One of the first blogs I wrote for ITC back in 2010 was about off-site optimization. A lot has changed since then. So, I thought it was time to revisit the topic and give you some off-site optimization methods insurance agents can use in conjunction with on-site optimization. Let's dive in.
There are two main components to search engine optimization (SEO): on-site optimization and off-site optimization.
On-site optimization involves optimizing your website, which includes content, navigational structure and backend coding so that the search engines can easily find and navigate your site.
Off-site optimization is the process of backlink building, which means creating links on other websites that link back to your own. When the search engines visit these websites and follow the links back to your site, it is seen as being useful and relevant resulting in a positive vote for your site. When tackling off-site optimization, it's important to be aware of the websites you are linking to as it can be quite easy to fall into the Black Hat SEO trap.
Also, with off-site optimization, remember not all backlinks are created equally. There are some that are good and allow link juice to pass to your website. These are called
Since off-site optimization methods do not directly contribute to high rankings, it's the combination of method, as well as pairing it with on-site optimization techniques that make it successful.
Okay. Now that you know a little bit more about off-site optimization, here are some methods you can use.
- Business Listings - Creating business listings on other websites helps with local citation building and with off-site optimization. Now, some business listing websites are
dofollowand some aren't. To find out which is which, do a quick Google search.
- Forums - There are some forums on the Internet that specifically cover insurance topics. Sign up for one or two and start giving your advice. Tip: Some forums will allow you to add a signature to your posts with a
dofollowlink while others may ask you to post a certain number of times before they allow a dofollowlink. Either way, it's a great way to get your name and website out there.
- Social Media - Although most of the important social networking sites' backlinks are
nofollow, social content can still be found in the search engine results. As such, it's a good idea to include a backlink to your website so people can see it, even if the search engines can't.
- Press Releases - Most press release publishing companies nowadays do not include
dofollowlinks in their releases. However, once again, people will see those links, which can help increase the traffic to your website.
- Partner Exchange - Most insurance agents have relationships with businesses in related fields like real estate agents, mortgage
brokersand home builders. Offer to add a link to their website on your own site if they agree to do the same for you. This may help you get more qualified leads rather than a prospect who is just shopping around.
- Sponsorship - Sponsoring local community events or organizations can also help highlight your website. As a sponsor, ask the event or organization leader to include a link on their website or social media to your site.
- HARO (Help A Reporter Out) - This is a website that provides expert sources of information to reporters around the world. You can sign up for a fee, and if the reporter chooses to use you as a source, they may cite your website.
Nowadays, Google seems to place a lot of importance on on-site optimization. However, off-site optimization is still a part of an effective SEO plan. The key thing to remember when building backlinks is that you can never have too many. It is an ongoing process, and should be a regular part of your marketing process.