To financial advisors, search engine optimization (SEO) is arcane. As a result, financial advisors seeking SEO assistance are often sold on hype.

A couple of months ago, for example, an advisor who’s been a client of Advisor Products for years, told me that he was thinking of moving his website. A consultant, who is now making the rounds with advisors, had told him Advisor Products could not build a blog site for him with social media features to help boost his website’s search engine rankings. 

So I asked the advisor exactly what the consultant was offering him. The answer: a WordPress blog site. WordPress is a free open-source content management system. Anyone can use it! If he wanted a WordPress blog, we could build it for him. Any web developer can! (A WordPress blog can’t integrate the Advisor Products compliance engine used by broker/dealers—at least not now—but he this advisor is not affiliated with a B/D and did not need the compliance engine. So we added a WordPress blog to his website with all of the social media features he was looking for and saved him from rebuilding his site from scratch.

Still, the episode alerted me to the fact that Advisor Products needed to make social media and SEO more understandable and accessible to advisors. Although we had produced about 10 educational webinars for advisors over the last couple of years addressing social media and SEO for financial advisors, we needed to do something make it easier to get started with SEO and social media marketing—something that would  it less arcane and more affordable.  

After months of planning, Advisor Products last week began offering a comprehensive suite of practical SEO and social media services geared specifically to financial advisors.  

Our approach is modular. It allows a firm with a tight budget to get started with search engine optimization of their website for local listings and map listings. But we also allow an advisory firm that already has done some SEO work to improve their search engine rankings by adding a series of blog posts packed with their keywords, profiling their target clients in SEO-friendly write-ups, or utilizing social media marketing. The six SEO services are:

Advisor Products’ suite of SEO services is different from others because we have clearly defined a full range of SEO engagements for advisors, eliminating the mystery so you understand what you’re getting. We’re not hiding behind a bunch of jargon and making promises we can’t keep.

One other way our service is different is that we’re going to teach you SEO techniques that you can use every day. Simple tips, like telling you to post comments on consumer financial websites like Mint or Motley Fool with a back-link to related information on your website, can improve your search engine rankings. We’ve written blog entries and provided educational webinars about ideas like this for many months, and we are now going to provide educational content regularly to advisors using our SEO services.

SEO is no longer something you can outsource to a firm and let them handle. The growing popularity of blogs, status updates, and information sharing on social means advisors and their staff must get involved in creating content to improve your search engine rankings.

What do you think? Are you mystified by SEO? Have the educational blog posts and webinars we’ve been conducting helping you? Are you going planning on using SEO techniques on 2011?