Why QUALITY Content Is King in SEO

How Content Influences SEO InfographicIn 1996, Bill Gates saw the rising value of Internet content. While he recognized the importance of output volume, he knew the future of web copy would demand excellence.

If people are to be expected to put up with turning on a computer to read a screen, they must be rewarded with deep and extremely up-to-date information that they can explore at will.”- Bill Gates

If there was ever need of additional proof of Gates’ prescience, this statement would provide it. Twenty years later, the Internet abounds with content and a growing user appetite for increasingly valuable material.

As a financial advisor, you have to feed your clientele with relevant and trending information. The industry is inundated with hackneyed writing, making it essential that each post enriches your audience in compelling ways. Changes to search algorithms have made web crawlers like Google, Yahoo and Bing more discerning when it comes to judging the quality of your content. Appeasing their higher standards is the key to optimizing your site for search and improving your rankings on SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages).

There are three main aspects of your content you can improve to help improve your site’s ranking in the digital marketplace Bill Gates envisioned:

Originality, Personality, and Interactivity.

Provide Original Insight

The majority of the content being produced at any given moment is simply regurgitated versions of something else that was already published. The internet is aswarm with the same article sliced 15 different ways. If you want to experience the loving electric embrace of high search rankings you need to share information and experiences that are unique to you and your business.

When it comes to sharing lessons learned in the trenches, it is not a bad strategy to overshare. By opening up your coffers of knowledge and sharing your treasure with the web at large you are not only demonstrating your expertise in your chosen area, you are providing the exact type of insight that improves a users over all experience of your site. Your bounce rate will fall, your average time on page will increase and your quality scores, the number that signifies Google’s determination of how well you address a certain keyword, will go through the roof.

Demonstrate Your Personality

When you meet a prospective client, you smile as you shake hands. Having an approachable style and voice has the same effect. Your writing tone is essential to making your clients feel welcome but also needs to communicate professionalism and expertise. This can seem like a difficult tight rope to walk. Take some time to consider your word choice. Is your language festooned with jargon or approachable to a layman?

Another aspect of your writing to consider is your character. What persona are you projecting in your online publications? Are you the only narrator they experience? One incredibly powerful strategy to help your readers connect with your writing is to introduce a cast of characters made up of members of your staff, your family or your clients. The more that your readers feel that you are sharing of your life the more they will fell comfortable trusting you with aspects of theirs.

Use Interactive Content

One of the most important aspects of a web experience is how personalized it feels to the person having it. Something as simple as recommended similar articles that appear at the end of a particular piece can be the difference between a reader spending a few seconds with your site or going further, taking a deep dive into your content library and experiencing the breadth of your content.

Being concise is the new currency. Take advantage of our increasingly visual culture and use videos and images to tell your story. Bill Gates also predicted the importance of this component, suggesting the “need to have audio, and possibly video” to give customers a complete experience. A combination of pithy writing and powerful visuals will result in increased SEO performance and a steady stream of new opportunities for your company.

Get Started on Creating High-Quality Content

Advisor Launchpad provides comprehensive digital marketing services for financial advisors seeking to establish their online reputation and get ahead of the local competition.

From copywriting to SEO to web design, we have assembled various packages to meet your budget and marketing needs.

Contact us today to learn more information.

What are backlinks and how do you get some?

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) has a language of its own. From “whitehat” to “blackhat” and “nofollow” links to “dofollow” links, this digital lexicon requires more than a few definitions to make sense of the madness.

Today, we’re looking at one of the central components of an effective SEO strategy: “backlinks.” Widely heralded as the currency of SEO, backlinks are incoming hyperlinks that point from one website to another. For example, if Advisor Launchpad mentioned an article in The New York Times, that hyperlink would be considered a backlink for the famed publication. 

Backlinks are an integral piece of search engine ranking algorithms. If your website receives an abundance of backlinks from high-quality sources, Google will recognize your growing authority and boost your ranking.

While backlinks have long been part of the digital marketing conversation, the means of actually getting them have changed drastically. First, there was the old-school approach that saw hosts spamming comments sections with links to their own websites. Then came the “ends justify the means” crowd who bought backlinks from “link farms” to help increase their popularity. 

