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The Downward Spiral of Search Engines and Insurance Marketing

January 7th, 2011Posted by akassover in SEO, Trends

Have you done a search for the type of insurance you sell in your region lately? Something like “

washington state health insurance quotes“? If not, take a minute to go to Google or Bing and see what comes up. I’ll wait…

Chances are fewer individual agents show up on the first page than a year ago (if there are any left at all). Online brokers and lead vendors are getting aggressive in their SEO strategies, targeting more and more specific phrases. They’re building out sites full of spun content and lead generation forms with little real information and even less credibility. This isn’t good for the individual agent, and it’s not good for the consumer. Consumers looking for insurance information have to dig deeper and search longer because most sites they find don’t provide much more than a lead form.

It’s not just happening in insurance. Product reviews, travel information, and even how-to advice are all falling to the same problem. More and more top-ranked pages in Google and other search engines are well-optimized and uninformative excuses for advertising and spam generation. People are starting to notice and get frustrated (see here and here). They’re changing how they search and evaluate web pages.

As an individual agent or small agency, you’re probably wondering how you can cut through the noise. The truth is that on a national scope, you can’t. But you can turn your smaller size into an advantage for select markets and with a little bit of work, see big results. Here’s how:

1. Go Local – Start doing geographically focused SEO (if you aren’t already)

You can’t compete at a national level, but you’ve got the home-team advantage locally. Optimize for phrases that include the names of the state, county, city, and even neighborhoods where you sell. Network with other local businesses and exchange links with them, whether it’s the local accountant or car wash. This will help search engines see that you have authority in the region you sell in and, as a bonus, you’ll develop a great referral stream.

2. Be Real – Show your visitors that there’s a real human behind the website

Consumers are getting good at detecting a quality website from a scam. They want to see the human connection. Make sure you feature yourself through pictures, content, and branding to remind your visitors that your website is different because there’s a real human behind it waiting to answer their questions and meet their needs. Don’t underestimate how important this is.

3. Educate – Provide great educational information

Rise above the “click hear!!!” crowd by building trust through good content. Don’t just talk about how you are there to educate and inform, use your website to do it. Focus on great content first and online quotes second. This will show your visitors that you’re not just trying to make a quick buck, but are actually there to help.

4. Don’t Sell on Price – Make sure your site is more than just a quote engine

Online quoting teaches consumers to shop around for price without understanding what they’re buying. This is a race to the bottom. Buck the trend by focusing on education, relationships, and trust. Do these three things and you’ll get the business.

5. Be the Tortoise – Slow and steady progress wins the race

It’s easy to get overwhelmed with online marketing. There’s a lot to it. If you set aside a few minutes every day to make consistent progress, it’s amazing how far you’ll get. Remember that if you can improve by 1% a day, you’ll double every 76 days! If you’re not sure where to start, download our free ebook Make Money While You Sleep – The Step-by-step guild to generating leads from your website. We break it down and make it easy.