Whether you’re a relatively small operation or large financial institution, when it comes to your SEO strategy, search trends are something that cannot be ignored any longer. If more and more consumers are searching for something specific, like say “checking accounts,” you’re more likely to benefit in the search ranking if you’re offering that product and optimizing for it. That way, whenever a new type of search “behavior” comes along, you’re able to position yourself quicker and get in the front of the elusive search-engine line.

No matter where you look when it comes to search trends, it can’t be denied that the massive popularity of wearable technologies has had a tremendous impact, even with certain financial institutions. But, one trend that rises to the top and piquing the interest of search marketers far and wide: the “near me” phenomenon. Google Trends data shows that searches like “near me” or more specifically, “closest to me” have increased in popularity by almost 35 times since 2011.

It’s no surprise, given that in today’s fast-paced consumer world, current and potential consumers want the same level of convenience they’re able to access with so many other applications on-the-go with their smartphone. Why would you choose to go out of your way to access an ATM or branch location when one could be right around the corner?

When “near me” sparks

The “near me” search results for your branch or ATM location can depend on a couple of factors. Since “near me” implies distance, the closer your business is to a user the more likely it is to be ranked higher. However, timeliness also comes into play, especially when it comes to things like branch hours.

For example, if someone searches for a “bank branch near me,” and there are two search results, the one that is open would most likely take the top spot in the search results. Obviously, other factors come into play like holidays and weekend hours, but on the whole, ATMs and branch hours do ultimately dictate your “digital rank” among the traffic of search results. In general, helpful trumps all.

Strategies to help boost rank

With searches for items like auto loans or credit cards rising to above pre-recession levels, your financial institution could stand to benefit greatly from the right strategies. Overall, Google tends to give its users the most useful possible results. So, rather than attempting to boost ranking for as many consumer queries as possible, it’s more imperative to make sure the specific products and services you’re offering are able to rise to the top.

If you’re meeting more and more customer needs every year with things like auto loans or credit cards but they aren’t getting noticed, it’s important to make sure Google has all the information possible to make its “decision” behind the scenes on where to place your result.

Here are few things to try:

  • Make sure your landing page calls out any niche product or service
  • Improve your reputation by mining positive reviews and establishing them within SEO
  • List every product or service in detail on your main landing page
  • Include your name, hours of operation and phone number in as many directories as possible
  • Work to have your financial institution mentioned in local publications or blogs

Some tactics might seem like no-brainers but remaining relevant for the largest number of searches not only makes smart business sense, your account holders will take note and speak positively about your financial institution. In fact, searches for related terms like “customer experience” are also significantly on the rise, almost doubling since 2008.

As we’ve shown, there’s little doubt that being able to properly position your financial institution for Google’s web crawlers helps you improve the quality of your customer’s overall experience. And there are few things more valuable than that.

Want to learn more? Click here to download the white paper, “Deliver a Better Brand Experience Wherever Customers Search.”