Though these tactics worked for a time, Google and other search engines caught on to the schemes and leveled harsh ranking punishments (and even banned) websites attempting to cut corners. The backlink goldrush inevitably led to a more tightly monitored and regulated market.

Backlinks are crucial to help grow your online presence, but only when they are earned through networking and a consistent emphasis on producing quality content.

Here are a few tips to get started:

  1. Position Yourself As A Thought Leader

Backlinks themselves carry little value; it’s the destination they take you that matters most. Rather than fret over the number of backlinks you can attain, focus on the most important goal: establishing yourself as a thought leader in both your local and industry markets.

The financial advisory world is inundated with competing voices that often regurgitate the same information. Carve a niche in that community, and you’ll not only boost your backlinks, you’ll also grow your business. 

  1.    Build Your Content “Skyscraper”

What’s the best way to enhance your online presence in the financial space? Take a look at what’s already working. Run a quick Google search of popular financial blogs and articles authored by competing advisory firms. Tools like Moz’s Open Site Explorer and Buzzsumo can help you pinpoint the biggest content influencers and closely analyze their backlinks. 

Take note of the topics they cover and the tone they take, then put together a game plan to exceed their efforts. Brian Dean of Backlinko calls this the “Skyscraper Technique,” an approach derived from the “whatever you can do, I can do better” school of thought.

This could entail writing a more comprehensive or “ultimate” guide to the topic at hand, providing more real-world anecdotes and explanations to personalize your content, or simply altering your blog’s structure to feature more image-based or list-driven content. 

In short, be aware of the content that has a proven track record of success, then expand those qualities and put your own unique spin on it. 

  1.    Leverage Industry Partnerships 

Once you have cultivated your content, it’s time to launch it in the marketplace. Your best target? Financial industry partnerships and local community alliances. 

Say you published a blog that stresses the importance of incorporating an estate plan with your overall financial strategy. Your investment management firm works closely with local attorneys who specialize in estate plans. In this scenario, you could ask those attorneys to feature your guest blog on their website, or simply have them link to your article in one of their own posts. Google prizes these sorts of backlinks, as they rank high in both quality and relevance. 

Beyond leveraging your industry relationships, consider reaching out to local businesses with whom you may already have clients. The power of community credibility cannot be overstated. If a local shop gives you a shout-out in one of their own blogs or newsletters, you’ll earn both backlinks and new business. 

  1.     Publicize Through Social Media 

While leveraging your professional network, be sure to double your influence by capitalizing on social media. LinkedIn shares, Facebook posts, and Twitter retweets go a long way to getting your quality content on the map. Continue cultivating relationships with your social media followers, and it won’t be long before they start promoting your content.

Ultimately, getting backlinks takes time, creativity, and commitment. By focusing on developing unique and compelling content, then taking a multi-pronged approach to publicizing it, your website will gain backlinks as your company gains business. 

How Long Should Your Blog Posts Be?

If you’re working to maximize your website’s SEO, consistent blog posts are an excellent way to provide new content for search engines to analyze as they determine your ranking. But how long should you make each post for maximum impact? Here are some essential guidelines to ensure that you are optimizing each post for SEO, without losing the impact on your readers!

Set a solid minimum

As a simple guideline, blog post should contain at least 300 words in order to rank well on search. There are a multitude of reasons why long posts will rank higher than short posts, but the essential factor lies in how easily Google and other search engines can determine the subject matter of your post. Consider each keyword that you use as a “clue” for Google to decide what your blog post is about. A longer length naturally includes more SEO keywords so you are leaving a perfect trail of breadcrumbs for Google to follow.

Include “long tail” keywords

In a lengthy article, you’ll be able to optimize for multiple long tail variants of the keyword central to your article. Use the opportunity of a longer article to include different phrases than you normally might. For example, the simple keyword “Retirement planning” can be expanded to “Retirement planning for young professionals” or “retirement planning for Doctors,” depending on your prime demographic. With a little added thought, your article will have a chance to turn up in search results for all these “long tail” variants.

