Looking to boost SEO ranking power for your bank’s website? Having a blog is a must. Though this does not mean you don’t need to optimize your entire website, especially your product pages. (See more about creating product pages that convert) A well- optimized blog will provide opportunities to appear on the top of your prospective customer’s Search Engine Results Page (SERP), yielding brand visibility and potential conversions.
How To Write Blogs That Rank
Unfortunately, “If you build it, they will come” is not a quote that can be associated with website content. You have to provide content that your readers will find relevant and useful. There are two types of content that you should consider if you want to write a blog that ranks: current events and evergreen.
Current events are topics that are popular at the current time. Writing about a currently hot topic can help increase your chances of capturing visitors searching for this topic. More visitors means better rankings and better rankings means even more visitors, and eventually more conversions. Current events topics can come from what’s going on in the news or economy, (Mortgage rates decreasing during the pandemic) or seasonal related topics (10 Financial Resolutions for the New Year).
Evergreen topics are always relevant. There is always someone out there searching for information on an evergreen topic. Examples of evergreen topics include How To Build A Budget, Why You Need An Emergency Fund and Benefits of Mobile Banking. Cybersecurity and scam blogs are also great evergreen topics. Financial Fraud and Identity Theft topics are great any time of year and can be an easy way to boost your SEO rankings.
There are many tools to help you determine what internet users are searching for. SEMRush’s Topic Research tool is a handy tool that will suggest blog topics based upon a specific product or service.
Creating Content That Ranks
Having a great topic alone isn’t enough to rank, but it is a start. Once you have your topic and before you write the content, you will need to think about keywords. Keywords are “key” to ranking. They are the terms that are being used in search queries. You want your article to contain these keywords so that can be found.
There are many tools to help you with your keyword research such as SEMRush or Google Trends. Just plug in your product, service, or topic, and you will see the most popular keywords for that term and the number of people using that keyword in a search. Come up with one to three keywords for your page and work them into your content. Try and work them into your content more than once, but avoid keyword stuffing (blatant overuse of keywords), which can result in decreased rank power.
As a rule of thumb, prioritize keywords with a keyword difficulty score (KD) of under 80%. KD is a measure of how difficult the keyword is to rank on the SERP based on the search volume. The higher the KD, the more competitive the keyword is, and the less likely your content will be shown at the top of the search page. This is not to say you should avoid keywords with high KDs altogether- but it is important to prioritize keywords that are less competitive, so your keywords have a fighting chance of ranking.
If you are a local bank or credit union serving a specific area, include your city and county names in your content. This will help you rank for searches involving your product or service in your geographic location. Failing to localize is one of the top SEO mistakes that banks make.
- Make it Unique: Your blog should not be a reiteration of your products and services pages. It should discuss matters beyond your immediate offerings and be a knowledge resource for current and potential customers. It should also not be a reiteration of all your competitor’s blogs, or a direct copy paste from your preferred AI tool. That’s not to say that you cannot use these tools as inspiration. Just ensure you have original thought and add a fresh twist on the existing idea.
- Make it Digestible: Blog content should be conversational in tone, and digestible to the average person who may not be an expert in banking topics. Numbered or bulleted lists, short paragraphs, and simple language are great ways to ensure your content is palatable to the average reader.
- Make it Comprehensive: Aim to provide detailed, thorough content that answers the searcher’s queries in depth. Plus, Google is smart. Google’s job is to match the best, most relevant information to the searcher, and it will deprioritize unsubstantial content.
The Power of Backlinks
Backlinks, both internal and external, are another important ranking factor. If multiple websites link back to your site, search engines can infer that your content is worth linking to, and therefore a higher ranking search result. Google, in particular, views backlinks from sites or pages with a high PageRank score as important votes of confidence in your page or site.
It’s not enough to have backlinks to your site., You need relevant trustworthy backlinks. Purchasing backlinks was popular many years ago, but Google now views this as a bad practice and can have a negative impact on your rankings. Purchasing backlinks is also another bad practice.
Best practices for getting backlinks include:
- Reach out to sites that may already mention your bank by name such as a local newspaper that featured an online article about your financial institution, or a local organization that you’ve partnered with or sponsored.
- Guest blog for a relevant publication that has ranking power or page authority
- Build out your social media, and local listing profiles such as Google My Business, Bing, and Yelp. (Read more about setting up your Google My Business profiles)
- Work with your public relations team to incorporate natural hyperlinks in the press releases they distribute.
Google relies on internal links to discover new content so it’s important to link from your old pages to your new pages. This is especially important when you publish new blog posts. Multiple older pages linking to your new page show Google that this page is relevant.
For internal linking to truly help your SEO, the hyperlinked text matters. This is where your keywords come into play again. The words in the hyperlink text tell search engines that the page you are linking to is relevant content for that keyword. So, if you are linking to a mortgage page or blog, you will want to link a mortgage-related keyword.
Just as Google likes to see you add internal links to your blog posts, it also likes to see you add external links. External links give your reader access to more information on a particular subject. And it’s always a good idea to give credit to the sites where you got your information.
On occasion, you may want to link back to a website, but not help their rankings, like if you’re comparing a product with a competitor and linking back to their site. During that instance, you may want to make this a no-follow link. Google considers no-follow links as hints as to how PageRank power, sometimes called Link Juice, should flow.
Increase Rankings By Sharing Your Content
It’s very satisfying to know that people are conducting an organic search and they stumble upon your blog or website. If it shows up on page one of Google, that means that Google finds your site the most relevant for that search query. Although this is the ultimate goal, you should not rely on search queries alone to get ranking power.
The amount of traffic to your website helps determine your ranking power. You can increase traffic by sharing with a relevant audience. Promoting your content is imperative to having success in your blogging efforts. Share your blog to your social media profiles. If your bank has an email marketing newsletter, include it in your next newsletter. The more people who view your blog, the more relevant it becomes, and the better it ranks.
Don’t Set it and Forget it
SEO is not a “set it and forget it” strategy. Rankings change daily, so you will need to continuously update and refresh your content if you want to keep your rank power. As mentioned above, link your old content to your new content. Periodically review your blog posts for opportunities to add new internal backlinks and update keywords. Research new popular keywords and work them into your existing content.
After you update your backlinks and keywords, identify posts that are relevant topics, but no longer rank well and refresh the content. Although Google values authority from older pages, it does favor web pages with content that is updated frequently.
Ready For Your Blog to Rank?
At BankBound, we focus on digital marketing for community banks and credit unions. We understand your needs and the challenges you face as a bank marketer. We’ll work with you to optimize your website so customers can find your website, and find what they need on your website. We’ll also build out your blog with useful and relevant content that ranks. Contact a bank marketing specialist today or request a digital marketing analysis.