Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) – What is it and how can you make it work for you?
Let’s start with what is SEO?Search engine optimisation: the process of making your site better for search engines.
Most of us will just think of Google when we think of search engines, as they have the highest market share, but it’s important to acknowledge others including Bing, Yahoo, Baidu and Ecosia. It’s worth noting that a search engine is different to a web browser, examples of which are Chrome and Microsoft Edge.
SEO is the process of improving your website in order to increase its visibility when people search for products or services that are relevant to your business on a search engine. By utilising SEO, you can improve your ranking on a search engine, which can have a direct impact on your website traffic and potentially, business volumes. As you begin to appear in more searches for relevant keywords, more people will be driven to your website due to this increased visibility, meaning you can expect to have more leads and attract more customers. SEO is all about improving your website’s ranking in the organic or ‘non-paid’ section of the search engine results.
Search engines like Google have “spiders” or “bots” that crawl the internet to find sites and then index and rank them according to what they find. When someone enters a search, they will be provided with a list of websites in the order that the bots consider them to be relevant.
It goes without saying that if you are going to employ SEO tactics and encourage more activity on your website, you should first make sure that your website is completely up to date and reflective of all of the services you can offer. Think of your website as your online shop window; it’s a fantastic opportunity to showcase who you are and what you do. We have tips on improving your website in the guide here.
Why is SEO important?SEO is a fundamental part of digital marketing because of the sheer volume of searches that people do every year on search engines. These individuals are often searching for something specific and very often there is a commercial element in that they are looking to buy a product or a service. Financial advisers can therefore use SEO on their websites to showcase the range of financial services that they can offer, and the types of customers that they can help. You may wish to think about the terminology people will search for, for example, if you offer protection, you may want to refer to this as life insurance as it is more frequently called by members of the public, and outline the different types of protection you can help with, e.g. critical illness and income protection.
Ultimately, greater visibility and ranking higher in search results than your competitors will give you an edge and could have a material impact on your revenue.
What kind of content would work well on my website?
The content that you produce for your website about your services may vary, examples of which could be client newsletters, details and information about products, blogs or videos. Optimising these for the bots to assess is one of the best ways to rank higher on the search engines and you can do this by utilising SEO practices. For example, written content is ideal for the bots to assess because they are adept at looking at text for keywords and extensive detail around the topic in question which is presented in a user-friendly manner. Often longer posts which provide more detail are more likely to have a better chance of ranking higher because the end user is more likely to find the answer to their question when reading your content. On that basis, if you are a mortgage adviser, for example, blog articles about how you can support first-time buyers looking to buy their first home and using lots of keywords and phrases that a first-time buyer might use when searching the internet for support could be a good idea.
How do I learn more?SEO is not something you will achieve overnight and is something you can work on gradually to make improvements to your site. Don’t put yourself under pressure to make all of the changes in one go.
There is a free course called ‘Search Engine Optimization Fundamentals’ available on the Google Digital Garage that may be of interest. It’s a 13-hour course with 4 modules and it covers an extensive range of topics including how to create an effective SEO strategy, including how to select keywords and perform keyword research; consumer psychology and search behaviour; and how to conduct on-page SEO analysis to identify opportunities to improve a website’s search optimisation. Click here to take a look.
There is also a much shorter, but still extensive free course available via Hubspot which offers 6 lessons and is around 2 and a half hours in total. Click here to find out more.
Top tips for SEO:
Make sure you use relevant keywords on your website pages. For example, if you are talking about how you can help people to secure mortgages, make sure you are talking about mortgages, house buying, property ladder and key phrases that Google (and other search engines) will be looking for.