Mobile First Indexing Insurance Agency Websites

What Mobile First Indexing Means for your Local Insurance Agency

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Back in March, Google began moving to their “mobile first” ranking platform. The function is actually quite simple. Essentially Google is rendering their crawls, indexing and rankings based off of what is visible on a mobile device instead of your desktop version. Because Google only has one index and not separate indexes for mobile and desktop, you should check and see what is displaying.

Since 2013 we’ve been designing mobile responsive insurance agency websites. This means that your entire website is shrunk down to fit onto a mobile device. This also means that your entire website is indexed by either desktop or mobile versions. This was important in 2013 and is even more important now that Google has moved to “mobile first” indexing.

This could be bad news for insurance agents who have an aged website or who have a separate desktop and mobile website. If your web designer built you out a mobile site that was smaller than your existing website or was not optimized in the same way as your desktop version, this could mean you’re missing out on a lot of website traffic because only a few pages of your site would be indexed.

Try this test. Go to google and type in the search field: site:yourwebsite.com (see image below). This will produce a list of indexed pages of your website. Are any missing?

Mobile First Indexing for Insurance Agents

The good news is that any current web designer should be incorporating a mobile responsive website layout instead of having separate platforms for both. If it has been over 3 years since you had your website built out, you may want to check with another designer to see if you’re compliant. If not, it may be time for a website redesign.

Summary:

  • Mobile first indexing is rolling out now.
  • Having mobile friendly content is more important than ever.
  • Having a website that loads quickly (faster than 3 seconds is a good target) is more important than ever.
  • Redesigning your website to be mobile responsive is an easy, quick project for most designers.
  • You can utilize free services like Google Webmaster tools to test your website and look for ways to improve overall.

If you need help with your existing insurance agency website or if you have questions about whether or not your site is mobile-first index ready, please feel free to contact us. We’ve worked with hundreds of insurance agents across the country to improve their position in search results. Our insurance agency SEO programs are designed to be cost-effective and produce results.

How to Maximize your Page One Google Rankings

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First page search engine rankings don’t come easy. You’ve either spent many hours researching or hired a reputable SEO agency to help you master your online keyword ranking positions. But, with first page rankings on Google, Bing or other search engine, doesn’t always mean the new business quotes will begin flowing in. There is more that needs to be done. If you want more insurance quotes, follow these additional steps to ensure your first page rankings lead to conversion.

Professional Website – If you’re working with an SEO company, chances are they either redesigned you a new website or you had one built already. If you’re working with an old website, you may need to consider upgrading to a more modern, HTML5 website. Some things that may hurt your conversion include:

  1. Your site is not mobile responsive.
  2. You don’t have an SSL certificate.
  3. Your call to action isn’t obvious.
  4. Your site looks dated.
  5. Your site formats incorrectly on tablet or mobile phone.

If your site is more than a couple years old, it may be time for an upgrade. New websites look modern, fresh and it shows that you care about your business. After all, your website is the “face” of your business and is often the first impression for a new customer.

Domain Based Email – I’m shocked how often I still see professional insurance agents still using Yahoo, Gmail, MSN and AOL email accounts. Getting a domain based email account (yourname@youragencyname.com) can help you with conversion. Nothing looks more unprofessional than getting a quote from a generic email account. Best of all, you can get domain based email for a couple of dollars a month! Domain based email also tells the recipient the name of your business helping with brand recognition and loyalty.

Reviews – Reviews on reputable sources such as Google, Yelp and Facebook further help new customers make their purchase decision. Take this example: If you’re searching for an ice cream shop near you and one has 25 positive reviews with an average of 4.5 stars and the next best one has no reviews, which one are you likely to try? Reviews not only help convert but can improve your organic SEO rankings even further, cementing you in the top and pushing your competitors down the page.

Make Quote Options Easy – People want things now. Studies all say that consumer’s attention is at an all-time low so when they get to your website, have several places where they can take action:

  1. Have an obvious get a quote button or form on each landing page.
  2. Have a phone number in an easy to find location such as your header.
  3. Have after-hours options and if you’re comfortable with it, have an instant rater from a comparative rating vender.

Understand your leads – When people contact my business to discuss marketing, my first two sentences are always the same.

  1. Thank you for your interest in Tosten Marketing.
  2. How did you hear about us?

Thanking them just comes naturally. Being an insurance agent is competitive, so telling your prospect that you appreciate them contacting you is important. Secondly, by understanding how they heard about you, you can cater the remainder of your call and relating to that. Perhaps you both know the same person, attend the same church, or maybe they saw a Facebook post. Regardless of how they heard about you, these two sentences always setup the rest of the call.

