In an earlier blog, we explained how premium content was one of the keys to successful SEO. High-quality content starts with understanding what key terms or phrases will drive up your search engine result page (SERP) rankings. In this article, we’re going to discuss how you can use keywords to boost your SEO to help your bank find the right customers.

Finding keywords is all about quality, not quantity. You want to avoid keyword stuffing, which can hurt your SEO and SERP rankings. In fact, keyword stuffing is against Google’s webmaster guidelines. If Google’s algorithm suspects your bank website is misusing keywords, your website will be penalized, resulting in a drop in SERP rankings or even being removed entirely from search results.

To find the best SEO keywords to plug into your bank website, you must first gain an understanding of your customers’ behavior. A study conducted by Bernard Jansen and Danielle Booth of the College of Information  Sciences and Technology at The Pennsylvania State University classifies user intent into three categories: informational, transactional, and brand queries.

Knowing what type of information they’re searching for, where they are in the buying cycle (awareness, consideration, purchase, and after-sale), and how much they know about your bank will help you determine the best words and phrases to drive them to your website.

  1. Navigational/Brand Queries
  2. Informational Queries
  3. Transactional Queries
  4. Final Words


Navigational/Brand Queries

Navigational queries involve searches where the user knows the business name, and he or she is mainly looking for a specific page or URL. The Penn State study found that 51.9 percent of online searches in the business category were navigational or brand queries. Furthermore, according to Advanced Web Rankings, branded searches had a clickthrough rate (CTR) that was 37 percent higher than unbranded searches based on Google organic CTR history.

With navigational searches, the user includes your bank name or the specific name of one of your products or services in the query. You can get ideas for branded key phrases by typing the name of your bank or products into a search engine search box and look at the suggestions that auto-populate. If you select one of the suggested phrases, you can scroll down and get additional ideas from the list of related searches provided at the bottom of the results page.


Informational Queries

With informational queries, the user is looking for an answer, advice, or instructions. The Penn State study discovered that 47.4 percent of business-related searches are informational.

Examples of an informational search might be “How do I apply for a mortgage?” or “What is the difference between a money market account and a checking account?” With this type of search, the user is looking for general information and may or may not be familiar with your bank.

For bank SEO that will achieve high rankings in an informational query, use keywords that are broad enough to capture the essence of the search but that also focus on a specific selling feature of your bank products or services. For instance, rather than using the single keyword, “loans,” use key phrases like “home loans” or home loan refinancing.


Transactional Queries

The Penn State study reported that transactional queries account for only 0.7 percent of searches in the business category. With these types of searches, the user is ready to act and complete a sale. You can think of this type of search as comparison shopping online.

Whereas an informational query might be “How is interest calculated with a CD?”, a transactional search would be “24-month CD interest rates.” The beauty of this type of search is that it allows you to base SEO on specific products or services your bank offers.


Final Words

Considering where your website users are in the purchase cycle will help you develop effective bank SEO to attract new customers and retain loyal ones. By covering all the bases of branded, informational, and transaction queries, you can achieve the high SERP rankings that will keep your bank website top of the page as well as top of mind.

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