73% of consumers research their auto insurance online.1 Getting a favorable presence with the search engines, such as Google or Yahoo, is essential to reach this large segment of the market. Below are some easy tips to increase your number of website visitors and improve your search engine placement.
1. Content. Offering quality content is key to attracting visitors and gaining recognition from the major search engines. Share your insurance expertise by posting informative pieces that cater to your clientele. Keeping fresh content on your site encourages visitors and the search engines to keep coming back.
2. Sitemaps. Include a sitemap for your website. Sitemaps provide search engines information about all of the pages included in your website. Sitemaps can improve your search engine optimization by ensuring all of your web pages can be found. They also advise search engines when each page was last updated, how often the page changes, and how important each page is in relation to other pages on your site.
3. Submit your site to local search engines. Submit your URL to local search engines. The local editions of search engines provide internet shoppers the ability to find your agency from a phone book like feature on the search engines. Submitting your site to these local search systems also gives your agency the opportunity to be listed on their map displays.
Google Local Business Center
Live Search Local Listing Center
4. Title and META description tags. Title and META description tags are encoded within your website. The title tag is displayed as the clickable link on the search engine results page and search engines use keywords from your title tag, among other things, to index your site. We recommend you include your agency name in title tags in every page on your site. You will also want to include a unique description of the content on each page's title tag. If you only market in one state or a particular city, be sure to include that in your title tag as well.
The META description tag is often used for the snippet placed just below the clickable link on the search engine results page. The description will be used to provide a short description (typically one to two sentences) of what the web page is about. Think of your META description tags as your two sentence elevator speech used to encourage a prospect to buy insurance from your agency. Not including a META description will force a search engine to use other means to create your site description. This can lead to a description that is difficult to understand, therefore, it's best to include a META description for each page.
5. Use easy-to-read URLS. The URL (link) for your site is displayed on the search engine results page. Some webmasters use numbers or letters for URLs that often can be confusing or unfriendly and even deter a visitor from clicking on your link. If your URL contains relevant words, search engines and internet shoppers are then provided with even more information about your web page.
In order to effectively compete in the internet arena, it is essential your website is found. While ITC's insurance agency websites include many of these search engine optimization features and require no action on the agent's part to implement, any website owner will benefit from manually implementing the steps listed above.
1 Facts and Figures Courtesy of comScore, 2009 ComScore Online Auto Insurance Report
About the Author
AnMarie Bozick, CIC, manages ITC’s rating products, including TurboRater and TurboRater for Websites. She has more than 20 years of property and casualty insurance experience, including owning her own agency and serving as president of the Alliance of Insurance Agents of Texas. She joined ITC in 2008.More Content by AnMarie Bozick, CIC