Add More SEO to Your Social Diet


By Ann Chen

Google has effectively permeated into every part of our Internet lives: search, video, email, documents. Thus, the question is worth asking: Should your community bank get involved in maximizing the effectiveness of search functions in Google-supported platforms?

The answer to that question, similar to every other social media channel you might get involved in, depends on how your bank would answer several other questions: What would be your bank’s purpose? Is this where your intended audience resides? What is the strategy? However, unlike all other social networks, Google-owned subsidiaries have search engine optimization (SEO) built into platforms that are worth investigating.

SEO, in today’s fast-paced world of the Internet, where the lifespan of a tweet is about 18 minutes, is still important to build an effective Internet presence. Since Google is still the frontrunner of search engines, it’s important to understand the impact Google’s ecosystem can have on your community bank and how it affects where and how your bank shows up in most online searches. (For more information on Internet SEO, see Vantage Point.)

Most people looking for information on the Internet do not scroll past the first page or even second page of a search result. Often, the top links of a search are the most clicked on. Google inevitably has a way of pushing those businesses established in their ecosystem (whether on YouTube, Google+, etc.) to the top of searches.

Therefore, at the very least, your community bank should consider verifying and activating all relevant information on Google Places for Business. After a free sign-up, you can update your bank’s physical address, business phone, hours and logo, and even add in a descriptive paragraph. This is especially important for banks that have very common names.

Remember that a Google search automatically first shows results for businesses in local areas, and those that have logos and a description get shown prominently on the side. For example: a search for “First Citizens Bank” displays all the local results in the Washington, D.C., area. However, the bank’s logo and side profile, which is prominently displayed, shows First Citizens Bancshares, a holding company in Raleigh, N.C. This is the result of Google Places at work in SEO.

Be sure to claim your community bank’s address and business profile to ensure that it shows up in these important searches so that customers and business prospects can easily discover your bank whenever they “Google.”

Ann Chen ( is ICBA’s director, social media engagement. Follow her on Twitter @AnnJ_Chen.