The Complete Mortgage Broker SEO Guide

A step-by-step guide on how to configure your website, boost organic traffic, and generate more leads with search engine optimization.

mortgage broker seo

SEO should be a critical component of every Mortgage Brokers digital marketing budget.

Essentially, if you aren’t online, customers looking for professional advice, information, and pre-approvals have no way of finding you. 

There comes the point when everyone needs some type of loan. This need is never going to diminish which means that mortgage brokers will always be able to find consumers to lend to. But, how do you find them? SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, is the central pillar in a successful digital marketing strategy since it focuses on optimizing your website for not only users but the search engines, too, so that your webpages rank higher, and people find your site easier when looking for mortgage services.

Think of Mortgage Broker SEO as an essential investment of time and money that is going to pay dividends in targeted leads and sales. Just imagine getting hundreds of additional leads per year. Imagine what that will do for your bottom line.

Let’s look at the benefits of SEO for your mortgage company. Firstly, properly optimized websites will ensure you are at the top of results pages for possible search queries, providing a daily stream of qualified, exclusive leads in your local area.

Secondly, proper SEO focuses on optimizing for search engines and potential visitors. By enhancing your website, you will display your expertise, build authority for your site, and help you develop trust with potential clients.

We know how competitive the mortgage industry is with brokers, banks, and lenders all competing for the same business. By understanding how to execute your digital marketing efforts efficiently and enabling your website to rank higher in search engines with SEO, you'll be closing more deals in no time at all. But, you need to know how to generate leads with your SEO endeavors.

Mortgage Marketing: How to Generate Leads with SEO

Whenever a customer needs information, he looks online. The subject of the search will determine the results that the search engine returns. In other words, Google gets to decide which websites earn the right to be displayed in the top 5 results of their SERPs and this means it may include both organic and local results.

Most of the time, SEO is associated with organic results, but local SEO forms one of the most important elements of search engine optimization, and is crucial for any mortgage broker that wants to generate leads in their local area. Firstly, we need to understand the difference between the two practices.

Organic SEO

Organic SEO involves optimizing your website to make it search engine friendly and get it ranked among the top results for relevant keywords. It may or may not incorporate a local element, but typically it is not associated with a brick and mortar business. It revolves around websites. In other the words, with organic SEO, the website doesn’t have to have a geographical location. Most organic SEO sites aim to improve their rankings and increase traffic.

Only websites with trusted and relevant content that provides value to visitors tend to rank in the organic results.

As a mortgage broker you want to get calls from customers in your city. So, you want to let your potential leads know that you are a local source of information and assistance and that’s where local SEO comes into play.

Local SEO

Simply put, local SEO is the practice of building relevant signals and reliability around the specific area in which you offer your services. If you are not sending the correct signals to the search engines from your website, you will not be found when someone searches for, let's say, 'mortgage broker city'.

Now that you understand the difference, we need to look at how improving your SEO can earn you traffic and leads in no time at all. When looking for a loan, 90% of house buyers use the internet. 53% of potential buyers begin their search online. With this type of opportunity online, mortgage brokers cannot afford to miss out on such valuable traffic, which is why SEO is critical.

Keyword Research

69% of people looking for something online start by using a local keyword phrase, such as “Toronto mortgage broker”. Some mortgage brokers service several regions, but when you begin to configure your website, focus on the central area in which you do business. You could optimize your site for search terms like:

  • [area] mortgage broker
  • [area] broker services
  • [area] mortgage lender

These terms can appear throughout your site in the content you are providing for visitors. For instance, a Toronto brokerage website could have webpages organized like this:

  • Toronto Mortgage Broker Services
  • Using a Mortgage Broker in Toronto
  • Toronto Mortgage Lender Testimonials

Throughout each page, the local keyword phrases should be employed, working them into the content naturally and providing information that is useful to potential leads.

How do you find the right keywords to target? There are some fantastic tools out there that will make this one of the most effortless steps, most notably, SEMRUSH.com. The process works like this:

Analyze your competitors

  • Find the top-ranking sites in the industry, run their site through SEMRUSH, and take note of the organic keywords they use to drive traffic to their sites and achieve high search rankings. Also, take note of the backlinks they receive from other sites.
  • Once you have a list of the most profitable keywords in your local area – use Google AdWords to research the potential traffic opportunity.
  • Find the low-hanging fruit keywords that are easy to target because of low competition, have plenty of traffic potential, and you can improve your search rankings on quickly. Do this by comparing your current rankings to your competition’s rating and Google’s estimated search traffic volume. You can then identify opportunities and gain perspective on your current keyword performance to amend and improve as necessary.

Configure On-Page SEO

On-page SEO refers to the work you do on your webpages, content, and markup code to rank higher in search results. There’s a great deal you can do to configure and improve your on-page SEO to make it easier for search bots to read your site, and then show your webpages to potential clients.

Here’s where to start:

Keyword and Content Optimization

Your primary focus should be on capturing local traffic. This gives you a better chance of ranking. For instance, “West Kelowna mortgage broker,” is more specific than “Kelowna mortgage broker.” As your site grows you can begin to target more competitive terms like, “Okanagan Valley mortgage broker.” A more targeted approach will give you a better chance of ranking and increasing your leads.

