Does blogging really help your bank or credit union’s SEO? Yes.
Yes, yes, yes, and yes.
That’s five yeses total. And we’re going to give you five key ways that maintaining a regular blog presence is really good for business — especially your business, as a community bank or credit union.
You might currently find yourself competing with other financial institutions for higher search engine rankings. You might even find yourself competing with much larger (dare we say “megabank”?) institutions. Publishing a regular blog can be a key tool to help you level that playing field and drive more traffic to your community bank or credit union’s website.
There are several essentials to develop SEO-friendly blog content. But when you do it right, here’s the advantage.
The 5 big SEO benefits of blogging for banks and credit unions.
1. You keep your website fresh and current.
Yes, readers like information that’s topical. And they’re not going to trust you as much if your website is using claims about best checking accounts in 2015. However, keeping your website’s content fresh isn’t just essential for your users. It’s something the search engines look for too. After all, they don’t want to serve up information that’s outdated or debunked since your last update.
Freshness matters. So does frequency. The regularity and recency of your posts helps to establish your relevance and credibility with the Googles of the world. It’s a signal that your website is alive and kicking, not just parked on the side of the internet as people pass by. Plus, when you upload new posts it gives search engine algorithms more reason to frequently index your site (meaning crawl it for updated content) — keeping you on their radar over time.
You’re not going to have a reason to update your homepage or core site pages multiple times a month (nor would it make sense unless you’re running the world’s most aggressive marketing promotion schedule). That’s why a blog is such an effective way to keep your site churning out new content at a timely pace.
2. You keep people on your website for longer.
It’s not too hard to figure out why people spending more time on your website is good for you. The longer they stay, the more likely they are to open an account, sign up for your newsletter, check out your latest offer — or really any other action you want them to take online. But again, the time spent on your site is just as important to search engines.
As a metric, “time on site” is an indicator to show the quality and relevance of your content to what the user searched for. If someone searches for “how to find an auto loan in [your local city],” lands on your site, then clicks away after just one second, Google is going to assume your content didn’t answer their question. Maybe A) you didn’t really seem to know much about auto loans, or B) you’re located nowhere near the area they’re searching for.
On the other hand, if they spend a long time on your site after clicking through on this search, Google will know that you do, in fact, gives searchers the answers they’re looking for. That means they’ll keep showing your content to other people interested in an auto loan. If you have a quality, informative blog post around this topic, you’re more likely to pick up the traffic you want and ultimately convert it into leads for a product or service you’re promoting (in this example, auto loans).
3. You can target the long-tail keywords most relevant to your marketing goals.
What’s a long-tail keyword? Remember “how to find an auto loan in [your local city]” from point no. 2? Well, that’s a long-tail keyword. It’s a longer, more specific phrase that someone might search for when they’re seeking out a product or information.
SEO is a very competitive game. So while the shorter keyword “auto loan” is going to get a much larger search volume, it’s also going to be much more competitive to try to rank for that shorter keyword. Long-tail keywords don’t offer that same, super-high number of searches, but they can provide highly qualified traffic and they’re much more attainable if you want a shot at a top ranking.
And it’s not like no one uses long-tail keywords. In fact, half of all searches are four words or longer.
The important thing is to use those extra words to bring in people whose search intent matches what you can offer. This is an edge you have as a local community bank or credit union. Things like your city, state, region, or even ZIP code are often part of successful long-tail keywords posts — where your actual location (in addition to other factors, like the rest of the content on your site) helps show both Google and searchers that you’re an authority on the topic.
Your long-tail keywords don’t have to be location-based. It’s just one of many opportunities to find lower-hanging, long-tail search traffic.
Using the same example, someone who clicks through to your blog post is more likely to be not only looking for auto loan, but looking for an auto loan in your market. It’s a win-win-win — for you, the searcher, and for Google. You get very qualified eyeballs, the searcher solves his or her problem, and search engine answers its user’s query with the most helpful information.
4. You have more opportunities for internal linking.
Search engines use your links to better understand and navigate your website. That’s why your internal links play such a critical role in telling them what’s important. If you have a product page that’s all about your really great checking rates, but you only link to these checking APYs in your home-page navigation with vague anchor text “Our DDA Rates” — you’re missing out on a lot of opportunity.
