The bridging loan sector is growing rapidly, increasing from £750 million in 2011 to £4 billion in 2016. Whilst deal flow is largely pursued through personal relationships and brokers, the use of Google and Search Engine Optimisation is something that is often overlooked.
What is Search Engine Optimisation?
Known as SEO for short, it refers to the free techniques used to get companies to the top of Google’s search rankings. There are around 200 techniques that Google considers, which include having regular fresh content, relevant links from other websites and sites that load quickly.
The SEO part of Google’s search results is characterised by having a white background and this is different to the paid adverts that are positioned on the first 4 positions on Google and labelled as ‘ads.’
The truth is that most Internet users prefer not to click on adverts, so if your website appears high in that non-paid section, you are likely to generate strong enquiries.
Plus, the cost of paid adverts on page 1 of Google for ‘bridging finance’ and ‘bridging loans’ is around £6 to £10 per click, making it a very expensive form of acquisition.
Why is SEO Useful to Bridging Lenders and Brokers?
The reality is that all search queries start online these days. This is clearly evidenced by the way the Yellow Pages book is getting thinner and thinner every year. Google owns 90% of the searches in the UK, followed slowly by Bing and Yahoo – so if you want to find a product or get an answer to something, Google is the first port of call.
“There are 8,100 people searching for bridging loans on Google each month, there is a lot of business out there.”
Google’s keyword tool shows that there are 8,100 searches for ‘bridging loans’ made in the UK every month. So whether the customer is looking for bridging finance to move home or to purchase property at an auction, there are a lot of business opportunities out there.
How Bridging Companies Can Optimise Their Websites
It all starts with keywords and what search terms you want to rank for. The rule is that you cannot rank on Google without having a page that they can pick up. So if you offer bridging, development finance, commercial mortgages etc – start by creating a page dedicated to each product and explain who you are and what you can offer.
Google likes to see content that is well-structured and this includes having one h1 tag at the top of the page and then other sub-headings of h2 and h3. Encourage people to stay on the site for longer by offering interesting videos, images and case studies.
Finally, a huge ranking factor is having links pointing to your website from other bridging or property websites. Think about working on your PR, applying for awards or offering interviews to the local press. Be sure to ask for a link pointing back to your website as this will pass the authority onto your website too.