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How Banks Can Create SEO-Friendly Content on Their Websites

Websites & Accessibility

How Banks Can Create SEO-Friendly Content on Their Websites

Eric Cook by Eric Cook

Chief Digital Strategist

Contact author Full biography

Full biography

Eric considers himself a “recovering banker” of 15 years, who for the past eleven years has focused his efforts as a digital strategist, helping his clients (mostly community banks) better understand and leverage the power of the Internet as a strategic business tool. An award-winning web designer with WSI, the world’s largest digital agency network, Eric is a two-time contributing author to the best-selling book Digital Minds – 12 Things Every Business Needs to Know About Digital Marketing. Consistently rated in the top five digital marketing books on Amazon, the book is in its second edition and available in three languages.

A sought-after, nationally-recognized speaker in the financial services industry, Eric is a member of the National Speakers Association and loves sharing his knowledge to help educate and inspire others. He is the co-creator of a weekly webinar show called Free Webinar Wednesdays, founder of the Banker Education Series webinar series, and serves as a faculty member at several banking schools around the country where he teaches bankers about digital strategy, online marketing and social media. He is a WSI Certified LinkedIn Professional and holds undergraduate degrees in business administration and psychology. While working full-time as a community banker, Eric earned his MBA and completed the three-year Graduate School of Banking program in Madison, WI in 2003.

Professionally, Eric helps his clients in all areas of digital marketing, which includes mobile-responsive web development, search engine marketing and optimization, social media strategies, e-mail communication, and “big-picture” digital strategic planning. He’s the co-founder of DigitalRCP.com, a service created to help businesses understand their risk when it comes to operating in today’s digital world. When he’s not helping his clients succeed online, he can typically be found on one of his many bicycles training for his next mountain bike/triathlon race or spending time with his wife and two (very spoiled) golden retrievers.

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Summary:

You likely know how important SEO is to a bank's website, but may still struggle with knowing how to implement SEO on your bank’s website. In this article, I’ll first cover some high-level basics of what SEO is so that we’re both starting from the same place. Then we’ll talk about how to create a good SEO copy for your bank’s website, followed by the steps to take to add more SEO copy to your site. 

While SEO is important, it’s equally as important to remember that it’s not just the site-ranking robots you need to write for; your visitors (aka humans) are the ones who will be reading your content, need to find it compelling, and engage with it. If you’re successful, they will keep coming back - and hopefully, open an account and start banking with you. It’s no small feat, but at the end of the day, the “Googlebot” isn’t going to open an account or apply for a mortgage loan! 

First, What is Search Engine Optimization (SEO)?

Search engine optimization is the process of enhancing your website to get higher organic rankings with search engines. Google, of course, is the most popular search engine, so when we talk about SEO we are usually referring to Google. In addition to good SEO copy that a human visitor will actually want to read, there are also things such as the use of meta titles, descriptions, heading elements, rich keywords, and other technical elements of your site that impact your rankings. It’s important to restate, however, that your copy needs to walk the line between leveraging effective SEO keywords and being readable for your site’s visitors. 

Although SEO is often implemented with blogs, it can be helpful to incorporate SEO strategies throughout your entire website as well. For that reason, this article will cover how to incorporate SEO into your website and your blog.

Step 1: Keyword Research

Before you write, identify specific keywords that are relevant to your website’s niche and have low competition. There are several tools you can use for keyword research, including Ahrefs, Semrush, and KWFinder. Semrush is actually one of our corporate partners and is the SEO tool we use here at WSI. 

If you’d like to look for long-tail keywords (which tend to do better with SEO because they’re so specific), first start by Googling the phrase. Autocomplete suggestions are a great starting point. You can check out the “People also ask” and “Related Searches” sections as well. There are other great tools for finding long-tail keywords, you just need to look for them!

Google Auto Complete

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Above: Screenshot of a Google autocomplete of the search phrase “home loan” - revealing some related keyword phrases that may also be powerful SEO opportunities for your bank.

Step 2: Narrow It Down by SERP Intent

SERP stands for Search Engine Results Page, and SERP intent (or search intent) refers to how a user intends to use the information gained from their keyword search. If you know what your user’s search intent is, you can target the intended audience rather than giving people results that don’t apply to them. 

