Search Engine Optimization
Ready to tackle all those old Google listings? Here’s how to do it right!
Setup a Google My Business Account for Your Bank
Head over to Google My Business and sign into your bank’s existing Google account or create a new one. To avoid future headaches, setup a generic Google Account that’s accessible for your team and not tied to a single person. If you’re able to use a generic corporate email address (like email@example.com) this can often expedite the verification process. Choose any Google username you want, but don’t use your bank name in the “first” and “last” name fields since this will create a “personal” Google+ profile for your brand name that can cause confusion in Google+, YouTube, and elsewhere.
Find Existing Branch Locations
Once you’ve successfully created a generic Google Account for managing your GMB listings, log in and start searching for each location that exists for your bank. Keep in mind, there may be listings out there for old branch locations which no longer exist, so start by searching for your bank by name to see what shows up. Search next for each individual branch address to ensure you’ve found any existing listings.
Claim Existing Bank Listings
After you’ve found your branch locations you’ll need to claim them. Let Google know you are in fact authorized to manage each location you want to claim. Next is the tricky part; you’ll need to coordinate with each local branch to answer an automated call from Google with your verification code, or you can request postcards be mailed out from Google to each location with unique verification codes. This can be quite tedious, but luckily Google offers bulk verification if you have ten or more locations to claim.
To use the bulk verification feature you’ll need to click the “+” button from your Google My Business dashboard and select “Import locations from a file”. You’ll then be provided with a template to use for uploading all of your branch locations at once for a single verification of ownership. For details on each of the fields included in the import file you can refer to this Google Support page. Do your best to ensure every available field is accurately completed for each location.
Add Missing Bank Listings
It’s possible you have locations which are not listed at all in Google Maps. Make sure to add those locations manually or via the bulk upload.
Create a Brand Page
Each local listing of a physical branch or office location offers your financial institution the ability to show up in search results for relevant local queries, and users can also leave online reviews for each location (which we strongly suggest you solicit to improve local rankings and communicate trust). In addition to having pages for each physical branch or office location, consider creating a brand page that can represent your financial institution at a macro level. With a brand page you can share corporate news, blog updates, and build a larger following of Google+ users just like you would with a company Facebook page. The Google+ brand page is also the property you’ll want to link to your YouTube channel.
This process is not typically easy, but it is a crucial part of effective local SEO for your bank or credit union as we’ve already detailed in a previous post about the importance of Google My Business. Stick with it and fight the good fight to claim all of your Google listings!
If you do get stuck, you’ll often make faster progress with Google by contacting Google Support directly. You can request a Google My Business support specialist give you call by submitted this form. If you don’t get the answer you’re looking for, try talking to a different specialist- from our experience you’ll often get different opinions and responses depending on who you talk to!