Search Engine Optimization for your Asset Management Website
Search Engine Optimization AKA Getting Found on Google
There's not much point in building an attractive, useful website if no one ever visits it. And because this topic comes up so frequently in our conversations with clients, we thought we'd put together some basic tips around ranking well in search engines. There are two ways to help people (including potential investors and strategic partners) find you on search engines:
- Organically, through Search Engine Optimization or SEO, or
- By buying ads directly from Google, which is called Search Engine Marketing or SEM (or PPC i.e. Pay Per Click).
Technically speaking, SEO is part of SEM, but usually when you hear someone say 'SEM', they mean paid traffic, and when you hear SEO it means 'free' activities to boost a website's ranking. With SEM, you can start seeing results right away, while SEO is incremental and happens over time. We're going to talk about the latter.
A Bit About Search Engines
For our purposes, we'll use Google and 'search engine' interchangeably. Yes, there are other search engines, but we’ll focus on Google as it gets the lion’s share of search traffic. (Fun fact: the second biggest search engine? YouTube.)
Google’s job is to get people the information they want in the least amount of clicks. To do this, it prioritizes which sites to display based on a bunch of different factors, specifically:
- Authority, or the inferred quality of a webpage and the site overall. Generally, the longer a site has been around, the more authoritative Google assumes it to be.
- Recency or 'freshness'. Content that is several years old is considered less relevant than content that was published last month (unless there's an indication that up-to-date content continues to reference the older content).
- Relevance to the searcher's query. The results you see when you type something into the search bar are customized to you: your language, physical location, browsing history etc.
Here is a fun explanation directly from Google about how the search process works. Bottom line: Google rewards relevant, timely, original content.
As the assistant manager of an SEO services company, Stellar SEO link building , explains, SEO is all about convincing Google that your site is the best place to send people who are looking for what you offer. Posting new content regularly tells Google that your site has relevant, timely information. Frequent (but not excessive) use of keywords throughout the site tells Google that the content is relevant to people entering those terms into the search engine. When another website links to your site, it tells Google that your site has useful content. For this reason, it’s good to find legitimate ways to get backlinks from high-quality, related sites around the internet.
So, what else can you do to boost your rankings? Here are some basic tips to get you started:
- Perform a keyword analysis to determine the most relevant keywords to focus on.
- Create a blog and post quality, keyword-rich content to it regularly. You'll want to include your chosen keyword(s) in the page title, URL, content, and meta description, but keep in mind that you are writing for people, not search engines. Content that reads awkwardly because of obvious keyword stuffing will cause your visitors to bounce (bad) and Google to spank you (very bad).
- Optimize images and other media with relevant keywords.
- Incorporate SEO-specific tools into your site. For WordPress-based sites, we use and recommend Yoast, which forces you to select a keyword or phrase and double checks that you've optimized correctly.
- Link internally to related pages within your website.
- Review your Google Analytics data regularly to see where traffic is coming from, where users spend their time, and which pages they typically depart from.
- Identify high-authority blogs and websites and make genuine, thoughtful comments. Many blogs include a spot to put your website's URL, linking back to your own site. (Note of caution here: self-serving, promotional comments are considered ‘blog spam’ and generally get deleted by the site moderator).
- Write guest posts for 3rd party blogs and other online publications, and request a link in the author byline
- List your website in relevant industry directories, but don't assume that any backlink is a good one. Misleading links, or links from totally unrelated content will harm your site's quality rating.