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Learn the ABCs of SEO

5/21/15

Although an SEO (search engine optimization) service isn’t the answer to every marketing problem, it factors into many of the solutions.

Take these typical questions, for instance:

“What can I do to get more traffic to my bank website?”

Successful SEO tactics improve a website’s search engine rankings, ideally positioning your link on the first page* of results on Google and Bing. The more often your bank website is seen on search engines, the higher the chances you will get traffic from that source.

*Links in the top spot of Google’s first page receive a 35% click rate, while the click rate for links at the top of the second page of results drops to a just 2%.

“How can I get more conversions (sales, leads, etc.) from my bank website?”

By utilizing relevant SEO analysis keywords that relate to your products and services, you are more likely to bring qualified traffic to your site, which — combined with elements like intuitive navigation, prominent calls to action and so forth — should increase the chances of completed transactions.

“What can I do to make my bank website more competitive?”

In conjunction with adopting a mobile-friendly approach to your website, search engine optimization is a clear opportunity for elevating credit unions and bank websites from adequate to even more productive. On the other hand, ignoring SEO recommendations will surely get you schooled by competitor websites already leveraging search engine optimization.

But even though many people understand the basic idea behind SEO research — and know they should add it to their marketing strategy — the full extent of SEO tactics sometimes eludes marketers and website admins alike.

In that spirit, here’s a quick tutorial outlining BrownBoots’ four-step approach to search engine optimization:

Step 1: SEO keyword identification

After defining your audience(s), determining the scope of the search engine optimization service, and setting goals that are measurable and realistic, we collect potential keywords and phrases from a variety of sources. What terms are used internally at your bank or credit union? What lingo do you find within your industry? How do your customers talk about your services and products?

While the answers to those questions tend to be anecdotal, we filter those terms through SEO research tools to determine which of them currently drive traffic to your site as well as what your competitors are optimizing for.

Step 2: SEO analysis / SEO recommendations

The result of Step 1 is typically a list of hundreds of potential words and phrases. We use search engine optimization software to determine the search frequency, overall competition and difficulty to rise in the rankings for each term. We then compare your direct competitors’ score for those same terms.

Finally, we incorporate the “human factor” into the equation, rejecting some options — for example, terms that are too broad or just plain too unwieldy to incorporate into bank website copywriting — to produce a more manageable list. This “cheat sheet” of SEO recommendations is used throughout the next two steps.

Step 3: SEO copywriting

Not all available property on a website is created equal. In addition to the SEO recommendations cheat sheet, we provide a map of the best places to insert them, including some “behind-the-screens” spaces (i.e., metadata). We also cover keyword density to ensure webpages won’t get penalized for oversaturation** and provide other ways to maximize keyword usage throughout your credit union or bank website.

**Never sacrifice user experience or readability in an attempt to appeal to the search engine crawlers. That will only irritate both humans and bots!

And search engine optimization isn’t just about the words on your website. Inbound links — and, specifically, the words that comprise links leading to your site — work together to form the best SEO for banks.

Step 4: SEO analysis

After the website’s content has been updated and backlinks are in place, we give the search bots time to reindex the site. We then run our website analytics report to evaluate how our efforts have impacted the targeted keywords’ rankings, comparing our findings to the benchmark values and to the competition’s stats.

If we have met our goals, we now set new ones. If we fell short, we identify additional tactics or readjust the goals. We also use this time to pinpoint any upcoming initiatives that could benefit from SEO tactics. If there are any, we return to Step 1 and begin the process anew.

Search engine optimization is a long-term strategic initiative, not a quick fix. In fact, if you try to manipulate Google via tricky shortcuts, Google will eventually adjust its algorithm, and your website will be penalized accordingly. (So no cheating!)

If you have any questions or want BrownBoots to assist with your SEO research and SEO recommendations, don’t hesitate to give us a call!

Learn more about the best SEO for banks.

Contact BrownBoots to build your SEO tactics.

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