Let’s illustrate why specificity is so important for SEO. Let’s say you’re looking for ideas about what mortgage loans are available to veterans. If you just type the words “mortgage loan” into a search engine, you will find: 

  • A list titled “The Best 10 Mortgage Loans”
  • Articles about minorities being denied mortgage loans
  • Articles about mortgage loan rates

None of these search results relate to the idea of mortgage loans that banks offer to veterans. However, if you get a bit more specific and add “for veterans” to the search, you’ll start finding good information. If your client is a veteran with bad credit, they’ll likely be searching for “mortgage loans for veterans with bad credit.” You want your copy to be as detailed as possible so that search engine results will guide people to your bank website.

Keywords are an important part of research and should be specific. You don’t need a ton of SEO keywords either: Just allow them to give you a starting point. For example, there are four keywords integrated into this article: 

  • SEO
  • SEO copy
  • SEO for bank websites
  • SEO content on your website

The rest of the keywords that we may end up ranking for will happen naturally as we share our ideas on the subject.

Step 3: Outline a Banking Blog Article

Before you put pen to paper (or fingers to the keyboard), set aside some time to think about the flow of the article that you’re about to write. You’ll want to think about the purpose of the article, your end goal, and your target audience. You should also think about how you want the reader to take action based on the article’s information? Maybe you want them to download a resource you’ve made available, get in touch with their local branch, or maybe even convince them to click the “Apply Now” button on your loan page and start an application.

Some articles can serve many purposes (for example, this article is informative and answers a question). The target audience is bankers who are interested in developing SEO copy for their website, and the information is presented in steps. 

Step 4: Structure Your Bank Blog Article

Readability is important, both for Google and your readers. You may want to consider structuring your article with plenty of white space, videos, and images woven throughout to retain the reader’s attention. Remember, while we want to ensure that Google rewards us with a good ranking - at the end of the day, real people are the ones that we want to influence to take action when they finish reading. 

Create subheadings and don’t be afraid to use bullet lists that make it easy for skimmers to find the most valuable information, and add lists wherever possible. These tactics make the content easy to read and they rank well on Google. 

Inverted Pyramid Structure

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Above: Use an inverted pyramid structure by listing the most important information at the beginning of the article. Use the later paragraphs to describe things in detail and provide examples.

Step 5: Write Your Bank Blog Article

It’s finally time to write. Now that you have done the research and planning, it should be easy to put it all together as you let the writing flow naturally. Don’t think that you need to put the keyword into every other sentence, but include it in at least the first heading (referred to as an H1), and it’s also a good idea to ensure that your Meta Title (in the HTML of the page) has it there too, in addition to including it in the Meta Description.  

SEO Example on Google

 

 

Above: A typical SERP listing with the Meta Title showing in the blue (larger) text, and Meta Description (standard text) below. Not only is it important for SEO, but helps to ensure that IF (or WHEN) your listing shows, someone will want to click on it to learn more.

It’s also a good idea to include links in your content. Be sure that the links you reference are high-quality and reputable. One of the advantages of SEO is that you can conduct internal linking, which allows you to link to other pages on your bank site. Make sure you use keyword-rich link text like linking “start your online mortgage application” rather than “click here” when you want someone to apply for a loan online.

Step 6: Edit Your Work to Produce Quality Content

Ensure that you’ve conducted good research and that your work is free of typos before you publish (although I’m as guilty as the next guy when it comes to these little character flaws). Write well-organized pieces and you’ll showcase your trustworthiness and authority on the subject. 

One tip that I always recommend (and am doing it right now, actually) is reading the article aloud. This can help you identify areas that sound awkward and lose their flow (and may sound strange to the reader). You’ll also want to check the following: 

  • Spelling
  • Grammar
  • Active voice
  • Punctuation
  • Readability
  • Tone
  • Transition words
  • Sentence structure
  • Paragraph length
  • Sentence length

Break up long sentences and paragraphs into shorter ones. Be sure that your article conveys the point you wanted to make and ensure that it has a clear call to action and stays on topic. 

Step 7: Publish to Your Bank’s Website

The last step is to publish your article on your bank’s website. Double-check links to ensure that they still work, and give it one last look to ensure it’s formatted properly and that the images don’t take long to load. From there, you’ll want to monitor the page with Google Analytics to ensure that it’s getting the traction you want it to have. 

TIP: Check out some of our other blog posts on Amazingly Cool and Useful Tools as well as Cool Tools for Branding Your Bank Better for even more inspiration and guidance on making sure your content stands out! 

Still, feeling overwhelmed after reading about SEO? Not to worry, that’s what we’re here for. Feel free to contact us about our Creative Content Marketing Solutions. We know how to create top-notch SEO copy for bank websites, and we’d be happy to help you! Contact us today to find out how you can enjoy hands-off SEO content creation! 

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