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CB/I Digital + First Citizens Bank – Excellence in Enterprise SEO

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Published Date 29.08.2023

CB/I Digital is an award-winning performance marketing and AI technology company based in New York with over 15 years of experience in creating major digital successes for enterprises and growing DTC brands. In addition to being included on Inc 5000’s list of Fastest Growing Companies in the US, our work has been recognized by the American Business Awards, Digiday, the Global Agency Awards, and many others.

The nomination for Best Use of Search – Finance for our work with First Citizens Bank highlights not only our expertise in Enterprise SEO – including a unique approach to technical SEO and Search Experience Optimization –  but also our ability to leverage proprietary technology and integrate our efforts into the overall marketing mix.

One of the 20 largest banks in the country, First Citizens Bank [FCB] has over 600 branches in 19 states and having recently acquired Silicon Valley Bank, manages over $100 billion in assets.  When CB/I Digital was first brought in, though, things were very different. 

At the time, FCB was routinely outranked by larger competitors and lagged behind in capturing and converting organic traffic, leaving them in a vulnerable position in a competitive industry.  Many local branches weren’t indexed and their website was dated and unoptimized for SEO, greatly restricting their ability to grow.  

Though there were significant challenges, FCB also had a huge opportunity to enhance their digital presence and they needed an Enterprise SEO strategy that could grow organic search rankings and traffic, leads, and customer revenue to establish their brand.

The foundation of any strong SEO strategy are keywords, with non-brand keywords being especially important for most financial companies.  We utilized a set of proprietary SEO technology tools – Playmaker Keyword Planner and Playmaker Content Review – to improve our keyword research and optimization processes.

Playmaker Keyword Planner allows us to segment a massive amount of search terms into targeted groups based on theme, user intent, search traffic, and other criteria, enabling us to process over 60,000 keyword options for FCB.

Playmaker Content Review analyzed a significant volume of both existing and new blogs and content pages, quickly evaluating how effectively they utilize various on-page elements and discovering potential issues.

These two tools greatly increased the pace of implementing optimizations, giving Google the opportunity to re-index pages sooner, and helping FCB move up SERP’s much faster. 

We also used our insight from their internal team to guide these implementations, developing a host of user personas to tailor our priorities to promote the services and content most important to these audiences, and support the efforts in other departments to increase traffic and engagement.

Our deep expertise in technical SEO was vital in managing new acquisitions.  In addition to Silicon Valley Back, FCB has also recently acquired CIT and OneWest Bank, and the scale and complexity of integrating these sites into FCB’s platform required painstaking audits, restructuring, redirections, and a host of other challenges. 

These efforts led to big improvements in organic, with traffic increasing 52% with a 385% increase in pageviews during the course of 2022. On Google, non-branded clicks increased 48% and total impressions grew 34% year-over-year.  

Our content optimizations increased clicks to articles by 352% year-over-year, and our Keyword Strategy led to a massive improvement in vital non-brand keyword ranking, bringing in millions more visitors to the site, a 33% increase in organic actions,and thousands more applications for services. 

By Q2 of 2022, we achieved a #1 position for “digital banking,” a #2 position for “open free checking account”, and a #2 position for “free savings account online.”  FCB now routinely outranks many larger competitors like JP Morgan Chase, CitiGroup and HSBC. 

For us at CB/I, these results represent a combination of strategy, proprietary technology, technical expertise, and true partnership mentality that distinguishes us from other agencies,  and FCB’s recent testimonial speaks for itself:

“Your team continually makes our team better, and we seek to regularly reciprocate regarding our industry and specialties, building us both stronger.  What a testament to your team members and the environment you have created!”

It is an honor to be recognized along with some of the best agencies in the country, and these accolades inspire us to push the boundaries of our work, continually innovate our approach, and develop new technologies to deliver the absolute best for our clients.  We’re deeply grateful to the organizers, judges, and our clients for their appreciation and support.

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