Increase your web traffic with a localized search strategy

Consumers and businesses turn to search engines when researching new financial products such as auto loans, mortgages and small business loans. Competition for placement on search results pages is very high, but there are untapped opportunities in targeting geographic search phrases that combine a consumer’s community preference with specific financial products.

by: Mark Ryan

For many credit union websites, the product content is completely separate from content that mentions the credit union’s locations—such as the branch finder or a description of the community that the credit union serves—in the corporate information section of the site. There is a logical reason for this separation of products and community locations. When User Experience designers are defining the website audience segments and defining the tasks for those audiences, they typically view finding a location and researching a product as completely separate tasks. As a result, the site goes live without any mention of products on the location pages or any mention of locations on the product pages. This gap between two important sets of content leaves a sizable untapped opportunity in the acquisition of both traffic and qualified customer leads for credit unions.

The state of search in the financial industry

Gaining traffic from search engines for financial-based search phrases is one of the hardest things that a website owner has to do. First, the competition is fierce. Banks such as Capital One, Citi and Chase are on top of their game when it comes to search engine optimization. They have internal and external teams of experts focusing all of their time on getting the #1 spot on search results pages for phrases such as credit cards, auto loans and mortgage rates. Second, search results pages for all of these phrases are littered with expensive paid placements. According to reports released year after year over the last decade, the financial industry is in the top three spenders (and is often the top spender) on Adwords for terms such as loan, credit, mortgage and insurance. These terms are also among the top 10 most expensive keywords to purchase. This level of competition makes it very difficult for any but the top 10 banks to gain substantial traffic for these product-based financial phrases.

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