What is Local Search, and Why Should it Matter to Lenders?

Did you know that to Google or Bing, your mortgage lending business is considered a “local business”? And in this context, local meaning is within a reasonable driving distance.

Most mortgage lenders consider their business as broad as their license but remember that Google and Bing don’t care about the license. It cares about the person searching, so you are bound by the radius of your business address. So your address is going to determine what calls you get from Google. So you should choose where you position your office!

Every small or multi-location mortgage lender can use these local SEO strategies to grow its business. We’ll explain what local search optimization is and why Lender Success can help improve the prominence of your website.

What is Local SEO Marketing?

Local SEO is a highly efficient strategy to show up in local search results, especially in the Google 3-pack; when someone conducts a “mortgage lender near me” search, you want to secure one of those coveted three spots. You’ll have to prove that your company and its website is trustworthy.

Local SEO is a way to let Google know in a hyper-local context where you do business.

Yes, your business is in West Los Angeles, but until you tell Google that you do business in Marina Del Rey, Santa Monica, and Brentwood, you won’t attract local customers in those cities.

You’ll notice different elements from traditional organic search results, such as opening times, review ratings, and photos. These are not being pulled from your website; they exist on your Google My Business profile or GMB, a business listing page like Yelp. You will want to get yours set up correctly and optimized because it can provide some valuable benefits to anyone looking to do business in your market. Your profile can contain images, contact details, business descriptions, and business categories; you should always keep your GMB up-to-date and accurate.

DID YOU KNOW, according to Google, 46% of searches have local intent.   

Searches can happen on:

  • The Google app
  • Web browsers like Chrome
  • Google Maps
  • Google Home voice search
  • Google Assistant voice search

If someone is looking for a mortgage lender in their area, they typically use a location or “near me,” but to be honest, it’s not even needed if searches begin on Google Maps or if Google thinks it’s local search intent.

Search engines have the intelligence to understand that when the searcher types this in a query, they are looking for a list of businesses, and that’s what it shows them. Unfortunately, these local search results are different from traditional search results and should not be ignored as a part of your overall SEO strategy for success.

Google Knowledge Graph

This box on the upper-right-hand side of the page is for Branded searches when someone types in your company business name.

Google also loves UGC  – User Generated Content.

As Google continues to get more sophisticated, it doesn’t want to rely solely on the information you provide.

Google provides a diverse collection of details about your business to help the searcher answer the questions they may have about loan programs or mortgage lenders themselves or help them decide to do business with you specifically.

People can “follow” your services on Google, and you can promote your latest services or offer directly through Google Maps and the Knowledge Graph.

Google Q&A allows consumers to ask each other questions about your business on your GMB profile.

Google Reviews – this is probably the most important of these features; getting your clients to leave you positive reviews on your GMB profile helps possible future clients make decisions about doing business with you before they contact you. Unfortunately, most people won’t do business with someone if they have some bad reviews and, even worse, if they have no reviews.

This is an example of what is known as a “citation.”

What are Citations?

A citation is any place where your business’s (Name, Address, Phone Number, and Website URL) or NAPW information appears online, usually in an online directory or business listings website.

It’s essential to have these adequately set up for local SEO, you don’t want your competitors to show up in places your potential clients are looking for, and you aren’t there! You’re going to miss lots of business this way and get surpassed as the leader in your market.

There are two types of citations: structured and unstructured. Unstructured citations appear when there are press and social media mentions about your business and where your NAPW information is visible and connected on a webpage, possibly on a press release or a story about your mortgage company, but not in a structured format. Structured citations usually appear in business listings and derive from details filled in on a form.

If you want to rank locally but don’t have citations, you aren’t even in the game for local SEO; it’s a foundation for being found in all the places your potential borrowers are looking for your services.

Once you get your citations set up, you need to keep them up-to-date and provide fresh details because false, incorrect, or inconsistent information may end up in these online directories without your placing it there, and if your potential clients see the irregularities, this alone could cause them to never contact you at all!

  • 93% of consumers say they are frustrated by incorrect information they read on online directories.
  • 80% of consumers lose trust in local businesses if they see incorrect or inconsistent contact or business names online.
  • If they find an inaccurate directory listing, the consumer often blames the business instead of the directory!
  • 68% said they’d give up looking for a business if they found incorrect info on directories

Don’t risk losing customers because your company and contact details are incorrect. Don’t allow the directories to fill in the details themselves and present inaccurate details about your business.

What are the main local SEO services?

The requirements of the search engines are always changing, so tactics are constantly being discontinued, new best practices are being realized daily, and using an agency that focuses on these key things to achieve success for mortgage lenders specifically.

Localize your website and include your city, county, or community name naturally throughout your site. If you have multiple locations, you will have to send signals to Google for each different market. You could take advantage of our virtual-office market-expansion service. We locate and secure the best virtual office locations for Google exposure based on research on your markets.

Make sure that you search for and identify proper and popular directories and destinations that can feature your company name, address, phone number, and website URL (NAPW), by adding these to as many relevant directory sites, you’ll increase your search rankings.

Claim your Google My Business listing and its Microsoft equivalent – Bing Places for Business, and complete those profiles to begin showing your website to potential borrowers.

Managing reviews is fundamental because they highlight your business and signal search engines that you and your website are trustworthy. When you receive a negative review, you need a process to mediate the review and find out how to take care of the issue that caused the negative review and work on changing the attitude of the reviewer and diverting the bad review into a good review, this, of course, requires outreach and management.

When you close a loan, you want to immediately request a review of their experience; using this information can certainly improve your business’s reputation.

Getting quality relevant backlinks from reputable, high-authority websites like media websites, news sites, relevant blogs, and citations are included in that list.

Local Search Marketing is very targeted and has the highest conversion rates of all local advertising channels; the online directories like Yelp displays your business name, address, phone number, and sometimes business description. The local directories dominate the first page of the local search page results; this is called local directory marketing (a major local SEO strategy) and has a higher conversion rate, up to 50% on some directories, so having your information displayed correctly is high-stakes, it’s equivalent to opportunities missed and chances to close loans lost to your competitors.

Since reviews can dramatically affect a company’s online reputation and positive reviews make 91% of consumers more likely to use a business. You’ll eventually push the negative reviews down by continually posting positive reviews.

Most people don’t realize that potential borrowers rely on the Internet for information about your business. Your potential customers will have to choose someone else if you’re not found.

Contact us for a complimentary consultation and audit. Our Google 3-Pak Foundations Kit is the perfect service to gain authority in your market area(s).