The search engines aren’t going to easily determine what that page is about. And they won’t know how important it is to your website. Not to mention, you might not attract many of your website visitors to that page either.
When you link to an important page internally, you give it more shine for both audiences. For example, if you write a blog post titled “What to look for in a checking account in 2021” and you mention that you can get a great rate on a high-yield checking account, you should link to that product page with “high-yield checking account” as your anchor text (the words that make up the link). This way, search engines learn more relevant keywords for that page and users know to click those words if that’s what they’re interested in.
Your blog provides an ongoing source of internal linking opportunities for practically any product, not to mention other important selling points of your institution’s values or community commitment. Plus, you can link from post to post to help establish more credibility on related topics or issues.
5. A quality blog gives other sites more reasons to link back to your site.
Your internal links are important, but external links go even further to proving the worth of your content. When a well-respected website links to yours, they pass a little bit of that “link juice” down to you. Like if Nerdwallet (or any other site known for personal financial advice) decides to link to a study you published about your area banking trends, search engines are going to interpret that as a vote of confidence in your website.
Sites like Nerdwallet may be an extreme-stretch goal, but local media outlets and other less famous publications can still help you build a backlink profile that lets you establish credibility with search engines. It lets them know you’re trustworthy and authoritative.
When you use your blog to commit to high-quality content, you fill your website with page after page of valuable information. As you put out more valuable information, you’re more likely to build links from other sites that think your content will be valuable to their readers.
That adds up to a lot of votes of confidence. And a lot of link juice.
A blog isn’t just SEO. It’s your brand.
What’s your mission statement? It’s probably listed somewhere under the “About” tab on your website. But how many people actually read it and how well do those words connect with your audience?
You’re a community institution — and that word, “community,” means something. Your blog is your chance to showcase all the ways you live up to that mission. Charitable donations, event sponsorship, educational events, you name it. These activities certainly have value, but they’d be all the more impactful if they could reach more people.
Your blog gives you the ability to highlight and expand your mission to do good, including educational content that can reach anyone, anywhere, anytime. You can even leverage the expertise of your employees to instill a more human connection with your brand.
It helps you help your existing account holders.
If you asked your account holders where they go online for financial advice, news, and inspiration, would your website make the list?
Sure, most people would prefer to see cat videos in their Facebook feed than a bank president’s pull quote, but where do they look when they have financial questions? When they are curious about down payment assistance programs, want to find local resources for starting a business, or need help creating a trust? Blog content can be created to educate and empower your customers financially, which helps build loyalty with customers.
Yet 79% of people think of their banks only as transactional entities. If that stat offends you, don’t let it. Transactional entities don’t have feelings.
Your blog means more new customers, too.
As in website conversions. People are drawn to brands they find relevant, helpful, and personal. Your blog has you covered there, but it also helps you show up on your customer’s journey all the way down the decision funnel — through awareness, consideration and purchase.
Once upon a time, the buyer journey for consumers and businesses was pretty linear. Today, the buyer’s journey is more like a spider web of micro-moments. According to a recent Google survey, no two customer journeys are exactly the same.
Regardless of the path they take, your blog lets you be present throughout a prospect’s journey through useful content that addresses their concerns as they have them. They’re going to look online more often than they’re going to pick up the phone or walk into a branch. Wouldn’t you prefer they find answers on your website, and not from a competitor?
What does this all mean? It means when someone in your target market starts to research “best mortgage loans for first-time homebuyers,” you want to appear on the first page of organic results with a helpful, localized guide to home buying
Best of all, the work you put into your blog lasts forever.
As you grow your blog, you accumulate a collection of evergreen content that will continue to work for you. Unlike advertising campaigns, you don’t have to buy media to publish a blog post. You simply tap (or click) a button.
There’s also no time limit. Of course, some of your posts may be seasonal or time-sensitive, but many of the financial topics people are interested in never go out of style or out of date. Interest rates go up and down, but new home buyers will always need help understanding the difference between fixed-rate and adjustable-rate mortgages.
When you need to, you can always go back and freshen up your older posts that are still driving traffic.
You may invest time or money in the creation of quality content upfront, but once it’s out there, people will continue to find it — and find your bank or credit union.
So if you want to get found, get started now.