With 73% of insurance consumers using the Internet to research auto insurance last year, increasing your ability to be found online is a critical component to compete in today's environment. One of the primary drivers to increase your online visibility is to increase your ranking with the search engines, such as Google and Yahoo.
Just as you receive credibility when someone refers business to your agency, your website receives credibility with the search engines when an external website refers to it. Backlinks improve your rankings on search engines and also entice visitors to come to your website.
5 Tips to Get Free Referrals (backlinks) to Your Website
There are several forums online where consumers post their insurance-related questions. These forums offer a great opportunity for insurance agents to get online exposure by posting answers to their questions. More importantly though, many of these forums allow you to include a link back to your website in the signature line included with your answer. A great example of such a forum is ampminsure.org.
Submitting short insurance-related articles to sites, such as Ezine Articles, is another very effective way to get quality backlinks. To join EZine is free, however, they do uphold strict guidelines that prevent people from spamming their sites with sales ads. Keep the article informative and educational to show that you are an expert in your field. For example, write a short article on why it is important to carry renters insurance or outline the criteria involved in determining a rate for auto insurance. When submitting the article, be sure to include your link as part of your signature.
Social Networking Sites
Including an informative blog on your website meets another demand of search engines by keeping your website full of fresh and relevant content. Insurance related blog posts will be chalked full of keywords that your prospects search for when looking for insurance. To get the maximum benefit of your website blog posts, use social media sites such as Facebook and LinkedIn to refer your followers back to your blog. Social media sites are a great way to develop a loyal following as well as get quality backlinks.
Industry Association Backlinks
Industry associations are typically a great place to network and share ideas with other colleagues. Contact your industry association and ask if they accept short articles or blog posts from members. Again, always be sure to include your website address in your signature.
Company backlinks is probably the easiest to obtain. Most companies include a 'Find an Agent' section on their website. Check these sections and make sure they are listing your website next to your agency name.
How to Track Your Website's Backlinks (and your competitors!)
There are several free backlink checking websites, such as www.opensiteexplorer.org. These free tools give you the ability to see firsthand if your project to achieve more backlinks is working. They also offer a great competitor analysis tool to see who is linking to your competitors' sites. Visit your competitor's backlinks to see if you can obtain a listing with those sites as well.
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