Search Engine Optimization (SEO) still sounds like a complicated and arduous technical task to some. But it really comes down to basic communication principles – skills marketers already have. Maybe it would help to put it in simpler terms.
Build a useful web site, and the world will use it.
Note that “useful” means that your web site should contain the information your members and potential members need, in a form they can understand and locate. And the information should be in text form, not hidden away in graphics.
Following are six pieces of useful information that should be on your credit union’s home page (or at least be linked from every page):
Where the heck are you?
City and state on every page please, with a prominent link to locations and hours. A surprising number of CUs are virtually impossible to locate. And many also wonder why they’re not seeing more action from search results. People looking for a specific financial product usually want to find something local. Even if your CU is named something like “Podunkville Community CU”, keep in mind that there are probably several other Podunkvilles in other states. Which Podunkville are you?
Are you open?
Make sure there’s a nice big fat link to your locations and hours on every page, as well as a link to a an after-hours contact method. If your hours are simple and consistent, put that info on every page.
How can I call or email a real live humanoid?
Put a phone number on every page. For bonus points, use an actual human being to answer that phone. And yes, please post an actual email address that gets answered ASAP by an actual human. A lot of people prefer email over using the phone. Spam filters are very, very good nowadays, so there’s little reason to hide email addresses any more.
What are your current rates?
Again, use a nice big link to rates, and consider featuring a few of the best on the home page. Make separate pages for loan and savings/certificate rates — rate-watchers love to bookmark these pages.
Got any good deals?
Everyone loves a sale. What’s “on sale” right now? And don’t hide your current promotions in elaborate dancing baloney graphics — put them in text form. Graphics are invisible to all forms of search, and these days more and more people block out anything that’s animated or looks like an ad.
What’s your routing number?
In the last few years, we’ve found that “routing number” is consistently the #1 term in “internal” searches on CU web sites. More people are setting up automated payments, and few bother to carry a checkbook. Make this as easy as possible for members — a checking account with automated payments attached is virtually bulletproof.