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The top terms typed into bank websites


If your bank website is going to walk the walk, it has to talk their talk.

We’ve published a plethora of blog posts about the importance of search engine optimization (SEO) and the SEO tactics we use to drive traffic to our bank and credit union websites. This includes SEO research that finds the most valuable keywords that consumers come up with when using third-party search engines, like Google.

But what about the words that customers and prospects type into your bank website’s search box after they arrive?

We always advise our clients to integrate their website search element with a website analytics program, such as Google Analytics, to see which terms visitors type into the text field. In fact, our continuous-improvement packages feature regularly scheduled website analysis that includes the entire list of terms entered into the bank website search box.


Finding the most commonly searched-for terms can identify issues, such as meaningful content that is buried or hidden in unexpected places — or missing altogether. By identifying what visitors look for most often, you gain insight into not only how and why people use your website, but also opportunities to meet their needs more effectively.

Top 20 banking search terms

According to BAI, a nonprofit organization focused on the financial services industry, these are the Top 20 Banking Search Terms on bank websites and credit union websites:

  1. routing number
  2. overdraft protection
  3. order checks
  4. skip a payment
  5. online banking
  6. wire transfers
  7. credit card
  8. open account
  9. account number
  10. direct deposit
  11. rates
  12. address change
  13. loan rates
  14. debit card
  15. check card
  16. IRA
  17. CD rates
  18. hours
  19. mobile deposit
  20. login

BrownBoots’ take on the top search terms

By and large, the website reports we compile for our bank and credit union clients reveal similar results to the list above.

However, new terms often crack the top spots, trending based on external factors. For example, when mortgage rates drop, “mortgage rates” might soar well above “loan rates,” while the COVID-19 pandemic elevated some less-common terms to prominence, including “PPP” and “payroll protection.”

We would also add a handful of terms to the list:

  • app
  • bill pay
  • careers
  • fees
  • rewards

What to do with the data?

First things first, make sure you have a search element on your website and are able to capture the terms customers type there.

Next, type in the top terms visitors use and see what results your website generates. If irrelevant pages appear — or, worse, there are no results — find a place to prominently promote that content. For instance, if “routing number” doesn’t trigger an appropriate page, consider creating a section on the “Contact Us” and/or “About Us” page, using “Routing Number” as a header.

Other terms, such as “overdraft protection” and “wire transfers” might warrant creating individual pages so that visitors don’t have to sift through several pages to find the information they seek.

Additional website copywriting, adjustments to navigation, additional functionality — all of these actions might be necessary to optimize your in-site search.

Should that header be “Order Checks” or “Reorder Checks”? “Mobile Banking” or “Mobile App”? And is it time to finally add an “Open an Account” form?

By listening to your bank website visitors talk/type about your products and services in their own words, your online branch will be better equipped to assist them.

We can help with your bank website analytics!

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