Hi, it’s Aaron from AgentMethods. I’m at the white board again today and I’m talking about how search engines are looking beyond your website to see if you are a trusty insurance agent, and that they are looking at some brand signals, and some sort of nontraditional signals to determine if you are legit or not. I mentioned before that previously it’s been all about backlinks, and content, and title tags, and header tags. Those are still important, but the game is changing it a little bit because your customers aren’t looking for the site with the most backlinks. They are looking for the insurance agent or the insurance website that can help them get insurance. What that means is that search engines are having to look beyond just your website for some other signals.
*So I want to talk about what those other signals are. They are all things that you have control over and they are things that you can impact. You might already have, but you want to make sure they are all tied together. I have a list here of things that brands have or brands do. The first one is a real address, a real physical address, this is a physical location, and you can tell search engines that you have this by registering with Google local or making sure that you’re listed in the White Pages, Yellow Pages, that sort of thing. Make sure you have a real physical address, so you’re not just a virtual business. *
The second one is the social media. Real brands participate in social media. They’re online, they have a Twitter profile, they have a LinkedIn page, they have a Facebook fan page, and they are just sort of showing that they are not just marketing their website, but they are actively engaging with customers. They are having an active conversation. These things are looked up by search engines. They look at how many employees you have listed on LinkedIn. They look at how many tweets you put out. They look at the diversity, people who are conversing with you, on Twitter and Facebook, Facebook Likes. All these things get counted because they are signs of a real brand interacting with customers.
*The next one is are you contactable? Is there a way for a customer to reach you? Do you have your phone number, your email address, a contact form present on your website? Do you encourage customers to reach out to you and have a dialogue? Or do you kind of build a wall between yourselves and customers, because if you build a wall here, that’s a sign that the connection is not very good beneath it. So break down this wall; make sure you are contactable. *
Below that, are you a legal entity? They have access to your corporate records so in terms are you registered, do you file an annual report, do you have an LLC, an S-Corp, other sort of corporate entities that represents your business? Make sure you do, make sure that you have a tax ID number, make sure that you’re registered at the local Chamber of Commerce or Better Business Bureau. All these sorts of things show that you are a real business, a real entity, but definitely being legally registered shows that you really are making a commitment to being a brand and not just sort of a generic “pop up and disappear” kind of website.
Next up, we have Press. Do you interact with Press? Are you going out and getting P.R.? Are you mentioned in trade journals, publications? Now, this is a little bit difficult to do, but you need to find an angle of what do the Press want to talk about? Is there a way for them to cover you? And sort of just a tip, we know that the changing economy, certainly changes in healthcare laws; the agent’s perspective is something that the Press wants to hear, so reach out to your local publications. Reach out to your local newspaper, your neighbor newspaper and see if you can get mentioned, get a quote. How are these changes in the economy, changes in healthcare affecting you, affecting your business because search engines will see that and they’ll see that you are real and not just trying to promote your website, but you’re actually a real business.
The last one is logo and design. Real brands, we know this; if you think about any brand, think about Nike, Coca-Cola, Apple, they all have a logo. They all have a logo that defines their brand and so they are going to look to see if you have a logo on your website and that’s a sign that you’re a brand. If you’re just using text, you haven’t made the commitment to create that visual representation of what your brand means. So makes sure that you have a logo on your website, search engines will see it and they’ll take this as a flag that “yes,” you are a real brand.
So all these things in total show that you’re a real entity out there trying to interact with your customers not just through your website. They are all accessible to search engines. They have ways to get all this data and so you need to go through this list and make sure that you are fulfilling all of these questions, so that when search engines start to look beyond your website to see if you’re a real brand or a fly-by-night operation, they are finding the answer you want them to find because we’re going to see that over the next year or two, this is going to become a much more important factor in search engine rankings. It might even start to overwhelm backlinks and content.
Make sure you’re going through this and make sure you’re doing it. It’s going to help your site tremendously, both the short-tem and the long-term. It will also help your customers and help built trust you in lots of other ways, as well.
*So that’s what I have for today and this is a pretty long-term topic, but it’s going to affect you now. It’s also really important, so make sure you do it and make sure you follow these tips. I will, of course, have more on insurance websites tomorrow. Thank you for watching. *