Rank ‘em: How Financial Brands Stack Up in Search Engine Results
Wealth management firms operate in a highly competitive space that requires them to vie for the attention of an increasingly digital-first consumer base. To reach these always-connected consumers, it’s imperative that these brands show up near the top of search engine results pages, according to findings in a report published by Moz this week.
The report cited a number of reasons why dominating search results – specifically Google’s results – is critical for wealth management brands.
- More than 70 percent of Millennials use search engines for research.
- 15 percent of Millennials rely on search engines for financial advice.
- 57 percent of a purchase decision has already been made via search engines and other online sources before a prospect even engages with a company representative.
With that in mind, Moz wanted to see how financial brands stacked up against each other across three types of search results.
Moz examined brand positioning across each result type for five keywords:
- Financial advisor
- Financial planning
- Financial planner
- Financial consultant
- Wealth management
Then, Moz determined each brands’ “click share” – the metric they used to rank brands across each result type. This consisted of factoring in the number of times each keyword is searched for and the estimated click-thru rate of each position in those search results.
Top brands in local search
This one wasn’t even close. Edward Jones dominated other wealth management firms, taking almost 40 percent of the local search click share. Ameriprise (6.5 percent) and Raymond James (5.3 percent) rounded out a top three that accounted for more than half the total click share in the industry.
The study cited consistent and accurate local data as a major reason for the top brands’ success and encouraged other wealth management firms to follow suit.
Local search results enable wealth management firms to reach customers right at the moment of decision. The key to bringing these customers to your front door is investing in accurate online listings for all of your locations and ensuring they’re always up to date.
– Sarah Bird, MOZ CEO
Top brands in paid search
Paid search rankings were a little more competitive. Morgan Stanley took the top spot with 19 percent click share – more than double the next brand. But unlike local search, where it took the next nine spots to equal the click share of the top brand, the next three brands – Wells Fargo (9.1 percent), Fidelity (8.6 percent) and Merril Lynch/Bank of America (3.8 percent) – combined for a 21.5 click share.
According to the study, brands looking to improve their share in this competitive space with traditionally high costs-per-clicks (CPC) have an opening.
There is an opportunity to further optimize conversion and reduce costs by utilizing locally targeted landing pages as part of a paid search strategy. The firms that can implement that first will gain an advantage.
– The State of SEO, Moz
Top brands in organic search
News and informational sites (e.g., Forbes) were the big winners in the organic search results followed by comparison sites like Yelp. Financial brands commanded an 8.2 percent click share overall, lead by Edward Jones with a 5.1 percent click share.
The study credits Edward Jones use of more than 4,000 local landing pages – the No. 2 brand, Morgan Stanley had 125 landing pages.
The primary takeaway: Investing in a corporate website alone is not enough. Many brands hope to gain share of attention by creating beautiful experiences on their corporate website, but the data show that breadth is important. Along with targeted keyword phrases, having websites for every advisor and potentially city-based landing pages as well are important.
– The State of SEO, Moz
The overall winners
Moz combined all the data to determine which brands were earning the most traffic to their websites across search results. And the winner is (insert drumroll noise here): Edward Jones – with a combined click share of 14.3 percent.
Check out the full study from Moz for complete methodology and results – The State of SEO: Search Engine Rankings for Wealth Management Firms
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