Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is the process of elevating a website or website page presence in unpaid search engine results - often referred to as 'natural', 'organic', or 'earned' results. This brief introductory article is necessary as a precursor to other SEO-related articles that detail Yabber's extensive SEO integration and automated website SEO features, so it was required as a means to established a shared and basic understanding of our core SEO ideologies.
If you don't want to read any further, understand this: Yabber automates your SEO efforts and supports your website with the features necessary to be SEO 'compliant'.
The video below introduces some SEO principles in brief.
One of the questions we previously asked brokers as part of our former Growth program was orientated around how many leads were delivered via organic means (it was one of about 100 early survey questions used to gain a quick appreciation of various strategies in place). The response was predictable: "my website doesn't return any business so I don't apply much effort". Of course, the reason your website doesn't return any business is because you don't apply the necessary effort. If there are no mechanisms in place to convert your traffic, and there are no real funnel entry points, your website isn't serving its intended purposes.
Put an appropriate system in place and your website will return traffic and genuine ready-to-go prospects that'll deliver consistent and predictable quality to your bottom line. Over the years we've found that brokers with a structured website presence will consistently write up to 15-million a month on the back of pure organic traffic (fedding, of course, high-yield relationship programs). So, if you're not seeing triple-digital organic website inquires or subscriptions every single month, this article is for you.
First, it needs to be said that paid SEO representation these days is simply a waste of time (outside the scope of those services that provide extremely high-quality and original content creation). Virtually all those emails you're receiving from SEO experts promising to improve upon your position are a lie... and most of them are just a blatant scam - simple as that.
Pictured: Investing in SEO is a challenge. SEO agencies might as well be selling unicorns and leprechauns. SEO is mystical, invisible, and results are difficult to measure. It’s for this reason we include comprehensive SEO modules into the Yabber Platform. Our reputation relies upon broker success, and it is impossible to include a holistic digital product without sharing our 25-years of SEO expertise.
SEO is now more of a "hidden" framework that supports the mechanics of search optimisation, so when Yabber applies the appropriate in-page markup and SEO structure it won't necessarily contribute towards an improved Search Engine Results Page (SERP, or rank) position. Instead, a business content generation focus should be aimed squarely on User Experience Optimisation; that is, creating an experience for your users that they'll engage with, share, come back to, and enjoy. If you consider Google and other search engines to be a real person, and you write and create content for a real person (and not Google), your organic traction will improve, and your search will improve almost as a byproduct. Try and 'play' or 'game 'the system and your devilish activity will be identified and your organic search results will suffer as a result - Google search algorithms are evolving every single day to identify and punish tactics that might return accelerated results.
What role does Yabber play in your SEO efforts?
As described in an article titled "An Introduction to Yabber SEO Features" (and others), we describe how Yabber automates the markup assigned to each page on your website, identifies page videos and applies applicable markup, aggregates internal links (to create an internal linking structure), and how it performs a broad range of other SEO-related functions (from creation of you favicons, integration of Google My Business tools, to the automatic creation of Object Graph tags). Yabber supplies all the information necessary for search engines to easily ingest, understand, interpret and rank your website, although the Platform's high-level automation has a limited effect unless there's a dynamic content creation process that is at the core of your business model.
I'll make a very obvious statement: Search engines will search content... and if there's no original content on your website then there's nothing to find. Google and other search engines have an appetite for high-level original content that exposes your expertise and authoritativeness, and it's your job to feed hungry crawlers with a massive meal of quality content. Not unlike people, search crawlers enjoy diversity in content, consistency, and occasional snacking. If your website were a restaurant, would your menu receive positive reviews? Would patrons returns?
Pictured: The Mortgage Matrix. The matrix provides a visual map of the basic elements necessary for effective marketing. SEO represents a small component of one single box.
Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trust
Google assesses your website content on the basis of three attributes: Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trust, or EAT (representing half of Belief's internal Magic Lantern relationship Model). If a business demonstrate their commitment to each of the EAT attributes as part of their digital content program, Google and other search engines will start to recognise your efforts and rank you accordingly. However, all of those attributes relies on having an actual content generation strategy in place (that's the hard part).
Digital Marketing is More than Just Facebook
The finance digital market is littered with product options that are generally focused on nothing but Facebook advertising. We see those people that like to call themselves "marketers" diminishing the value of traditional marketing, referral programs, and partner/introducer relationship programs because they're trying to elevate the focus of one particular source of lead generation over others (usually Facebook)... and they do so with a mess of under-performing mashup of inappropriate and often non-compliant third-party tools. We're the opposite: despite building some of the biggest brands in the country, and generating up to 15’000 online leads per month for our clients on the back of the most sophisticated Facebook and digital program available to the finance industry, we advocate that no source of lead generation should ever be ignored - this includes your website and all the mechanisms to reach an audience that occupy the periphery. Ignore the competing messages in the marketplace suggesting that Facebook Marketing is the only mechanism upon which to ingest people into your marketing funnel - they're wrong.