Track Your Leads – You’ve worked hard to just get a customer to call your office. Stacie Cooper of Safeco’s Bricks and Clicks team says, “Each agency should be logging the lead source in their agency management system for future marketing, analysis and reporting. It is great to ask, but even more important to track it.” By tracking your leads you can have a better idea of how your marketing dollars are working for you. Do you have an ad with a local paper that isn’t producing any leads, or is your current web team not getting you ranked for the keywords you really want? Maybe it is time to move your marketing budget around. Don’t have an agency management system? A monthly Excel spreadsheet works too!

Name with a Face (meet the staff) – Meet the staff pages are great. There was a time, not long ago, when people actually came into an insurance agent’s office! Remember those days? Today, about 95% or more of business is done over the phone or internet/email. By having a meet our staff page, people can learn more about you and your business and stay in touch (links to LinkedIn pages etc.) The better you can establish a relationship over the phone with someone, the more likely they are to refer you business or leave you a review.

Stay in Touch – Once you won the customer, it is absolutely critical to stay in touch with them! Consider reaching out to your customers one time a year by phone at renewal to ensure they’re happy with their current company, or to share any news like significant rate increases, new products etc.  Also, sending out a newsletter from the agency several times a year sharing events you’ve partaken in, charities you’ve donated to and more. Additionally, you should be asking every customer to follow you on social media.

There is a lot to do these days in order to keep your customer and to win them over once you’ve established your first page rankings in the search engines. By following the steps above, you will not only be more successful with capturing the leads but you’ll be improving your overall marketing return on investment (ROI).

If you have questions about marketing your insurance agency, feel free to reach out to us and discuss them. Tosten marketing specializes in insurance agency marketing with an emphasis on search engine optimization and website design.

Google Maps for Home Based Insurance Agents

Google Maps for Home Based Insurance Agents

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Do you run a home based insurance agency? You can still take advantage of Google My Business even without displaying your location (your house in most cases).

Many businesses work virtually. We do. Early on we realized that we didn’t need a physical location to thrive. In fact, it only drove up our costs. The year we operated an office out of Bellevue we didn’t have a single customer stop by. Our relationships with carriers wasn’t impacted by this decision either. They didn’t require us to operate in a commercial space to be a referral partner. Our team works virtually and that works great for us.

If you’re reading this, you might operate a home-based business. What many businesses don’t know is that they can still take advantage of a Google My Business profile to market their business. The secret lies in a simple checkbox labeled “I deliver goods and services to my customers at their locations.” If you select this, it will hide your physical address from Google Maps, but everything else remains. Just be sure to select your target market (more precise is better such as just the city you’re located in).  Here are the directions right from Google:

To edit your service area details:

  1. Sign in to Google My Business.
  2. Make sure you’re using card view. If you’re viewing your locations as a list instead of cards, switch to card view by clicking the cards icon on the right side above your locations.
  3. Choose the listing you’d like to manage and click Manage location.
  4. Click Info from the menu.
  5. Click the Address 
  6. In the window that appears, select Yes next to “I deliver goods and services to my customers at their locations.”
  7. Enter your service area information. You can set your service area based on the zip codes or cities that you serve, or on a given area around your location.
    • Select the box next to “I serve customers at my business address” if you want your complete address to appear on Google and your business location is staffed and able to receive customers during its stated hours.
  8. Click Apply.

Best of all, if you need help, you can request a phone call directly from Google in a minute!  Have a Google Specialist Call You

Google My Business is a necessity of businesses today. To be successful online, people need to know that you are reputable and that you have happy clients. Utilize Google reviews on your Google my business profile. Hopefully this trick can help you if you work from home.

Tosten Marketing is an insurance agency marketing company based in Seattle, WA. Our team of marketing experts can help any agency with web design, search engine optimization, blogs and more! If you need help with your insurance agent marketing programs, we’d love the opportunity to earn your business.

Unique Insurance Agency Marketing

2018 Digital Marketing Trends for Insurance Agents – Are you unique?

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Unique Insurance Agency Marketing Most agents by now have taken the basic steps of online marketing. Your website looks professional and you’ve claimed your Google My Business listings. But, many agencies we talk to still struggle with the next steps. Having a website simply isn’t enough anymore.  2018 will be about: What makes your agency unique and what makes you stand out?

What makes your agency unique?

Insurance agencies are in a grossly competitive market. In fact, the insurance industry as a whole is the single most competitive and expensive industry on the internet to advertise. Much of this cost is driven up by direct writers, but even agents are getting into the pay-per-click ad space. If you’re still focusing on just auto and home insurance, it is time to consider other avenues because every other agent in the country is focusing on these too.

What content marketing approach do you have that will make you stand out online?

Content marketing is all about writing product content targeting. Instead of spending all your time focusing on home insurance, think about AirBnB insurance, VRBO Insurance, vacation rental insurance, secondary home insurance, short-term-rental insurance and more! When we look at websites for insurance agents, most of them look the same. They hit the big products, but neglect the smaller ones. Yes, you should have home insurance on your website, but home insurance can be broken down into countless additional sub-categories. This goes for all categories. Instead of Motorcycle Insurance, what about scooters, mopeds, Vespa’s, slingshot, Spyder… This is where the opportunity online is in 2018.

