Benefiting from the latest Google changes

This article was originally written by Shane for Adviser Voice.

We should all know by now that website content is important for our visitors as well as the search engines, but recent changes by Google could give smart financial advisers an advantage.

The online space is getting more competitive every day when it comes to financial services websites.  There is competition from other financial services firms, as well as the growing number of lead generation websites that are coming from outside of the industry.

Financial advisers should already know the importance of original website content, but this week Google have made further changes to their search algorithm that means original content on its own will no longer be good enough, and they now want your content to be kept fresh as well.

Google states that more than one-in-three search queries will be affected, which is certainly a significant number.  They had this to say in their release:

“Given the incredibly fast pace at which information moves in today’s world, the most recent information can be from the last week, day or even minute, and depending on the search terms, the algorithm needs to be able to figure out if a result from a week ago about a TV show is recent, or if a result from a week ago about breaking news is too old.”

So how can smart financial advisers benefit from these changes?

Let’s take a look at the average financial services firm website.  Generally they will look very pretty, and they’ll have the standard pages that cover the firm’s services, staff profiles, contact details and maybe a few technical articles.

Some firm’s websites will have a blog or news section, but the majority I’ve seen are rarely updated, with some showing the ‘latest news’ from three years ago!

When combined with some link-building from the firm’s SEO provider, currently these sites tend to rank fairly well for search phrases such as ‘Sydney Financial Planner’ etc.

But with the latest Google changes, there is a window of opportunity for smart financial advisers to leap ahead of their competitors by adding fresh and original content to their websites on a regular basis.

So how can you do this?

Well the first step is to get a blog or news section onto your website that you can easily update yourself.  The next step is to start typing!

As financial professionals we do a huge amount of reading and listening every week.  There are CPD articles to be read, conferences to attend, product updates from the insurers and fund managers and plenty of news in the press.

There are many of sources of new information in our industry, so why not spend half an hour putting together a quick summary for your website?  You don’t have to be a Walkley Award winner; you just need to throw together 500 words of content that are relevant to the industry and the clients that you want to attract.

If you can do this once a month you’ll give your website a healthy boost in the rankings.  If you can increase it to once a week you should see some major results, and if you can start pumping out multiple items every week, the sky (or the number one ranking in Google) is the limit!

An additional benefit of regular content is that you can send out more frequent Facebook and Twitter updates, which gives more chances to interact with your current and potential clients.

The internet is increasingly the first place that people go to when searching for information on life insurance and investment, so if your website can out-rank your competitors you will have the greatest chance of attracting new clients at the expense of your rivals.

Start updating your website today with fresh and original content, and you will be rewarded.

PS.  If you’re not up the task of creating your own regular content, talk to me about how I can help you.

How content can help your advice business

Content is king!

Well that’s what they say in the world of online marketing and publishing.

There are two great reasons why content is so important in today’s online world:

  1. It attracts visitors to your website via search engines (eg. Google)
  2. It gives visitors a reason to stay on your website, and ultimately become a client

How does good content achieve this?

Content for search engine optimisation

If you’ve been in business for more than a week, you will have heard of search engine optimisation, or SEO.

SEO is simply the art of getting your website and its pages as high as possible in the Google (or other search engine) results.

The higher you are in the results, the more likely you are to be clicked on.  And the more you are clicked on, the better chance you have of securing new clients.

There is only one thing that Google loves more than original and relevant content, and that is original and relevant content that is fresh!

If your website doesn’t contain much relevant content, the content you’ve used is not original, or the content has not been updated for a while, then you’re really letting yourself down and missing out on potential clients.

By having original and relevant content on your website Google will recognise that you are an authority on the subject, and will know to put your website higher up in the search results.

If your content is also kept fresh and is continually updated, they will give your website even more authority and therefore rank it even higher in the results.

But be warned, because Google is smarter than you might think.  If you believe that you can take generic articles from other sources and just change a few words around, or that you can just stuff your content full of terms like ‘cheapest life insurance’ and ‘best income protection’ – you better think again!

Google knows when you’ve tried to use non-original content (even if you change a few words around) and it also knows when you are “keyword stuffing” your content just so you can rank well for certain terms.

If Google catches you, you may well find yourself heading south in the search results very quickly.

Content for your visitors

It’s all good and well to write content that is designed to please Google and the search engines, but what’s the point if your website visitors are turned off by this style of writing?

If you have the term ‘cheapest life insurance’ forced into every paragraph of your content, the visitor is quickly going to sniff a rat and may disregard your website as spam or some other unprofessional website.

You need your content to make your website visitors feel comfortable with you.  You want the content to instil a feeling of trust into the reader, and to have them feel that you must be an authority on the subject.

If your website can make your potential client feel comfortable, have some level of trust, and think of you as an authority, then 80% of the job is done before you’ve even spoken to them!

Getting the mix right

It’s important to get a good balance in your content to keep Google happy as well as your website visitors and prospective clients.  There is definitely an art to this style of writing, and when it comes to financial services it is not easy to find a writer who can pull it off.

Thanks to my decade in the financial services industry and time as a financial adviser, combined with my love of writing and experience in website development, I have been able to develop a writing style that will please both the search engines as well as your clients.

I have written content for dozens of financial websites in Australia, many of which rank in the top three results for very competitive search terms.  Of course my content isn’t the only reason they rank so highly, but it certainly helps.

If you would like some professionally written content for your financial services website, please give Shane a call on contact someone else as I no longer provide content for others. 🙂

You may be very surprised by how inexpensive good content can be…