Ready to go long?

Though there are different rules as to what post length is ideal for optimizing your SEO, the consensus is, the longer the better. Most marketing specialists advocate for aiming for 1000-2000 words, but with one caveat…the content has to hold the attention of your reader.

The natural downside of longer blog posts is the potential for boring your audience. The quicker a reader loses interests, the more it impacts your bounce rate, and all of your hard work will be in vain. So as you hammer out your 1,000 words, don’t lose sight of the main points of your article. Inform while you entertain, include statistics that spark your readers’ interests, and avoid using stale or outdated language.

There are many ways to keep your reader engaged throughout a large article. Add photos throughout for an easy break on the eyes. Tell an amusing anecdote about your kids’ refusal to add their Christmas money to their piggy bank, then dive into a larger examination of saving versus spending. Make sure your paragraphs are short and clear. Add lots of subheadings using ALP’s easy-to-use dashboard so people understand the main idea of each section. By thinking strategically as you write and format your article, you can ensure that the main points stand out even as you aim for a longer length.

At the very least, ensure that each of your blog posts exceeds 300 words so Google has enough information to work with to rank your website’s SEO. If you’re an experienced writer, experiment with writing posts over 1000 words and see if it makes an impact on your search rankings. Through trial and error, you can determine the optimal length for SEO without losing the interest of your readers!

How To Make Your Next Blog Post The Best Ever!

As you’re beefing up your content marketing efforts, you might notice that your weekly blog posts aren’t getting the attention they deserve. Though this is a definite bummer, don’t panic! It just means that you need to spend a bit more time curating your content and sharing it widely. Here are some quick tips to make your next blog post the best ever!

  1. Judge your book by its cover

Yeah, Mom always told us not to, but let’s face it: people will judge your content based on their first impressions. Taking the time to perfect the title and the introductory paragraph is key to reeling in your reader. This is essential for blog posts in particular, as eight out of ten people will take the time to read your headline copy, but only two out of ten will read the blog itself. Make sure those first impressions shine!

  1. Balance fun and facts

Ultimately, people are visiting your blog to learn more about the financial services industry, but don’t forget to balance your statistics with a good story! Establishing a narrative engages your reader and allows them to relate to the scenarios you’re presenting. 

  1. Cite your sources!

Your teachers have been hammering this into your brain since grade school, and it doesn’t end here! Citing sources on your blog establishes you as an authority in the financial services field and shows that you’ve done your research. Helpful hint: If you’re linking directly to your source, don’t forget to check “open in new window” on your ALP Dashboard so the reader remains on your site. 

  1. Support your SEO

Be sure that you are taking the time to optimize every one of your posts for SEO keywords. Using targeted keywords in the headline, body text, and first and last sentence of your posts is essential to maximizing the impact of your SEO efforts, and this will give your blog an extra leg up in search engine results. 

  1. Announce your new post to the world

You’ve spent years building your following on social media…why let this effort go to waste? Announce your new blog post on all social channels and include hashtags for relevant keywords. This expands the reach of your announcement and brings in a fresh audience to check out your content. 

If your posts aren’t getting the full attention they deserve, try implementing these strategies for your next round of content creation. Adding a little extra tender loving care to your next run of blog posts can grow its reach and bring in a fresh bunch of prospects! 

4 Ways to Capture Events For Your Marketing Effort

Conducting events in your community is an excellent way to support your current clients and reach out to a new group of prospects. Whether you are hosting seminars, conferences, parties, or lectures on timely financial issues, you can show off your personality and establish yourself as a thought leader.

But hosting events also gives you an additional opportunity to boost your social presence and cultivate engagement through email marketing and blog posts. Here are some essential steps to ensure you are maximizing the ROI on your event planning:

1. Create a new event using ALP’s Event Builder

The more information you can include, the better, but be sure to have the date, time (be sure to select the right time zone), location, and a contact who can handle any questions about the event. For maximum impact, let people know what they should expect to learn from the event and encourage them to invite their friends and family. The RSVP feature makes it easy to estimate a head count and ensure that you have enough snacks and drinks to cover all of your attendees! 

