Earning a high ranking on search engines, especially the more popular ones like Google, can feel like an impossible task. Typically, the first results to crop up are those from nationwide companies whose lead generation strategies can be difficult to compete with. This is one of the most difficult challenges that any loan officer can face on the job.
Fortunately, there is a way that you can develop strong lead generation strategies for your business that will help push your website to the top of search engine rankings: through the use of local SEO. Local SEO provides loan officers with the techniques and strategies they need to rise through the rankings and reach the clients who are closest to them.
Let’s look at what local SEO is and what tools it offers to help boost your online presence.
What is local SEO?
Local SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, is a way companies and businesses can draw in clients and customers from their own neighborhoods. With local SEO, your website is specially designed to alert those who are geographically closest to your business instead of casting a larger, less defined net across the entire internet as standard SEO programs do.
Using special vernacular and optimization techniques such as “local business” or “near me” tags on your website allows search engines like Google to filter out other websites that are farther away from the searcher, automatically boosting your site much higher up on the results page. In fact, if you use these terms, Google prioritizes your business as a search result because it will be more significant to the searcher.
Local SEO strategies for generating leads
1. Google My Business
Google My Business, or GMB, is a tool from Google that allows business owners like you to develop a stronger online presence for your business. Most businesses with any kind of online presence have business profiles that list the most basic information about your company on Google. This profile can exist independently from any effort on your part, as Google can pull information about your business from anywhere on the web.
To help owners control the information shared about their business and how it is presented online, Google created GMB. Through GBM, business owners are granted the unique ability to customize and manage their business profiles. After all, these profiles are usually the first thing any customer will see when researching mortgage companies–not necessarily your website.
In light of this, you can see how incredibly important it is to make sure that the information presented in your profile is that which puts your office’s best food forward.
Creating a Google My Business listing
Google My Business listings are relatively easy to create. All you need to do is follow these simple steps:
- Create a Google Account or log in to an existing account that you intend to use for your business.
- Visit google.com/business and click “Start Now.”
- Input all the requested information including your business’ name and its address.
- Select an appropriate business category–the more accurate you are in selecting this category, the better Google’s lead generation will be for you.
- Add your business’s phone number and website information.
- Verify your business.
Verifying your Google My Business listing
To verify your business by postcard, select postcard verification, input a contact name, and select “Mail.” Within five business days, the postcard will reach you. Once it arrives, log into your GMB account and select “Verify Now.” A box will appear requesting the 5-digit verification code found on your postcard. Input the number, and submit.
Note: If you changed any information about the business on your listing before the postcard comes, the process may be delayed.
Select businesses may verify by phone. To do so, log into your GMB account and select “Verify By Phone.” A verification code will be texted to your device. Input the number and submit.
Log into your GMB account and select “Verify By Email,” Once an email from GMB appears in your account, open it and click the verification button therein.
- Instant Verification
Those who have verified their business with Google Search Console may be eligible for instant verification. To do this, log in to your GMB account using the same name you used for Google Search Console. You should receive an automatic verification.
2. Manage customer reviews
Managing customer reviews is one of the best ways to actively encourage customer interaction with your company online. One of the easiest ways to do this is by taking the time to respond to any current reviews left for you. Doing so proves to customers that you value their input enough to take the time to respond. It also encourages others to comment as well when they see how interactive you are.
Responding to comments isn’t limited to positive reviews, though. You should also take time to write professional, kind comments on negative reviews that reflect your willingness to consider the customer’s dissatisfaction.
3. Optimize website for local SEO
Make sure that whatever content you are producing is of value to your readers, watchers, and potential clients. No one wants to have their time wasted. So, when people read information and take nothing away, they may be left with a negative impression of your business.
To combat this, take the time to ensure you are creating unique content that will appeal to readers. And don’t be afraid to mix mediums with textual content, images, infographics, videos, or whatever else you come up with.
4. Use social media strategy
As of April 2021, Statista reports that a staggering 82% of Americans use social media equalling more than 223 million people. Now, more than ever, a social media presence is becoming vital for the success of businesses, and there are many different tools and strategies you can use to ensure your online presence is noticed.
One of the best ways to get potential client interest is by featuring existing or previous client testimonials. These show new and potential clients that your business is helpful, professional, and trustworthy.
Other strategies and tools that may be used include:
- Diversify content types
- Post interesting or little-known facts related to your business
- Answer any comments left to you to develop interaction
- Post on a schedule
Citations are another invaluable tool for your business. They are a collection of other websites related to or feature content related to your mortgage business with the same NAP, name, address, and phone. Google measures your NAP’s presence across many websites to show that you are who you say you are.
Websites that commonly cite businesses and their NAPs include Yelp, Superpages, Yellowpages, and Facebook.
Checking your local SEO
SEO 3-packs are another tool you can use to optimize your ranking on Google. The 3-pack, or local pack, is a listing of the top three businesses that pop up on Google when searchers enter specific keywords like “local,” “near me,” or “near [location].”
These three listings are usually the only ones most people bother to look at even though other businesses are listed under “More Places.” It’s essential that your business makes it to this list so that you can generate more leads and traffic on your site and earn more business from these new clients.
Local SEO is an invaluable tool that can really change your business’s online success. By developing your Google My Business account and tailoring information about your business, you are much more in control of your ranking.
And, if you further optimize your site properly with the right keywords, social media engagement, and citations geared towards engaging a local audience, your presence will undoubtedly increase.
To learn more about how you can market your business locally, contact Good Vibe Squad today.