With a majority of insurance consumers starting their research online, building a website is a positive step forward in an agency's marketing strategy. However, just because you build a website, does not guarantee visitors will come. Capturing a portion of the online market will require an Internet marketing strategy.
One area of that strategy should include search engine optimization, which is the process of increasing website traffic from search engines through preferred ranking in organic search engine results. With Google capturing more than 60% of the search engine market, they are a good reference point to use when developing a search engine optimization strategy.
These 8 tips are a great starting point to optimize your website for Google.
1. Include relevant and fresh content on your website
Matt Cutts, a member of Google's Search Quality group, consistently tells webmasters 'Great content has to be the foundation of every great website'. People that use a search engine are looking for information or a solution to their problem. In order to deliver quality results and answers to their users, Google constantly crawls the web looking for fresh content to index. Therefore, when searchers enter keyword terms, they are matched to relevant websites.
2. Promote your website
Be a part of the conversations that are taking part online by participating in forums and blogs pertinent to the insurance industry. In doing so, always include links back to your website. When providing informative information to consumers and industry colleagues, you will find others will also link back to your website. These external links carry great weight with Google when determining the ranking of your site.
3. Keyword research
Keyword research entails studying what words your potential clients would use when searching for your services. The keywords you determine need to be included in your website copy. To begin, ask yourself what keywords you think your clients would use to search for your services. Also talk to your customers and see if there are any keywords they associate with you. A great resource are your competitors' websites. Also, there are search engine keyword research tools available, such as Google's free Keyword Suggestion Tool.
4. Descriptive URLS
An example of a descriptive URL would be http://www.sampleinsurancewebsite.com/automobile/car_insurance_quote.aspx
The text included in the URL for each page on your website is a ranking factor. In addition, the URL is displayed in the search engine results page, which can give potential visitors an additional nudge to click on your site.
5. Alt text to describe your images
Alt text is used to provide a description of an image. This text will provide information to Google about the content and function of the images on your website.
6. Include keywords in the Title Tags for each page
Title tags are used to describe a specific web page. The tag is visible in the title bar of your web browser and is displayed as the headline in the snippet provided by Google on the search engine results page. It is not uncommon for novice web designers to leave the title tag to the default 'Home' or 'Untitled'.
7. Load times can be a factor in your rankings
Studies show when a site takes too long to load or display, users get inpatient and go on to look for another site. Therefore, to improve their user's overall experience, Google does include the time it takes to load a website as a factor in determining website ranking. It is not a huge factor, but a slow loading page can be dinged by Google.
8. Niche marketing
Trying to compete for broad keywords, such as 'Insurance' is going to be difficult, particularly on a small budget. Target smaller markets and concentrate on dominating these niche markets. For instance, if you specialize in insuring beauty salons, focus your resources and keyword phrases to terms relevant to beauty salons.
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