In this day and age, just having an insurance website built for your business is not enough to get new leads calling your phone or coming through your doors. Today’s digital world is as competitive as the insurance industry itself. How can you compete online when it feels like your competitors have seemingly unlimited resources to spend on SEO and digital ads?
Most independent insurance agents are looking for very specific clients: your neighbors.
Forget trying to find leads from all over the country. Focus your attention on local SEO and you can appeal to the prospects who are most likely to do business with you.
Local SEO vs SEO: The Defining Difference
Local businesses can benefit from a mix of both organic and local SEO tactics. Here’s how they differ:
SEO: Search Engine Optimization
Also known as organic SEO, this is a process by which you help search engines understand the relevance of your site. With strong optimization, you communicate to the search engine what your website business does and it processes this information, using it to determine when your website should be put in front of searchers keying specific search phrases (aka keywords) online.
Local SEO: Local Search Engine Optimization
Helping search engines understand your relevance (what your website/ business does) PLUS the geographical region that you serve.
Local SEO Matters for Your Business
Fact: 50% of local-mobile searchers are seeking information about local businesses like yours, interested in knowing the location and hours of operation.
These searchers want to know how to get in touch with you and where to find you.
- 47% of all searches online are local
- 50% of consumers who conduct a local search on their smartphone visit a store within 1 day
- 18% of local mobile searches lead to a sale within 1 day
Looking to have a pizza delivered to your house and you’re likely to pull out your smartphone, searching for “pizza delivery.” Search engines aren’t going to provide you with information about pizza place in a different state. The results that will display first, the pizza restaurants closest to you, are the ones that have properly utilized local SEO to their advantage.
Signal the search engines to show your insurance agency to the people who’s leads you want to capture – the ones in your area. Here’s how.
#1: It Starts with Google
Step one in a local SEO strategy is to set up, or claim, your Google My Business listing. With over 77% of the 6.5 billion online daily searches being made through Google, you need to make it your first priority.
Local searchers with be able to readily find important info about your agency, such as name, address, phone number, hours of operation, a map and reviews all through Google My Business.
How it works:
- Navigate to Google My Business
- Search for your business using its name and address
- Add or claim your business
- Verify your page
- Choose the correct category for your business
- Fill out your business profile completely and accurately
- Add photographs and logos
- Ask for reviews (more on this in a moment)
#2: Add Your Business to Directories
Now that you’ve completed your Google My Business profile you’re off to a good start, but you’ll also want to be sure to list your agency in secondary directory and search sites.
Mind your NAP: (business) Name, Address, and Phone number. These items need to be exactly the same across all directories and claims to your business. If not, the conflicting information from one listing to the next will confuse Google, other search engines, as well as potential clients.
Consistency is key. Be sure that the following information is exactly the same wherever it appears online:
- Business name
- Phone number
- Days/ hours of operation
- Website address
- Description or summary (be sure to include your keywords!)
#3: Claim and Optimize Social Profiles
YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world, behind Google, with more that one billion users who watch 5 billion videos per day. Facebook has twice the number of daily users at an astounding 2 billion people.
Don’t underestimate the important role that social networks play in advertising your local agency.
Be sure to set up/ claim and optimize a business page for all major social networks, such as Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Twitter.
As with online business directories, consistency across your social channels is of paramount importance if you want to be seen by search engines.
#4: Optimize Your Existing Site
You already have a site, but does include the local market you service? Update your pages to include keywords that point to your region. Remember that Google hates keyword stuffing, so avoid jamming your nearest metro area into every inch of your site. Be smart and methodical with your optimization.
- Page titles: Include your local search term in 70 characters or less.
- Page descriptions: Include your local search term and keep it to 155 characters or less.
Your insurance site should have a separate page for contact information that includes your business name, address, phone number, hours of operation and a map of your location. Also include written details about your location to help search engines and prospective leads know how to find you.
Important Note: If your agency services multiple regions/ towns/ areas, be sure to create a separate page on your website for each. Don’t just copy and paste as you will run into duplicate content issues. Rather, create each as its own landing page, specifically written to the audience of people who live in that region.
#5: Get Great Reviews
Reviews and recommendations are important. Ask your existing and previous clients to head over to your business directories and leave a review.
Email clients to let them know that you’ve listed your agency on a directory and request that they give you a review. Include a link to your business page/ profile to make it as easy as possible for them. For example, you can include a link to your Google My Business, Yelp, or Facebook profile.
Remember: Make it a habit to ask for reviews regularly from new clients. After you have a new client sign for coverage, send out a thank you email that includes a review request.
If you get a negative review, don’t panic. It’s okay. Here’s how to handle it:
- Always reply to a less-than-stellar review in a professional and courteous manner.
- Reach out to the reviewer and seek to find a way to remedy the complaint.
- If the issue is resolved, you can request that the review get update or removed.
- If the review is completely unfounded or incorrect, you may be able to have it removed by contacting the directory itself and flagging the review.
When all else fails, combat a negative review with a glowing one. Reach out to your most outspoken clientele, the ones who rave about your agency. Send them a brief email letting them know that you’ve received a negative review and ask if they wouldn’t mind leaving a positive review to better reflect the level of service you provide to your clients.
You’ll find that most of the time your loyal clients will be more than happy to take a moment out of their day to share their fantastic experience with you.
#6: Publish Local Content
Whether your SEO efforts are organic or local, content is important.
Search engines love fresh content. Regularly publishing blog posts signals to search engines that your site is current and relevant. By adding local flare to the content you’re posting, you also call out to to search engines that you are highly relevant to your region.
More importantly, regularly publishing local content is your opportunity to position yourself as a knowledgeable insurance authority for both current and future clients. You can think of your blog as a tool used to serve your clients, adding value to your agency and making you a trusted local insurance resource.
Winning the local SEO game takes some time and effort, but it can be done.
Unfortunately, just optimizing your existing web pages for your area won’t do the trick. If you take your optimized website, add directory listings, mix in some good reviews, then you’ll have the recipe for a local SEO win.