The UK googled ‘independent financial advisers' just 1,600 times a month in the past year, which is a fraction of hits for insurers like Aviva which took 74,000.
Google figures suggest advisers trying to generate client leads online would be better off "piggy-backing" on the power of insurers' brands, rather than relying on their own company name or job title.
‘Independent financial adviser' singular fared slightly better with 2,400 searches but average search data for the big insurers dwarfed figures for advisers.
Aegon was googled 74,000 times, Scottish Widows 49,500, Legal & General 40,500 and Prudential 27,100.
Advisers hoping their 'chartered' or 'certified' status would improve their search engine optimisation will be most disappointed.
In the past year, just 390 searches a month were for 'chartered financial planner', with the same figure for 'certified financial planner', while 'chartered financial adviser' averaged only 46.
‘Professional financial advisers' and ‘best financial advisers' were each googled just 170 times in the last month. Even ‘free financial advisers' totalled just 140 searches.
Lighthouse Temple IFA Richard Bishop, who blogs on marketing for advisers, says IFAs need to be more opportunistic in their online advertising.
"Take advantage of large companies' high profiles. If a fund drops it is in the news, which bumps it up the Google search list.
"Look at Friends Provident's merger with Axa. If you had taken out a sponsored ad with Google saying something like, 'Are you worried about the impact of Axa's merger with Friends Provident on your life policy?', you would undoubtedly have appeared on page one of hundreds of thousands of search results."
He says IFAs should try and meet local demand in their adverts, by including the name of their nearest town or city.
"National leads generated from broad ‘independent financial adviser' searches have bad conversion rates.
"The responses you get could be from people hundreds of miles away from where you practice and it is not cost effective to visit them or do business with them."
To use Google's Adword Keyword tool to find out how many searches specific words or phrases generate, click here.
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