PR Insight & SEO
26 tips from credit union industry experts
A panel of search engine optimization experts offered the following list of tips for CUs getting started with or wanting to improve their search engine optimization.
The experts are:
- CUES member Wendy Bryant-Beswick, VP/marketing and business development at $405 million/47,000-member Generations Federal Credit Union, San Antonio;
- Sherry Callahan, CSE, CCE, a social media and Internet marketing strategist based in Fort Worth, Texas;
- Keith Caven, CEO of Snapt, Inc., DeLand, Fla.;
- CUES member Sharon Cook, SVP/marketing for $3.4 billion/339,114-member Mountain America Credit Union, West Jordan, Utah;
- Bethany Dutcher, VP/marketing at $312 million/26,700-member Catholic Federal Credit Union, Saginaw, Mich.;
- Diane Knudson, director/marketing consulting for CU Solutions Group, Livonia, Mich.; and
- Jared Miller, social and digital strategist for CUES Supplier member Third Degree Advertising, Oklahoma City, Okla.
- Select your credit union’s top four or five business goals and build your SEO strategy around them.
- Keep website copy fresh with new copy added monthly, even weekly.
- New copy should include relevant keywords that readers are using in searches or that you have targeted for optimization.
- Review and research these keywords frequently. Brainstorm keywords (internally with staff and externally with an SEO consultant) visitors might use when conducting a search for your services.
- Focus on the content of interior pages as well as the homepage.
- Develop unique page content using relevant keywords; page content should be created before title tags and page descriptions.
- Build your title tags from the root content of your pages. Draft page descriptions from the foundation of your content as well. Use relevant keywords in both.
- Use keywords in headings and subheadings. Keywords should be driven by the consumer. Use words they use.
- Link social media back to your website and cross-link your site to social media platforms.
- Incorporate a blog into your website structure, with feeds posted into the homepage to take the reader deeper into their relevant content.
- Claim the location/address for each branch office on Google Places, as well as other search engines, and optimize for local search results.
- Include a separate page on your website for each city in which you have a branch. This will help new visitors find your branch in the city they live.
- Establish a baseline measurement for how effective your site is performing right now. See where your site currently ranks based on the search words and phrases you’re optimizing.
- Use Google Analytics for tracking. It offers plenty of free information on how visitors use your site. This includes the number of visitors your site receives, pages visited, traffic sources, keywords used, and social media engagement.
- Review your results weekly for your top three strategies, and monthly for others. Be prepared to make adjustments quickly.
- Measure the effectiveness of any content changes you make.
- Consider hiring a content manager for your SEO needs.
- Step back and take the online experience yourself as a visitor to your site.
- Look for broken links or error pages that may prevent a visitor from clicking through to the desired page.
- Ensure your site is clean and easy to navigate. Remove old promotions regularly.
- Watch for malware on your site. Google Webmaster Tools can show if you have malware.
- Prevent malware on your site by thoroughly vetting third-party vendors that provide applications for your site. Also track keyword reports to see if unexpected words appear. And finally, make sure all your computers have anti-virus software installed.
- Consider hiring a professional who can take the analysis one step further and assist with ongoing SEO demands.
- If you don’t already, use Credit Union in your URL; or at least buy the domain containing the words in your URL, and then have it point to your site.
- Buy companion domains for your credit union, including the dot org, dot net, and dot com versions. Purchase a URL with your tagline. Point all these URLs to your main site.
- Formulate a solid link-building strategy. “Search engines consider a site popular and rank it higher if there are a high number of links coming from legitimate websites,” says Knudson. “Adding links from outside sites gives your website authority.” Knudson adds that you can have outbound links from your site as well, but if you have limited resources, focus on getting links back to your website from other legitimate sites, instead. Ask key partners, like news outlets, SEGs and benefit providers, to link to your website.
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