Leverage SEO to Lower Your Chargeback Rate

by | Jun 17, 2016 | Actionable SEO Tips

by Brian York, Managing Director, AIM Baltimore.

Chargeback“$99 from ABC Enterprises?? What the heck is that??”

I am sure many of you have uttered these words when reviewing your monthly credit card statements – random charges with billing descriptors that are ambiguous at best. What is the first thing you typically do? Google it of course… “ABC Enterprises charge on AMEX”.

The resulting search will take you down one of three paths: 1) discovering that your charge was actually legitimate, 2) doing nothing and 3) disputing the charge with your credit card company (i.e. a charge back). Number 3 is what we are trying to avoid. A high charge back rate can lead to warnings, fines and ultimately, your charging privileges could be revoked! In today’s issue, I’ll discuss how to leverage SEO to lower your charge back rate.

In the world of payment processing, it is a known best practice to match the billing descriptor (what appears on the credit card statement) as closely as possible to the item being purchased. For example, if I purchase access to the online learning platform Lynda.com, I would easily recognize that purchase on my credit card statement if it said Lynda.com. But, if it said Linkedin, Lynda.com’s parent company, the charge becomes a bit more confusing. To take it one step further, Microsoft just purchased LinkedIn. Lets hope Microsoft never shows up as the billing descriptor for a Lynda.com purchase, because I don’t buy Microsoft products.

Now lets look at this in our world… very few info-publishing products or franchises have a huge brand name. Our customers, in most cases, recognize the name of the product more than the name of the brand behind the product. In my last article, 3 Ways to Turn Your Website Into a Conversion Machine, I challenged you to go to Google and search for the name of one of your products, the editor of that product and some key phrases in the promotion for that product. Did you do it? Did you dominate the top 5 spots in Google for all of those searches? Now let’s add billing descriptors to the mix. After you read this article go to Google and search for your billing descriptors. I think some of you may be shocked to find that your site is not in the top 5 results. The sites you are likely to see are: scam.com, reviewopedia.com, chargeprotect.com, 800notes.com. The list goes on and on.

We know people are searching for the billing descriptors, we can see this in suggested searches. Google generates these suggested searches from actual searches. It seems the easiest way to help address the issue would be with SEO. We can build pages optimized around the billing descriptor search term. Newsmax did this exact thing when they had trouble with charge backs for their Dividend Machine service. Many Agora affiliates have done the same for their products.

Lets look in detail at the Dividend Machine. A Google search for ‘NMX dividend machine’ produces the following results:

Screen shot of google search - for reputataion management article

Not only do they dominate the top 5 results, but they also have two paid ads appearing at the top. The organic listing page titles are very self explanatory: 1) How do I cancel, 2) Showed up on my card, 3) Why was I charged, 4) What is NMX Dividend Machine, and 5) a generic WordPress microsite about NMX Dividend Machine.

Now put yourself into the place of a consumer that just received a credit card statement and is searching for more information about an ambiguous charge. Do these search results answer the question, “why was I charged”. They certainly do, and more.

The copy on all of these pages is very clear and formulaic. We can use this page as an example. The charge is explained, instructions are given on how to cancel and then the copy moves into benefits and testimonials designed to save the sale.

The best part about this technique, your pages will show in the search results virtually overnight. The search query is unique and ultra specific… you are not competing with anyone else in the SERPs!

Paid ads are just as easy… no one else is bidding on your term. You may spend a few dollars a month in clicks to avert what could be a lot of bad press on spam.com!

The optimization techniques behind this are quite simple:

  1. Title tag and headline clearly represent the users search query.
  2. Copy that references that same query
  3. Link to the page from the bottom of the homepage to give it a kick start

Easy, right? Less than a days worth of work to provide a great experience to your customers and prevent credit card charge backs which could negatively impact your business.

Again, I challenge you to search for the name of one of your products, the editor of that product, some key phrases in the promotion for that product and the billing descriptor. Do you dominate the top 5 spots in Google for all of those searches? If not, get in touch with the AIM SEO team today… we can make it happen.

All the best,

Brian Signature

Brian York
Managing Director,
AIM, Baltimore.

P.S. Don’t forget to like our AIM FB page for more tips on how to build your fan base and other Facebook direct response tactics.