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The adviser’s guide to digital marketing #3. Do you have a WordPress site? Here’s the easiest way to move up the Google rankings

What is it?

If you have a WordPress site then you may already be familiar with the notion of plugins, says Sam Turner, head of digital at ClientsFirst. Plugins on WordPress operate like apps do on your phone or tablet. Do you have a requirement for some functionality on your website? Then a plugin could at least be the starting point of making it happen. Plugins cover a multitude of areas from appearance to technical requirements.

One of the most popular WordPress plugins is called Yoast. Yoast is a Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) plugin. Essentially, Yoast’s job is to make it easier for you to optimise your website for search. It does this by giving you more control over certain settings within your WordPress website and by grading the pages on your site so that you can see what you need to change to improve your rankings.

Why should my advisory firm be interested?

SEO has been the subject of some debate in the advisory marketing community for a little while now. Done properly and successfully, SEO projects are ongoing, consistent pieces of work, which involve your website, producing content and carrying out outreach to third parties, amongst other activities. This can mean that SEO is not a viable route to market for some advisory firms who don’t have the time or marketing budget to dedicate to the above activities.

Having said that, some small SEO changes can have a big impact. Adding your location to the title tag on your homepage (see below image) can see you move up the rankings for searches like ‘financial adviser Manchester’, for example, or wherever you happen to be based. Searches like this can produce a constant stream of enquiries. OK, not all of them will be your ideal target market, but making this sort of change is inexpensive, quick and can have fairly instant results.

The title tag is the purple or blue text that shows in the Google results. Notice how we have added our location to our own tag.

How do I use it?

You will firstly need access to your WordPress Content Management System (CMS). You may already have this. If you add your own blogs to your website, for example, then this is it! If not, then talk to your web development company to get access.

On the left hand menu in WordPress, you’ll see an option called ‘Plugins’ and the chance to ‘Add new’. On this page you can search for the Yoast plugin and select to install it. You then need to activate it, something you do on the main plugins page. Plugins can have an impact on the appearance and usability of your site and whilst Yoast is unlikely to impact anything, it’s best to have your developer on stand by, or ask them to complete this step if you’re unsure.

Now what?

You can now go into the ‘posts’ and ‘pages’ sections of your website. Select a post or a page and scroll down. You’ll see the new Yoast box has been added.

Your first task is to set your target keyword. This is the search expression which you would like this page to rank for within Google. In the above example, you’d set your target to ‘financial adviser Manchester’ – a term people may very type into Google. In the below example, you can see one of our pages which targets the keyword ‘professional services marketing’; something that we know people search for, that we want to be found for.

Yoast will now grade your page and suggest changes. These changes take the form of a traffic light system; red means something you will definitely need to change, greens are fine and orange are less important changes, which you should still make if you can. The page overall also receives a grade. You’ve now got an easy working list to improve your SEO! Use Yoast to make some of the changes. You’ll need to use WordPress’ wider functionality to complete some others.

Let us know how you get on! Happy SEOing!

Sam Turner is Head of Digital at ClientsFirst, a digital marketing agency specifically for professional services firms. Visit: www.clients-first.co.uk.