Competition is fierce when it comes to digital advertising for mortgage lenders. Google AdWords reports that of the top 20 most expensive keywords, #2 and #3 (loans and mortgage) belong to the mortgage lending industry, with a cost-per-click of $44.28 and $47.12 respectively. Since this is the primary acquisition channel for online lenders, they can afford to drive up the cost of pay-per-click (PPC) ads. But lenders with larger personnel and real estate costs must seek out alternative strategies to compete online. Enter, organic search.
As a mortgage lender with physical locations, you actually have an edge online — you're local. The secret to competing is to have your lending officers and branch offices show up in local, organic search.
In many cases, Google may rank local results above even the first organic results on the search engine results page (SERP). And showing up in local results is significantly less costly than paying to run ads against some of the most expensive keywords out there. All you need is the right information — and a way to ensure that information gets found.
Last year, Google revealed that local ranking can be influenced by the information in your Google My Business listing. Where your business falls in rank is based on three key factors:
- Relevance: This refers to how well a listing matches what someone is looking for. This means that you need to be tagged for the appropriate categories and location attributes on Google so that you index when individuals search for things such as ""Home loan providers New York."
- Distance: In evaluating distance, Google asks, "How far is each potential search result from the location term used in a search?" In order to be a good local search result, you need to be located nearby. You can't easily change your location, but you can make sure that search engines know where you are.
- Prominence: Prominence refers to how well-known a business is, as well information that Google has about a business from across the web (i.e. links, directories, articles, etc.) as Important factors for prominence are customer reviews and testimonials. Well-known and well-liked businesses tend to have a lot of positive reviews and if you do too, that indicates to Google that you are worth showing to users. Google is simply acknowledging what mortgage lenders have known all along — that testimonials are a key to showcasing loan officers' willingness go above and beyond to get they buyers into their homes.
Since so few mortgage lenders have reliable and consistent digital knowledge, you can take advantage of this open opportunity to increase your brand's prominence in the local results by updating and maintaining yours. And by creating listings for each brand and individual loan officer, you can push your information into the search ecosystem — without having to fork over a lot of capital for paid ads.