Show Up Your Competition and Generate Online Referrals

April 6, 2010

73% of insurance consumers used the Internet to research auto insurance last year. Therefore, 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. A heavily weighed factor used by search engines to determine your placement on a search results page is the number of external websites that refer back to your site. These links from other websites to yours are called backlinks or are also referred to as inbound links.

Explore who is referring online visitors to your competitor's website. Visit,, type in your competitor's website address and click on Search. REMOVE By default, Yahoo will provide a list of all of the pages that are included on your competitor's site. To get a list of referring websites, click on Inlinks and then under the drop down box Show Inlinks; select Except from this domain. Be sure to check out who is referring your website while you are there.

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.

Five Tips to Get Free Referrals (backlinks) to Your Website

1. Forum Posting. 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

2. Article Marketing. Submitting short insurance-related articles to sites, such as Ezine Articles, is another very effective way to get quality backlinks. Joining 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.

3. 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.

4. 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.

5. Company Backlinks. Company backlinks are 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.

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