Your credit union competes for more than the best rates on mortgages and auto loans. You also compete for visibility on the internet. That is, on Google’s (or Bing’s) search engine results pages.
If you’re on the first page for a given query—or in the top 3 results—you’re doing well. If you’re not, you effectively don’t exist.
But today, you compete with other credit unions, banks, and fintechs. Most or all of them put a lot of effort into marketing…
Especially content marketing.
What Is SEO for Credit Unions?
Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, is the strategy of improving the quantity and quality of visitors to your website. There are several ways to do this, including:
- Speeding up your website,
- Making things easier to find, and
- Posting useful information.
The last one is the most important for SEO. People need a reason to visit your website. Maybe it’s financial advice, or maybe it’s a financial calculator.
Whatever content you post, it must be valuable to current or prospective members. It must be worth reading for them.
Moreover, that content must be optimized for search engines as well as for people. SEO content for credit unions is characterized by some of the following:
- Minimum length (usually ~350 words);
- Repeated inclusion of keywords (such as “mortgage rates” or “used car loans”); and
- Calls to action (i.e. links to additional information, links to loan applications, etc.)
Your credit union may have the best rates around. Yet, if you’re stuck on the second page of search engine results, nobody will know it. Using content marketing and SEO optimization will help you get seen.
SEO Optimization Has Changed
The world of content marketing changes quickly. Back in the “old days,” SEO was easy. You could stuff a bunch of keywords into a short article and watch it land on the first page of Google. Now, there are hundreds of factors that affect visibility.
Some people will tell you that they know the perfect trick to inbound marketing and SEO. They might tell you it’s having the right keywords or a longer article. Sure, those help. They might also tell you it’s all about backlinks, or about including enough images or other media. Or maybe it’s about website performance. Or it’s about page and site traffic.
It’s all of the above.
And it’s enough to make almost anyone tear their hair out trying to learn what to do. Credit union SEO and content marketing isn’t for the faint of heart, that’s for sure.
The Four Cs of Credit Union Content Marketing
Some things haven’t changed, and content is still king. But that’s not to say that any content is good—it’s not. It has to be relevant, useful, informative content.
And it has to use the right keywords.
All other credit union SEO tips aren’t worth a thing if without good keywords. Sure, you might rank for something. But will you rank for the right thing? Unlikely.
Fortunately, our four Cs of content will help you create better SEO keywords.
Fintechs, banks, and other credit unions offer the same products. So, they’ll use the same basic product keywords that you do. If you’re not sure which keywords those are, start here.
For example, if you’re marketing your new low home loan rates, you might consider developing content for “mortgage” or “mortgages.”
Don’t stop there, though. Your members might not use the term “mortgages.” Use common synonyms such as “home loan” to increase your visibility further.
“Short tail” keywords like “mortgage” are broad and will compete with dictionaries, national providers, and Wikipedia. Adding a longer “tail” to your keyword will help you show up to your target audience.
Think about who the customer is and what they want. In this case, “customer” means “member.” Sorry.
Are they time-home buyers? Are they low income? Upsizing? Are they retirement age, or are they Millennials?
Instead of writing about “mortgages,” you might try “first time mortgages.”
Think about what your credit union can provide that others can’t. Can you approve mortgages faster than anyone else? Are your rates lower? Sometimes, even a generic adjective like “best” will do the trick if it uses common search terminology.
Continue differentiating your content through this kind of customization. “Best first time mortgages” ensures you won’t have to compete against dictionaries and encyclopedias.
Another financial institution might have better mortgage rates than you, but that won’t help your member if they’re halfway across the country. Your location is a key differentiator.
Your members will get their mortgage wherever it’s most convenient, and often, that means locally. Add in language that indicates your city, region, state, or community. For example, “best first time mortgages in Oregon” will get noticed by better qualified prospective home buyers nearby.
As a bonus, if you add your location, Google understands that when people add “near me” to the end of their searches!
Creating Good Content for Marketing
The four Cs of credit union content marketing are a great first step toward SEO for credit unions. But that’s just the beginning. Following the four Cs will help you target eligible prospects by turning “short tail” keywords into “long tail” keywords.
But you still have to create the content. And your content has to deliver on its promise. If your readers want to see the “best first time mortgages in Oregon,” then you need to feature exactly that.
There’s a lot to keep track of in SEO optimization:
- Additional media
- Page and site views
- Article length
- Site speed and safety
And those are just the big ones. There’s a staggering amount to keep track of. Just remember:
Your content should be high quality. It should answer any pertinent questions. It should be honest, trustworthy, and transparent. It should assist your target audience with their needs.
Your content should not deceive them. If your content is misleading, people will catch on fast, and they’ll be angry about it. You don’t want that kind of publicity about a product or service that you’re trying to market.
Additional Resources for Credit Union Content Marketing
Content marketing works. It works well. But if you’re just starting out, it can be daunting. Content strategies are complicated, living things.
Sharing content daily can ensure high visibility and engagement. However, creating consistent, useful content is a big job. Here are a few good options for producing content:
- Put someone in charge of content;
- Have them use blogs, video, infographics, and interactive tools;
- Be patient!
Content can take months to be fully effective, but it can remain effective for years. (We first wrote this blog 4 years ago. This is our third edit of it.)
Remember to distribute your content across as many channels as possible: email, social media, your banking app… Part of SEO optimization is making sure your content gets seen!
SEO optimization for credit unions will provide value to your credit union, but more importantly, it’ll provide value to your members. You’re writing for them, not just for yourself.
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