MULTIPLE OFFICES? HOW A FIRM OR ADVISOR CAN REACH LOCALLY VIA SEO
Most would agree that not only do relationships matter in the online world, they matter locally – light at home where your clients or prospects live. So how can you reach them?
Sure, you can have a presence on Yelp or any number of directories, but let's take it a step further. See Figure 22.4.
Let's say you have offices in Denver, Seattle, and Chicago. You want people in those areas to find you if they search online. This is called geotargeting, and it's why you need to get your business or organization into Google, says Gosch. There are a few ways to accomplish this:
■ Set up your site as a local business – Include the local address with a map. If you have multiple offices, Gosch suggest creating separate sites for each office or subsites so you would individually optimize for each of them.
FIGURE 22.4 Create a Google+ Page to Increase SEO Results of Your Local Business
■ Create a Google+ page – It's free and will help your firm appear in search, maps, mobile, and more. See Chapter 16 on Google+.
■ Get your site into directories – The Yellow Pages is perhaps the most known. You'll want to be careful of the reputation of directories and be sure it is a good source. You might use MozLocal to make sure you have listings in some of the highest quality sites, suggests Scott Landon of SEO firm HigherVisibility.
■ Become active in the local community – Engage with your local audience and reflect your efforts in your content on your site.
WHEN TO HIRE HELP
So if all of this has you wondering if you can do it yourself, let us offer some guidance.
■ Small Firms, or Just Getting Started – If you're a smaller firm operating a smaller site, most of this you can do yourself. The blogging platform WordPress has plug-ins that help you deploy the most important tags, for example. A small site would also be one that serves primarily as an online brochure about your firm with a way to contact you and perhaps schedule a call or appointment.
■ Large Firms, Large Sites – For larger sites or sites that have been around for a long time or changed publishing systems, you probably need someone to review and understand your legacy systems and content. The larger a site becomes and the more people contributing to the content living on the site, the greater the need you have to build an effective SEO strategy.
Remember, there's always work to be done because SEO is always changing. If you do want to get help, you can hire someone for as little as a few hundred dollars a month. Advisor David Edwards spent just $1,000 with an SEO expert who teaches at a college and found it made a big difference in his site's searchability.
Citi's Eliason already sees the next direction for SEO. In the recent past, best practices involved adding the right tags to content, tags that could help the content turn up more easily in Web searches. But increasingly, Eliason says, it'll be more important to know what sort of content particular individuals are using in order to rank blog posts, articles, and other material for Web searches. As content becomes more sharable and accessible, consumers will be able to see what peer groups are reading, accessing, and even finding relevant.
Right now, that sort of SEO is not so easy in the financial world. “The focus in our industry has been on words, rather than on social media and people,” says Eliason.
-  MozLocal (moz.com) creates and maintains business listings on the sites, apps, and directories that factor most into local search engine results.