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SEO for Banks: Why It Matters
The right search engine optimization (SEO) strategy can help banks and financial service providers grow their online presence and achieve more visibility in search engines.
Done right, SEO for banks can help you attract customers without spending thousands of dollars in traditional advertising.
Let’s look at some numbers that help describe the impact of search engine optimization:
- 92 percent of search users and consumers choose a business that appears on the first page of search results.
- Approximately 53 percent visit a business within 48 hours of performing a local search.
- According to projections by McKinsey, 40 percent of consumers will be shopping for financial products online by 2020, which means that the bank consumer’s path to purchase will rely more heavily than ever on search.
Read on for best practices you can apply to improve your bank or financial institution’s SEO performance.
SEO for Banks: Best Practices
While having your own website remains crucial — as do traditional strategies like keyword research and link building — SEO for banks demands more. Here are tactics that can bring your business closer to banking consumers.
Claim Your Business Listings
It’s important to plant your flags across local business directories, social media, and online review sites.
It’s not enough to simply have a Google business listing and Facebook business Page. Those are obviously important, but banks must also build and grow their presence on local business directories and online review sites that their customers frequent.
These include banking review sites like Credit Karma, Lending Tree, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and even Yelp. If you’re just getting started, this list should help you cover your bases. (To help save time, our local listings team can also do the legwork for you and ensure accurate listings across dozens of websites.)
Create Location Pages on Your Bank Website
Chances are that you have already applied basic optimization techniques on your banking website. Great! This should help improve your visibility in organic search.
However, standing out and showing up in more “banks near me” searches is another story.
While there is a wide range of ranking factors and signals that you have to take into account, one really good banking SEO strategy is to create and incorporate location pages on your website.
Location pages can be described as silos or micro-sites containing optimized content for each of your locations, yet are all linked to your main website. The content of these pages will focus on bank’s branch locations.
A few tips:
- Choose a simple URL. Let’s say your website URL is www.bankingcompany.com. The URL of your location pages can be as simple as www.bankingcompany.com/city (www.bankingcompany.com/chicago).
- Ensure the presence of NAP. NAP stands for business Name, Address, and Phone number. This information must be present on all your location pages.
- Offer unique and relevant content. Apart from adding the business name, physical address, and phone number to each of your location pages, you can also provide unique branch descriptions, operating hours, an “About Us” section, news, deals, and promotions, information about the team or staff, customer review widgets and testimonials specific to the branch or location, case studies, and other types of information that you think will be relevant to your page visitors.
- Embed a Google map. Make it really easy for search engines and page visitors to find your branch locations. To embed a Google map on your page, read this guide.
- Make your location pages discoverable. Don’t make them available only through, say, a site search feature or your bank location or branch finder. Ensure that Google and other search engines can discover and index your location pages.
Be an Expert in Google My Business
Google My Business (GMB) is a free online dashboard that you can use to manage your business information as it appears on Google Search, Maps, and other Google properties.
With GMB, you can build your bank’s online visibility, have your verified information appear on Google properties, track and respond to online reviews and ratings posted on Google, and view data about how people interact with your brand and business locations.
A properly created, well-managed listing on GMB fosters significant improvements in SEO for banks. Listings that have been claimed, verified, and updated — and which also feature strong reviews and ratings — are the ones most likely to rank at the top of organic search or even be included in the “local pack” of highlighted businesses.
Just getting started? Read our ultimate guide to using Google My Business.
Manage and Respond to Online Reviews
Online customer reviews play an important role in driving a bank’s SEO performance.
Google has even made it clear that online reviews are one of the key factors that impact local SEO rankings. According to the search engine, the volume and rating scores of your reviews (on Google as well as on other review sites) — plus your responses — are all taken into account when determining your branch locations’ “prominence,” which is one of the three primary factors influencing local search.
This makes it critical for your entire organization as well as your branch managers to understand the world of online reviews.
- Respond to reviews. By replying to and engaging with those who leave positive and negative feedback on online review sites, you can prove that your company truly listens to the customer. This helps foster trust and inspires shopper confidence. (Here are great examples of how to respond to reviews.)
- Request customers for reviews. A steady stream of reviews can boost your bank’s SEO performance and even drive conversions. Don’t hesitate to ask customers what they think of your business. It’s a great way to recover critics and detractors, as well as activate brand enthusiasts who will show support by giving you 5-star online reviews.
- Share your best reviews. Your happiest customers can spread positive word of mouth and build a lot of buzz around your bank. By featuring your highest ratings and best reviews in marketing collateral, you can generate social proof that your bank locations are doing well and putting customers first. You can use a tool like these review widgets to easily embed the best reviews on your website.
Empower the Voice of the Customer
Encourage online reviews, distribute customer feedback surveys, and urge your customers to share and be more vocal about their banking experiences.
Show that you care about what they think. Invest in tools and technologies that capture customer feedback.
Not only does this help you generate fresh, relevant user-generated content that can be used for SEO; it also harnesses the tremendous potential of having happy customers whose trust you have already earned. From static sources of revenue, they can become brand advocates who won’t hesitate to make recommendations and drive referrals for your business.
Create Rich Content
One valuable on-site SEO tactic is to create fresh, relevant on-site content that are of value to your website visitors.
Today’s banking and financial services information include highly-engaging and interactive content that feature an array of media: images, videos, podcasts, infographics, even GIFs.
Videos, in particular, are likely to appear on some valuable first page real estate. Consider adding videos of your branch services or product mix to your website. Or create infographics on online banking safety practices.
Shareable interactive content not only increases website visitors’ retention rate; they also help extend your reach beyond local impressions.