Wealth Management Firms: Who’s Winning in SEO?
June 21, 2017
Today we released new research on the state of SEO in the wealth management industry in collaboration with Moz, a highly respected expert on all things related to search engine optimization (SEO). The analysis answers a question we’ve heard a lot over the past few years as we’ve evolved our Hearsay Sites solution and talked with countless firms (many whom we’ve partnered with to launch their local advisor website program): Who is winning in search, and what are they doing right?
Most companies know how their search traffic is changing – they might even spot check a few of their competitors locally – but no one seemed to know who was garnering the most website traffic nationwide as a result of search engines. We had even less knowledge about how things were changing over time – who was gaining ground and who was losing.
Working with Moz, we believed we could come up with an answer. As a leader in SEO technology, Moz has the tools and data to answer such a broad question. We at Hearsay have the industry insights to make sense of the data and identify the facts that would be most interesting for financial services firms.
Our new report, “The State of SEO: Search Engine Rankings for Wealth Management Firms,” is a result of our partnership. In it, we rank the wealth management companies that showed up the most on the first page of Google in local, organic and paid search, and identified the top overall best performers (based on five keywords and 5,000 cities).
The big winners tended to be the larger firms that have also made website technology an investment and business priority: Edward Jones, Morgan Stanley and Merrill Lynch all fit that description and ranked in the top 10 overall. Edward Jones performed particularly well in local search, consuming nearly 40 percent of total click share with over 7,000 locations across the 5,000 sample cities we analyzed.
Our research clearly indicates companies that don’t have local online presences for their advisors are not getting much benefit from search engines. While some may argue that the way to get around this is to hold the top positions for paid search, directing people to a corporate website or landing page may not be the best customer experience for an industry like wealth management, where business largely happens at the local level – between an advisor and a client – and grows over time. Increasing advisor visibility in search is critical.
What was really interesting was seeing firms that are investing more, proportionately, in digital technology and were “punching above their weight class.” Ameriprise (No. 7 overall) and Raymond James (No. 8 overall) were two that stood out here; both companies have recently launched new website initiatives for their advisors.
In analyzing the leaders in organic, local, paid and overall search, we also were able to identify a few best practices specific to wealth management, and how to develop a search strategy that both leverages the industry’s unique assets and matches today’s consumer search behavior.
This research is one step toward even deeper dives into measurable factors about what affects the sites that rank the best, as well as periodic refreshes to see who trends upward and who falls behind. Similarly, this type of analysis could lend well to other parts of the industry, such as P&C and life insurance. Expect more industry-specific data to come!
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