In a recent post, we wrote a guide to rank #1 for Mortgage Lender – giving industry tips and tricks on how to optimize Google My Business. However, the local SEO training post did not break down a full Mortgage SEO strategy beyond GMB. This post is a more comprehensive SEO plan for lenders, loan officers, and marketers. In this blog, we will break down everything you need to know about Search Engine Optimization in the mortgage industry.
What is Mortgage SEO
Mortgage SEO is the process of optimizing your mortgage website to rank organically on Google, Bing, Yahoo, and other relevant search engines. The optimization process begins with competitive research, technical SEO knowledge, search strategy, and implementation.
The mortgage industry is a mixed bag of mortgage brokers, regional lenders, and national banks. The key to a successful mortgage SEO strategy is honing in on your target audience. From there, follow their search patterns and optimize your content to find them. For loan officers and mortgage brokers, local SEO will be the most successful strategy.
Local Mortgage SEO
Local Mortgage SEO is the process of ranking for regional terms. For example, if you live in Charlotte, NC, a local mortgage SEO term would be Charlotte mortgage lenders or Charlotte loan officers. Local SEO is Google’s way of decentralizing search so smaller brands can find success.
If you are a mortgage originator looking to rank for local terms, Google My Business is your best friend. Google My Business (GMB) is Google’s premier business listing service that connects consumers with local brands. By utilizing GMB, you get access to search results, maps, and the local listing tab. To get listed on GMB, create a Gmail and verify your website, address, and phone number. This will get your listing up and running. Getting listed is half the battle and at this point, you will just be populating for your brand name – not local search terms. However, this is the first essential step to local mortgage SEO success.
Once you are listed, begin creating products and services that you offer inside your GMB. Additionally, write a long description in your dashboard, weaving in terms you want to rank for in local search results. For example, write, “Example Company is a premier mortgage lender in Example City. We offer conventional, VA, & FHA loans to qualified borrowers. In addition to our local mortgage services, we work with the top real estate agents in Example City.” The bolded phrases are important to add to your description. This will give Google accurate information about who you are and how you serve your local community.
From here, you should focus your efforts on reviews. Google views local reviews as a major source of credibility. If you look up any local service provider, the top three results will likely have high volume reviews from satisfied clients. Often, local reviews will even reference the service the was provided -further helping Google understand your business. If you have zero reviews but want to pump up your local SEO, try running a very simple review campaign on your past clients, family, and friends. From here, you can bake in a review campaign that asks borrowers for a review upon their closing. In a few months, your GMB listing will rise in the rankings for local terms.
Now that we have discussed local mortgage SEO and the power of Google My Business, let’s take a step back and break down mortgage SEO from a non-GMB standpoint. While ranking in the top 3 pack of GMB is important, many users want to look through a website and learn about the lender. For that reason alone, a well-built website is essential for search engine optimization.
There are basically two options when it comes to website development. First, you can use a website builder like LeadPops to build, host, and manage your website. Your second option is to build it yourself. Both options have advantages and disadvantages that you should consider.
If you build a website through LeadPops, you will be able to deploy the site very quickly. Additionally, the LeadPops tech team will handle all website maintenance through the duration of your contract. Also, this landing page builder does have a great local SEO presence, integrates with most tech, and has top-of-the-line lead funnels at your disposal for as little as $97 a month.
The biggest disadvantage to this website builder is ownership. While you can transfer over a custom domain, all content, code, and data is held in the LeadPops servers. This means that you will not be able to transfer over any of the content or data if you decide not to pay for the $97 a month service. However, for most, this never becomes a problem. Although, if you are considering a comprehensive website that you own, I would self-build from the start so you can control your data and content.
The first step to self-building a website is to find a domain and hosting company. I clump these two features together because most hosting companies offer a domain purchase feature as well as monthly hosting. Picking the right domain is essential to mortgage SEO.
You want to ensure it can be easily typed, has no double meanings, and applies to your brand, industry, or both. Once you have a domain in order, purchase a standard hosting package. When selecting hosting, ensure that you get an SSL certificate, no traffic or bandwidth limits, and adequate storage. You can also add on features like a custom email inbox & unlimited website builds. With this said, one of the most important features of hosting is the speed of the site. A major mortgage SEO factor is how fast your website loads on desktop and mobile. While having an email inbox is convenient, do not let it be the deciding factor. Find a hosting partner that will benefit your local SEO presence.
Once this step is complete, I recommend building your website on WordPress. This will give you full customizing power for content, design, and technical SEO. If website design is not in your wheelhouse, I recommend finding a Mortgage webmaster that can design a local mortgage website easily. When your website is live, it is time to strategically develop content that will rank in your area.
Keyword Research in Mortgage SEO
When building your SEO plan, it is important to conduct extensive keyword research. Everyone wants to rank for short-term keywords like, ‘mortgage.’ However, the key to mortgage SEO success is ranking for long-tail keywords. Long-tail keywords are longer phrases that consumers use when they are closer to a purchase. Below is a comprehensive list of long-tail phrases that spin-off of mortgage, loan officer, and broker keywords.
While these phrases are searched less, they generally convert at a higher rate. Consider the search intent for someone who types, ‘mortgage,’ into Google and someone who types, ‘FHL Lenders Near Me.’ Thousands of people search for mortgages for different reasons. Some could be looking for a definition, spelling, jobs, the list goes on. However, if someone is searching for, “FHA lender near me,” they are looking for a service provider. Furthermore, this searcher is highly educated on the process and ready to find a lender.
