As we found in our recent report “Ranking The Top Websites From Barron’s Top 100 Advisors“, earning recognition as a top financial advisory firm often does not provide a direct correlation to a high performing online presence. In fact, the majority of the firms listed within the Barron’s Top 100 lacked a website that was mobile responsive, a major misstep in today’s mobile-first world.
Recently, AdvisoryHQ News published their list of top fee-only/independent financial planners, advisors, and wealth management firms in the Chicagoland area. Since we’re located in Chicago, I thought this would be an opportune time to review the websites of these well-established, highly regarded firms and assess their current digital marketing acumen.
A financial advisor’s website is no longer considered just an online brochure for the company. Many of the advisors that I work with use their digital presence (website, social media, email marketing) to generate 100+ new leads per month. Even more important, these firms have integrated highly-optimized programs to qualify and nurture these leads. The result is a powerful pipeline of warm leads for the firm cultivated from the continually growing base of digital-first investors.
The first place most investors begin their search for an advisor is through a search on Google. A poor performing website will not only dissuade investors who visit the site, but it will also fail in being found and ranked by Google, costing the visibility essential in reaching this audience. A substandard website also does a poor job of representing a firm from whom clients will expect premium service and technology.
For this study, the website home page for each firm in the AdvisoryHQ News study was audited and given an overall digital marketing grade. This grade is based on 58 individual best practices that search engines look for in their ranking algorithms.
Individual scored categories include page load time, link structure, tag usage, keyword usage, page copy, code structure, social media and mobile usability, backlinks and site domain strength. If a website meets the recommended goals for each category, they receive a “good” rating, otherwise they receive a “bad” rating. The total grade is a weighted summary based on overall performance.
To see the full audit for each financial advisor website, click on the “Download Audit” link next to their grade. The audits not only provide a complete analysis of each page, they provide detailed steps each firm can take to quickly improve their performance and ultimately, their search engine rankings.