As a digital marketing agency working with surety bond- and insurance providers since 2014, we decided to share with you a short list of some of the most important SEO tactics that can get your websit...
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) for insurance agencies is the process of optimizing the agency’s website so it ranks high in the organic search results on Google and other search engines.
Although SEO can be confusing for many insurance agents, it should not be overlooked because unpaid search traffic is possibly the most important marketing channel for many agencies.
Why SEO is important for insurance agencies
When it comes to buying insurance, the customer journey usually starts with a simple online search. According to a study done by Google, 60% of consumers who purchased car insurance online performed at least one relevant search during the observation period.
This means that if you want to sell more, your website needs to rank high in the search results for the terms your potential customers use to search for your insurance products. The great thing about SEO is that by developing a search engine-friendly website, you can get more visitors to your web pages without having to spend money on additional advertising.
This article provides 11 reliable SEO tips that have consistently shown positive results for agencies in the insurance industry. Read on and give them a try.
1. Create high-quality relevant content
Developing a strong SEO plan for any web page starts with knowing your audience and how they search. You need to define what search terms your audience uses at each stage of their buying journey and the content they expect to see on your landing pages. Then, you can start creating your content targeting these keywords while keeping the search intent in mind.
The buying journey generally consists of the following stages:
- Awareness – this is the stage where your potential customers become aware that they need insurance. Content in this stage is not selling anything, it is only informing. This type of educational content can include articles that give basic information to the reader such as why and in what situations they would need insurance. Examples of target keywords could be “do I need car insurance” or “who should get life insurance”.
- Consideration – after being aware that they need insurance, it is time to help potential customers figure out what type of insurance they need, how much it costs, and other details. Again, content in this stage is not selling a specific product – it is simply providing information about the range of solutions available. Example keywords are “how much does car insurance cost” or “how to get car insurance”.
- Decision – at this point, people are ready to act, this is where you give them content that showcases your insurance product as the best solution for their specific needs. The content and the layout of your landing page should make it easy for your visitors to take action and apply. This is why informative and educational articles have different layouts compared to product pages. Example target keywords could be “car insurance quotes online” or “buy car insurance”.
Creating helpful content that takes into account the search intent of your target audience by providing genuine answers to their questions can position your agency as a thought leader and a reliable partner.
2. Optimize your internal linking
If you want your content to appear in the search results, Google and other search engines, first, need to be able to find it. When you publish a new page, make sure you add links to that page from other pages on your website. The most important internal links are those in the navigation menu. You can also add links in the text of your articles or landing pages, in the footer, sitemap, sidebar navigation, banners, images, and so on.
Internal links provide a strong signal about the importance of a page. The more internal links a page has, the more important it is. From a UX standpoint, internal links help users find the page they need. From an SEO standpoint, among other benefits, internal links help Google find and index your content and pass PageRank. That’s why important pages on your website, such as your product pages, should have more internal links than others.
3. Develop an SEO-friendly URL structure
Search engines love organization so your URL hierarchy should be logical, easy to understand, and structurally organized around your business.
For example, let’s say you sell different types of business insurance and surety bonds. In this case, you might want to group your URLs around the different products you sell. For example:
Whereas your surety bond page URLs will look like this:
In some cases, for example, when you sell surety bonds in different states, you can further group your pages by state because the bonding requirements, and thus your content, can differ significantly. In this case, your URLs could look like this:
Whatever insurance products you offer, make sure your website architecture is logical and reflected through your internal linking.
4. Build your page templates around your visitors
Different types of pages have different goals. Product pages should sell, articles and educational pages should provide useful content, and so on.
When you publish new content, make sure to use the right page template so you can provide the best possible user experience considering the user intent.
For example, your product pages should have an application form or a calculator higher on the page, possibly above the fold. This makes it easier for users to apply or calculate their costs.
On the other hand, educational pages should have their content available as high as possible on the page.
A sign of good user experience is when you can keep your visitors on your website and they don’t want to go back to the search results.
5. Optimize your page speed
A major priority for Google has always been to provide a great user experience. One important metric for this is your page load time. According to a study done back in 2017, half of the visitors would abandon a website if a page loads for more than 3 seconds. In general, faster page load time means a better user experience.
