Insurance marketing hacks to improve your local online search results

This month our insurance marketing hacks are focused on local searches and local SEO, because Google changed the playing field a few months back by reducing the number of companies in their top-of-page listing, from seven to three. Based on those changes, we’re providing you tips to help your insurance agency rank higher in search engine results pages (called SERPs by marketers – you know, on which page your agency ranks when someone does a local search for your city plus the words “insurance agency” or “auto insurance,” etc.)

Why is this so crucial? Here are a few statistics from Go-Globe that might help sway you:

  • 89 percent of smart phone users search for local businesses weekly; 58 percent search daily
  • 46 percent of all searches on Google are local
  • 86 percent look up a business location on Google Maps
  • 76 percent of local searches result in a phone call

Which businesses see the most action? Those at the top, in what’s now called the “Google 3-pack” – those smart companies who’ve managed to garner the top three spots in Google’s local search results. These three typically appear just under a local map. And that 3-pack appears in the top spot in 93 percent of searches with local intent. Recent Google changes made getting traffic from these top three more difficult: they removed the street addresses from each of the three, so searchers have to click on the website link to find it. The good news, though, is this: Google rotates those three businesses, depending on the searcher’s location (actually, the location of their IP address), even when the difference is just five miles away. (Researchers must’ve tested this theory by visiting a lot of area Starbucks and logging into their WiFi!)

So what does this mean for you, the designated online marketer of your insurance agency? Here are three insurance marketing hacks from SEO PowerSuite for you to improve your local search results. 

1. Are you showing up as one of the top 20 sites in the map view? In Google, type in your city or area name plus “insurance agency.” You’ll see the map with the 3-pack listed. Just below the third one you’ll see “More places.” Click on that to see that you’re listed. (Note: you’ll need to clear your cache before performing this search, because Google knows that your own website is one of your favorites, so it’s automatically going to add your agency to the list of 20. You want to view what any other first-time searcher would view if they performed this search. Using an incognito window won’t work here.) 

2. If you didn’t show up in the top 20, what do you do now? For starters, check your website: Is your company’s full name, address and phone number on every page? If not, add it. Yes, it’s important. Next, make sure you’ve filled out your GoogleMyBusiness listing – and when doing so, be sure to use the exact company name, address and phone number here as on your website. No alternate or abbreviated versions. You can read more details in our earlier post on insurance agency local SEO hacks. Then continue to ask satisfied clients to post reviews on Google, Yelp or other local directories.

Related: Nail 3 new marketing skills to grow your book of business

Other insurance marketing hacks for your local search optimization include adding your city/area name on various pages of your website, in headlines, subheads and text. For instance, if your agency is in Huntington Beach, use not only the city name but similar terms such as South Bay, South Bay LA, LA Beach Cities, etc. You can also add a local webpage for each city/area where your agency has offices, optimizing each by its location.

According to online search expert Moz.com, you should ensure you have a complete listing on these top local citation sources for insurance agencies: Yellowpages.com, superpages.com, dexknows.com, calculateme.com (for auto insurance only), manta.com, insuranceagentref.com. Most are free – and once you have all your information written for GoogleMyBusiness, you can use the same content and photos for each one. 

3. If you’re in the top 20, what else can you do to stand out? That’s a good question, because you’re still only 1 of a list of 20 – so how can you guide searchers to click on you? First, fill out your GoogleMyBusiness page completely. Add as many good photos as possible: your building exterior, your reception area, your entire team, a few “posed” photos of an agent with “clients,” etc. Next, read your competition’s descriptions. How can you reword yours to sound better (without saying “We’re the best” or “Our service is exceptional” or other puffery that you can’t prove)?

Related: Insurance agency local SEO hacks: Six ways to get more online traffic than your competitor down the street

Now add links – to your website home page, to a customer testimonial page on your website (using text like “Read what our clients say about us"), etc. Whenever possible, ask satisfied clients to review you on Google Reviews, as those are worth their weight in gold. Finally, ensure your phone number, hours and address are correct.

Then it’s wash-rinse-repeat: you’ll need to continue to keep an eye on your top-20 listing, adding new reviews, checking your competitors’ listings and improving yours. 

Now it’s your turn: What insurance marketing hacks have you used to help you stay on that top 20 list?