hours, a logo, and more.
This is also where you can edit your description—and here’s some good news:
Remember when I said “Don’t use keywords” in your firm name? That doesn’t apply here.
I’ll include a link to Google’s guidelines in the show notes (https://support.google.com/business/answer/3039617?hl=en#description&zippy=%2Cfrom-the-business).
Before we talk about keywords, these are important to know.
Overall, they’re standard stuff: Don’t be misleading, don’t get rude, don’t list anything illegal… You get the idea.
Read them as soon as you can for yourself. Google reviews these descriptions. So, it’s not worth trying to wing it and then hope you’re okay.
I could almost do another podcast on how to write your description, alone—but I’m up against it here.
The short version is that you want to have something ready to paste in. In fact, I’d have multiple versions of your description ready.
If Google should reject one, you can have a backup in line and ready to roll. Sometimes you may want to vary it according to your niche’s pain points, too.
You should have 1-2 keywords in mind. Use those early on. However, don’t use more than 2.
Don’t put any URLs in it, either. An email address and phone number are fine, but there are other places Google wants your links listed.
Share what makes your RIA a stand-out among the competition. Keep it concise, but explain how you add value, too.
I need to wrap this up, but a good rule of thumb may be to avoid anything you’d roll your eyes at: No spam, don’t write in ALL CAPS, and keep it family-friendly. Don’t forget to have it sent over to your compliance if necessary.
Now, this podcast is all about getting your RIA quick wins, so...
Quick Win #1: Google financial advisors in a similar niche, but in another state and check out their business profiles. Don’t copy anything word-for-word, but note what works.
Quick Win #2: Read Google’s guidelines for Business Profile descriptions. They’re not that long and you need to be familiar with them.
Quick Win #3: Brainstorm at least 3 possible descriptions for your Google Business Profile. All you need is a paragraph pitching your advising, maybe from various angles that appeal to your niche.
Please remember: We’re determined to help RIAs connect with their Superfans and Ideal Future Clients through remarkable websites and relatable content.
My only question is, will it be your RIA?