How Personal Connections Still Matter in Local SEO

SEO, or search engine optimization, can seem quite complicated to the non-techie among you, and the rules for national and international SEO are a bit different than the ones that likely apply most to you. See, you want your agency website ranking high in local search results on Google and other platforms (but especially Google), and the way to make that happen has more to do with who’s pointing to your website than how many keywords and the amount of content that you have. In short, personal connections still matter a great deal to your local SEO success, and to fully understand just how much, we’ll take a look at the “makeup” of successful local SEO, as provided by the InsuranceSplash website.


What Goes in to Your Search Results?

According to John F. Carroll, local rank is determined by the following indicators and percentages.

  • Agency Website, 21 percent
  • Inbound Links, 18 percent
  • Citations, 16 percent
  • Google Profile, 15 percent
  • Reviews, 10 percent
  • Personalization, 8 percent
  • User Behavior, 7 percent
  • Social, 6 percent

Quickly, let’s go through each one. Your Agency Website should be easy to navigate and user friendly. Your Inbound Links are the links from other websites that point to your own. The Citations are how many other websites mention your name, address, phone number, etc. Your Google Profile is your Google+, MyBusiness, or Google Places pages — make sure there is no conflicting information and that your profile is active. Reviews from satisfied and dissatisfied customers always play a role as does personalization, or how closely your site is optimized to the personal variations that web searchers use. User Behavior is how other Google users interact with your site or listing and “Social” is how active your social networks are (i.e. Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.).

As you can see from this breakdown, your personal connections can make a big difference. Here’s how.


1. Your Agency Website

Get something up and running. Make it useful to what a prospect or customer would be searching for online. Make it easy to navigate. Focus on content over fancy design. This is not an online business card. It’s a portal that provides answers to frequently asked questions and makes it easy for prospects and customers to take that next step. You’re 21 percent of the way there.


2. Inbound Links

Think about your local contacts. How difficult would it be to go to each person, who has a website, and ask them to share this latest post you’ve written or a link to your main page on their website sidebar? If you’ve already established a strong rapport, it should be one of the easiest things in the world to do, and it requires virtually no technical know-how. You’re another 18 percent of the way there.


3. Citations

Got a promotion or giveaway going on? Are there ways you can partner with other area businesses to get a mention on their website? Exploit those personal connections, and you’re an additional 16 percent of the way there. (For those not keeping count, we’ve just done 55 percent of the work with little to no technical know-how. See how this is coming together?)


4. Google Profile

Set up a Google+ or a MyBusiness or a Google Places listing (or all three). If you do go with all three, make sure the listings and contact information are the same in each place. If there is a social component, use your profile to engage with other (preferably local) followers. You’ve covered another 15 percent of ground and are 70 percent of the way to having optimum local SEO.


As for the rest, it’s all about how engaged you are with insurance leads and customers in your area. What are the top searches? What have you been doing to add value to your existing clients and get them talking about you to others? How do these individuals engage with your website and your contact? Do they share on social media? Like Facebook posts? Retweet and favorite you on Twitter?


In Summary

Capitalizing on your local SEO presence will get you to the top of the search listings, and it will be much easier to generate organic leads as a result. Don’t take this rather mysterious marketing angle for granted, but at the same time, realize that you have probably already laid all the groundwork you need to for success. Good luck!

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