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October 7, 2013updated 04 Apr 2017 1:02pm

Halifax: the UK’s most visible banking website

Google searches for loans, lending and borrowing accounted for 65% of all banking-related consumer queries in July, according to a report on the UK retail banking sector by digital marketing agency, Greenlight. But as Ellie Chambers reports,only 27% of searches related to savings and investments

By Ellie Chambers

Google searches for loans, lending and borrowing accounted for 65% of all banking-related consumer queries in July, according to a report on the UK retail banking sector by digital marketing agency, Greenlight. But as Ellie Chambers reports,only 27% of searches related to savings and investments

In July 2013, UK consumers Googled retail banking related terms a total of 3.7m times. A report from search marketing specialists Greenlight reports that 65% of these searches were to do with consumer lending of some kind, compared to just 8% for banking and 27% for savings and investments.

Greenlight also report that the term ‘mortgage calculator’ was used over half a million times, an increase of nearly 83% since around the same time last year. Searches for the term accounted for 15% of overall retail banking related searches. The next most popular search term, ‘loans’ accounted for only 5% and no other search term achieved more than 2%.

This surge in searches for mortgage related terms may have reflected a revival in the UK housing market, as in July house prices rose faster than they had in nearly seven years. The Council of Mortgage Lenders estimated that the UK’s total gross mortgage lending in July increased to £16.6bn, a rise of 29% since July last year and the highest monthly estimate since October 2008.

In integrated search listings for retail-banking related terms, Halifax’s website was the most visible of the banks. halifax.co.uk achieved a 46% share of voice in the natural listings and 11% in the paid. Overall, it was third in the rankings, pipped to the post by price-comparison sites moneysupermarket.com and moneysavingexpert.com, achieving respectively 79% and 63% in the natural search listings, and 81% and 0% in the paid listings. Although moneysupermarket.com beat the banks, its share of voice in the paid listings was down by 4% % on the same period last year.

Among the banks, tescobank.com was the runner up with 16% in the natural search listings and 40% in the paid listings. NatWest followed, with natwest.co.uk taking a 14% share in the natural search listings and 39% in the paid listings.

The total number of times that consumers Googled any retail banking-related terms was, at 3.7m, a fall of 700k from June. But search numbers appear to have had a rocky ride for the last six months. In February, they fell to 2.5m only to soar back up to 4.3m the next month, representing a 72% rise in searches. This contrasts with last year, when searches for the top four keywords almost flatlined from May to October.

In July 2013, 2.4m searches were made by consumers searching for borrowing-related keywords. The term ‘mortgage calculator’ accounted for 23% of all searches made for borrowing-related keywords.

Greenlight also report that the keyword ‘online banking’ was queried 74,000 times, accounting for 26% of all searches made for banking-related keywords.

For the online banking keyword searches, lloydstsb.com was the most visible website in the organic listings, achieving a 68% share of voice through ranking for 343 keywords, including the search terms ‘best student bank account’ and ‘best bank account UK’. barclays.co.uk attained a 67% share of voice through ranking for 344 keywords, including the search terms ‘compare student bank accounts’ and ‘student accounts comparison’.

One significant change from last year that can be seen in the report is that payday loans are no longer so high on the agenda. Last July, the search term ‘payday loans’ was used 201,000 times, placing it above ‘loans’ in the top 10 search terms. However, this year ‘loans’ made a comeback, being used 201,000 times and displacing the other keyword from the top 10 search terms.

 

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