Thursday, February 01, 2007

Bank of America Online tries SEO

We all know, thanks our friends at Did-it, that organic search engine optimization is not rocket science. But it is quite a mess of an undertaking if you are mid level search manager at Bank of America.

A recent article published in Target Marketing talks of the efforts taken by Dawn Pasfield-Blevins with agency iCrossing. I don't envy her challenge:
One of the complexities the search team faced in designing a comprehensive SEO plan was taking into consideration the communication needs of eight different lines of business that comprise the bank’s products and services. They are: consumer real estate, deposits (checking and savings), cards, small business, global wealth and investment management, insurance, loans, and specialized banking services.
No wonder ex-BofA employees complain to me that all they did was sit in meetings, unable to take action with massive coordination.

You'd think that with a PR8 site, 144k solid backlinks in Yahoo, Alexa of rank of 285, that Bank of America could put up any content and rank top ten immediately for whatever they want. Here's BofA's plan:

Bank of America broke its plan of attack into a phased approach to cover the optimization basics, such as title tags on its Web pages, before moving on to deeper modifications to the sites, such as keyword density and the addition of content that will attract searchers in all stages of the buying process.

The results? Well for their efforts, Yahoo is showing 12,400 or so pages indexed, as they have made their first level directory navigation friendly. Beyond that, however we get into nasty cold fusion(.cfm) operators and other stuff that SEs will choke on, on some of their most important content. For example, just to enter their mortgage section, you're looking at url similar to this:


This is basic stuff that would make a huge difference. Instead of iCrossing, maybe they should give a call to SEOEgghead or read his great new SEO book.

The Alexa history on the site is also not very encouraging, although to their defense only they know how much of their overall volume comes from search, and how accurate Alexa really is.

For what it is worth, Alexa says that Bank of America's present volume has dropped to less than half of what it was a year ago.

Pasfield-Blevins at Bank of America: I'm sure you probably know all of this, and I sympathize with your efforts to swim against the current. I'm sure there are many out there fearing what would happen if BofA and other giants and PR8 authorities fully embraced search marketing. Thankfully for you, I'm not sure that will be any time soon.

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