Page speed is important, especially because most people searching on Google use mobile devices and might not have a high-speed internet connection.
In 2020, Google introduced a set of metrics, called Core Web Vitals. They are meant to help website owners understand how their web pages perform and provide directions on what they can improve.
To optimize your page experience, start by checking your Core Web Vitals report in Google Search Console. The Core Web Vitals report consists of 3 metrics:
- Largest contentful paint (LCP) – measures the time it takes for the largest content item on your page to appear on your visitors’ screen. This could be your featured image, a video, or simply a big block of text.
- First input delay (FID) – this is the time it takes for the interactive elements on your page to respond. These could be application forms, buttons, links, etc. For example, if you have an application form with a dropdown menu on your page, this is the time it takes from when a visitor clicks on the dropdown menu to when the menu actually appears.
- Cumulative layout shift (CLS) – refers to how ‘stable’ your page layout is while your visitors are on it. For example, some page elements can load much slower than others, and once they load they can push other elements on the page unexpectedly, causing a shift in the page layout. A visual example can be seen below.
To run further tests and get more specific recommendations, you can use the PageSpeed Insights testing tool.
If your website is built on WordPress, try installing Nitropack. This plugin optimizes the performance of your website and it helps you increase the number of good URLs in your Core Web Vitals report. We aren’t affiliated with them, but we’ve seen great results for our clients. It’s a powerful tool, so make sure to test and adjust the optimization settings.
6. Keep track of your meta tags
Meta tags are tags “hidden” in the HTML of your web pages that provide useful information to search engines about the available content on your page. Although Google’s understanding of online content has evolved a lot over the years, these tags still play an important role in your “communication” with search engines.
Below are some common meta tags that you should keep in mind.
- Heading tags – these help search engines and your readers identify the headings and subheadings from the rest of the text on a page. Heading tags vary from H1 to H6, with H1 being the title of the page. For example, the heading, or H1 tag, of this article is “11 SEO tips for insurance agencies”, and the H2 of this section is “Keep track of your meta tags”. In general, a page should have only one H1 tag and as many subheadings as needed. Avoid using heading tags just in order to bold words or phrases in your text.
- Title tag – this is the title that appears in the search results. It is located in the <head> section of your page and it tells search engines what the page is about. It plays an important role in your page rankings and it has a big impact on how many people will click on your result in Google. The title tag should be no more than 60 characters long. Try to include the main keyword that you target for the specific page or a close variation of it. The title tag should be the same as or a close variation of your H1 tag, but make sure it stands out from the rest of the search results that appear for your target keyword. It’s a good practice to include your brand name as well, e.g. “Auto Insurance Quotes | Your Brand Name”.
- Meta descriptions – this is a summary of what people can find on the page. The meta description text can appear below the title tag in the search results. Keep it up to 160 characters to avoid being truncated. While this isn’t a direct ranking factor, it is your chance to make your page stand out from the rest of the search results. Try to make it descriptive and actionable. Give a reason for people to click on your result.
- Canonical tags – the canonical tag tells search engines what version of the URL of your page should be indexed. For example, the URLs below can open the same page with the same content, however, Google needs to decide which of the 4 variants should be shown in the organic search results.
Nowadays, all websites should use a secure protocol, so make sure your canonical URL starts with HTTPS. Whether your canonical tags use the www or non-www version, is up to you and how your website is built.
- Noindex tag – you can tell search engines not to index a specific page on your website with the noindex robots meta tag which looks like this <meta name=”robots” content=”noindex”>.
You can apply this tag on pages that have thin content or simply pages that you don’t want to appear in the search results. Always be careful with this tag so you don’t deindex the wrong pages.
- Image alt text – this attribute is added to an image tag. It should contain descriptive information about the image. This helps Google and other search engines understand the image, how it relates to the content on the page, and what it should rank for in the image search results.
7. Use structured data markup
Structured data is markup added to the HTML of your page. It provides a machine-readable representation of the content available on the page, which Google and other search engines can reliably understand.
The most important benefit of adding structured data to your website is that it can enable your pages to appear with special features in the search results.
