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It’s important to know what NOT to do with SEO

Search engine optimisation (SEO) is the process of improving the visibility of a website/web page in a search engine’s results. The earlier and more frequently a site appears in the search result list, the more visitors it will receive from the search engine’s users.

Properly optimising your search engine ranking takes time and consistency. One of the simplest and most important ways to generate traffic to your financial advisory firm’s website is to optimise your site for search engines.

It’s important to know what NOT to do with SEO so your good efforts aren’t undermined. Here are Goldmine Media’s top three don’ts:

1. Don’t forget keywords
Keywords are the search terms that are inputted into Google (or any other search engine) that searchers use to describe what they’re looking for.

Google uses those search words (or keywords) to identify what people are looking for online. From there, the search engine matches searchers’ keywords with the keywords used within websites to determine the ranking of search results.

When marketers refer to the term ‘long-tail keywords’, they are talking about a very targeted search phrase that contains at least three words. Long-tail keywords are what searchers usually search for. Here’s an example:

Keyword: adviser

Long-tail keywords: how to find a financial adviser; financial advisers in London; tips from a financial adviser

The more specific and descriptive you are with your keywords, the better your chances are for ranking high in the search engine result pages (SERP) since you will most likely have less competition. You can tie this in with those local terms in your page title, URL, tags, pages and blog posts.

Make sure you use your keywords in a natural and strategic way throughout your pages. For example, if you target the key phrase ‘retirement planning’, then include content about retirement but also ideas and steps to increase your contribution.

The best way to figure out what keywords you should target is to imagine if you were searching for a financial adviser using Google. What words and/or word combinations would you use? Get into the minds of your audience. Think about the jargon they use and the problems they want to solve, as well as their interests, friends, location, education and more. Assessing how your audience will search for you will help you find them.

If you’re having trouble getting in the mind of your target audience to find good long-tail keyword phrases, Google can help. Begin typing your search terms into the search box and let the search engine recommend some long-tail variations for you.

2. Don’t rely on your website’s ‘Search’ function to find web pages
All your web pages should be linked together and easily accessible through your website’s navigation. Google does not use the ‘Search’ field to crawl content, therefore any orphan pages that are not directly linked on your website will not be indexed.

It is a good idea to sit down with someone who’s never visited your website and ask them to navigate around to find a couple of pages that are more than a couple of clicks apart. Just watch and take notes – don’t help them. This exercise will give you a clue as to what areas of your website are not as easy to access as you thought.

3. Don’t neglect your blog
Including a blog on your website not only helps you generate leads – it is one of the best things you can do for your site’s SEO rankings. Blogs give you an ongoing opportunity to include fresh, keyword-laden content on your website, and also provide the opportunity for you to generate inbound links – one of the most powerful factors of SEO.

To get maximum value out of your blog, post consistently, market your blog, respond to comments and write each post with your top keywords in mind. This will keep visitors coming back to your site for more, which ultimately generates better SEO.

Paul Bearman, Senior Editor, Goldmine Media

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