A backlink occurs when another website has a link that directs users to your website. I mentioned this topic in one of my previous articles. Backlinks are one of the most important ranking factors in SEO. A backlink is essentially a vote of confidence. It indicates your website is relevant and useful to users.
It can be a challenge to gain good backlinks. But, below I will include two examples common among Japanese tourism websites and insurance agency websites.
1. Niche Websites
For any interest, there is a website available on that subject. A good potential backlink to gain is through a niche website.
When I researched services in Japan, niche websites were an invaluable source of information. They helped me figure out what type of product I wanted as well as where I could find it. An example I found during my research was from Tokyo Urban Baby, a Japanese travel website. Tokyo Urban Baby had an article referencing Kimono Rental Uruwashiki (a business I talked about in part one).
Even insurance agency websites can gain value from a niche website links. An example of this in action is Casey Insurance Agency, which specializes in marine insurance. Casey Insurance was referenced as an insurance provider within a blog by Things We Did Today…, a small Caribbean living website.
Within the article, they link to the Casey Insurance website, providing a backlink. They even offer additional value by talking about what kind of service was provided and where a reader could learn more.
You can always provide great service and hope a website mentions your agency naturally. But, you can always reach out to a related website and ask to work with them.
For example, if your company sells insurance in Dallas, Texas, see if there are any bloggers talking about local businesses in Dallas. Then, you could reach out to the website’s owner to ask for a mention within a related article. Or, you could ask to work with the blogger on a guest posting opportunity.
In summary, a legitimate (meaning non-spammy to users or non-paid links) niche website can provide value to businesses by bringing a new audience to your website, as well as provide a backlink.
2. Business Directories or Listings
For businesses of any type, there are business directory or listing websites available. These can be niche to a specific product or service, or just general business directories. There are many websites available for businesses to use for free after signing up. These give businesses like your insurance agency website a chance to be found in more places online. In some cases, they’ll even provide a small backlink to your website.
For Japanese tourism websites, I was found listings for businesses when searching for a specific product, or when looking for the business itself online. A specific example I was able to find was for Ninja Akasaka, a themed restaurant in Tokyo. I found general listings such as Google My Business and Yelp. But, I also found Ninja Akasaka on niche business listing websites such as TokyoCheapo and TripAdvisor.
Insurance agencies also can use business directory websites. You’ll find general listings like Google My Business and Yelp and niche listing websites like CalculateMe and InsuranceAgentsLocal. They are out there and typically free to sign up for. Even ITC utilizes various businesses listings like Google My Business, Crunchbase, and Yelp, which can you find online when searching for Insurance Technologies Corporation.
The most important thing to keep in mind is every listing website should have the same information, such as name, phone number, and address. This way, search engines associate this information to your business without any confusion.
Online reviews can have a significant impact on your brand’s presence to users, both new and returning. According to Invespcro, 90 percent of consumers read online reviews before visiting a business. And, 88 percent of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. With these kinds of numbers, you cannot ignore the impact online reviews have.
A website where reviews have a significant impact is your Google My Business listing. As mentioned earlier, Google My Business is a free listing service from Google that a business can sign up for. One of the main features of this listing is for users to leave a review about the business. This listing can appear as both a knowledge panel on the right-hand side of a search or within a Google Maps search result.
For Japanese tourism websites, these types of reviews can have a massive impact. They are a first impression to travelers researching information about products and services. For instance, during my research into accommodations, I was looking for a hotel in Fujikawaguchiko for a night. All part of the decision-making process were pricing, special amenities and location. But, the reviews that a hotel had in comparison to similar hotels in that area were also a consideration. When searching for a hotel, I would see a result like below.
Not only can I see the differences between options, but I can immediately see the average rating for each option. This makes it easy to make a snap decision as to where to stay. If a user has 451 options, then poor reviews can lead a user to look at another option very easily.
Reviews are also critical for insurance agencies. Insurance is an important financial decision but it is also highly competitive. There is a variety of options for users to choose from. A differentiating factor for online prospects looking to buy from your agency can be reviews that other clients leave. When looking for auto insurance in my area, I can see the following results.
These results show both independent agencies and captive agents that could provide auto insurance to me. So as part of the decision process, I can filter out the businesses that have poorer reviews because there are others that can provide a similar product.
On top of being a decision factor for users, reviews can even have an impact of how a business appears within search over time. So, make sure to manage reviews for your insurance agency online. And, be proactive in asking customers to leave reviews to stay ahead of the competition.
In the end, I want you to remember this: SEO basics are fundamental for any type of business. You can even take lessons from industries you would not have thought of.