Making sure your website is fully optimized to attract organic and local search traffic is crucial for your mortgage business. With the dominance of web searches from a mobile device, it has never become more important to make sure you have your local SEO set up correctly and optimize it frequently as algorithms change and mobile search progresses.
With that in mind, we’ve put together a step by step guide you can use to optimize your local SEO, ensuring you turn up in the most searches possible, helping you grow your mortgage business.
New to Local SEO? See our full guide on getting your mortgage business started with Local SEO here.
Where To Begin
When you first start planning how to take on your local SEO strategy, you need to focus on two main areas. You want to focus on on-site SEO and off-site SEO.
On-site SEO is basically everything related to SEO that happens on your actual mortgage website. This includes things like keyword use, page content and making sure the page is designed with mobile-first layout in mind.
Off-site SEO is exactly what it sounds like. This means taking care of things that impact local SEO that does not exist on your website. For instance, the number of backlinks you have to your website, the number of online reviews you receive, how many online citations you create and how well you’ve filled out and optimized your Google My Business profile.
Here are some optimization tips to follow to optimize local SEO for your mortgage business:
Local SEO Optimization Best Practices
If your mortgage brokerage’s website doesn’t move up the ranks to get into the local pack, your local SEO efforts are failing. To get into the local pack, you need to follow SEO best practices.
Use your keyword search platform to come up with a keyword strategy. The trick is you want ⅓ of your target keywords to be high traffic (difficult to rank for) keywords, ⅓ to be mid-range (easier to rank for keywords), and ⅓ brand/trademark related keywords (to build your corporate footprint).
You can see our full article on the Best Local SEO Software for Mortgage Businesses here.
Think of this keyword research as your road map for the rest of your local SEO efforts. For instance, it’s a local SEO best practice to create educational, value-added blog content for your audience. When you do so, you’ll want to naturally work some of these keywords into the content, ensuring that over time you will start to move up the ranks for these particular keywords.
After you’ve created the content, you have to make sure your metadata is set up correctly. Metadata is comprised of a unique page title, a 160 character description of what the page is about and keywords that are related to the content on the page.
Lastly, use a tool like Google Webmaster tools to regularly monitor your site’s pages. Ensure there are no “under the hood” issues that will prevent you from performing better on local search.
Review Your Local Business Schema
Schema is a very rarely used on-site SEO tool that can greatly help you with your local SEO. While Google is really good at recognizing search intent (e.g. you no longer have to do searches with terms like, “mortgage brokers near me”), there are still little things you can do to help you with your local SEO rankings.
Schema markup is a piece of code in your metadata that tells search engines what a particular piece of content is and how it relates to other content on the page and the overall page itself.
Use schema to help Google understand facts about your mortgage business more easily. For instance, you can use schema markup tags to note your brokerage as a local business. This will help Google generate your listing in local SEO results with particular content (such as a past client review) in a knowledge graph.
Look At Your Mortgage Company’s Mobile Page Load Speeds
The speed in which your mortgage brokerage’s website loads is a critical factor to your Local SEO optimization since Google has changed its algorithm to consider mobile page load speed. Because of this, it is very important to test your website to make sure your pages are light and loading as quickly as possible on mobile devices. The faster your website’s pages load on mobile devices, the more you will move up through local SEO rankings.
Conversely, slow load speed will mean your site is going to start slipping down local SEO rankings.
If your site suffers from slow page load speed, there are a couple of easy steps you can take to speed up the page load speed. First off, make sure to go through and compress all the images on your website. Small images load faster. Secondly, use AMP for content to increase page load speed as well.
Your Website HAS TO Be Mobile Responsive
Google has switched all their indexing to mobile-first. The logic behind this is most users these days are performing searches from mobile devices. Because of this, a mobile responsive website is critical to your brokerage’s local search rankings.
The key goal here is to make sure that if a person searches for a mortgage brokerage from their mobile device and clicks on a link to your site, you need to make sure they get the same content and the same quality experience they would get if they were searching your website on a desktop computer.
Google has a great Mobile-Friendly Test tool that will help you find any red flags that you need to worry about.
Optimize your Google My Business Listing(s)
We’ve covered setting up your Google My Business listings for your mortgage company in past articles. As we’ve mentioned, it is very important that you update your listing frequently, checking for any out of date information, adding additional content and information and responding to reviews (good and bad), as they come in. These are all factors that help move your local SEO rankings up the rankings into the coveted local pack.
Focus On Citation Building
Citation building is also a very important part of building your local SEO rankings. A citation is any mention of your business online. Most citations include your mortgage brokerage name, address and phone number. Google puts a preference on citations because they help web searchers find your business.
The best practice here is to make sure your mortgage brokerage is listed on a range of websites. Choose some general sites (e.g. Yelp and Bing), and also some Industry Specific sites (e.g. Zillow or Trulia) to set up citations and you’ll see your local SEO rankings improve.
You can check out this full article by Moz on where to get citations
Build Links Back To Your Mortgage Brokerage Website
One very important task that you need to consider is building backlinks to your mortgage company’s website. A backlink occurs when a website links back to a page or piece of content on your website. The bigger and more authoritative Google considers the site that linked back to your website, the more valuable the backlink.
Now it’s obviously very difficult to get backlinks from a website like the Wall Street Journal, for instance, but just because that may be the case, don’t give up on backlinks. For local SEO, having links back to your brokerage’s website from a local television news station, for instance, is also a backlink that will greatly help your local SEO rankings.
The trick to getting local backlinks is simply to become socially engaged with local thought leaders that have websites that would be good options for you on this front. You can offer to give a local news station, for instance, a free, regular “state of the market” Real Estate and Mortgage report that they can use for their site followers. You could sponsor a local event, youth sports team or even host a local home buying class at your community center (they’ll usually post about it on their website). All these activities will help build backlinks and ultimately help you increase your local SEO rankings.
Diligence And Persistence Wins When It Comes To Your Mortgage Company’s Local SEO Efforts
At the end of the day, there is no magic bullet to optimizing your mortgage company’s local SEO efforts. If you use the steps in this guide consistently and diligently though, you will see your local SEO rankings start to increase and you will see your brokerage listed in the coveted local pack before you know it.