Outside-IN

Controlling your Google search results may not be enough

Podcast platforms and voice assistants are becoming popular tools to search for all kinds of information and services, including financial advice

May 14, 2019 @ 2:42 pm

By Taylor Schulte

My financial planning firm gleans more than 50% of our new client leads from Google search alone. How does this happen? For the most part, people head to Google and type in terms like "San Diego financial planner" or "financial advisor in San Diego" and find my website on Page One. From there, they read about our firm, review our 6-step evaluation process and schedule a call if there is a potential fit.

This all sounds so simple, and it is. Yet my firm still has plans to expand our online presence. Why? While Google search is important today — and it will be in the future — firms also should consider how other forms of search will play a larger role in three to five years.

PODCAST SEARCH

According to recent statistics from Podcast Insights, over 51% of consumers have listened to a podcast, and most of them are "loyal, affluent and educated." That sounds like the exact demographic most financial advisers hope to target.

Consumers search for podcasts just like they search for items to buy or for answers to pressing questions. But they also search for podcasts with keywords through each of the podcast apps, whether it's Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts or another platform.

Smart financial advisers will consider this growing medium and, if they have a podcast, make sure it is available on the fastest growing podcast apps while also being easy to find through other searches. How do they do that? For the most part by making sure their podcast description aligns with their area of expertise, including detailed show notes on their podcast website, and getting other sites to link to their podcast (for example, InvestmentNews links to my podcast below).

VOICE SEARCH

While many households use an Amazon Alexa or Apple HomePod to listen to music or add to their shopping lists, more and more are turning to voice search to find answers to questions such as "What is a Roth IRA?" or "How much do financial planners charge?"

As we create content for our websites, we need to optimize all pieces so they can be used to answer these questions no matter how they are asked — including by voice search.

Fortunately, you don't have to manually overhaul your entire website to improve your voice search presence. Some basic steps like including concise answers to popular questions and embedding very specific keyword phrases in your content can go a long way toward helping your cause.

Years ago, having any sort of online presence could help you stand out among a sea of competing financial planners. These days, having a website or blog may not be enough.

To ensure your firm is getting its share of potential leads, you need to take control of your presence — and that means making yourself easy to find, however a person searches for your services. Rest assured that if you don't, somebody else in your niche or your hometown will.

Taylor Schulte is founder and CEO of Define Financial. He also hosts a podcast for financial advisers called Experiments in Advisor Marketing.

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