The Foundation of Search Marketing Success

January 7, 2019 Dylan Brooks


the foundation of search marketing success image
 

It’s a new year.

With the changing of the calendar comes a renewed focus.

With a clean slate, you can charge full speed ahead drive more traffic to your insurance website. You can zero in on gaining more leads. You can reinvigorate your drive to earn more business.

These objectives can help scale your business and grow your bottom line. But how will you achieve them?

Search marketing, also known as SEO, could be your golden ticket.

Search marketing can improve your agency's online visibility. It can help your website improve its position on search engines. Search marketing can put your agency in front of consumers looking for coverage.

What can you do to gain the attention of this audience?

I could dive into a hefty list of best practices. These include keyword targeting, backlink building, review management and blogging.

But this article isn’t about any of those practices.

(Don’t worry, this ITC resource covers those topics in-depth.)

Yes, those tactics can work. But they’re most effective when you have a solid foundation in place.

That foundation can inspire consistency and sustained success. Regardless of which curveballs search engines or searchers might throw at you.

Here are the three core elements of that foundation.
 

1. Questions

Ask someone what search marketing is about, and there’s a good chance they’ll reply, “Keywords.”

Keywords used to dominate SEO. Business owners would pepper their websites with the terms consumers searched for. Search engines would rank the websites for those terms (or queries). Then, traffic to the websites would flourish.

But those days are long gone.

Search engines no longer rely on one-to-one keyword matches. They no longer tie words in a search bar with words on a webpage.

Instead, they consider the context of each search query.

Search engines use advanced machine learning processes to derive this context. Those complicated data mining tactics center on a simple concept.

Today, search engines treat each query as a question.

Whether someone searches What are my local agent’s office hours? or car insurance quote, the process remains identical. Search engines look for the embedded question. Then they look to present the most relevant solutions.

If you’re looking to build a search marketing foundation, you must embrace questions.

Consider the questions — stated or implied — in each search query. Is your agency qualified to answer those questions? If it is, create top-notch resources on your website that provide answers. These could be blog articles, product page enhancements, graphics or videos. 

These resources will be most effective if you give consumers a clear sense of your agency’s identity. So, be sure to answer important questions about your agency.

  • Why do you exist?
  • Who do you seek to serve?
  • How do you go about serving them?
  • What makes you better at this than your competition?

Include these answers in your content resources to stand out from the pack. In particular, prove your agency’s why statement. This clarity of purpose can build consumer trust.

 

2. Research

Insights are powerful.

But, they don’t always present themselves to you. Sometimes, you have to go and find them.

This is where research comes in.

Research is critical to modern search marketing.

If you want to get ahead, you’ll need to know what consumers are looking for. You’ll need to know which types of phrases they use. You’ll also need to know how search engines classify these queries.

Only by rolling up your sleeves and diving in can you can glean these insights.

There are plenty of research tools for search marketing. Free tools include Ubersuggest, KWFinder and Answer The Public. These tools each analyze a basic keyword you enter. Then, they provide similar terms consumers search for.

Google also provides insights into how it processes search topics. If you enter a search and look at the results page, you’ll often see Related Searches and People Also Ask features.

The Related Searches feature lists other queries that yield similar results.

google related searches for buy car insurance

The People Also Ask feature includes related questions to the query. Consumers often ask these questions as a follow-up to their initial search.

people also ask google feature

By looking at these tools, you’ll get a clear picture of the search landscape. You’ll see how consumers express their needs online. You’ll also see how search engines go about meeting those needs.

Understanding the lay of the land puts you in prime position to pounce. You can provide the best resources to real issues consumers are having. You can earn search rankings, drive traffic and gain business.

You can win, and so can the consumers you seek to serve.

 

3. Accountability

“What gets measured gets done.”

This time-honored management axiom is as true in search marketing as it is anywhere else.

The success of your work hinges on your ability to track progress. You must be able to see where you are in relation to your goals. You must also be ready to make changes, if necessary.

There are plenty of options out there to help you remain accountable. But one the best comes from Google itself.

Google Analytics shows where visitors to your website are coming from. It shows how long they’re spending on the website. It also shows the actions they take. These actions could drive revenue.

By keeping tabs on this data, you can see how well you’re meeting your key performance indicators, or KPIs. KPIs measure such objectives as revenue or leads. Meeting your KPIs can mean achieving business success.

But don’t let accountability end there.

Remember, search engines view queries as questions. They seek to provide the most relevant answers.

Making your agency the answer that’s chosen means being the best. It means offering the best expertise. It also means providing the best customer service experience.

You must hold your agency accountable wherever consumers can see it. This includes online, in-person, or on the phone. If you don’t, you’ll lower the ceiling for search marketing potential.

 

Putting It All Together

Getting ahead with search marketing doesn’t demand manipulative keyword tactics. It might not even demand next-level web development skills.

To get ahead, you must be willing to ask and answer critical questions. You must be willing to do comprehensive research. You must also be willing to commit to stringent accountability.

Build this foundation and your search marketing journey will be off to a fantastic start.
 

About the Author

Dylan Brooks

Dylan Brooks helps ITC clients improve the visibility of their agency websites, working directly with them to improve their search engine rankings. Dylan has a bachelor’s degree in communication from the University of Miami, and he is pursuing a masters in business administration from Southern Methodist University. Dylan has extensive experience with writing, strategy and marketing analytics. In his spare time, Dylan enjoys cooking, watching football, and spending time outdoors in and around Dallas.

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