In digital marketing, many components come together to improve search visibility for companies. Search engine optimization, or SEO, forms the foundation of every digital marketing campaign. As search user habits have evolved, thanks in part to the rise of mobile computing devices like smartphones and tablets, new SEO strategies have also emerged. One of these is the concept of local SEO, which is a critical part of SEO for insurance agents, MGAs, and brokers. In this guide, we’ll take a look at local SEO, then present best practices for insurance agencies to use in leveraging this powerful new search tool.
In general, insurance agencies tend to be local or regional businesses, and as such depend on local customers to ensure business continuity. Bringing new customers in from around the service region is the cornerstone of local SEO, which is the concept of marketing a given business to local customers through local search.
According to search engine giant Google, almost 50% of all online searches now have a local component, referred to in the digital marketing industry as “local intent”. What this means is that Google users typically search for the businesses and services local to them; search queries often include phrases such as “near me” or a location-specific word like a city or town. For the purposes of this discussion, examples of a typical local search phrase are “best insurance company near me” or “affordable insurance agency in [specific location]”. Search engine algorithms process these queries, delivering results that are relevant for the location of the search user.
Visibility in Google’s “three-pack” is the goal of most local SEO campaigns. Named for the three search results immediately following the Google Maps entry on Google search results pages delivered for searches with local intent, this coveted region of the results page can dramatically improve traffic to a given business. Listings in the three-pack often display hours of operation, review ratings, and contact details for the business.
How does an insurance agency leverage the three-pack to its advantage? The answer is simple: by making use of a critical local SEO component called Google My Business (GMB). This free tool allows businesses to create a business profile, including such details as physical location, operating hours, and details about the products or services the company offers to its customers. Once claimed by a business, its GMB profile can then be used by customers to post reviews and to add photos of the business itself. GMB information is used to populate the three-pack in search engine results pages (SERPs), and as such, it is vital that businesses take advantage of this powerful aspect of local SEO.
For business owners who want to attract local customers, GMB isn’t the only tool available to satisfy local search algorithms. Google and the other major search engines are capable of discerning user intent, and SEO professionals know that in order to get the search visibility needed to rank highly in local search, certain aspects of the online presence must be in place. This includes both local content and location-specific pages.
Local content consists of topics that are relevant to a local audience. Insurance agencies can focus on local industry news, new regulations, or showcases of employees and services at a given location. The goal in developing local content for the Web is to become a local authority in the industry, which helps search engines rank content favorably in SERPs. SEO professionals can also include local keywords in the content, such as the names of cities serviced or other specific details that resonate with local customers.
Location-specific pages are another way to improve local SEO. For businesses that operate multiple physical locations, having a dedicated page for each of the locations can improve search visibility dramatically. Be sure to include location-specific details like operating hours, physical addresses and telephone numbers, promotional details, and even testimonials from satisfied customers. Single-location businesses can also take advantage of location-specific details by creating an “About Us” page. Adding a Google Map of a business location or locations to a website or About Us page can differentiate your site from the competition, helping to secure top rankings in search results.
Linking remains one of the primary tools available to SEO professionals. Links pointing to and from a given website help search algorithms categorize information and deliver it to search users in a relevant manner. The more quality links pointing to a given website, the better for search rankings. Local businesses can improve search visibility by ensuring that their company information is included in online business directories – there are hundreds of possible choices for any given location.
Local information resources can also be a gold mine of linking, helping bring customers to your location. These resources can include:
There are many more tips and tricks to use for SEO for insurance agents; however, the above tactics can increase local search visibility in a cost-effective manner. Local businesses depend on local customers in order to grow. By leveraging the power of local SEO, your business can improve its prospects, attracting a steady stream of new customers in your area.
Agency Tsunami is the digital marketing division of Neilson Marketing Services, who has provided the insurance distribution sector with innovative marketing and communication solutions for over twenty-five years. With our Agency Tsunami program, we have implemented an integrated marketing strategy that includes optimized, professional websites supported by high-quality SEO and Social Media for hundreds of insurance retailers and wholesalers. Our goal is to help your insurance business perform and generate new opportunities. Give us a call at (800) 736-9741 to learn more about how we can do that for you.