What Insurance Agents Should Know About Local SEO
Search engine optimization, depending on who you’re talking to, is either a must for any website or an archaic form of marketing that you might as well forget. If you move deeper into the world of online marketing, however, it doesn’t take long to see SEO still exists and it’s still important, particularly when it comes to professionals like insurance agents, who live and die by search engine placement to local customers.
Local SEO is a highly important part of establishing your online presence and grabbing eyeballs before the rest of your regional competition. To get some further clarification, we turned to insurance marketing expert John Carroll, whose InsuranceSplash is a must-have resource for any agent looking to expand his online presence. Here are some quick tips that Carroll recommends to get you started.
- Include your agency’s city, and state prominently throughout your site in many different locations and in page titles, but don’t overdo it!
- Make sure your agency contact information is included frequently on the site. It should match the address Google has for you.
- Include the lines of insurance and carriers you write for somewhere on your site. If your site doesn’t say “Insurance Bonds” somewhere, why would Google show your site when someone searches for “insurance bonds”?
- Quality of inbound links is much more important than quantity of inbound links.
- Links from local websites will help you more for local search
- Avoid cheap overseas “link-building” The type of links they build will not help you in the long run.
- Consistency is important – Try to use the EXACT business name, phone number, and address everywhere you list your agency online.
- If your agency moved and there are instances of your old contact information online, removing and correcting those instances will help SEO.
- Keeping business listings consistent can be tricky but there are services like Yext or our SEO service that can help.
- When setting up a Google Profile (15 percent of how your local SEO placement is scored), use the same business contact information (name, address, phone) you use everywhere else on the internet; provide as much detail as possible for every question they allow you to answer about your agency; and pay careful attention to choose the right categories.
In addition to the above tips, Carroll also notes that online reviews make up around 10 percent of your local SEO placement, but before you go off soliciting good reviews from friends and family, put on the brakes.
Are they customers, who are sincerely pleased with what you offered? If so, then it should be fine. But if you’re just trying to drum up a high star-rating and you’re bringing out fake reviews, you’re headed for trouble.
As Carroll notes, “Don’t make your own fake reviews or pay someone else to, it can get your agency blacklisted on Google.”
That means you won’t show up ANYwhere on Google, let alone at the top, where your business needs to be any time someone in your area searches for the product you offer.
The best way around the review problem is to simply ask your existing customers — the people you know who are pleased with their coverage. “If you don’t ask your clients for reviews, you’ll never get reviews,” Carroll says, adding that you should never have a client write the review from your agency — tempting if you are able to persuade them to do so, but a bad idea nonetheless because it “looks fake to Google,” and remember, they are the godfather of Internet search. Catching suspicious IP activity is sort of their thing.
For a full look at Carroll’s recommendations, check out his excellent article on the topic in which he also delves in to just how much social media matters to the insurance agent, and, by percentage, how each category affects your overall SEO placement.
SEO can be intimidating for the insurance agent, who is doing his best to meet and convert insurance leads, but it’s a vital part of the industry because of the sheer amount of customers, who can find their way to your door just by conducting a simple search. Don’t neglect this part of the job, or you’ll leave a lot of opportunities on the table. Good luck!