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How to Close More Loans with SEO and Google

Typically I talk and write about things I know a lot about, but I sat down recently with my friend, Brian Grubbs, in hopes that he’d teach me about something I know very little about: getting loans using search engine optimization (SEO).

Brian started his mortgage broker company, Raleigh Mortgage Group, in Raleigh, North Carolina in 2001. He got a website right away, because everybody told him he needed to, but it never brought him any business. Then, over the past 5-10 years, his team has found a way to make their website and the internet really work for them. Like it actually brings in loans—so many loans that they don’t do any other advertising. 

I was excited to see what I could learn from Brian to help boost our Mortgage Marketing Animals, the Freedom Club, and my loan officer podcast, Loan Officer Freedom.

What’s the Conversion Ratio?

Brian’s conversion ratio has been between 15% and 20% depending on the month and the market. To put that in perspective, I told him I have three primary sources of leads. 

  1. Consumer direct through Zillow and Facebook 
  2. Google ads
  3. Realtor referrals

The difference between us and Brian is that we’re running ads and hoping they hit the right people. In his case, he’s doing SEO, so he’s hitting people who are actually searching for mortgage information. And he’s got an impressive and very robust conversion rate.

I asked him how many loans he’s closed in the past 90 days with the market where it is right now. He said he’s closed 45, roughly 15 a month. And 4-5 have come from SEO each month. That’s like 12 grand extra each month just from SEO. And you know what they say, every 12 grand helps, right?

So, he’s pulling $12k a month out of the machine. How much does he have to put into the machine to make it work?

Investing Money in a Good Website

Brian paid about $6000 for his website to begin with, and he still has the same people updating it for him. He probably spends about $100/month on that. And the SEO stuff is about $1000/month. So he’s putting $1k in and it’s spitting $12k out. That sounds pretty good to me. So what’s his secret sauce?

For one thing, he says his company name—Raleigh Mortgage Group—helps. People in and around the city type in Raleigh mortgage companies or Raleigh mortgage lenders or Raleigh mortgage brokers, and his company is the first to pop up. He says that Google also likes the fact that he’s had his URL for over 20 years. 

He also has a high-quality website. I asked him how you can tell if your website is high-quality or not. He said you can just go to other large brand websites and copy what they do. Make yours look similar to theirs, as professional-looking as you can. For example, you could go to the Scotsman’s Guide, look up the top 20 loan officers in the country last year, go to their websites, and mimic the look and feel. 

He mentioned too that, on their website, you can’t go more than half an inch scrolling up or down without an opportunity for someone to click and apply. It’s not a full application—they just ask them enough questions to put together an initial quote. Questions like their name, phone number, email address, estimated credit score, purchase or refi, what type of down payment they want, and estimated sales price.

In my mortgage branch, we call those “looking for an easy yes.” We make it easy for people to do business with us. We don’t overwhelm them all at once. A buddy of mine calls it “micro-commitments.”

How to Leverage Backlinking

The next thing Brian talked about is backlinking, which gives more credibility to your website. Backlinking is where you have a link to your website on other people’s sites. You can ask local realtors if you can be their preferred lender and put a link to your site on theirs.

He warned us not to try to trick Google, because they figure it out and penalize you. Don’t buy a bunch of websites and have them all backlink to each other. Don’t stack keywords, stuff like that. You can’t fool Google. They’re worse than the IRS. Take it from us—don’t game the IRS and don’t game Google.

Why would a realtor want to put my website link on their page? What’s in it for them? Brian says that part of what they do is give business back to the realtors. When people give them referrals, they give them referrals back. We do the same thing.

Brian says the Google Business Page is huge. Google is the biggest search engine out there, and it’s the one we want to make the happiest. So you want to have a Google Business Page and you want activity on it. Visit the page, add new pictures to it, and most importantly, get reviews. Google wants to know that other people see you as a good company. And customers are looking for five-star reviews, and they give those a lot of weight.

How (and Why) to Get More Reviews

I asked Brian how he gets people to give you reviews. He says they should probably do it earlier in the process, but right now they reach out with an email after closing and send people a link that takes them right to their Google page where they can write a five-star review. They make it as easy as possible. 

One friend of mine gives people a sample review so they have an idea of what to write. Another friend sends an email that says, if your review is five stars, click here (and that takes them to the review page) and if your review would be less than five stars, click here. And it’s a video that says, “We appreciate your feedback. On this form, please be brutally honest and let us know how we can improve so you can have a perfect experience next time.” Then they get the feedback, but they don’t get it in the form of terrible one-star reviews. Pretty smart, huh?

Brian suggests responding to reviews as they come in, because it shows you’re engaged. Other engagement for them includes writing a new blog post on their website every week. They write several paragraphs about what’s going on in the market or events that are happening locally. The key is to be consistent and provide quality content. You can hire someone to do that. In Brian’s case, his wife does it for him.

The Time to Start is NOW

Brian says having a social media presence doesn’t hurt. If Google’s trying to decide whether or not to move you up in search results, and they see you on Facebook/Instagram/Twitter, it gives you more credibility. So it’s not just the one thing they do. It’s probably a combination of things they do. Brian’s wife has him doing Instagram reels, but I told him that’s where I draw the line. My team wants me on TikTok but I said no. I’m not dancing on TikTok. One person can’t do everything. 

If you’re someone who’s thinking, “I really need to start doing this,” you’re probably wondering how long it will take to notice a difference. Brian says you have to be patient and stay the course and realize the results will come if you put in the work over time. Just keep plugging along, doing the right thing, month in and month out. Soon enough, you’ll see a difference. Give it a good 6-12 months, he says. 

Like they say, when’s the best time to plant a tree? Ten years ago. When’s the second-best time? Right now.

So, Brian uses SEO optimization, gets a borrower (that brings a realtor with them), then on the closing, they give that realtor a “wow” experience and follow up with them after closing to get more business from them. Like we teach, follow up with them during the process and after. That makes all the difference. 

If you’d like to put together a plan for closing more loans, we’d love to help you with that. Whether you’re closing 1, 2, or 40 loans a month and want to get more, we’re here for you. Click HERE to set up your FREE strategy call TODAY.