SEO (Search Engine Optimization) Basics for Advisors

Posted by Andrea Collatz on November 20, 2012

Knowing a little bit about SEO can help you make the most of your website’s search potential. Search engine optimization (SEO) is a method used to increase the visibility of your website or a web page in a search engine’s “organic” or “un-paid” search results. The better optimized your site, the more likely Google will display it in search by someone looking for a firm like yours.

Having an optimized site can help with getting higher page rankings in all search engines. First and foremost you should base your optimization decisions on what’s best for the visitors of your site. They are using search engines to find you and are the consumers of your content.

Here are the key things you should be doing today in order to get picked up by search engines:

1. Create unique, accurate page titles

Page titles are one of the most important elements of SEO. A title tag tells both users and search engines what the topic of a particular page is. You should have a unique title for each page in your website so be sure to choose a title that effectively communicates the topic of that pages’ content. Avoid choosing a title that has no relation to the content on the page and never use default or vague titles like “Untitled” or “Page 1”.

2. Pick the right keyword for search

What is a keyword? Keywords are the words used by a search engine in its search for relevant web pages. When thinking of keywords to use, it’s important to think about what words your visitors would use when performing a search. If you think they are using words like “advisor” “financial”, “wealth” and “planning”, you should use these keywords in your titles and in the first paragraph of your page content. Avoid using too many keywords, a good rule of thumb is to keep it less than 8 words – the more concise the better.

3. Make use of the “description” meta tag

A page’s description meta tag gives search engines a summary of what the page is about. It is important to have an accurate summary of the page’s content and to use unique descriptions for each page. Avoid writing a description meta tag that has no relation to the content such as “This is a web page” or “Page about Financial Strategies”. Never fill the description with keywords only. This is raises a red flag when being crawled for search engines.

4. Optimize your use of images

Images may seem like a straightforward component of your site, but you can optimize your use of them. All images can have a distinct filename and “alt” attribute, both of which you should take advantage of. Use brief, but descriptive filenames and alt text. Avoid using generic files names like “pic1.jpg”. Instead make it more relevant to your key content and remember to use your keywords. Supply alt text when using images as links, but avoid writing excessively long alt text that would be considered spammy.

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