Out of all the mortgage marketing strategies, mortgage leads from organic SEO are one of the lowest costs per lead sources out of any marketing tactic. And, unlike advertising, it's on 24/7 without ad spend.
When the mortgage market shifts as it has recently, take the time to build a solid foundation on lead generation through search engine optimization and content that will put you on a trajectory for consistently growing leads. Greater exposure in Google with the thousands of daily mortgage and home loan searchers insulates you from market turmoil with consistent traffic and leads.
Every day people search near you for thousands of topics and answers to home financing and mortgage questions. But if you don't have content on those topics, Google has no reason to show you or your website and thus that traffic is left to your competitors. The good news is that many mortgage lenders don't have any SEO or content strategy to capture this traffic - so for those companies that embrace it, you have an opportunity you can capitalize on. (read our related post on Funnel SEO to maximize leads and sales).
Diversify Your Lead Generation Sources
Take the opportunity to diversify your mortgage lead sources when everyone else is forced to cozy up to realtors for referrals. A data-driven content strategy combined with SEO will insulate you and your company from the down fluctuations in mortgage demand.
Plus, now you have content to share with your prospects which you can send out via email newsletters, break it up into smaller bite-sized pieces for social posts, and include it in lead nurturing programs. If you have no content, you have nothing to say and it's hard to position yourself as the trusted guide to someone for such an important and emotional commitment as a mortgage loan.
Consider this, fifteen percent (15%) of the searches that Google sees in a day it has not seen before. Without regular content, you cannot capture these searches.
Dear Mortgage and LO Professional,
It was in San Diego in the early 2000s that I came to understand the transformational power of SEO content and Google organic searches and traffic
My wife and I had started our own retail company importing furniture and home décor. She stayed with her job to support us while our company got going.
Stay with me here...
I promise it will tie into your mortgage niche. After all, home mortgages and furniture do correlate well.
Because we were a retail store, all our startup money was tied up in inventory - we were cash-poor and asset rich. This led me to build our company's first website and focus all my attention on ranking in Google for economically valuable terms. Google organic traffic is on 24/7 with people searching for what we had to offer and not tied to any ad budget in Google Ads.
Ranking Hundreds of Keywords
After lots of hard work, we ranked in the top 3 positions for dozens, and hundreds of terms in Google, Bing, and Yahoo. It was crazy. The exposure was great. All the while, the big brands were sleeping on this "free" traffic and were nowhere to be found. And many are today, relying too much on conventional marketing tactics and channels.
Business Took Off
As a result of this exposure to daily searchers, we started receiving orders from people around the country. They would call or email me, "Hey Toby, I was searching on the web, and I saw a table you have on your website. Are you able to ship that to me?" The result was that we went from being a little local store in a suburb of San Diego to having a national distribution of our products. All because of SEO.
So while that story is in a different niche than mortgage finance and home loans, the situation is NO different for you.
You see, every day, all day long, 24/7, people search in Google for thousands of different terms around mortgages. But if you don't have content on your website for those topics and questions people are searching for, then you won't see any of that "free" traffic. It will instead go to your competitors that are creating that content. (read to the bottom to learn how our story ends...it's not what you would expect).
But here's where it gets exciting…
Let me demonstrate what I mean.
Example Mortgage Keywords People Search For
Here's a small sample of the different topics and questions people search for with just one mortgage subtopic related to "types of home loans."
The intent of this query is likely someone just starting information gathering, so definitely worthwhile to get this type of searcher to your website and into a lead nurturing campaign.
The monthly search volume for this sub-topic within the mortgage niche is almost 20k! And 593 keyword variations (see screenshot below). I guarantee a good portion of these people needs a mortgage soon. The question, will you be the one to provide those services?
But there are even more variations to this topic - look at all these questions people are asking. There are questions under What, How, Why, Can, Are, and more.
The opportunity is there. People are asking Google questions and searching for information non-stop. And you don't have to be a big player to capitalize on this "free" traffic. But you do have to have a content strategy combined with SEO.
Take a look at this example: "Buying a Second Home "
This keyword niche has a total of 3k total searches per month.
Notice all the variations?
Lots of niche opportunities to capture this search traffic. And there are hundreds, rather thousands of different topics like this you can capture.
So, where do you start?
Start with Identifying Your Customer Segments
Any good strategy starts with the customer.
Whom do you want to target?
This will dictate your keyword research and content strategy.
What each of these customer segments is searching for varies greatly. And how you speak to them is different from one to the other, too.
Customer Persona Worksheet
Develop a customer persona worksheet for each customer segment. Things to include are:
This first step helps you write content with that ideal customer in mind and ensures everyone is on the same page about who it is you are targeting and what their needs and wants are. The latter helps develop calls-to-action (CTA) and lead magnets.
Research & Identify Topics and Mortgage Keywords
We'll use three free Google Tools
Let's assume one of your targets is first-time Millennial buyers. Without access to paid SEO tools, the first place I am going for topic and keyword research is Google Ads and Google Trends, both of which are free.
Google Trends for Keyword Research
Google trends will give top-level analysis with suggestions for other phrases and topics. It's big data.
Let's type in "first-time home buyer" and see what the chart looks like.
