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How Google Love can put an RIA onto an equal marketing footing with BlackRock

The big search engine -- and the web in general -- may be the two technologies most neglected by advisors

Author Frank Troise Guest Columnist July 6, 2012 at 5:24 AM
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Frank Troise: Advisors can now acquire new business each day for the price of a Starbucks coffee.


Loic Jeanjean

Loic Jeanjean

July 6, 2012 — 5:00 PM


thanks for the article. However, I am wondering why you did not mention that you were running Adwords campaigns? It seems to me that you are biding on keywords and showing up along other firms that are also participating in the keyword auction on Google.

There’s a huge difference between organic search optimization and sponsored search, and for the sake of other readers, it should be clearly stated as such.

By the way, Russ has been doing a tremendous job lately with his social media and web marketing efforts, and it was great to see him reference in your article.

All the best,

Russ Thornton

Russ Thornton

July 9, 2012 — 12:52 PM

Thanks for the kind words, Loic.

Much appreciated.



July 9, 2012 — 6:08 PM

As Loic mentioned in his comments above, the examples being shown in this article are AdWords, with the exception of Russ Thornton’s site, which does appear on page one of an “organic” Google search for “free retirement report”.

For those not familiar with AdWords, you pay for positioning. If you want to appear at the top of page one for a keyword search on Google, you can do so with their AdWords service. Simply create an advertisement and set a dollar limit per click and you’re off to the races. In researching the keyword term “BlackRock Retirement Calculator” the average cost per click to advertise on the search terms is approximately $12.68 a click. In other words, each time someone clicks on your ad, you pay Google $12.68 for the visitor, regardless of whether or not they submit data.

I also wonder about the earlier claims regarding the number of leads being generated from this site. If you do a little more research on FreeRetirementReport.com, it shows that there were only 1173 unique visitors during the month of May. How can 50K+ advisors in their network be supplied by 1100 hits to the website? Something isn’t adding up.

Stephanie Sammons

Stephanie Sammons

August 31, 2012 — 10:26 PM

I agree with Loic. I’m very concerned with the inaccurate perceptions this company is creating with financial advisors. The claims are misleading. Not only do they fail to mention the use of paid search tactics here, but they also fail to mention that Google’s algorithm is a moving target. What shows up in search for one person can be completely different for another based upon geographical location, search history, and to a growing extent social media connections. It seems to me rather than building the financial advisor’s brand they are building equity in the “free retirement report” brand. This is a Groupon. My advice: build your own digital assets and cultivate your own lead list organically. Furthermore, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Stephanie Sammons

Brooke Southall

Brooke Southall

September 1, 2012 — 3:35 AM

The space beneath articles on web sites often become places where people write in hysterical tones. RIABiz has mostly avoided that fate. Thank you Stephanie and others for getting your points across in articulate and respectful ways here. This kind of tone and thoughtfulness is helpful to people trying to understand these issues — and encourages other people to contribute meaningfully.


Michael Keeler

Michael Keeler

October 7, 2013 — 3:40 PM

This is an interesting article, but as others have pointed out, it is using ads, not SEO. This is a huge flaw in this article.

There is nothing wrong with buying ads on Google, but please be honest about what you are doing. This article should be pulled or rewritten. I’m surprised it has been out for a year and it really makes me wonder about the accuracy of other articles on this site.

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