Googling yourself too often may now be known as 'ego-surfing' but, says Phil Bray, in the quest for recommendations and referrals, there is a very good reason to be searching for your business online.
When an existing client passes on an adviser's details to someone, there is a fair chance that potential client will carry out some rudimentary due diligence before getting in touch, says the Yardstick Agency director and founder.
They may have found a firm's details through another route, like a directory such as Unbiased or VouchedFor. Either way, Bray points out, this will likely involve googling the business name and making a decision based on what they find.
"The easier you are to find and the more positive an impression you make, the more likely the potential client is to get in touch," he adds. "Conversely, if they cannot find you, or what they do find creates doubt and worry, the more likely they are to go off and look for another adviser."
Google Analytics stopped reporting the keywords used to find a website a few years ago, but a Google My Business profile will confirm the percentage of people who found a website ‘direct' - by searching the business name or address.
Yardstick found more than four-fifths (84%) of its organic traffic was generated this way.
A Google My Business profile can contain a link to a business's website and eye-catching images and is an easy way for a potential client to find an adviser's contact details, says Bray, adding: "Ideally, you should dominate the homepage for brand searches."
What you should see on Google
Vistors should ideally see a link to your website - and most importantly:
- Website sub-pages, which Google may decide to display;
- Your Google My Business profile (the information shown to the top right of the page);
- Links to the FCA Register;
- Social media links; and
- Links to other online coverage.
DIY Google check
Advisers wishing to check the quality of their Google presence themselves can use the incognito search in Google Chrome by clicking the three vertical dots in the top right-hand corner of the browser.
Bray suggests advisers then ask themselves the following questions:
- Can my business be found easily?
- Am I dominating the results page?
- Is my website the first link?
- Is my Google My Business profile appearing?
"If the answer to any of those questions is 'no'," he says, "you have some work to do to make it easier for potential clients to find you. It may just make the difference between them getting in touch and looking elsewhere."
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