Marianne Martini Nolte, Certified Financial Planner™

Small business owners Marianne Nolte and Marcy Browe have had to learn a lot about Search Engine Optimization (SEO) to enhance their online presence.  Read on as they share a couple of tips that may help improve your web presence too.

Creating an appealing website with powerful images and descriptive messaging is key for making a good first impression.  Equally important, is to consider how you will get the right people to find your site through Google searches. This is where having an intentional Search Engine Optimization (SEO) strategy comes in!

Google needs to be able to understand who you are, where you are located, who is your clientele, and how you provide service.  This content needs to be clearly stated on your home page so Google can understand the purpose of your site.  This allows Google to find and categorize you and share your intent through Search Engine Optimization.  SEO is the art of increasing both the quantity and quality of traffic to your website in the unpaid section of Google, also known as “organic listings.” 

North County San Diego business owners Marianne Nolte, a Certified Financial Planner™ (CFP®) practitioner, and Marcy Browe, a portrait photographer, have teamed up to share their top SEO strategies which have proven successful for their businesses. 

Make your website an SEO champion with blog posts and amazing images!

Marianne Martini Nolte, Certified Financial Planner™ branding image

TIP 1: Use blog posts to do SEO heavy-lifting

Blogging keeps your website fresh and current. When your website’s blog is updated regularly with posts high in quality and containing topics relevant to your audience, it can make a huge difference to your website’s performance regarding Google crawlers working as search engines.

Key blogging strategies to increase your SEO performance

Your blog is a powerful way to connect with your audience AND it’s the perfect vehicle to intentionally attract ideal clients (niche audience) to your website through a clear and thoughtful message. A blog increases your website’s “dwell time” – meaning that readers stay on your site longer and this shows Google that your site is engaging and worthy of elevation in the search results.

  • Add blog posts to your website regularly to show Google your site is active and relevant. 
  • Promote your blog post with snippet teasers on your social media sites.  This drives contacts to visit your website so they can read the full blog post
  • Use keywords (word people use to search for websites like yours) intentionally in your blog posts title and sub-headings.  Example, Marianne Nolte is a financial planner so her blog titles include terms referring to financial planning concepts like money, investors ask, 401(k), etc.).
  • Include internal links to other content on your website.  Marcy Browe uses internal links from keywords on her blog page to link to other pages within her website.  Words or short phrases like website photography, San Diego portraits, and personal branding link back to her services page.
  • Ensure that your blog posts have 700 words or more, as Google tends to prefer robust content.
  • Install the Yoast SEO plug-in, which will help you write effective blog titles and metatag descriptions.  Meta descriptions are a short explanation of what your content is all about. They define the content message so Google knows how to categorize where you should within a viewers search. They appear just below a webpage title.
  • Utilize a variety of heading sizes (H2, H3, H4) to clarify content to Google crawlers searching for the meaning of your post

TIP 2: Images drive more traffic to your website

Marianne Nolte, CFP® branding photo by Marcy Browe

While it can be easy to use stock photography when building your website, these images are typically overused and generic and may even hurt your website’s search engine performance. 

Investing in custom, authentic, branded photography specific to your company indicates to Google that you’re an authority in your business.  Please no photo faux pas, Browe advises to keep images current, four year maximum, no, “duck face, kissing face, tongue out”, and don’t use OVER-retouched or OVER-filtered images. If you are guilty of any of these photo faux pas, it may be time for a branding photo shoot.

Website Photo Optimization

Marianne Nolte, financial planner serving women and young professionals

When adding photos to your website, be sure to optimize the metadata. This is a simple yet powerful way to bring traffic directly to your website. 

  • Add images to every blog post.  
  • Use descriptive file names for your photos. Instead of uploading a photo named “IMG-3456.jpg”, change the file name to something more descriptive.  For example, if a local coffee shop was to post a photo of a coffee mug, they might use a file name like “SanDiego-latte-mug.jpg” to distinctly explain to Google the where, who, and why of the image. 
  • Google searches both images and text so adding SEO-friendly alt-text (alternative text) on each image further clarifies the intent of your website content. 
  • Reduce the file size of your images for a faster loading speed, which helps increase SEO rankings.  A good rule of thumb is to keep your images under 500KIB with the longest edge of the phot under 2000 pixels.

Conclusion

These tips have helped both Marianne and Marcy improve their website’s search performances. 

Marcy Browe, a portrait photographer who provides branding photography to business owners, shares, “There is nothing better than receiving a lead through an online search. It is the easiest and least expensive form of marketing I have implemented into my business.” 

Marianne Nolte, Certified Financial Planner™ professional, has found, “Today, you can’t just be good at your profession, you have to become savvy with your digital marketing too.  SEO is all about making the message of your website authentic and understandable and in turn Google can then determine how you should be ranked when viewers search for you or your business online.”

About the Authors

Marcy Browe is a personal branding photographer who helps entrepreneurs up-level their image to attract their ideal clients.  Learn more about Marcy at www.marcybrowe.com

Marianne Martini Nolte, Certified Financial Planner ™ practitioner, provides fee-only, fiduciary, independent financial services.  Contact Marianne through her website www.imaginefinancialservices.com. IMAGINE FINANCIAL SERVICES (IFS) is a registered investment advisor offering advisory services in the State of California and in other jurisdictions where exempted.