These days, most people use online search engines to find services or advice.

But even if you have a website or social media presence, they likely won’t find you first. You’re competing with other firms and institutions, as well as ads, sponsored content and potentially unreliable resources that could lead clients astray.

Say a client comes across a brochure about wills and estate planning. If he’s unfamiliar with the process and thinking of drawing up a will, he might first turn to Google search for some tips.

Here’s the top ten results he’d find (search results may vary depending on past searches and browsers being used):

Result #1

Google search estate planning result #1 - Wikipedia

Analysis: First on the results list is Wikipedia, which isn’t 100% reliable or specific to your client’s location. The public helps update the pages and, as this particular entry indicates, they don’t represent balanced views on all subjects. This estate planning resource doesn’t offer tips or information on current laws.

Results #2, #3 and #7

Google search estate planning results #2 RBC, #3 the Ontario government and #7 ScotiaMcLeod

Analysis: These three results are reliable sources that provide explanations of wills, trusts and death benefits, for instance. But people may need your help to digest the information. You can take the opportunity to educate them, as well as assist them in applying the tips to their personal situations. And if they need legal connections, have a list ready of reputable colleagues.

Result #4

Google search estate planning result #4 Canadian Retirement Education Group

Analysis: This page is offered by the Canadian Retirement Education Group, but it’s not as organized or specific as some of the other results.

Result #5

Google search estate planning result #5 Financial Consumer Agency of Canada

Analysis: Another government resource, provided by the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada. It offers checklists, information and case studies you can share to help boost your value to clients.

Result #6

Google search estate planning result #6 Warren Buffet, The Globe and Mail article

Analysis: Of course, Warren Buffett makes an appearance on the list. Though his interview with The Globe and Mail makes interesting reading, Buffett’s approach will only be relevant to those with his wealth status.

Result #8 (#7 included in above group)

Google search estate planning result #8 Investopedia

Analysis: Investopedia can be as unreliable as Wikipedia. It provides quick definitions but not relevant, thorough advice.

Result #9

Google search estate planning result #9 estate planning handbook offered by Sun Life Financial

Analysis: This estate planning handbook offered by Sun Life Financial is comprehensive, but it’s from 2011. It may not be up-to-date on tax treatment and current laws, and it’s also for business owners specifically. If they have an updated version, you can share it with biz owners.

Result #10

Google search estate planning result #10 Investor Education Fund

Analysis: Last up is a page provided by the Investor Education Fund. It only covers basic questions, such as why you need a will and how to create one. Clients need more when tackling estate planning, and you can offer that insight.

Key search terms

When using search engines to look up estate planning, Canadians use the following terms most often:

  • Planning an estate
  • What is estate planning?
  • Estate and planning
  • Planning estate

Google Adwords’ keyword tool says these top terms were used more than 9,000 times this past month by Canadians, and more than 200,000 times globally.

To learn more about to best use keywords to drive site traffic, read Help clients find you online.

And for more on estate planning, read:

Canadians keep executors in the family

Prevent estate battles

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