In July, Google collaborated with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) to launch a new search engine results page (SERP) feature: the Mortgage Feature Box. When Google users search for the term “mortgage” on a mobile device, in addition to ads and high ranking content, they will see a special feature box on the first page of their search, in a style similar to Google featured snippets.
What Is Google’s Mortgage Feature Box?
The Google Mortgage Feature Box is more sophisticated than a typical mortgage calculator and offers more consumer-oriented mortgage loan insights and actionable tips consumers can reference related to the mortgage process. While mortgage calculators are often positioned on bank and related landing pages to help consumers calculate their prospective mortgage payments, the Google Mortgage Feature Box does more than illustrate the affordability of mortgage loans. Google’s Mortgage Feature Box presents users with an outline of the mortgage loan process, provides links to mortgage relief resources, explains types of common mortgage loans and helps consumers to better translate mortgage jargon into understandable lingo.
Why Did Google Launch The Mortgage Feature Box?
Although Google launched its native mortgage calculator in 2015, the Mortgage Feature Box represents Google’s response to the evolution of consumer housing and finance needs. According to Google, search inquiry volume in 2020 for keywords related to purchasing or refinancing homes skyrocketed. Conditions of the real estate and financial markets, coupled with the societal conditions resulting from COVID-19 which put increased emphasis on spending time at home, created a rush of consumer interest in mortgage loans.
Keywords related to refinancing mortgages hit an all time high in March, and terms like “how to buy a house” surged to a record high in May. The dramatic increase in mortgage related search volume inquiries was triggered when average mortgage interest rates in the U.S. began a 12-week decline.
Encouraged by favorable mortgage interest rates, sales of single-family homes, condos and townhouses jumped 20.7% from May to June with all four regions of the U.S. experiencing month-over-month growth according to the National Associationof Realtors (NAR). As a result of the significant volume of mortgage-related search activity, Google took actions to enhance their mortgage-related search results.
Why Is The Mortgage Feature Box On Google Relevant For Digital Finance Marketers?
Unlike Google’s mortgage calculator, the Mortgage Feature Box might pose additional competition for some mortgage and lending brands, as Google may provide all the content searchers need without ever leaving the SERP page. Even digital marketers who are already publishing consistent consumer content to promote their mortgage expertise, products and services may need to evaluate and adjust their SEO strategies to maintain current organic search traffic levels.
Fortunately, consumer interest in mortgage loans is at an all-time high. These market conditions present mortgage and financial marketers with opportunities to deploy digital marketing to reach, engage and convert prospective mortgage borrowers at a time when they are most ready to take action. Additionally, digital marketers in the mortgage and finance industries should comb their databases and analyze their first-party data to prioritize the customers and contacts with the highest propensity to convert into a closed loan at this time.
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