Mortgage SEO 101 is about relevancy. Finding the long-tail keywords that are most relevant to your business and rank for them. Google will scan your site and know if you are the most relevant website based on reviews, content, etc. Many loan officers try to rank for the most search terms. Do not fall for this trap. Find the keywords that give you a chance to win and optimize around them.
In addition to long-tail keywords, it is vital to rank for your brand name. Branded searches are like a snowball rolling down a hill. When you first create a brand, search presence is minimal. However, as you service your marketplace, run ads, and create a referral network, your brand becomes more prominent. For this reason, it is important to establish your branded SEO early. This will protect your brand from competitors as well as take advantage of low-hanging fruit.
I recommend dedicated your homepage to your brand. Create one H1 tag in your hero image and weave your brand name throughout the page. Second, ensure your meta tag title and description references the brand name. Lastly, purchase a domain that references your brand. This is the easiest and fastest way to tell Google about your brand name.
All in all, upfront keyword research will give you a long-term vision for your mortgage SEO strategy. Stick to it and rank for terms your audience is actively searching for – it’s that simple.
Yoast SEO Plug-In
A WordPress plug-in is a tool that adds new functionality to your self-hosted website. Plug-ins can allow you to work smarter, not harder. In terms of SEO plug-ins, you only really need one – Yoast. Yoast is a premier SEO plugin that conducts audits on all posts and pages to ensure your content is in line with Google’s best practices.
In addition to SEO analysis, the plugin checks readability creates cornerstone content, counts text links, and generates XML site maps. Yoast takes into account every aspect of web development that impacts SEO and alerts mortgage webmasters as they build out content. This process eliminates human error – allowing anyone the ability to build a comprehensive SEO strategy.
The easiest way to download Yoast is by maneuvering to the plugin section on your sidebar. From there, search, “yoast,” in the search bar and download/activate the plugin. Once activated, Yoast will appear on your sidebar with the rest of your plugins. Once you have the framework of your website built out, it is time to activate your search console account.
Search Console For Mortgage SEO
Google Search Console is a tool that helps you monitor traffic, performance, and detect site issues. The most important feature of Search Console is getting discovered on Google. There are millions of websites on the internet. However, not all of them are found on Google’s network. The search console is the easiest way to tell Google your site exists.
To ensure the domain your purchased belongs to you, Google will verify your website with your hosting company. This process looks different for everybody depending on where your domain lives. However, if you follow Google’s instructions, your domain will be verified shortly. Once verified, the next step is to submit your site map to Google. A sitemap is a specific URL that shows all of your URLs in a specific category. Sitemaps can be created for posts, pages, and categories. However, I recommend submitted a sitemap that shows your entire website structure.
The easiest way to find your sitemap is to navigate to the Yoast plugin. In the general section, click on the features tab. From there, enable XML sitemap in your dashboard. Once enabled, click on the hyperlink that allows you to see your sitemap. Copy the URL and drop it in the sitemap section of your search console account. Google will then send bots to scan your site and before you know it you will be listed on Google. The easiest way to check if you are on Google is to search, ” site:www.example.com ” into the search engine.
Utilizing Search Console is one of the most important ways to build a foundation for your mortgage SEO strategy. Once you have the foundation built, it is important to create consistent content that aligns with your goals.
Once you have the mortgage SEO infrastructure built, it is vital to have a constant string of content on your website. Furthermore, your content should relevant, engaging, and focused on your niche. For example, if you are a local mortgage lender based out of Charlotte, your blog posts should discuss Charlotte’s activity. Write about new developments, the best parks to frequent, and discuss the best food options in the city. Create content that homebuyers find value in.
Furthermore, if you are struggling to think of good blog ideas, put yourself in the homeowner’s shoes. If you are planning to move to a new city, think about the information you would want to know. From there, cater the content to the city you are servicing. Once you have a list of blog ideas, do some research on the blogs that are currently ranking for those terms. Read your competitor’s blogs and think about how to make them better. To get found on Google, create relevant content and ensure your posts are in line with SEO best practices. From there, have some patience and crank out as many posts as you have time for. Before you know it, your website will be ranking for mortgage terms in your local area.
At the end of the day, Mortgage SEO is a long-term strategy. However, the longer you put it off, the more ground you will have to gain from your competitors. Start today with finding a domain and slowly build towards SEO success.
If you are interested in more marketing topics, dig into the following posts:
- Yext For Loan Officers
- LeadPops Review
- Homebot Review
- Mortgage Marketing Tips
- Mortgage Marketing Trends
- Ranking #1 For Mortgage Lenders
- Realtor Relationships
- Zillow Mortgage Leads Review
- Digital Marketing Plan for Mortgage Companies
- Loan Officer Website Templates
- Loan Officer Websites
- Mortgage PPC
- Mortgage Broker Marketing Plan
- Loan Officer Marketing Tips
- Go High-Level CRM
- Loan Officer Marketing Template
- Can Loan Officers Work From Home?
- Mortgage Automation: Zapier for Loan Officers
- Consumer Direct Mortgage Marketing
- How to Market to Realtors as Loan Officers
- Mortgage Public Relations
Henry has spent the bulk of his career working for mortgage companies and marketing agencies. He uses his experience in the martech industry to guide his strategies and insights in the mortgage and real estate world. He firmly believes that marketing success in every industry boils down to a technology-centered strategy.