2. Get the word out early on social media 

 In the lead-up to your event, it will be essential to post multiple times on all social media channels. Posting on your Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter may be a given, but don’t ignore smaller channels like community pages and specialized groups. Craft a short sentence that describes the event, when it takes place, and what the public can expect to gain from attending.

3. Find someone to team up with

To really drive community involvement, consider a dual partnership with another local business to double your marketing efforts. You can reach out to the community to line up potential collaborators, guest speakers, or even just a popular lunch place to supply catering. Don’t forget to mention these partnerships in all of your marketing efforts!

4. Create a targeted email campaign

Reaching out to both existing clients and promising prospects is another excellent way to drive up attendance, and directing them to your website’s event page drives up your SEO. Be sure to send a series of emails as you countdown to your event. We suggest sending the first three months prior, then re-sending at 1 month, 1 week, and the day before to keep your event top-of-mind.

If you’re taking the time and effort to put together a company event, why not reap the benefits of your marketing strategy? Crafting an event on your website to drive traffic, sharing your event across all social platforms and through a dedicated email campaign, and drumming up community involvement all ensure that your event gets the attention it deserves! 

Creating Marketing Channels for Your Content

So you’ve mastered the first steps of your marketing strategy. You’re posting bi-weekly blogs, drumming up your following on social media, and emailing clients to share your new and exciting insights. You’re ready to expand your marketing efforts even further, and the first step is to find new channels to share your amazing insights. So where do you start?

Recycling is all the rage right now, so why not extend it to your marketing efforts? By giving your existing content a facelift, you can repurpose it to attract a whole new audience. Here are some fun, out-of-the-box ideas to put a more creative spin on your old whitepapers and blog posts:

  • Infographics: These bright animations are a wonderful way to attract an audience that is too busy to read more than a paragraph at a time. Hire a graphic designer, pull out the key talking points of your content, and create a work of art!
  • SlideShare: LinkedIn’s recent acquisition of SlideShare makes it a key component of a LinkedIn Marketing Strategy. Repurpose your content as a PowerPoint, then upload it to SlideShare to send it out into the world! For added impact, send it out to qualified leads and show off your industry knowledge.
  • Videos: Record a 2-3 minute clip explaining the key points of your content and share it across all of your marketing channels. As an added bonus, the camera gives you the opportunity to show off your personality and build rapport with your prospects before you even connect.

Rather than focusing on the constant creation of new content, ensure you are getting complete use out of the whitepapers and blogs you’ve already created. Putting a bright new veneer on your existing content is an excellent way to attract viewers who don’t have the time to read a full page of content, and it allows you to maximize the impact of your hard work.

Rocket Talk: How to Make Videos Your Customers Can’t Resist

 

You have probably heard how much potential there is to connect with your clientele through video. But how do you make your videos really stand out and attract an audience? Raudel Enrique and Kirk Faulkner join us for another episode of Rocket Talk and discuss 10 different things that anyone can do to make their videos irresistible.

4 Tips To Utilize Freelancers To Create Great Content

If you’re like most financial advisors, time is one of your most valuable assets. Hiring freelancers to handle your content creation frees up your schedule while bringing another expert set of eyes to your team. However, as with any other job, hiring the right person is the key to success. How do you ensure you’re working with the best possible writer? 

Define Your Style

The first step to hiring the right copywriter is to find someone who can match your rhetorical style. Take some time to consider your ideal client and what they will find most compelling. Are you working with an older demographic? Remaining factual may be your best bet. Do you want to attract younger generations? Then you will need to bring a sense of humor to the table in order to hold their interest. Once you have defined your company’s style, look for writers who fit that tone so your branding remains consistent throughout your website. Ask for samples of their work that fit your brand’s style so you can be sure they are up to the challenge!

Test Those Testimonials

When working with a freelance copywriter, you want more than just the end product. A great working relationship is just as important as the writing itself, and testimonials are the best way to judge what your experience will be. Was the writer timely in their communication? Did they deliver drafts right on schedule? Were they open to feedback and willing to make the necessary changes? All of these are questions that you should be asking a writer’s former clients. 