A mortgage broker can offer a broad range of services, but there may be some services you are particularly motivated to sell, be it bad credit loans, real estate loans, variable rate loans, and so on.

One way to secure traffic to your site for those services is to write blog posts. Each post should target a service that leads are searching for on Google; only focus on one of the keyword phrases you are looking to rank for. You can then follow the SEO best practices to make sure that even your blogs, and therefore your business, rank favorably. The most important elements to page optimization include:

  • A meta description
  • A title tag
  • ALT tags and file names on photos
  • Relevant and useful content

On-page SEO can be a complicated endeavor. Use these steps to make sure your pages are efficiently optimized:

Headlines

Place the keyword phrase or term in the headline of your page, or H1 tag. Make sure the headline matches the page title as closely as possible.

Heading and Subhead Tags

Your target keyword or phrase should be included in at least one subheading, in the form of an H2 tag.

Keywords in the First and Last Paragraph

Your primary keyword should appear in the first 100 words and last 100 words on the page.

One Primary Keyword Per Page

A primary targeted keyword is paramount. Be careful not to overuse that word on the page, but ensure that it fits naturally into the content.

Meta Descriptions

A good page description can gain user click-through.

Meta Title Tags

A proper title tag for every page, featuring your targeted keyword, is necessary. Ensure your title does not exceed 70 characters and try to include a call to action.

Canonical URLS

These URLs will help you to prevent duplicate content issues by specifying the preferred version of a page as part of SEO.

Alt Tags for Images

At least one image should include your primary keyword, and that keyword should be included in the image Alt Text.

Remove Broken Links

Google frowns upon broken links – take them out when auditing your site.

XML Sitemap

The structure of your site is important, so make sure you plan the site using XML sitemap tools to professionally map out the structure and optimize it for the search engines.

Internal Linking

When you create links from one page to another within your website, be sure to use the same keyword in the link like the one you are linking to. For instance, on your “Mortgage Broker Homepage,” you may have a “Mortgage Rates” page with a link. When visitors click on that link, it should take them to the corresponding page with the same page title. Internal linking send powerful signals to search crawlers and tells them what your site is about; making it more likely they will index your site.

External Linking

A few years ago, getting to the top of Google was a case of doing a little keyword research and making sure your brokerage site had a clear structure and plenty of high authority backlinks. These are still relevant to SEO. However, if a post or page is not critical to your overall SEO strategy, don’t link to them or use a follow code so that the search engines will know not to follow that link.

Site Speed

You need to prioritize the speed of your website since site speed is a search engine ranking factor, and will only become more important over time. There are several ways to improve performance, including:

  • Database optimization- databases can impact site speed. Add an index so your database can find information faster.
  • Get rid of tracking codes – you don’t need a ton of different analytics programs. Simplicity is key, and every time you add a tracking code, it slows your pages down.
  • Use caching – when a person visits your site for the first time, their browser must request all the text, images, script, etc. from the server. These are stored in the browser’s cache, so that when they visit the site again, they only have to download unique parts.
  • Content delivery networks – a content delivery network has servers around the globe where they store a copy of your website so no matter where a visitor is, they can gain access to your site. Again, the faster your website loads, the more favorably search engines will view your site.

PageSpeed Insights – this tool can be found in Google Webmaster Tools and is used to analyze your page load speed and help you make improvements. This is a valuable tool as Google uses speed analysis as a ranking factor, so by using the tool, you can see what Google sees. Try running it for your competitor’s sites, too, to see how you stack up.

Mobile Optimization

Most internet users browse on-the-go which means if your site is not mobile-friendly, you are going to miss out on a potentially large number of leads. That means, people are looking for your services at home, at work, while waiting in the grocery store line, or even while viewing a property they may want to purchase. Your site’s mobile version should make good use of responsive design and Google’s preferred mobile configuration.

Local SEO Optimization

Local SEO can help you firm stand out in the search engine results pages and get you appearing at the top of the Google 'map pack'. Used correctly, local ranking factors can also help you rise to the top of organic results.

Here’s what you need to know:

Google My Business

Google My Business should be your starting point for local SEO. The Dashboard boasts a ton of information that will help you get started and ensure all the information on your page is accurate and laid out per Google’s business guidelines. To optimize your page correctly:

  • Find your Google My Business page and ensure there are no duplicate pages
  • Ensure your page is verified
  • Attach the My Business Page to a domain email address
  • Make sure your business name is correct
  • Use the correct address, phone number, URL, list the correct categories, and hours of operation, add a long, unique description of your brokerage
  • Use the right amount of imagery
  • Include vital information about your services
  • Optimize “Near Me” Queries - mobile searchers are not particularly brand loyal and are on-the-move, so there is massive opportunity to increase traffic, and, therefore, leads.

Optimize for Natural Voice and Language Search

According to a 2016 Internet Trends report, Google Voice Search queries have risen 35 times in just eight years. That’s because it is far quicker to input a voice query than type one out, and in turn, that means access to faster results. Of course, there are accessibility issues. Some people struggle to type on certain devices, others stay away from confuddled menus. Searching on a mobile device is fiddly. That’s why Google has put lots of work into improving its search engine to better understand complex combinations, superlatives, and points in time.

