How Google’s Local Search Display Changes Impact Your Insurance Website Marketing Strategy

August 26, 2015 Dylan Brooks

local search

If you've entered a search on Google recently, you might have noticed that the layout of the results page has changed. In particular, the local listings - a section of results for nearby businesses deemed relevant to the search - has been reduced from seven listings to three. These new local listings also frequently appear directly underneath paid search ads, making it harder for searchers to see traditional search results.

Here's a look at the new layout:

These changes will likely cause some headaches for insurance agents because there are fewer places where your agency can appear for searches. But there are some steps you can take to ensure your website still remains visible.

Optimize Your Website
Make sure your business name, address and phone number are prominently displayed on your agency website. Include relevant keywords, such as the lines of insurance you offer and the cities you serve in the content on your homepage and other important pages. And, always make sure your website content is useful for searchers.

Optimize Your Listings
Claim your agency's listings on Google MyBusiness, Yelp, Facebook, Yellow Pages, FourSquare and other prominent business listing websites. Once you have access to edit these listings, make sure your business name, address, phone number and website are consistent. Also, make sure they display the correct category. In this case, it would be as an insurance agency. This is important because search engines check these listings when determining your website's relevance for local search results.

Get More Reviews
Search engines are known to favor businesses with plenty of reviews on sites like Google+, Yelp and Facebook. Recent correlation studies also show searchers favor local search listings featuring review stars. So, adding a review strategy for your agency is a must. Here are a few tidbits on getting reviews:

  • Don't send out an email blast to all of your customers that asks for reviews on Google+, Yelp or Facebook. If your listing is bombarded with dozens of review submissions in a short time, these sites will filter out most of them as spam.
  • If you don't get all 5 Star reviews, don't sweat it. Searchers trust listings that have a few reviews and is less shiny because it reinforces the legitimacy of the reviews.
  • Respond to negative reviews. A well-crafted response that covers the concerns raised by the reviewer can show good faith and restore trust among searchers.

Get Quality Local Backlinks
Google's Pigeon algorithm ties ranking factors for local search listings more closely with those used for the regular search results. Quality backlinks to your site are major factors in rankings, so try to get links from locally relevant websites.

Consider building a partners page on your website and adding links to local businesses who have services complimentary to yours. Then, see if those sites will link back. This generally works best if you have an existing relationship with the business you're trying to earn a backlink from.

Google's local search display is something that can impact your agency's online visibility. But by following these steps, your agency can still be seen by the search engines and your potential customers.

If you need help with increasing your website's visibility in local search results, you don't have to do it yourself. Our online agency marketing services can help.


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 an MBA from Southern Methodist University. Dylan has extensive experience with writing, strategy and marketing analytics. In his spare time, Dylan enjoys cooking, participating in 5K races, and spending time around Dallas.

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