It’s Not Just The Copy

Though a compelling narrative is key, a competent freelancer also has to maximize the impact of your new content by using SEO keywords throughout the copy. Keep an eye out for freelancers who mention “SEO” on their resume, and ask how they have successfully incorporated this into their previous work. 

Quality Over Quantity

Chances are, your clients don’t have the time to read a 5,000-word blog post, so content needs to quickly deliver the info they need to know. In order to confirm that this is a high priority for your freelancer as well, ensure that you are paying by the project. Avoid freelancers that charge per word, as they are incentivized to make your content as wordy as possible. Your content should be clean and quick! 

Hiring a freelancer is a practical step for a busy financial advisor, but you need to ensure that you’re bringing on the right person. These tips will help you narrow your search and pick the best fit for your business! 

 

How to Define Your Content Niche

When prospects begin searching for a new financial advisor, they have specific needs in mind, and they know what services are most important for their financial future. Publishing content that is tailored to these unique challenges establishes you as a thought leader and confirms that you are the right fit for your new client’s needs. After all, you wouldn’t check into a hospital with a broken arm and ask to see a neurologist! Outlining your content niche highlights your expertise in every interaction with your prospects and clients, confirming that you are the right fit for their financial needs. 

1. Leverage Your Expertise

Bestselling author John Gordon notes, “Experts are not called upon because they are the smartest person in every room; they are called upon because they are the smartest person in a specific room.” Most clients aren’t looking for a “catch-all” advisor. They want someone with years of specialization in a certain area. Highlight your experience working with a certain demographic or strategy in order to attract more clients with the same needs. 

If you don’t have a specific specialty, take some time to think about what work you enjoy the most. This is a great way to decide what to focus on in your content marketing, but more importantly, it will allow to craft a career that you enjoy! 

2. Focus

If your area of expertise is something broad and sweeping, you may find that you have too much competition when prospects start browsing for financial advisors. Carefully focus your niche in order to stand out from the crowd. Do you offer tax services? So do thousands of other financial advisors in your area. What about tax services for new parents? Now you’re thinning out the competition! Highlight these niche areas of specialization in every blog post and social media campaign in order to reach the right prospects at the right time.

3. Testing, testing!

Now that you have some focused content, start sending it out to certain subsets of your contact list and measure the response. If a certain piece gets more engagement than others, you know you’re on the right track! Continue this testing with different content and prospects until you have a solid idea of what speaks to your core demographic. 

Creating content that truly speaks to your prospects helps you stand out from the crowd and attract the right client for your business. Take some time to consider the key needs of your ideal client and focus your content on that niche in order to prove that you’re the right advisor for the job! 

New Year’s Resolutions for Marketing Magic

2018 is right around the corner, and it’s the perfect time to optimize your marketing strategy for the new year. But where do you start? Before you begin setting new goals, take some time to consider what strategies worked best for you in 2017. Ask your team:

  • What specific marketing strategies were most effective?
  • What (if any) marketing strategies didn’t work at all?
  • Should you re-allocate resources to the more effective strategies?
  • Has your target audience or geographic location changed in the past year?
  • Were you able to stay within your marketing budget?

Having an honest conversation about your performance over the past year is the optimal way to pick the best path forward. Once you know what worked best for your team in the past, you are ready to create marketing resolutions for the next year. Focus on creating goals that are SMART.

  • Specific (targeted to a specific area of improvement)
  • Measurable (gives a quantifiable result you can monitor)
  • Achievable (a goal that is challenging, yet still completable)
  • Relevant (something that will further your marketing goals)
  • Timely (set a certain deadline for completion)

Here’s an excellent example of a SMART Goal: ”I will grow my social media presence to 250 followers by the end of the year, and post content on my social profiles twice a week.” Now that’s a SMART goal!

Though it can be daunting to draft out your marketing resolutions for the new year, these tips can help you focus your efforts and input a successful strategy for 2018.