If over 90% of people seek the advice of a search engine looking for you (rather than advertising where you’re paying to look for them), doesn’t it sound reasonable that you’ll make some attempt to be found? If you’re not garnishing at least a dozen website inquires a week then your website isn’t performing as it should. Your website can and should be your most powerful marketing asset - operating around the clock - to return the new leads necessary to organically build your business. Regardless of what you may have heard from the marketing charlatans, content is still King (and video content might be considered his Queen). When a search engine is the launchpad into the education space for most consumers, your business should have a clear and present focus on capitalising on that traffic, and clever content creation is what will get you there.
Our higher-level SEO participants will routinely see at least a dozen website leads per day, which translates to hundreds of millions of monthly volume spread over our base of mortgage brokers. Organic SEO traffic compliments our paid advertising and our other Gravity programs, such as Saturn or our industry-leading post-settlement EDGE module) - SEO is just one part of the broader Mortgage Matrix framework. The difference between paid and internal referral programs, and that of SEO, is that the cost of acquiring the organic cold lead is extremely low, and the effort required to convert that business is far easier than any other source. Organic traffic is one that takes on an exponential growth of its own with a trajectory that can easily support triple-digit volumes every year. Again, no source of lead generation should be ignored.
Pictured: As detailed in our Marketing Guide, each source of incoming business has a varying heat index (or cost factor), and each represents a varying degree of ‘difficulty’ in order to convert. For example, the most challenging group to establish a dialogue is the ‘public’ in almost all cases. There’s (usually) a clear cost associated with their acquisition and there's a challenge in order to convert them into a client… and then there’s another more difficult challenge to turn them into brand advocates. On the other end of the scale is ‘family and friends’. While many are protective of their own family (and often choose to separate church and state) they are usually the easiest to convert and far easier to develop as referrers than any other group. An SEO and user-optimised experience will generate a low-effort but high-yield influx of organic business.
Every Page on Your Website is a Type of Landing Page, Therefore Every Page Needs to Convert
You'll hear us say over and over in our Marketing Guide, on this website, and in virtually every video we've ever recorded, that "every page on your website is a potential organic entry point, therefore every single page on your website is a 'type' of landing page, therefore every single page on your website needs to provide some sort of conversion opportunity". However, before your website provides a flow of business it stands to reason that it must first be found, and that’s where good SEO (and a good content strategy, and our proprietary conditional content ideology and integrated website features ) play its part.
A Content Creation Strategy
As a business owner your focus is one thing and one thing alone - content creation. As we mentioned earlier, Google and other search engines should be considered a human, and you should present yourself online and on social media in a way that demonstrates the attributes of Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trust (EAT); Google recognises and interprets these attributes the same way a real person does. Again, create content for your audience - not a search engine.
Belief supports individual businesses that see over 250 million a year on the back of virtually nothing other than good SEO (and a very large number that write over 100m in organic website traffic alone). The one attribute they all share is their clear content strategy, good social strategy, and they’re using the right mediums to communicate their messages (usually - and high encouraged - a very focused video program).
With or without Belief’s support, you should be able to position yourself in such a way that you improve upon your organic lead generation. The good news is that since your competitors aren't particularly active in this area your SEO competition isn't overly significant. Very few broker businesses apply the necessary effort into achieving an improved SERP position, so small and incremental changes you introduce will likely have a significant and often profound impact upon your search engine success.
What about Facebook Advertising and Other Shiny Objects?
While we're passionate advocates for good, original, creative Facebook advertising, we wouldn’t dare ignore the plethora of opportunities that exist outside the Facebook world. SEO is just one of the highly powerful modules we introduce to clients in the hope they adopt our recommendations, use our tools, and enjoy an organically growing business (in fact, our leading EDGE post-settlement module hasn't returned less than 230-million a month for over 4 years).
Belief provides what is unquestionably the leading and most cost effective online advertising program to the finance industry. We provide the only full-stack product that is scalable, future-proof, fully-integrated, self-hosted, and fully compliant with ASIC’s guidelines - including recommendations as required by RG234, and best interest obligations detailed in RG273. That said, we’re probably the only company that makes an attempt to demonstrate why online advertising is secondary to broader online marketing (both are vastly different).
Bottom line is this: if you’ve started any digital program without serious consideration to your online presence, your business black-holes, your business automation and workflows, and your existing opportunities, you’re literally wasting your money.