There are different types of structured data that can enable different rich features in the search results.
Here is an example of one of our clients from the insurance industry. After publishing an article on how to become a freight broker, we added the so-called “How-to” structured data markup. Eventually, the set of steps listed in the article, as well as the accompanying images started appearing in the search results on mobile devices as shown below.
Appearing with richer features in the organic search results can have a positive impact on the number of clicks you get.
Other types of structured data markup commonly used in the insurance industry can be FAQ, Reviews, Local Business, Article, Breadcrumb, Logo, and others.
8. Build high-quality backlinks
Apart from optimizing the things that you control on your website, you also need backlinks from external high-quality websites. Google interprets these inbound links as a type of recommendation for your website and that’s why this is still one of the most important ranking factors.
In a perfect world, these “recommendations” should be organic, meaning websites should link naturally back to your web pages because they see value in providing a link to your content. If you have plenty of useful unique content, great UX, and a well-known brand, you could be getting those natural backlinks easily. However, for most businesses, this process can take a lot of time. That is why it’s good to be proactive.
Here are some of the things you can do to speed up this process and get more high-quality backlinks.
- Guest blogging – offer to write blog posts for other relevant industry sites and even collaborate with journalists through platforms like HARO to position your insurance agency as a thought leader in the industry.
- Local listings – add your insurance agency on influential local business directory websites such as Yellow Pages, Local.com, and others, so that you can easily be found by potential customers searching in your surrounding area.
9. Focus on the mobile experience
Mobilegeddon or Mobilepocalypse, as some digital marketers call it, was Google’s algorithm update of April 2015, that ushered in the mobile-first era. Mobile-friendliness has since been a ranking factor as Google has been focused on providing a great user experience for people on mobile devices, which is the majority of us nowadays.
All that is to say that you need to make sure your insurance agency website is responsive and easy to use for both mobile and desktop users.
When you design your pages, try to start with the mobile layout first, and then continue on with the desktop version.
Don’t be afraid to simplify the layout of your pages. List the elements you want to have on a page and prioritize them around your visitors’ intent. Make sure the most important content is visible on smaller screens.
Whatever changes you make to your page layout, make sure you test on mobile devices.
10. Update your Google Business Profile
Google Business Profile (previously known as Google My Business) offers the opportunity for businesses to personally manage the business information that appears about their business on Google. Creating and optimizing your Google Business Profile is important for local SEO and the key to ranking high in local searches.
Your Google Business Profile allows customers to find your local business and important information about it such as the services you offer, work hours, customer reviews, and more. If you add your phone number to your profile, they can contact you directly using the search results.
One thing to remember is to always keep the information on your Google Business Profile up to date with the information available on your website.
Apart from important contact information, you should also add your logo and additional photos that can provide a glimpse of your business.
Since your Google Business Profile also allows your customers to post reviews about your business, make sure to respond on time and show them you value their opinion. This brings us to our next section.
11. Get more reviews
Good reviews are essential for your insurance business because they give credibility and boost the chances of attracting more potential clients. There are two types of reviews that you can receive:
Customer reviews – you can give your customers the chance to review your services. Reviews can be hosted either on your website or external platforms, such as Google Business Profile or TrustPilot. If you use an external platform, make sure to embed them on your website as well so they are visible to your visitors.
To increase your reviews, try to incentivize your agents to always ask every new client to leave a review.
You can also add Review structured data to your pages so that the review stars can appear in the search results.
Business recommendations – you can apply for and get external business reviews, trust seals, and certificates by well-known and reputable organizations like Better Business Bureau (BBB), Inc5000, security seals, and others, that provide external approval of your organization and the security of your website. You can then embed their badges on your website to serve as an additional trust factor to your visitors.
These trust seals don’t have a direct SEO effect, but they give your website visitors that extra peace of mind.
We hope that the above SEO tips were helpful and applicable to your insurance agency. The advice provided in this article is based on our industry experience and overall SEO best practices. Let us know in the comments below if you have any specific questions about optimizing the search engine performance of your website.
At Presitely, we have 9 years of experience in search engine optimization in the insurance industry in the U.S. Feel free to contact us to discuss how we can help your business grow.