When we build a website for a credit union, one of the most requested components is Search Engine Optimization. Can you get me to the top of searches on Google? How can I get ranked for a certain keyword?
I’m glad you’re reading this, because I’m about to share with you the Number One way to improve your search rankings, no matter the keyword: provide fresh, quality content to your visitors, in a way that’s easy to find and understand.
That’s it. Really.
Sure, there was a time when Google rewarded sites based on the frequency of popular keywords, stuffed metatag descriptions and the number of inbound links to the site. But it’s no secret that Google has refined their search algorithms time and time again, to always provide the most recent and relevant information to its users.
When you remember that search engines exist to serve the end user, not the websites that show up in their searches, it all makes sense. Google’s success rests in their ability to provide the most relevant links to what the user requested, not the sites that employed the best SEO tactics, which is most likely the reason Google stopped providing data for keyword rankings in 2013. There were a lot of website companies upset about this game changer, probably because they made promises to their clients based on copy full of high-ranking keyword strategies and other “tactics.”
Quality vs. Quantity
We’ve always taken the approach that if you design your website with the user in mind, you’ll attract the RIGHT kind of traffic, as opposed to just a lot of traffic. When you provide quality, authoritative content, you’ll show up in the right searches - for those who are looking for exactly what you provide. What good is it for your credit union to have tons of visitors to your site - that won’t stick around to read your stuff?
This is called a Bounce Rate - the percentage of visits to your website that leave without going to another page on your site. Google considers this an indicator of a poorly designed website, and can penalize you for this. Keep in mind though, this is just one of many factors (including Dwell Time and Click-Through-Rates) that can determine your search rankings.
If You Build it (Right), They Will Come
So, back to improving your website’s search engine rankings. Although there’s no shortcut to SEO, there are definitely best practices to follow. Take a look at your current site: is the information well-organized and current? Is there a stream of fresh content being added regularly? Are your images optimized with keywords? Is it clear in your copy who (and where) you serve?
There will always be the next “big thing” in SEO, a workaround promising more traffic to your site. But Google's algorithms will always be a step ahead of the marketers trying to game them. Our advice – don’t play the game. Design a site that your members and visitors find useful, and you’ll be just fine.
Did you know: Search engines not only crawl the copy on your webpage, they also search for keywords within your image file names? If most of your images are named something like cuimage001.jpg, you’d be much better off renaming it something more like VisaCardABCcu.jpg.