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Understanding SEO for Your RIA Firm


Organic search can be a powerful tool for driving traffic to your independent advisor website. Search engine optimization or SEO is designed to increase your site’s visibility so that it’s easier for prospective clients to find you. Understanding RIA SEO is a critical component when leveraging digital marketing to promote your business.

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What Is RIA SEO?

RIA SEO simply means search engine optimization that’s tailored to the needs of registered investment advisors. It encompasses a variety of strategies, including:

  • Content SEO, which relies on keywords to rank your site in search results.
  • Technical SEO, which involves optimizing the technical elements of your site to make it more search engine-friendly.
  • Local SEO, which targets search results to the searcher’s local area.
  • Off-site SEO, which includes link-building, social media and influencer marketing.

SEO serves a single purpose: to help search users find what they’re looking for online.

Google and other search engines use proprietary formulas to determine where different websites rank in search for specific terms. The higher your advisor website ranks in search results for a particular term, the more visible it becomes.

A higher ranking in search engines or search results on social media sites can translate to more clicks to your site. That, in turn, could increase leads for your business and help you attract more clients.

RIA SEO Strategies

Implementing SEO strategies is an ongoing process; the rules are always changing. The following tips can give you a firm foundation on SEO as you explore the benefits of RIA SEO for your firm.

Learn the Basics

If you’re new to the world of SEO, it helps to cover the basics first. You might already know that keywords play a big part in SEO, but there’s more to it than that if you’re hoping to master digital marketing.

For instance, there’s a difference between short-tail and long-tail keywords. Short-tail keywords are short phrases, sometimes just one word, that you might plug into a search engine. “Financial advisor” is an example of a short-tail keyword.

Short-tail keywords can be hard to rank for because they’re so generic. Long-tail keywords, on the other hand, may be easier to rank for if there’s less competition. For example, if you’re hoping to attract high-net-worth clients to your site, you might try to rank for “wealth advisor near me” or something similar.

Aside from choosing which keywords to use, knowing where to put them is also important. SEO experts often advise using keywords in your:

  • Page titles
  • Meta descriptions
  • Page URL
  • Headings and subheadings
  • Body content

These placements let search engines know what your content is about. This, along with linking relevant pages of your site to one another, is an important part of technical SEO.

Focus on Intent

There are two golden rules for RIA SEO. Your content should:

  • Address the user’s intent
  • Be helpful

Creating content to target specific keywords might not improve your search visibility if it doesn’t answer the user’s questions or isn’t helpful.

If you’re writing a blog post about wealth management strategies, for instance, ask yourself what keywords someone might use to find the article and what questions they need answered. Then, look at whether what you’ve created answers those questions thoroughly. If not, that’s a sign that you may need to revise.

Optimize for Mobile Searches

Mobile search results and web search results don’t always align. A site may rank at the top of page one for web search results, but fall further down the page on mobile.

You can use RIA SEO to optimize your site for mobile by:

  • Removing dead or broken links
  • Minimizing the occurrence of pop-ups
  • Adjusting your font size or line spacing to make your content more readable
  • Breaking up large blocks of text into shorter paragraphs or bulleted lists
  • Highlighting the most important content in bold text
  • Ensuring that all pages of your site load quickly

It’s also important to ensure that you have an up-to-date sitemap and that Google is indexing your latest content. If you’re working with a web developer, they can handle these tasks for you.

Target Local Search

Local search can be an invaluable source of traffic if you’re hoping to attract new clients in your geographic area. You can create a free business profile on Google and Bing, which just requires sharing details about your business, where it’s located, your services and how clients can contact you. You can also add photos of your business to the listing if you have them.

Once you’ve created your business profiles, you can use them to target local search traffic. Some of the ways you can do that include:

  • Creating posts, offers or events linked to your profile
  • Posting answers to the most frequently asked questions regarding your business
  • Highlighting specific service offerings
  • Responding to client reviews
  • Review the keywords that clients are using to find you

It doesn’t cost anything to establish a business profile with Google or Bing. If you have room in your marketing budget, you might experiment with digital search ads to see if they’re effective in driving additional traffic to your site.