SEO is just one of a large number of programs we introduce into a mortgage business that generates organic traffic. Our Jupiter, Pluto, and Saturn programs (and the first two relationship programs should be considered before your digital efforts) returns more to the finance industry than any advertising program on the market. In fact, in September and October of 2019 an in-house managed Jupiter program returned 2.3 Billion in volume – more than most aggregators over the same period.
So, despite leading the industry in Facebook and other advertising programs, Facebook is just another ‘shiny object’. The truth is that any program is a shiny object if it’s not part of a broader marketing plan, not part of a clear strategy, or introduced at the wrong time. Facebook is a good shiny object, but it’s also one that shouldn’t come at the expense of a broader marketing focus. SEO is also a shiny object if the strategy is applied in isolation or at the expense of other programs. In fact, SEO relies heavily upon very tactical engagements in other areas, such as social media and original local content creation. When used with paid promotion it’s a combination that represents a few of the primary ingredients necessary to brew the secret digital-sauce for online success.
Your Website is as Important as Ever
We need to make one point very clear (assuming we haven't done so already): your website is your most valuable online marketing asset. Never ever let it be said that time creating content or improving upon your search visibility is a wasted effort. The message tends to be one promulgated by 'Facebook Marketers' that are trying to assign value to their lacklustre service, and one that we vigorously oppose (our factual understanding is backed by 25-years of applied practical industry experience).
If your website doesn't generate triple-digit organic leads or calendar inquires every month then your website isn’t designed with any conversion purpose in mind (we’d like to see at least three high-quality leads per day, and five a month should be what’s expected without effort). Our content-rich clients see as many as 25 high-quality ready-to-go leads into their pipelines every single day on the back of SEO.
Now, if every page on your website is a 'type' of landing page that presents some sort of conversion, we obviously need to generate this traffic: this is where SEO plays its part. In making your experience dynamic, in crafting engaging content, and by turning each website visit into a true funnel experience entry-point you’ll end up with more inquires, and certainly more funnel participants. The clear advantage of organic traffic is that they're a red-hot buy-now market that is looking for immediate pain relief; they’re 'looking for you'... as opposed to interruption (Facebook and other) marketing where 'you’re appealing to them'.
The video below is one that introduces the value of a website (it's generally sent to participants in an email sequence after a subscription).
In the video we touch on why ClickFunnels, Kartra, LeadPages, and any other third-party services are objectively failing your business, and the obliterated SEO benefits is just one part of this failed equation (sadly, it's a typical experience provided by the very low performing end of the digital world). The shonky third-party experience is introduced here in more detail.
We published an article back in 2018 titled "Your Website is as Important as Ever", and since it was written we've built even more seriously powerful high-level website features that make it an enterprise-level lead-generating powerhouse. The conditional website we provide brokers is a default inclusion with a Platform subscription - it's a complimentary component of our Yabber subscription (in fact, we give you a number of optional websites). We designed the broker website to fully integrate with Yabber and provide extremely high level features that you would not normally find on any typical website. The Yabber website obviously supports our SEO components in full (you may of course continue to use your own website with full SEO functionality).
Ranking a mortgage broker website for general content is made problematic by Google's 'Your Money or Your Life' condition that's built into their search algorithms. Generally speaking, this makes finance website a little harder to find for general searches, meaning that your website is more likely to be found on the basis of industry-specific queries. However, this "limitation" doesn't absolve you of the need to share lifestyle-related articles since it's what your visitors are often most interested in reading (and sharing)... and this lifestyle focus is a core attribute of our article distribution service.
Yabber is designed to make content creation super-simple, and these creation modules are introduced in forthcoming posts that detail the multiple methods we provide to create and share your content. This applies to the quick creation of videos that'll be shared to multiple social media platforms (including YouTube), the automated sharing of your articles to social media, and so on. Since content is the cornerstone and secret sauce necessary for any SERP joy, it stands to reason that we were obligated to provide the necessary suite of tools to make it a simple task.
Not all brokers will choose to take our informed advice and invest any time into a content program... and that's fine - we get it. Content creation and the huge SEO benefits is a confronting proposition that isn't supported by immediate results, and the slow-burn is a challenging 'burden' when our leading Facebook program returns more immediate pain-relief. However, for those that choose to take a medium-term approach, our systems will deliver your business massive success.
It should be noted that Yabber's 'Website Management' module within Yabber provides a graphical representation of your website posting schedule, and our social media module provides the same information to showcase your engagement effort with social media (if you can't measure it you can't improve it). If you're keen to embark on a content schedule we obviously provide the tools necessary to measure your efforts a success.
The nuances of SEO are far less important than they once were. As a business owner your digital focus should be on one thing and one thing alone: content generation. If you create compelling, interesting, unique, and engaging content, and you demonstrate expertise and authoritativeness in your subject matter, you will quickly earn the trust of those that consume your content – including Google and other search engines. The universe will take care of the rest.