For banks, loan centers, credit unions, insurance brands or any other business within the financial industry, getting your name to land on top of the local search engine results page, or SERP, is essential. While tons of local SEO statistics support how rarely users scroll past Google’s first page of results, all you really need to do is ask yourself, or a few people nearby, this simple question:
“How often do you choose a business on page two?”
The usual answer? Rarely or never. In fact, Search Engine Journal reported that, on average, the number one search result had a 28.5% click-through rate. The tenth listing only had a click-through rate of 2.5%. Below that, you might as well be non-existent.
Long story short. If someone is on Google searching for the right local financial service for their needs — but your listings are buried far below your competitors’ listings — chances are slim that you’ll land them as a customer.
Don’t make it that easy for your competitors to win. Here’s how to create online business listings to make sure you always land on top.
Why Isn’t My Financial Brand Higher Up on Google Search?
It’s a fair question, and one often said in frustration. Despite factors like closer proximity or a larger brand presence, why does your financial brand consistently end up lower down the Google SERPs than your competitors for “near me” or similar organic searches? And more importantly, what can you do to change that and increase your online visibility?
First, you need to understand how the Google search process works, at least on a basic level. In short, the top priority of a search engine is to serve the best results to the active search engine user – not to put your business listing on top of page one (unless you’ve invested in paid ads, but that’s a different conversation).
To find and deliver the best results, Google search, as well as Yelp, Apple Maps, Bing, and similar platforms, have built incredibly complex algorithms alongside advanced artificial intelligence (AI) to provide the user with the closest match to what they’re looking for. There are estimated to be thousands of signals that go into a single local ranking algorithmic result for search. These include everything from the user’s proximity to a location to the number of reviews a business gets.
What’s more? A 2021 study found that on Google, about 36% of those signals tie directly to your Google Business Profile (GBP) listings — a percentage that’s rising higher every year.
Some top ranking signals Google looks for within GBP online listings are:
- User Interaction
While you can’t control some of these factors, like the location of a branch, you have more power than you might expect with many others.
So, how do you put the right information into your listings and send your bank’s business profile to the top? The truth is that only Google really knows — and they’re not telling. With a tight-lipped team and constantly evolving algorithm, there isn’t a fool-proof magic formula or secret code you can use. That said, there is plenty you can do to propel your online business listings up the search rankings and new customers walking into your locations.
How Does Business Listings Accuracy Affect Rankings for Financial Services
Without a doubt, listing accuracy and completeness is one of the most essential ranking factors for businesses. But what exactly does it mean to maintain complete accurate listings for financial services brands on Google Business Profile, or other location-based search engines?
For one, every single location (including ATMs and branches located within a larger entity, like a grocery store) must have it’s own accurate and complete listing, without any duplicates. A complete online listing will include that individual location’s:
- Phone Number
Each of these entries boosts your credibility in the eyes of local search engines.
Consistency for your location listings across all data sources is one of the most important factors for ranking well in local search. For example, if your bank — let’s call it State Bank and Trust — has four locations in one city, including ATMs. If the company name is typed into Google Business Profile as “State Bank and Trust” for two locations, simply “State Bank” on the next, and then “State Bank and Trust – Downtown” on another, the discrepancies can negatively effect how high your locations rank.
These variations can confuse the search engine algorithm as it may see the different names as separate businesses, accidental duplicate entries, or even a geomodifier, a location–specific keyword that can be flagged as a form of cheating. Any of these factors can bring down your ranking. It’s also confusing for an actual user — and your potential customer. If they’re unsure about which bank is the one they were initially seeking, they might just choose a different, more trustworthy option altogether.
To learn more about creating the perfect online business listing for your bank, credit union, insurance firm or other financial brand, check out this blog!
How Can I Best Manage Online Listings for My Brand?
Optimizing your online listings is a fantastic first step towards building a strong, revenue-building strategy for your financial services brand. That said, it is just the beginning. Business listing optimization is an ongoing process. Locations open and close. Hours shift. Best practices can change overnight if Google makes an update. There’s no setting it and forgetting it.
If you only have a handful of locations, this might be manageable with a trustworthy and tech-savvy team member who can diligently keep up with those changes. However, for banks or other financial services brands with dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of locations, maintaining your online listings with the utmost accuracy is nearly impossible. That is — without some help.
With a comprehensive listings management platform and partnership, your financial service company can breathe easy when it comes to online visibility. After a simple set-up, each listing will be kept fully up-to-date, accurate, complete, and fully optimized according to best practices across every branch and location. You’ll also get access to in-depth analytics and reporting that fully illustrate your rankings, clicks, impressions, call requests, as well as areas where you might be falling short. Use these metrics as one part of your data-driven brand growth strategy to success!
Ready to learn more? Connect with the experts at Chatmeter! Our listings management platform and incredible team has proudly supported financial service brands of all sizes build a rock solid, growth-minded online presence. Book a software demo today and we’ll show you exactly how we can ensure that your business locations are found by the right customers anytime and anywhere.