When you think about search engine optimization (SEO), what first comes to mind?
You'll likely associate it with keywords, content and links.
You're not wrong. These are key components that help your insurance website appear in search results.
But what about your agency branding? Does that impact search visibility?
Direct vs. Indirect FactorsSearch engines analyze many factors when they return results for a search. Google alone has 200 different factors. These range from the quality of a website's content to its timeliness.
Some factors matter more than others. Plus, search engines don't use all factors for every search.
Is the power of a company's brand something search engines consider in this process? Not exactly.
Branding does not appear to be a direct ranking factor for major search engines. But, it's an indirect SEO factor you should take note of.
Why? Well, search engines are looking to please consumers. Studies also show consumers have a strong sense of brand affinity.
In fact, users often spend considerable time on websites with a strong brand identity. Since user engagement is a direct ranking factor, websites with powerful branding will often rank highly.
How This Impacts YouNow, I realize this revelation might be disheartening. There are some massive brands in the insurance industry, such as GEICO and Allstate. Competing with them might feel like playing basketball against someone twice your size.
But now's no time for indigestion. You can still use branding to boost your search visibility.
1. Nail Your Brand Messaging
Ancient Chinese general Sun Tzu once said, 'Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.' If you're going to build a strong online brand, you need a strategic foundation.
Take some time to determine your agency's value proposition, and turn it into a mission statement.
Next, consider integrating consistent messaging throughout your marketing. Establish a consistent brand voice on your website.
But don't stop there. As Becky Schroeder, ITC's Vice President of Marketing states, 'Marketing is the way you answer the phone and the emails you send to clients regarding your policies.' Your brand messaging should be consistent across all marketing touchpoints.
This will help your agency resonate with consumers. Websites that resonate with consumers often see search visibility gains.
2. Keep Your Images SharpWhen you think of McDonalds, what comes to mind? Those golden arches on a red background, of course.
The fast food giant understands the importance of a well-cultivated image strategy. Look at how consistent their logo is on their website, Facebook page and Twitter feed.
You don't have to be McDonalds - or State Farm- to strike a chord amongst consumers. But, you should have a distinctive logo for your brand.
Add that logo to your website, emails, social media channels, signage and collateral. Make sure the logo is the right size and shape for each channel, and that any cover images match.
The search engines aren't scoring your image consistency. But consumers are. Many will leave a site that has sloppy logos and graphics.
3. Make Your Website Inviting
Which insurance website looks better?
Formatting matters, especially in a mobile-first world. For example, consumers despise websites with large blocks of content. It's hard to skim and navigate.
Large buttons are also easier to tap on a mobile device. Big icons are fast indicators for lines of business. These visual cues can easily match your agency's branding. And, they're user-friendly, something Google rewards.
Try to incorporate your branding throughout your website design. This will make it easier for consumers to read your content, regardless of the device they're on. And, that content itself can still help your website rank in search results. It's a win-win.
4. Optimize for Your Brand
Putting together a good-looking website with a sharp logo won't send you to the top of the search results alone.
You'll still need to include target keywords, add relevant content and earn quality backlinks. But if you incorporate your branding into this process, you can double your chance of success.
By optimizing your website for both keywords and your brand message, you can make your content stand out.
As a result, your website could show up on the first page for searches related to your branding and for important business-related terms. This scenario could grow your traffic and your business.
It might not be a direct ranking factor. But when it comes to search visibility, your website's branding is not optional. It's essential.
Need help with your branding? ITC is here for you. We offer everything from website design to managed SEO services.
About the Author
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 he is pursuing an Masters in Business Administration from Southern Methodist University. Dylan has extensive experience with writing, strategy and marketing analytics. In his spare time, Dylan enjoys cooking, watching football, and spending time outdoors in and around Dallas.Follow on Google Plus Follow on Twitter More Content by Dylan Brooks