Being visible the moment a consumer decides to take action online is critical for a business. In organic search, this is called the “Zero Moment of Truth”. After a consumer enters a search query on a search engine, your company needs to be listed within those results in order for consumers to find you.
Let’s talk a little bit about how organic search works.
The internet is comprised of over 30 trillion websites and is constantly growing. Search engines navigate the web by what is called “crawling”, or following links from page to page. The next step is sorting and storing the pages in their index. When a user performs a search query, such as searching for “banks in Cleveland”, search engines process the query, retrieving information by using their algorithm to order and rank the pages by the most to least relevant on the Search Engine Results Page (SERP). The final step is the user clicking on the listings on the SERP to start their research and engage with the company or brand.
You can think of SEO as a pyramid based the level of complexity involved.
Your business should focus on building a strong technical foundation first. You want to drive relevancy through on-site techniques, using keywords and engaging content, then build online authority off-site through relationships, link building and promoting your content. This will lead to social engagement and conversations regarding your company.
Here are the top 5 Opportunities for the Retail Banking Industry for 2014:
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 location 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. Most banks are far behind in terms on implementing the code on their website.
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.