Picking the right keywords will make-or-break your SEO and online marketing efforts. It dictates the kinds of customers who will click on your web page. It determines what products, services, and financial brand you'll market to visitors. And it will be critical to the success of any paid display advertising campaign you choose to run. Therefore, we'd like to look at how financial marketing managers should select these ever-important words.
Planners should first start by opening an AdWords account with Google. As you may know, AdWords is the search giant's flagship advertising product, and while both Yahoo! and Microsoft offer similar programs, AdWords is still, by far, the most dominant player in the field. Better yet, you can sign up for AdWords and leverage the platform's keyword-generating capabilities all without spending money on paid advertising.
Next up is determining the relative traffic of specific keywords. Once you enter in keywords, AdWords does a great job of both providing data around keyword search traffic as well as providing alternative keyword suggestions. This phase is an important one because, after all, thousands of brands are all vying for the same finite traffic. For example, if you're a bank in Sacramento, search terms like "community bank" and "financial institution" are, of course, essentially useless. There's no differentiating elements to the keywords and furthermore, people don't inherently search for information that way.
Next up is actually selecting the keywords. AdWords will provide insight on the relative "competition" for a specific keyword. Even if you're not actually paying the service for clicked ads, this data is nonetheless useful. For example, you'll find that the "competition" for "business checking" is, quite naturally, very high. So instead streamline your keywords; try "business checking Sacramento" or "auto loans Northern California." Bottom line: the more focused the search terms, the more valuable they are (and the more the Adwords bidding costs go up.)
Lastly, think about where you want the customer to go depending on your goals. For example, let's say you're strategically placing three keywords in a 500-word financial blog post. Each of those keywords should go to a logical landing page: "auto loans for Northern California homeowners" should go to — you guessed it — a page where visitors can apply for a loan online.
While your strategy may shift depending on your goals — paid advertising versus organic link-building — this page provides some helpful (albeit slightly outdated) traffic information around common financial keywords.
Now it's your turn. Has your financial institution rolled out a search engine optimization effort or have your keyword-related efforts mostly been around link-building? Do you regularly track keyword performance and make changes where appropriate?
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