We can see how that search term has been trending since 2017 (you can change the date range - in this case, I chose the last 5 years).
Here's another important search phrase that reflects older people, "hot to buy a second home" - this term is more niche and lower volume, as you can tell in the line chart variability swings.
Now, if we scroll down, there's a table that shows Related and Top Queries.
Google Trends gives you the bigger picture with suggestions for additional ideas. But it's big data, so some niche terms may have minimal data.
But here's an example. The first is the Rising queries - queries that are gaining in search interest. And we can see that some of these terms are labeled "Breakout" meaning they are trending up right now.
And then there are the Top queries - the most searched variations.
Use these to help you see the bigger picture trending and identify additional topics and keywords you can write about for SEO purposes.
Google Search for Keyword Research
You should also use a standard Google search to help you generate additional content ideas. For example, I typed in, "buying a second home."
You will notice for this query a section called People Also Ask. These are actual questions people are asking Google related to your search that you can include in your content or use as standalone articles.
And if you scroll to the bottom of the page, you will see even more ideas. In both of these cases, Google is telling you exactly what else people are searching for in addition to your search phrase - so, take a hint and utilize these topics, too, since it was important enough for Google to display.
Google Ads Keyword Planner
Take these ideas and phrases and use the Google Ads Keyword Planner to get more granular search data that will help you refine your selection about what content to produce.
You'll have to create a Google Ads account first to use the tool, but it's free. After that, you can get to the Keyword Planner under Tools and Settings and Planning.
Then, you will have two options for keyword research - start with, Discover new keywords.
Then, after you have chosen Discover New Keywords, you have two options - Start with keywords or Start with a website.
For this demonstration, we're starting with keywords.
So type in, "buying a second home."
I won't go into all the features of this tool, but right away we can see that it gives us valuable data, such as Avg Monthly Searches, Google Ads cost-per-click (a reflection of economic value), and Competition. And at the top, it even suggests additional search terms you can add and re-run the tool.
How to Decide Which Keywords to Go After
One of the ways you can sort which exact phrase to go after is by looking at keyword volume and then competition. The ideal situation, of course, is high volume and low competition (provided the intent of the search phrase is valuable). And those keywords do exist even though mortgage finance is a competitive space - remember, 15% of the searches Google sees in a day it has never seen before.
More competition for a search phrase means it will take longer and require more work to gain meaningful traction. A suggestion for you is to export these keywords to Excel and create a column that takes volume and divides it by competition, which will give you a normalized number to compare terms with.
The important thing with this approach to developing content is that we're developing a data-driven strategy for SEO - not random mortgage and home loan topics that people think you should write about.
Add these terms to a spreadsheet you can refer back to for developing your content.
Develop A Content SEO Template
Now it's time for more qualitative research - observational notes. Once you have an idea of the topics, look at the top 5 - 10 pages that rank for that term and pay attention to the following:
Now you know how much content the highest-ranking pages are using to cover the topic sufficiently and other features of the articles.
Your goal before writing is to think about how you can improve upon the content.
Can you represent any data as an infographic? What other images can you include that would be helpful? Remember, image search has significant volume, so include images in your post. And some images or graphics can be for aesthetics to just break up the content.
What about embedded video?
Can you have someone on your team create a short video, host it on your YouTube channel and embed it on the page? Not everyone likes to read. And, equally important, it gives you another opportunity to rank on the video tab in Google Search. Below is an example of my site ranking a page in the number one spot within the Google Video tab with an embedded YouTube video (related post here about using embedded YouTube videos for better SEO)
And it's not just producing the content but also developing a strategy to rank in multiple places - FAQs, People Also Ask, Image Search, the Video Tab, and more.
Create A Content Calendar
If you're serious about steadily growing traffic from Google searches, develop a content calendar.
Below is an example of what that content calendar might look like. In this example, we were writing four articles per month. We also included a field for the subtopics to be covered in the article along with the approximate estimate of the content length.
Our content calendar example is too large to show clearly below, but we have columns for:
Write The Content
You are now armed with lots of actionable data about the keyword topic. Start writing content optimized for search.
Leverage your SEO template and customer persona worksheet that you developed earlier while writing your post. Everyone has their own writing process, so I won't go into depth about writing, but writing is one of the final steps.
So, I hope this has helped you understand Mortgage SEO and how to approach the process of writing content that helps you capture search traffic in Google. There are additional steps to SEO, including Local SEO (a different process than outlined here), site architecture, internal linking and silo strategy, additional on-page SEO considerations, ranking in different areas of Google SERP, and technical SEO, but it all starts with content. Without content - textual content, images, and video - you have nothing to rank. (Related post here on, what is local SEO?).
Ending Of Our Story Above
The irony to our personal SEO story was that we ended up doing so well with ranking in Google that our main furniture supplier, which represented about 70% of our sales, was getting complaints from other retailers nationwide that we were stealing business from them because their customers were finding us online. And sadly, as a result, the supplier decided not to sell to us anymore. Oh, the irony.
Mortgage SEO Services
If you need help with your SEO, please reach out to me directly. We can help in all aspects of SEO - developing data-driven content roadmaps, website SEO, YouTube SEO, Facebook ads, and more. And if you're local to the Temecula area of southern California, reach out to us today about our SEO services.
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