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3 Mistakes Your Institution is Making When It Comes to Local Search

Whether you’re a national bank or a regional credit union, strengthening your local marketing strategy is one of the best ways to garner high organic page rankings and reach more consumers where they are. Did you know that nearly a third of all searches from a mobile device are related to location? “Near Me” searches are losing traction as many consumers automatically assume that search results are based on their current location.

Why is this important? Because providing consumers with accurate brand information instantly separates you from the competition.

Mistake #1 – Not monitoring overall online brand presence

Many financial institutions are not monitoring their brand presence on the internet meaning there is a strong chance they have inaccurate information floating across several sites and platforms. Think about it: consumers seeking out a local branch’s address or hours of availability can easily be deterred by incorrect listings and information giving him/her a poor first impression of your overall brand.

Not only is accurate brand information paramount, the accessibility of that information via mobile sites or apps is equally as important. Nearly two-thirds of smartphone users are more likely to purchase from mobile sites or apps that customize results based on their current location.

Mistake #2 – Your institution isn’t in control of the conversation

Being in control of your local marketing strategy is the primary way financial institutions are staying ahead of the game. But how can you gain control if you don’t know where to start? Yext from Harland Clarke affords the ability to optimize multiple listings both regionally and nationally in real time. Via Yext’s direct API connections with 100+ publishers across the digital universe — maps, apps, directories, search engines, GPS systems, social networks, and digital assistants. It puts the marketing manager/director in the driver’s seat regarding how their brand is positioned and received in the marketplace.

Mistake #3 – Deemphasizing brick and mortar locations

You may be asking yourself why does your brand’s location and hours matter in a world that seems to be leaning more heavily towards a digital experience? Consumers continue to value brick and mortar locations as an essential part of the purchasing process. Google also ranks local search results above organic results in online searches now. So, in order to show up locally, the information for your brick and mortar locations needs to be accurate — and on full display.

Google isn’t the only one favoring physical locations; physical stores continue to be the preferred shopping location for consumers, with more than 90 percent of retail sales still occurring in store. In fact, technology like online business listings and store locators increasingly drive customers into stores, as does the technological evolution of location services on mobile devices. While online-only institutions have certain undeniable advantages, banks that offer a friendly and firmly physical presence in neighborhood storefronts offer a level of convenience and engagement that’s impossible for these new market entries to match. In terms of financial services, there will always be certain transactions that either require or are greatly benefited by face-to-face interactions inside a branch.

Making it easy for your customers to find your branch locations not only creates a better brand experience but it also drastically boosts traffic to those locations resulting in increases in new account openings, home and auto loan applications and more. The more accurate your information, the higher chance your bank or credit union will be one of the top results for internet searches seeking financial institutions in the area.

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Harland Clarke Corp. is a leading provider of best-in-class integrated payment solutions and marketing services, serving multiple industries including financial services, retail, healthcare, insurance, and telecommunications.

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