Late last year Google released Hummingbird, the latest change to their search algorithm. Hummingbird was developed because Google saw a change in user’s intent, mainly seeing an increase in users searching using conversational tones. Instead of ranking sites based on keywords, Google is ranking sites based on the quality of content they offer. They are rewarding websites who publish content that is useful and engaging, and that provide the answers their customers are seeking.
So how do you make sure your credit union is included in Google’s new approach? How do you ensure that your credit union website will continue to rank well so your prospects will be able to find you easily?
The key is to do exactly what Google wants you to do. Create interesting, informative and engaging content. Bring the conversations you have with your customers inside your branch location(s) online, and share these online conversations in the places that Google and your customers and can find them. Your customers and Google will thank you for it.
Some jumping off points:
1. Create community minded, localized content. Your credit union has strong ties to your community and to your loyal customers, so leverage those relationships. Share photos of local events you’re attending or hosting, photos of your team or community members in action, and photos of local projects you are supporting.
2. Provide educational content. Your customers trust you with their money so they invest in and plan on doing things like saving for a summer vacation, planning for their kid’s educational future, building an extension on their house or growing their small business. Show your support by providing educational how-to information that your customers can use to make their dreams come true. Your customers and prospects will come to you as the expert!
3. Encourage your customers to be your ambassadors. Encourage your customers to share their stories with you and your community. Have them help you answer the frequently asked questions you receive. Then share those conversations online by including them on your website, newsletter, blog, and social networks.
4. Build a business advocacy team. Ask local businesses to contribute their personal stories about how you support and help grow their business. Amplify their voices and they will amplify yours.
5. Tap your entire team. Nearly everyone in your organization can be a contributor to your content strategy. Have them contribute photos and advice, recipes and travel experiences, holiday greetings and perspectives on local community events. These are all great conversation starters that will connect your credit union even further with the community.
Remember, it is still important to recognize which keywords to use, but the focus of a Hummingbird friendly strategy should be on the content that generates ongoing conversations with your customers. Google will pick up on it and will want to make sure others can join in on the conversation too.