It’s a hard truth in the modern financial services world: If your potential members and customers can’t find you in the crowded digital landscape, you might as well not exist.
The good news is you’re not helpless in the fight to be noticed. There are some simple things you can do to help search engines like Google identify your organization’s web presence as both relevant and useful: two factors that will help bump you up in their search rankings. The broad term for making your website friendlier to search engines is “search engine optimization” or SEO if you’re a fan of brevity.
The battle for SEO is fierce when it comes to banking. If a consumer isn’t looking specifically at rates, odds are good they’ll be looking at the top contenders on a Google search. How can you make sure you’re getting the most out of your website and content?
Read below to get a better grasp on how you can improve your SEO game.
Technical & Schema SEO
If you only do one thing from this list, make sure it’s this: add a small piece to your website called a Schema (or have your IT department do it). What is a Schema? Since it’s embedded in the code of your website, it's not something your audience is going to see—but web crawlers (programs used by search engines to find relevant items) sure will.
Put simply, adding a Schema to your webpage’s code provides an organizational structure for the basic data about your company that allows search engines to more easily understand who you are, where you are, and what you offer. The ultimate result is a better search engine results page placement for your bank or credit union, which increases your visibility.
“Adding a Schema markup to your web page makes it easy for a search engine’s artificial intelligence to categorize and determine its relevance,” said Sophie Williams, digital strategist at Epicosity. “The easier you make it for the search engine to understand the information on your page at a summary level, the more likely you’ll appear in the search results most likely to drive potential customers to your page.”
Head to schema.org for more information.
While implementing an SEO Schema on your website is basically a one-and-done proposition, our next recommendation takes some planning, strategy, and a willingness to execute over the long term.
Generally speaking, content SEO relies on your ability to position your organization as a subject matter expert on topics that matter to your desired audience. Through repeated interactions with your content, your bank or credit union becomes a trusted resource—and, in turn, your audiences are more likely to engage your services when they need them.
Implementing your content SEO strategy means that your organization will need to create a number of pieces of content (blogs, videos, podcasts) that help your audiences answer questions about topics related to the services you provide. For example, your bank or a credit union may wish to develop a piece of content designed to assist your audiences in identifying what to look for in a home equity loan.
“As you create content, keep in mind that there are a number of best practices when it comes to the actual verbiage you use in headlines and within body copy,” explained Williams. “You’ll want to become familiar with them and implement them as you go. You can always go back and optimize the language of your blogs, but it’ll save you time if you can build in SEO best practices as you write.”
Over time, as your content library grows, it’ll address a variety of topics meant to earn clicks and build trust with your audience.
We want to emphasize: This is an active, ongoing process. In order for search engines to identify your content as both timely and relevant (both are vital to ensuring a high search engine ranking), you’ll need to make frequent updates. You’ll also want to spend some time looking at your content library’s analytics (the programs that tell you how many visitors you have, how long they stay, etc.) to identify top-performing content, which can help figure out what information your audiences value most—which, in turn, can help you create more similar content.
Google Business and Branch Listing Optimizations
Our final SEO recommendation is related to a specific type of listing housed within the Google search engine: Google My Business.
Uploading your business’s basic information (description, address, website, phone number, hours) to Google My Business provides the raw material Google needs to create a robust listing for your bank or credit union users can see at a glance. This helps your desired audiences find you online and connect with you when you’re available (Google will even provide a map to your location)—not to mention that simply having this type of listing increases your credibility and trustworthiness.
“Additionally, those who access your services can upload reviews via Google, which can help reinforce your value proposition,” Williams said. “Even in our digital age, word-of-mouth remains one of the most powerful marketing tools you can leverage.”
SEO is a long-term play, and getting the help you need is critical. Contact us to see how we can help improve your digital visibility.