In today’s world of smart phones, Twitter feeds, and geo-targeted advertising, a successful business marketing strategy must be optimized to identify local prospects. The cornerstone of a successful local marketing strategy requires effective search engine optimization (SEO). This is especially true for small insurance agencies. More insurance buyers are going online during the buying process to research their decision. Local search engine optimization is focused on providing results that are relevant to a searcher based on their current location.
For independent insurance agencies, this means that if a prospect in your area searches for “car insurance,” that your website appears at the top of the rankings, above national agencies, educational pieces, and news articles. Ensuring that your agency is at the top of local search engine results takes a multi-pronged strategy, but it can be accomplished successfully by completing the following steps.
Improve Keyword Relevancy
A successful SEO strategy should begin with keywords. SEO keywords are the terms your website is targeting. Research the keywords that are the most relevant to your industry and that will be the most effective in driving traffic to your site. Since search engines rank pages and not websites, each page of your website should include keywords that are specific to that page. Use your keywords frequently throughout your content, but be sure to use them naturally. Search engines can identify websites with unnatural keyword densities, which negatively impacts rankings. Be sure to also include location information throughout your content as part of your keyword strategy, such as the name of the city where your office is located.
Create Deep Content with Internal Links
An internal link connects one page of a website to a different page within the same site. For example, on your home owner’s insurance product page, include a few sentences in the copy about obtaining a quote, and link it to a “Visit our location” page to reinforce your local presence. From your user’s perspective, this strategy provides the opportunity to read more of your content and spend more time within your site. From a search engine’s perspective, internal links encourage the crawling of multiple pages to index more content, which in turn improves your ranking.
Improve the Visitor’s Experience
Search engine rankings are improved for websites with low “bounce rates” and longer “time-spent-on-site.” Your content should answer all of your prospect’s questions (such as where you are located). Search engines can tell how effectively your website accomplishes this by monitoring the time between when a prospect clicks on your search result and when they return to the search engine. If a prospect only stays on your site for a few seconds, this high bounce rate, or low time-spent-on-site, can hurt your rankings.
Maintain an Active Social Media Presence
Creating social media pages across multiple platforms will help to improve your organic search results. Create social media accounts on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn and continually update the pages with new content. Post information about community initiatives, new hires, industry news and trends, and product offers to your social media accounts and link to your website for the complete details.
Create a Google My Business Page
Google My Business allows companies of all sizes to create pages to promote their local business, which can be highly effective for small businesses looking to attract local customers. Google search engine rankings are improved for businesses that have verified Google My Business pages. Be sure your Google My Business page includes accurate information about your businesses, including your local address and phone number, and include a Google map of your location.
The Power of Social Validation
Positive customer testimonials, both within your website’s content and posted to third party sites, can enhance your search engine rankings. Ask trusted clients if you can include their testimonial and home town on your website, or ask them to review your agency on Google, Yelp or other such sites that aim to match customers with local, highly-rated companies.
Backlinks are links from other websites that point to your site, and they improve your search engine rankings. There are many opportunities to obtain backlinks from local partners. For example, get included on your local chamber of commerce website, or submit a scholarly article to your local online news outlet (e.g.: “How to Purchase First Time Flood Insurance in Tampa”). Links from these highly-ranked sites back to your website will not only give your agency local credibility, it will improve your local SEO.
According to our own analytics, 20% of consumers are completing an insurance quote online using their mobile or tablet device, and an even larger percentage are using those devices to browse our agent websites. To ensure that these searchers can find your agency, and have a positive experience with your site once they get there, you will need either a mobile version of your website or a single responsive website. Either of these options will ensure that your website displays comfortably on any variety of mobile phone or tablet. Otherwise, if a prospect quickly leaves your mobile site because it is too difficult to navigate and read on their mobile device, your search engine rankings may suffer from high bounce rates.
Independent insurance agencies should not be intimidated by the mysterious and ever-changing algorithms of Google and other search engines. By implementing these simple strategies, your agency can improve its search engine visibility – allowing you to grow your business one click at a time.
Learn how EZLynx takes advantage of many of these strategies with EZLynx Agency Websites…