I sat there scratching my head wondering how this could possibly happen to us again…
“Where is the baby?” I asked the nurse for the second time.
The nurse was busy ignoring my comments while patiently scanning my wife’s belly with the ultrasound sensor, hoping to get a good glimpse of this mysterious baby.
Looking up at the ultrasound screen in front of the room, all my wife and I could see was a big mass of static, and an occasional body part that would zoom across the screen.
To say I was a bit flustered this evening would be a huge understatement.
You see, this wasn’t just any regular ultrasound appointment to see what your soon to be baby looks like. This was one of those 3D ultrasound appointments. And not only that, it was our second time back here after a first botched attempt where the nurse couldn’t get a single decent picture of the baby.
To make matters even worse, this time we had to come at 8:00pm as that was the only time we get a reschedule (they made us pay for the reschedule by the way), which meant we also had to bring our 2.5 year old daughter whose bedtime was normally 8:00pm.
Many of you parents can imagine our frustration.
Let me summarize what is happening so far:
- Here I am at an ultrasound that I nicely asked my wife NOT to pay extra for in the first place
- After a failed attempt to get a SINGLE decent shot of our baby, we are now back for a second time
- Paying even more money than my wife was originally told
- While trying to calm down our restless 2.5 year old who should be asleep
- All while realizing that our soon to be baby is incredibly gifted at hide and go seek
And after a full 40 minutes of trying to get our evasive “daughter in womb” to cooperate and give us (and the nurse) a keeper photo, we left empty-handed for the second time in a row…angry, irritated, and wondering why it was so hard to get a single decent picture of a baby who didn’t have that much real estate to hide in.
Now you might be asking yourself, what in the world does this story have to do with financial advisor content marketing and being found online?
Well as I was stewing over the madness of the scenario in the long car ride home, I came to realize the following:
We had been back to that place two different times to take pictures of something that we knew existed, we knew exactly where the baby was supposed to be, and we even had the best tools money could buy to find the baby. Yet we just couldn’t find her (or at least we couldn’t find her in the sense of getting the picture we wanted).
And it was also then that I realized that this same feeling occurs with most financial advisor’s content marketing…
- You create what you believe is good content
- You post it and take it live so you KNOW that it is actually there on the Internet
- You feel like you do a decent job of getting it out on the correct platform and social media sites
- You do what you believe is good SEO practices on your content
- You ask friends and peers to share and comment
- You know where you “should find it” in regards to certain keyword phrases, yet…
- You then go searching for your specific content in the search engines to see if it showing up on the first page, and it is nowhere to be found…
So why is it that so many financial advisors are having as much trouble showing up on the first page of search engines like Google and YouTube as my wife and I had finding our baby in a womb?
The problem begins with understanding Search Engine Optimization (aka SEO).
There is a lot of talk about SEO, and just as many fly-by-night companies offering all kinds of SEO services, promises to get you on the first page of Google, and many other types of search fantasies that rarely come to fruition. Many of these companies are prowling on financial advisors looking at you guys and gals as “easy prey” since you don’t know much about digital marketing. All they have to do is throw some big fancy optimization terms and describe some of their success stories in other industries, and then hook, line, sinker…
Now I am not saying that all SEO companies are bad by any means. Some of them like Moz.com are amazing. The problem really comes down to your content.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) in simple terms is optimizing your website content in order to be found in the actual search engines. Notice one key word in there – “Content”.
If you do not have content, then no amount of SEO, and not even the best SEO expert in the world can help you.
It would be like having an uncle who owns every gas station in your city, but you don’t own a car. Tough to maximize gasoline in a bicycle or skateboard last time I checked. And if you get around town on rollerblades, then you need more help than this blog can achieve.
Now I don’t want to belabor this point about SEO, but I do want to empower you to know that you should NEVER EVER hire out an SEO specialist for your website (even if I call you saying I am an SEO specialist) if you don’t have content. And yes, I am writing this today because I have heard multiple horror stories from financial professionals who were literally stolen from by some of these so called “SEO Experts”.
Once again, you can’t optimize something that doesn’t exist. And if you don’t have any real content on your site (and a 1 page About Me does not count), then don’t even waste your time.
Finally, here are some great tips to maximizing SEO on your own site, on your own terms, all by yourself. In fact, these are some of the same theories and tools that the pros use and charge you money for. Once you start using these correctly, your days of never being able to find your own content, and more importantly, other people finding your content, could be over.
Two Tips for Financial Advisor Content Marketing & Being Found Online
- There is a fine line between writing for search engines and writing for humans. For instance, many people make the mistake of only writing for search engines and they have titles that don’t make sense (because they are just packed with their keywords they are trying to rank for), and even the bodies of their blogs and articles are stuffed with so many keywords (called “Keyword Stuffing), that it isn’t even fun to read.
The idea is to ALWAYS write for humans. More importantly, always write to your Avatar client. Here is why:
- Although you do need to make sure your content contains your keyword and keyword phrases and that it is optimized for Google, if your ideal clients won’t take the time to read it, share it, and comment, it won’t matter. Google now takes factors like sharing, comments, likes, etc. into account more so than anything because it lets them know that the content is unique, solid, and relevant. Otherwise, why would anyone ever favorite, like, or share it?
- Some of the very best blogs that show up in the #1 spot in all of Google for high searched keyword phrases are the ones with the most comments and social shares. This is a big change from just a few years ago when most of the first page of Google was jammed with links that were stuffed with keywords, and the “most relevant” usually just meant articles with the most back-links and keywords. A lot has changed, so make sure you change your content as Google changes how it shows the most relevant links in its algorithm (by the way, stay tuned in May for a blog we do on all of the ways Google uses to determine where your content ranks).
- The next incredibly helpful tip I can give you is to use FREE SEO plug-in’s inside of your WordPress site such as WordPress SEO “Yoast” or All-in-One SEO. Both of these FREE plug-ins that can actually optimize every SINGLE page on your website and blog for you. All you need to know is which keywords/keyword phrases you want to go after for each page. It also helps to have a solid title ready that is BOTH catchy in terms of humans (like a great headline), but also has your main keyword/keyword phrase if possible.
- FYI – Yoast is really the latest and greatest SEO tool that you can get. And once again, it is free! It is a bit of an upgrade from the All-in-One SEO, but even that plug-in is awesome.
- The Yoast plugin has in depth SEO page analysis, an Advanced tab for really seasoned SEO experts, and even a social media tab where you can change the meta description and images for certain social media outlets.
- In fact, the Yoast SEO plugin even has an automatic color generator that starts at red (meaning bad SEO) and turns different shades (orange, yellow, etc.) upon finally turning GREEN when your blog is SEO optimized. Super cool feature that you can see change colors as you add content to your blog.
In conclusion, no amount of SEO will help you find your content if you don’t have much. You need to create unique, relevant, timely, and sharable content and let your readers and search engines do the rest. The minute you start writing only for search engines is the same time that you will see your content not be found anymore. Google has its bots and spiders so dialed in that they might as well be real people.
P.S. – If you received any value from this blog, please SHARE. Social Sharing is like tipping for bloggers, except we can’t buy Starbucks coffee with it.