How to Improve your Mortgage Website’s Online Ranking
Do you ever search for anything on the Internet and look past the first few pages of search results – or even the first few entries? We suspect it’s not very often, and your potential customers probably don’t go past the first few entries either.
If your mortgage business has a website (and it should), try an experiment. Search online using general terms such as “mortgage loans” without entering the name of your business. Does your business show up anywhere near the top of the list? If you are falling short in search engine results page (SERP) standings, it’s time to find out why.
Good Title Tags, Local Keywords
Title tags (the text that appears as a title at the top of your browser page) are one of the most crucial factors. You may show up at the top of the search list, but it won’t matter if your title tag and your corresponding meta description (the text under the title tag in the search results) don’t grab the searcher’s attention.
Title tags and meta descriptions are limited to a certain number of characters. It’s important to choose your words wisely. Focus on keywords that define your business, such as geographical area and market niche or specialty. Use attractive modifiers such as “affordable” and “expert” – assuming they apply.
The best course of action is to insert popular search terms in the title tags. At the same time, you want to make sure that these terms appear in the content of the actual page. For example, if your page is about “mortgage rates in Southern California,” then you should insert popular search terms relevant to “mortgage rates” (including “mortgage rate” and “mortgage rates” itself), as well as “Southern California” and even “Los Angeles” or “San Diego” in the title tag.
Don’t worry if the title tag doesn’t read well. The goal is inserting relevant search terms and terms relevant to your page in the title tag to boost your SEO ranking. However, like other SEO elements, Google is wary of “keyword stuffing.” Therefore, make sure your title tags are cohesive, and keep them relatively short.
In terms of meta descriptions, many search engines do not assign SEO value to these descriptions – or so they say. Regardless, it is important to include relevant search terms in these as well. Like the title tag, this is what people will see to describe your page, in the SERPs.
Focus on Content
When it comes to SEO, “content is king.” Search engines like Google will want to provide the most relevant content to people searching on their search engines. They will never want to sacrifice quality, as it would endanger their business. Therefore, search engines will reward sites with content that is most relevant to people’s search queries.
At one time, simple repetition of keywords and phrases were enough to fool search engines. Those days are long gone. Search engines are far more sophisticated in determining rankings through assessing the content of your web pages.
Your website pages should contain meaningful content with targeted keywords that accurately describe what you do and the services you provide. Don’t forget the obvious – company name, address, phone number, NMLS#, and other necessary contact information.
Your content should match the content in your title, headlines and descriptions. Look at it from the perspective of “What are people searching for?” and create pages and content that best answers these questions. Therefore, when someone actually asks that question online, it will increase the potential that Google will serve your page.
At the same time, Google rewards frequently updated and new content. Again, it wants to stay relevant and increase its search market share. Therefore, it will reward sites that continuously produce content – of high quality. Try to produce new pieces of content regularly.
Links, Citations, and Reviews
Google is heavily focused on reputation. Therefore, it rewards sites that have inbound links (links leading into a site like yours) from reputable sites on the internet. An excellent way to improve your traffic and SERP results is to interact with other sites in your field that can link back to your site. Claiming space on industry sites such as Trulia, Zillow, and Realtor.com, as well as broader sites like Yelp and Angie’s List, can boost your results and provide helpful reviews – although you should keep an eye on reviews to make sure they are positive. So, don’t be afraid to reach out to reputable sites to offer them your content free of charge, with the hope that they will link back to your site.
Know the Lingo and the Trends
Trends in SEO change frequently as Google and other search engines refine their methods to give customers a better searching experience. So, the formulas search engines use to rank websites today won’t necessarily be the same in a few months. While this piece covers basic SEO issues, you could benefit from some research to understand fully how to improve your SERP results. Plenty of resources are available online to help you comprehend the confusing acronyms and avoid outdated advice.
If you maintain your own website, it’s critical that you stay current in the field. If somebody else maintains it for you, you can have a meaningful discussion with your provider on how to improve your results without being snowed under by SEO jargon. Either way, you come out ahead with higher visibility and a greater base of potential customers.