Showcase Your Expertise

Authority is a ranking factor in search engine results. Having a professional “about” or bio page on your website and building backlinks are two ways to build authority for SEO as an RIA.

Your bio page should highlight your professional experience, achievements and credentials. It’s also helpful to add a photo and link this page to your other online profiles. For example, you can interlink between your bio page on your website, your LinkedIn profile and social media profiles.

If you network as a financial advisor, this can also help you to build backlinks to your site from other authority websites, such as by writing guest posts or articles or offering to share your expertise. For instance, if someone asks you to be a guest on their wealth management podcast, you might ask them to include a link back to your website in the show notes or episode transcript.

Link-building can also happen organically if you’re publishing content that other people want to share. Shareable content can include case studies, white papers and infographics that you’ve developed. Again, remember that the goal is to create the most helpful content possible that people will want to engage with.

SEO Tools for RIAs

Financial advisors and web developer discussing RIA SEO strategy.

SEO tools exist to make implementing search engine optimization techniques easier. There are both free and paid options, and they all have unique features and capabilities. If you’re considering a paid SEO tool, you may want to look for ones that offer a free trial period that allows you the time to test it.

Some of the most popular tools you might use for RIA SEO include:

  • Ahrefs
  • SEMRush
  • Moz
  • Google Keyword Planner
  • Google Search Console
  • KWFinder
  • KeySearch
  • SurferSEO

These tools are largely designed to help you evaluate keywords and assess search competition as you plan your content strategy. Some of them include AI technology that will help you write content for your RIA website.

Using AI to create content may save time, but there are some drawbacks, as these tools cannot replace your knowledge and expertise as an advisor. You may prefer hiring a human writer who can produce articles, blog posts and social media content that aligns with your brand voice and messaging instead if you don’t have time to draft content yourself.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do RIAs Need SEO?

If your advisory firm has a website and you want to be found online, then you need to know a little about SEO strategies for RIAs. Websites that are optimized for search have a greater chance of rising through the rankings. The more tailored your SEO strategies are to your ideal client base, the easier it becomes for them to find you when searching for an advisor.

Is SEO Just for Search Engines?

SEO is primarily discussed in the context of search engines but that’s just one possible application. Advisors can utilize SEO across social media platforms, in online forums and virtually anywhere else that allows users to search for the information they want.

Does SEO Work for Financial Advisors?

Search engine optimization can work for financial advisors who are willing to learn the proper techniques and apply them to their business. Local SEO, in particular, can be a valuable source of traffic for advisors who are actively prospecting for clients within their geographic footprint.

Bottom Line

A financial advisor welcoming new clients gained through RIA SEO strategies.

SEO may seem a little intimidating, but there can be a long-term payoff if you’re able to use what you’ve learned to effectively promote your RIA firm. Including SEO in your marketing plan can ensure that you’re not missing out on opportunities to appeal to your target audience.

Tips for Growing Your Advisory Business

  • Developing an effective marketing strategy can be time-consuming, as you might need to test out different techniques to determine what works or what doesn’t. If you don’t have a lot of time to actively spend on marketing, you might consider using an online marketing service that brings leads to you. SmartAsset AMP (Advisor Marketing Platform) is our holistic marketing service financial advisors can use for client lead generation and automated marketing. Sign up for a free demo to explore how SmartAsset AMP can help you expand your practice’s marketing operation. Get started today.
  • SEO for financial advisors can have a steep learning curve, as the strategies that worked yesterday aren’t always guaranteed to work tomorrow. Search engines and social media platforms regularly update their algorithms, which can influence where your site lands in the rankings. Taking an online SEO course or hiring an SEO consultant may be a wise investment if you’d like to gain a better understanding of how it works.

Photo Credit: ©iStock/Liubomyr Vorona, ©iStock/irapong Manustrong, ©iStock/Drazen Zigic