by Lauren Aimes
What do you type into a Google search bar to find the best financial advisor? Is it your city and state? The service you want? The word “fiduciary”?
Yes, yes and yes!
Let’s look at how to better use Google to find exactly what you’re looking for.
Tip #1: Use Specific Phrases
With the introduction of virtual offices, where an advisory firm can meet with you from literally anywhere in the world, there are thousands of financial advisors hoping to win your business. A good way to pare that list down into something manageable is to enter specific phrases into the Google search bar. This will help limit your results to only advisors who offer something specific that you’re looking for.
For example, let’s say you’re using Google to search for a financial advisor who provides estate planning in San Antonio, Texas. Instead of just typing “financial advisor” into the Google search bar, you will likely get better results by typing in “financial advisor estate planning San Antonio.” In this example, financial advisor websites that contain all six of the terms you’re searching for will appear higher in your results. Those that don’t will fall lower down on the list.
You may also want to include the term “fiduciary,” so you ensure the advisors who appear in your search results are of the highest ethical standards.
Something else to consider: Are you only looking for advisors who work with Millennials? If so, you may want to add the word “Millennials” into the Google search bar. This will again reconfigure what websites get higher placement in your search results.
There are actually 200 known Google ranking factors that come into play when determining organic search page rankings. This means that your results with change when you change the criteria you’re searching.
Putting quote marks around a specific phrase can also help. This will ensure that any listing that comes up in your search results actually contains a specific phrase. For example, you could type in: Financial advisor “estate planning” San Antonio. This will weed out any advisor who does not provide estate planning in this area. Without quote marks, your results will also include sites that use the terms “estate” and “planning” on their website, but not necessarily “estate planning.”
This is a good way to weed out insurance agents and other salespeople who don’t focus on estate planning.
Be careful of putting too much in quotation marks though, because different firms phrase their services differently.
Tip #2: Use Similar Words and Synonyms
Not having luck with your Google search? Try using a similar word. For example, instead of “estate planning,” “try “legacy planning” or “creating a will.” Again, some firms use different terminology to promote similar services.
Another way you can hone your search is, if there is a website you trust, search a term along with that organization’s name, such as “estate planning Paladin Registry.” Anything that comes up with estate planning on the Paladin Registry website will appear in your results. This will include advisors in the Registry along with many free resources that will help you find the best financial advisor.
Tip #3: Use Geo-Specific Keywords in Your Search
If you’re only looking for an advisor in your specific area, type in your city, state or metropolitan area. For example, “financial fiduciary Asheville, North Carolina.”
This will bring up business listings of financial advisors who practice locally.
If the town in which you live in is fairly small, try using the closest city.
You can also use Paladin Registry’s free Search by Zip Code function, which will produce pre-screened financial fiduciaries who have already gone through an in-depth vetting process. Paladin also lists all of an advisor’s verified credentials, experience and business information.
Tip #4: Search an Advisor by Name
Have an advisor you’re considering but want to find out more information about him or her, such as what credentials they have? Simply type in their name to see what comes up. If the name is common, like Joe Smith, you may want to also include the words “financial advisor.”
You can also use Paladin Registry’s free Search by Name function. If an advisor is part of the Registry, all of his or her information will appear in their Paladin profile, including any criminal disclosures.
Using Another Search Engine
If you’re still trying to minimize your list of potential advisors, you may get better results if you forgo using Google altogether and use a site like Paladin Registry’s complimentary match service. Expert sites like Paladin will provide the names of financial advisors who match your specific criteria, and you’re able to utilize a site you trust, instead of Google, which supplies you with anything on the Web that matches your search terms in some way.
Beware of using sites like Yelp that offer recommendations and reviews. Because a financial advisor is needed for different reasons, different needs and different expertise, a review shouldn’t hold much weight when deciding the best financial advisor for you. In fact, selecting a financial advisor based solely on a recommendation is not recommended. Unfortunately, this happens a lot. “If an advisor is good enough for my buddy, he or she must be good enough for me.” But that’s not the case; there is no one-size-fits-all solution to financial planning. Your buddy might have needed different services, had more investable assets or needed someone who was in close proximity. Friends also have a tendency of sharing good news and not bad, making a review not always accurate.
Instead, there are six categories that should be most important to an investor looking to hire the best financial advisor: Ethics, education, experience, compensation, level of communication and services provided.
Hiring the wrong financial advisor can be an expensive mistake. Many investors use Paladin Registry’s free resources to replace a current financial advisor who has not produced the results agreed upon. Don’t wait until you’re misled by a financial advisor. You want to find the best financial advisor the first time around and keep your money, and your future, safe!
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