Five ways to boost your firm's search engine optimisation

SEO

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Iain Thomson, Morningstar's European website product manager, outlines the importance of SEO and offers his top tips on how to achieve the best results.

Finance is full of acronyms, so here is another one for you: SEO – search engine optimisation. SEO is the art of getting a website listed as high up on a search engine’s results page as possible.

At this point you may be thinking: why should I care? Well, this is all about marketing your business, acquiring new clients and keeping those you already have happy.

Search engines such as Google, Bing and Yahoo! are the starting point of many people’s daily internet life. Over five billion searches are carried out each day around the world. If a potential client is looking for a financial adviser, the days of picking up the Yellow Pages are gone.

Five ways to improve your search engine optimisation

Typically, someone will ask a friend for a recommendation or they will type exactly what they are looking for into a search engine; for example, “financial adviser, Shrewsbury”.

The term “independent financial adviser” is searched on Google 22,200 times each month on average. That is 22,200 potential clients searching for a financial adviser each month.

When looking at a search engine result page there are three distinct areas of interest. Paid for search results reside in the yellow box at the top of the page and the smaller boxes down the right-hand side of the page.

Meanwhile, everything below the yellow box is listed for free and is known as organic search results. The basic rule of thumb here is that the higher up the organic search results your website appears, the more clicks to your site you can expect to receive.

Here are five tips for improving your search ranking:

1 Make sure your website is in the search results

Simply type: “site:www.yourwebsiteurl” in the search box – for example, “site:www.morningstar.co.uk” – and you should be presented with a list of all your website pages. If you do not see this list, it means your website is not being indexed by the search engine. Get this fixed first.

There are a number of ways to do this but the first thing to do is tell the search engines they need to visit your website. You can do this by submitting your site to Google Webmaster (https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools). Both Bing and Yahoo! have their own versions as well. It may take up to six weeks for your site to be indexed for the first time.

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