How Our Community Credit Union Failed SEO Today

Santa's SEO FailToday, it’s 45 days until Christmas. Today is also the day when Portland’s famous Christmas tree is delivered to Pioneer Square. It’s a huge event and people are stoked. In a pretty smart move, Unitus Community Credit Union is seizing the opportunity and giving out free peppermint hot chocolates from 12pm until 1pm. Pretty smart move if I do say so myself. Unitus hooks people up with a free hot chocolate, seasoned with the holidays, and BAM! Those people will probably remember the name of that particular credit union and associate them with awesome things like peppermint hot chocolate. Money in the goddamn bank!

Giving away a free peppermint hot chocolate is great for Unitus – they get great PR around town, build positive brand association with their customers, and get to do something nice for the community. However, what they’re doing is a major fail for SEO. Here’s why.

Offering free holiday goodness to the people of Portland is real company shit. #RCS. That’s quickly becoming the name of the SEO game. So why am I saying they failed SEO today? Because they heard jingle bells and are now standing in the front doorway, scratching their heads, while Santa’s sitting in their backyard with his bag of toys. Like that analogy? It’s the best one I could could come up with this early in the morning.

Christmas TreeSo here’s the deal. Real company shit gets links. It gets links that are exponentially more valuable than getting listed in directories, submitting articles, even guest blogging. The problem is that Unitus Community Credit Union isn’t getting them. Let’s dig a little deeper.

Since Unitus announced that they’d be giving away free hot chocolates, the news appeared in (at least) 20 sites. The show stopper? Unitus doesn’t have a dedicated page on their website about the promotion. The do have the promo listed on their “Community Corner”, but I’m betting that it’ll be removed in a week or so.

Of all the sites that mentioned Unitus and their hot chocolate promo, not one linked to even the credit union’s homepage (well, I linked to them). However, if they had been made aware of it, I think it’s safe to say that the people who were already writing about them would have happily linked to a page ABOUT THE PROMOTION on unitusccu.com. Yes!

Clearly, Unitus doesn’t have an SEO person or team but, if they do, they’re working on building directory links and submitting dofollow comments. If Unitus’ SEO team exists and they read this, get moving. You have about until the end of the day to do some amazing outreach and try to get the sites that are talking about this promotion to link to the page on your site.

I even started an outreach email for you:

Santa loves your link outreach!“Thank you so much for including a mention of our peppermint hot chocolate giveaway today in your piece about the Christmas tree delivery at Pioneer Square. We really appreciate you helping us spread the early holiday cheer and help us give folks their first taste of the holidays. :-) If it wouldn’t be too much trouble, we actually have a page on our site about the promotion today. Visitors can even get updates on that page about new community events in the future. The link is unitusccu.com/our-community/free-hot-chocolate/. If you think it would be a good resource for your readers and decide to include a link in your article, we’d be very grateful. All the best.”

The lesson? If you have an SEO person or an SEO team, keep them informed of your PR and community initiatives. If you don’t have an SEO person, get one. We’re moving into 2013 and if you’re not focused on using your website to generate new business, you’re doing yourself an incredible disservice. There is ALWAYS opportunity to improve, so please start thinking about it.

Okay, I’m out.

About Mike Arnesen

SEO and web development professional. Vegan, drug-free husband. Obsessed with fitness and puppies. I work at SwellPath.
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