Is your site secure?

If your site is not using a SSL certificate yet, it would be a good idea to get one. SSL certificates are inexpensive and can be installed quickly by any competent web provider. There are two simple reasons to get one installed today.

  1. Abandon Rate: Google’s latest version of their web browser, Chrome, will now tell visitors that your site isn’t secured in stark red letters. A recent study by HubSpot found that when people were warned that a site wasn’t secured, they abandoned the site by 82% of the time. Do you want to miss out on 8/10 leads on your website?
  2. SEO Boost: Google says they favor sites that have a SSL installed and give them an SEO boost. It isn’t often that Google tells us any of their algorithm, so take advantage of this.

Is your site responsive?

It surprises me how many websites I still see that are not mobile friendly or responsive. You can read about the importance of website mobile responsiveness from a 2014 blog post I wrote. We can’t reiterate enough – if your site isn’t mobile responsive, you’re going to miss out on over 50% of all website traffic. Period.

Site speed

If your site is taking over 4 seconds to load, you’re going to have an abandon rate in excess of 25%. Slow sites are generally slow because there is too much JavaScript, too many large images or too many off-site requests loading (iframes etc.) Utilize free speed test tools by Google or GTMetrix to improve the speed of your site.

Malware and DDOS protection

It seems like the internet is like the Wild Wild West these days. You can’t go a day without hearing about a major hacking event, stolen consumer data or our last election. While most DDOS (denial of service) attacks try to target major websites your insurance agency site is still vulnerable. Most insurance agency websites can operate safely on a smaller marketing platform with minimal memory on their server. When you get too much traffic however, your processes can backup which causes your site to crash and go offline. Investing in both malware as well as a hosting company that can help mitigate your vulnerability from DDOS is a minimal investment in your online presence. Things like CloudFlare (CDN) can also help with your page speed and erroneous downtime errors that occur because of rogue IP Addresses accessing image files too frequently.

2018 will be a great year for insurance agents. Consumers are continuing to support the channel and the easier your agency is to find online, the better your chances are to landing more customers through the web. Consumers want to do business with local agents, so find ways to stand out – participate in local events, post local pictures, support local charities and do your best with gathering reviews online to your Google My Business profiles, Facebook and Yelp. There is a lot that goes into marketing an agency successfully but with some patience, you can thrive. If the thought of marketing your business successfully is too much, we’d love the opportunity to work with you. Tosten Marketing has helped hundreds of agents around the country successfully market their business online with up-to-date website design, unparalleled hosting packages, malware protection and of course or SEO services. If you’re not familiar with our company, check us out. I think you’ll be impressed.

Google Website Requirements

Google Doesn’t Care About the Age of your Website but It Does Care About This

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Some businesses have the misconception that because their website is old and has been around for a really long time that it is better to “spruce it up” versus build out a new design. When it comes to your business website, one of the only things that matters is what Google thinks about it and where it ranks. And, Google does not care about how old your website is. It does however care about:

  1. How old your domain is. If you purchased a domain in 2000 your site will rank better than if you purchased a domain in 2017. That is a fact.
  2. How good and new your content is. If your site has great content and a lot of it that is fresh and updated frequently, it will rank better than a site that hasn’t added in any content in months (or years!). Google visits sites more frequently if they have new content (a blog) than sites that do not have content updated regularly. Simply put, they are considered more relevant.
  3. Can it crawl your site and understand what it is about: It is shocking how many websites lack the basics of SEO. If your homepage title is: “ABC123 Insurance” Google doesn’t really know what your page is about or where you’re located. Having a site that is properly optimized is absolutely critical. Tell Google what your site is about and where you’re located. “ABC123 Insurance Agency – Serving Seattle, WA Since 1943” is better.
  4. Mobile Responsiveness: Is yours site mobile responsive? It better be. In 2015 Google said it will penalize rankings of sites who are not mobile friendly. Nearly 50% of all agency website traffic is coming through mobile. Is your site mobile responsive? If not, it’s time for a rebuild.
  5. Links: If your site has been around a long time, it would be important to ensure any rebuild of your site preserves these links. It is easy to find sites that are linking to your content by using tools like http://opensiteexplorer.com. When your designer rebuilds your site, be sure they either add redirects from these old links or preservers your link structure.

There are many things that can help your business succeed online. Understanding what doesn’t matter can be equally important and save your agency valuable marketing dollars.

Tosten Marketing is an insurance agency marketing company specializing in fully automated marketing programs that include website design, search engine optimization (SEO), insurance agency newsletters and more! We are endorsed by leading insurance carriers and help agents across the country manage marketing campaigns. If you’re interested in learning more about Tosten Marketing or getting in touch visit us online at https://tostenmarketing.com