BID® Daily Newsletter
Oct 14, 2022

BID® Daily Newsletter

Oct 14, 2022

How to Get Your Website to Boost Your Sales Leads

Summary: When potential customers search for financial services online, where does your brand show up on the results page? Whether your brand comes up first or twenty-seventh, it’s important to stay up to date on what determines this ranking and make changes to your site accordingly. We’ve compiled a list of tips for enhancing your website with original, compelling content, as well as practices you should avoid.

Belgian photographer Barbara Iweins spent five years photographing every item in her house. The result was a catalog of 12,795 images of everything from kitchen utensils and a mold of her teeth to remote controls and even metal combs for removing lice. After sorting her possessions based on frequency of use, color, and other factors, Iweins compiled the images and some corresponding stories into a book called Katalog.
While it is unlikely that your organization needs an itemized list of every stapler, chair, and tape dispenser within each of your branches, one area where community financial institutions (CFIs) can derive significant benefit is performing an audit of your website’s search engine optimization (SEO). Your website keywords, links, and other factors determine how search-engine-friendly your website is and where it ranks in search engine results. You want to make sure you stay on the first page of Google and other search engines, as consumers rarely go to a second page of search results. This ranking equates with how visible your brand is online and understanding how it works ensures that prospective customers can easily search and find your institution on the internet.
The Value of Being Original
Roughly 86% of consumers turn to the internet to find local businesses, with 29% searching for businesses within their community at least once a week, according to a report from web design firm Go-Globe. One of the most influential factors in getting visibility for your website is generating original content that is useful for customers. Not just any old content will do, however. Google recently rolled out a new search engine algorithm update called the helpful content update, which seeks out content that is valuable to consumers and weeds out content written to catch the attention of Google’s algorithm to boost an organization’s ranking.
One way to keep your business’ online visibility high is to regularly have your marketing team conduct an SEO audit. This should assess how well your current strategy is performing to attract customers and prospective customers, and support your overall business goals. For instance, if you are located in a rural area, and your target customers are farmers, growers, and ranchers, one of the ways you would assess the performance of your website is how well you attract agricultural businesses. If there’s a drop in interaction with your brand with the agricultural group, you’ll need your team to dig deeper to find out the cause. Is there a new local competitor whose site is performing better than yours? Are there search engine algorithm changes that your website isn’t optimized for?
That’s why it’s important to stay on top of your SEO strategy. Here are a few things to keep in mind when talking to your marketing team:
  • Make content thoughtful and unique. Thought leadership published on your website should be completely original and relevant to your organization’s expertise and the interests of your target demographic.
  • Flaunt your staff’s expertise. If there is an expert within your organization who has written a book, or who has expertise in a specific topic relevant to your target audience, having them craft original content about it can help boost your organization’s overall SEO.
  • Partner with other organizations. Creating website content in conjunction with other organizations or allowing them to feature your content can help boost your SEO ranking and provide exposure to new audiences.
Things That Can Hurt Your SEO

While the above suggestions represent some of the best practices for optimizing SEO, there are also things to make sure your institution avoids:
  • Focusing only on the desktop site. Many brands make the faux pas of designing their site based solely on desktop usability. The problem with this approach is that features and designs that look great on a larger screen often come across messy, confusing, and inappropriately sized for a mobile device, which is the main way that many people — particularly younger demographics — search online these days. Make sure your website is responsive and easy to navigate across all device sizes, so you won’t lose potential customers to a competitor’s more user-friendly website.
  • Mass producing low-value content. Having a constant flow of content on your site is great, but if it’s not quality content that will rank well on Google, that checks all the SEO boxes, and answers what your customers are looking for, then it won’t help your SEO. In fact, it will cause readers who land on your page and see that your content isn’t helpful to head back to their original search. Google tracks this action of visitors quickly leaving your site and discounts your content and website accordingly.
  • Linking to low-ranking websites. Avoid links to websites that are ranked poorly by Google, as these less reputable sites can drag down your SEO.
Given the ever-evolving nature of search engines, SEO audits should be performed regularly to make sure your institution is staying abreast of new search engine algorithms and the competitive landscape. Be sure that the team managing your SEO is leveraging your best resources to create unique, valuable content — and avoiding outdated tricks — to make the most of your SEO and ultimately, attract new potential customers.
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