Local search has grown exponentially in the past 10 years. In September of 2014, there were a reported one BILLION websites making up the internet, and this number has gone up and down since. So, how exactly will your financial institution be visible to your customers in this vastly huge online world?
Search engines navigate the web by following links from page to page, which is called “crawling”. They then sort and store those pages in their index. When consumers begin researching local businesses by utilizing a search engine, they’ll enter a search phrase such as “banks in Cleveland”. The search engine processes this query by using an algorithm to order and rank pages by the most to least relevant on the search engine results page, or SERP.
SEO is often thought of as a “pyramid”, in which the levels of complexity are ranked according to their importance. Here’s one example of an SEO pyramid from MOZ:
It’s important to start with a strong base by offering quality content and a strong technical foundation. You can then work your way up to the other elements, strengthening your presence by using keywords and building off-line authority through relationships, link building and social media.
Here are some of the top SEO opportunities for the retail banking industry:
1) Technical SEO – Due to heavy regulations in the retail banking industry, we often find technical SEO is a great area to focus on and most banks tend to ignore these variables.
2) Optimized Location Pages- The majority of banks do not have individual landing pages for each location. This creates an opportunity to create pages for each location that features the business name, address and phone number (NAP), business hours, location services, and directions, etc.
3) Schema Mark-up- Schema.org is a collaboration between the world’s top search engines to create a method that made it easier to categorize and identify important information on websites, providing richer search results. Schema is simply HTML Code, or HTML tags, that are placed on the back end of your website. Most banks are far behind in terms on implementing the code on their website. There is even schema mark-up specific to retail banks.
4) Off-site SEO Optimization through link reclamation – Financial institutions tend to get links organically from industry news and press releases. We find a lot of websites will feature the press release, but forget to link back to the original source.
5) Content Marketing and On-site Optimizations – Most banks are currently avoiding one of the search engines most important ranking factors – Content. A blog is a great place to produce regularly created content that is valuable and engaging for your customers and prospective customers.
Linkmedia 360 can develop a well-rounded digital marketing program for retail banks including online listing management and on-site and off-site SEO tactics. Stop by the Linkmedia 360 Booth, #623, at the BAI Retail Delivery 2015 Expo in Las Vegas in October!