To effectively optimize your site for voice search, you need to provide content for direct questions. In other words, questions that are spoken in a natural manner compared to ones we would type into a search engine.

Listings and Citations

Citations are the epitome of local SEO. You can build citations once your Google My Business profile is set up and your landing page or website has been optimized for on-page SEO. A citation is when your firm’s name, address, and contact number (NAP data) are listed on the web. Citations from authoritative sites and places with authority will boost your visibility on Google Maps and even local search results, enabling you to perform even better.

Google My Business

Once you have completed an audit, there are 3 primary citation sources you should have your eye on:

  • Top Industry Relevant Directories
  • Top National Directories
  • Local Relevant Directories

Other top-performing citations include:

  • Social sites
  • Search engines
  • Review sites

Important points to take note of with your citations include:

  • Consistent syntax of Name, Address, and Phone data across all citations and listings
  • The number of citations
  • The quality of the citations

Reviews

Another significant ranking factor for local SEO is visible customer reviews. These are critical for your business as they play a significant role in local search results. Videos are a good way to incorporate testimonials. Studies have shown that adding a video to a web page can triple the number of inbound links.

Considerations when optimizing for reviews include:

  • The quality of the reviews – the gold stars that appear in Google SERPs under your business name indicate your business’s ratings out of 5 stars, so you want to reach for the highest quality reviews possible from the likes of Google+, Yelp!, industry-specific review sites, Facebook, Yellow Pages.
  • Review diversity – aim for an array of reviews from different platforms which will put your firm in a brighter spotlight as an authoritative figure when the SERPs crawl your pages.
  • Number of reviews – the more positive reviews, the more favorably Google will view your site
  • Timing of reviews – up-to-date reviews will bode well for your rankings, showing that you are a current mortgage lender

Off-Page SEO

Off-page SEO involves all the things you can do off your website to help you rank higher on search engine results pages.

Quality Backlinks and Link Building

Links are as important today to Google than they have ever been. Links help the search engines determine the value of your site. The links need to be natural and come from relevant and authoritative sites. When it comes to quality link building, consider the following:

  • Where do the links come from?
  • Why did the site owner link to you?
  • What is the quality of the link?
  • How fresh is the link (remember, you want to delete broken and irrelevant links)?
  • How natural is the link profile?

Where to Get Quality Backlinks

  1. Forum posting – find forums related to your services and the mortgage broker industry and get involved. Answer questions, reply to threads and offer advice. This will help build your reputation as an expert in the brokerage field.
  2. Social networks – get involved with social media sites to build your online reputation. Sign up to the most popular sites, including Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook and start extending your online network to connect with a wider circle of potential leads and promote your website and services.
  3. Videos – If you use videos on your site, be sure to submit them to the likes of Vimeo and YouTube so people can find your content via other channels.
  4. Guest blog posts – find out what types of questions your leads are asking and then answer them in the form of content. Be succinct and phrase the question in your header, and then explain it as early on as possible in the piece. These types of posts help to place you as an authority figure and therefore ensure the search engines see you as one; ranking your site higher and directing more traffic your way. You can also post comments on other blogs within your industry and add a link. The links are crawled by the search engines, so it will help point them towards your website.

Pay Per Click

You can still pay for PPC ads. However, your ads no longer need to come in first in the SERPs. The key is to know which terms rank highly in organic search results so you can use them in conjunction with your paid efforts. You can go a step further and research which pages already rank for the terms and create further pages on your website to bolster your presence. Be aware, though that you still need relevant landing pages, quality content, and testimonials.

Bonus Tips

Use AMP and Get in Google’s Top Stories

Getting your site into Google News is a sure-fire way to drive more traffic your way. If you have a hot-off-the-press offering or solution that is newsworthy, it can also work for other sites linking to you as an authority source.

Google also has a mobile news equivalent, Top Stories, which is becoming populated with Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP). This open-source program from Google allows you to create quick, instantly loading, and stripped-down versions of your web pages for mobile users to access effortlessly. While AMP is still growing as a ranking signal, if you do appear in Top Stories, having mobile pages can improve user experience and entice more traffic to your site.

Is Your Site Optimized?

Ranking within the top 5 search results is the most effective marketing strategy for mortgage brokers. While your competitors must wait for leads to view billboard advertisements, referrals, sales teams, and newspapers, internet traffic is far more effective. But, ranking on Google’s front page takes commitment and proper optimization of a responsive, authoritative website.

As a mortgage broker, you need to remember that home sellers and buyers are always searching the internet for services. If you appear on the front page of Google’s results, you can look forward to increased exposure to someone who is ready to pick up the phone and use your services today. This is completely different to social media platforms where users may notice an ad, but aren’t actively searching for your financial services.

Most mortgage brokers are busy and don’t have the time to type up optimized blog posts and make sure every element of their website is properly optimized, and the right keywords are used. Fortunately, professional mortgage broker SEO services can get you on the front page of the search engines while you carry on following up on the new leads you can look forward to.


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