25 Oct 2022  /  by:

The Agency

Why Search Engine Optimization Matters + 5 SEO tips for Credit Unions

With an ever-increasing competitive landscape for attracting new members, getting your credit union to rank well on a Search Engine Results page (SERP) is one of the most economical and efficient ways of having potential customers find your website and choose to bank with you.

When you realize that companies spend thousands of dollars each month on advertising, it helps to know there’s a free service available that almost every consumer uses, is effective and established as an industry authority for giving trusted and verified results. Google’s search engine is ranked as one of the best and easily most popular in the world so, naturally, it makes sense to take advantage of all that Google has to offer. Better Search Engine Optimization (SEO) means higher page rankings – and the better you rank on a results page, the more likely a viewer is to see your page information, click through to your site, and convert from a potential member to an actual member.

With the importance placed on SEO and its significant business advantages, we wanted to share 5 key strategies we use at The Agency to help our clients’ Forge sites rank higher in search results:

1. Adding page titles and descriptions

Each page you have on your website is a unique chance to attract a new member to your financial institution. So having clear page titles and descriptions for each page is one of the keys to a solid SEO framework. These titles and descriptions are picked up by Google’s search algorithms and used to display the information on a viewer’s results page.

Here are a few tips to help you optimize this SEO opportunity:

  • Keep titles unique and relevant to the content, for example: ‘Our Chequing Accounts | Credit Union name here’. These words are one of the cornerstones of Keyword searches, so make sure you have the most important words to describe your page summarized here.
  • Keep the title to less than 60 characters if you want it all to be visible. Using more characters is fine, but Google will truncate the end with a ‘…’
  • Similarly, keep the description to less than 160 characters if you want it all to be visible too. Again, more is fine but Google will cut the end of the description off if it goes over this character limit.
2. Encouraging backlinks to your website

The backlink is one of the most important SEO tools you can use to increase your credit union’s rankings for search terms. Simply put, a backlink is when another company or organization adds a link on their website, pointing to your site. Google tracks these links and where they go back to and uses it as a measure of how popular your pages are. More backlinks usually means better quality information, which increases your Domain Authority, and in turn increases your SEO rankings.

So, if you have community sponsors, local business that you support or other community events you help out with, be sure to ask them to add your website link to their page. Not only will it help promote your financial institution, it’ll also ensure you gain those precious backlinks.

Google makes it easy to monitor your backlinks as well, using their Google Search Console platform.

3. Creating a Google Business Listing

The Google Business Listing is a good way to help with SEO when it comes to local search results. Adding it can be done through the Google Business Profile platform, and usually requires some authentication since Google likes to know that you do actually own the business you are claiming. Signing up for the service is easy and comes with some great SEO benefits.

Having your business listing makes it easier for people to find your branch locations and hours of operation. It also helps you to be found more easily on Google’s popular Maps platform and mobile app. These results are great for customer service, show members you care about your physical presence and are an easy way to get a quick boost on your SEO rankings, especially in local results when users are searching within specific locations.

4. Boosting site page speed

Having a fast-loading site is becoming increasingly important, since waiting for a webpage to load is now seen as a poor user experience. When giving search results to users, Google wants to ensure that they get to the best content possible in the quickest amount of time and having a website that loads quickly proves that you are serious about speed! Fast loading site are rewarded, and slow loading sites are penalized by the Google search algorithm, so ensuring that your site loads quickly helps you with precious SEO gains. How much of a gain you get from Google is a mystery, but the benefits are clear – faster is better!

Optimizing a website for quick loading can be a bit of a journey, especially when you start dealing with servers, memory, bandwidth, content delivery networks and caching. Leveraging decades of experience, our Agency experts can help you delve into this complex world and provide tailored recommendations to you. But one of the easiest areas to start with is typically basic image optimization – making sure your images are uploaded at the right size and optimized properly for the web. This can shave megabytes of bandwidth off each page and is a great first step in getting some serious speed gains. Google’s Search Console also has some great tools to measure and manage site speed, along with Google’s dedicated page speed insights site.

5. Tracking via Google Analytics

Our last tip for SEO isn’t to do with actual optimization but is still crucial for your overall SEO strategy. Keeping track of your site traffic and where prospective clients are coming from will give you a much clearer idea of how your SEO updates are helping drive traffic to your site. A Google Analytics account is one of the best ways to track and log data on traffic to your site, where customers are coming from and what they are doing.

Creating a Google Analytics account is again relatively straightforward. There is a bit of a steep learning curve, however, when it comes to some of the more advanced features, like setting up tags to properly track events – something our Agency team can help you with. And the rewards are well worth it, as the insights gained from this will help to give you an accurate measurement of traffic to your site, the effectiveness of your social marketing campaigns and how your website Search Engine Optimization is helping to drive important new potential members to your website.

So, as you can see, SEO is a powerful tool for member acquisition. We’re just scratching the surface of the many ways you can boost your Search Engine Optimization and ensure more potential members discover your credit union. If you’re unsure where to begin, need support or have questions, our team at The Agency has the expertise and experience to help you implement all these tips and more to get you ranking where you need to be – at the top!

Want to learn more? Let’s chat! We’d be happy to discuss how the Agency can help you harness the power of Search Engine Optimization for your credit union. Get in touch.

About The Agency at Central 1

The Agency is the only full-service marketing agency of its kind – embedded in the credit union system and solely dedicated to unlocking greater member growth and engagement. Our in-house research professionals, marketers, project managers, strategists, creatives, and writers have decades of experience conducting research and consulting for Canadian financial institutions and credit unions.