Insurance Agency Website Design

Why Your Old, Out-Dated Website May Be Your Agency’s Best Future Marketing Asset

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What if I told you that even though you hadn’t invested a penny into marketing your business in the past 3 years that with a little effort you could dominate results in search engines like Google? You’d probably be interested, right? When it comes to marketing your agency through your website, there is a lot to discuss. Often the most overlooked starting point is how valuable your outdated website is to the future successes you’ll have online marketing your agency.

It seems backwards that your obsolete, non-mobile-responsive website could somehow benefit you, but it’s true. And in a big way.

What Matters

When it comes to a website and the success you have online, two of the most important factors are domain age AND search history (whether or not a website has existed and has been indexed by the search engines).

We wrote about brand new insurance agency websites and the challenges they face in a blog post about 5 years ago. Much of that still holds true today. The difference here is this blog article addresses agencies that purchase brand new domains and build out a new website.

If you’re considering building a new website where one already exists here are couple big pointers:

  1. Do not change your domain. By using your existing domain for your new site, your results can come lightning fast. (If you must change your domain, there are ways to transfer your domain authority to the new domain, but it gets complex). Google and other search engines should reward your new website, content and SEO work as soon as they stop by to index your information (usually every few days).
  2.  Spend some time optimizing your content by following SEO best practices.  Even basic SEO like page titles, meta descriptions and word count make a big difference. If your new website content and optimization is good, you can go from not ranking at all, to being top of search for many of your targeted keywords. That old indexed domain and website will allow your new site and content to be reindexed immediately and rank well if done correctly.

A Word on Domain Authority

Domain authority is basically a grade for your domain based on several web-based factors. Your domain authority is ranked on a scale of 100. The higher the domain authority, typically, the higher your site will rank in the search engines. There are many factors that come into play with domain authority grading that include links, age of your domain and others, but mostly it is related to how many other sites link to yours as well as how good your internal link structure is. Improving your domain authority is extremely difficult on a large scale. In fact, the highest domain authority I’ve seen for an insurance agent is about a 40/100. That old website you have has been around for a long time, so chances are you have some good links pointing to it like your insurance carriers, review sites and directory listings. Even if you haven’t made a concerted effort to get them, you’d be surprised how many there are.

Use Caution When Changing Your Sitelinks

If you have an existing website and are going to build out a new one, it is important to redirect the old pages to new pages if you change your sitelinks. If your site is old, chances are there isn’t much information there, or pages to redirect so this effort could take just a few minutes.  If your new website pages generate 404 error pages because you didn’t recreate your sitelinks and redirect them, Google and other search engines may penalize you. Additionally, it is possible that your old pages are bookmarked or are linked to by other sites, so you’ll want them to redirect to the new page on your website so you don’t lose valuable domain authority. You don’t want your website visitors getting to a 404 page, so put in the effort to update this.

Content & SEO

Your new site will require some new content and SEO to do well. Updating your website to a new look and feel won’t do you any good if the search engines can’t understand your content. Remember, when a search engine looks at your website, it isn’t actually seeing your design, it is looking at your source code which, unless you’re a web developer, looks Greek. Working with a website developer and someone knowledgeable in your industry for SEO can reap you quick rewards when you launch your new site. But, do your homework when hiring a SEO. I can’t tell you how many times throughout the years I’ve heard an agent say, “I’ve been burned by this before.” There are some great SEOs for insurance out there, so be sure to get someone who specializes in insurance and is not a marketing generalist.

By having your old website simply existing online will catapult your digital marketing going forward when you design a new website. Taking a few additional steps to ensure that you preserve what was working well with your existing site before you change it can greatly impact your results. While it may be a costly change to get a new website up and running for your agency, the results should pay for themselves through new client acquisition and user experience when they get to your shiny new website. Enjoy the process and let your brand shine online!

If we can be of help, we’d love the opportunity to show you some of our designs for insurance agents.

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 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

Insurance Agency SSL

Top Reasons to have a SSL Certificate for your Insurance Agency Website

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SSL certificates can earn your insurance agency new business. We’ve outlined the top reasons to consider one for your agency.

Security!

SSL certificates provide security to your website by verifying that the website a visitor is visiting is actually the one on the server. Some think that only sites that contain sensitive information benefit from an SSL. While we personally discourage our agents to collect sensitive information such as a social security number over the web, an SSL protects more than just the site, it protects the user from 3rd party attackers often referred to as, “man in the middle attacks.”

Organic Search Optimization Bump

It isn’t often that Google comes out and flat out tells online marketers what exactly we need to do to improve rankings. In 2014, Google did just that. They said sites that run on https will benefit from a bump to their organic search engine placement. Think of it this way. If all things else are equal and your website has an SSL and a competitor does not your site would get a boost.

Customer Peace of Mind

Customers, including you and me, want to do business with websites that contain that small green padlock.  It shows professionalism as well as brings the customer peace of mind.

SSL certificates for insurance agency websites are a simple way to get multiple benefits. There are many benefits of an SSL certificate. If you’d like one for your website contact your hosting provider. They can typically be purchased for between $75 and $200 per year. There are likely going to be additional costs from your web designer because installing the certificate onto the site can be a time consuming process.

If you’d like more information regarding an SSL certificate for your insurance agency website, please feel free to contact us.

Tosten Marketing LLC is a full-service insurance agency marketing company based in Redmond, WA. They specialize in insurance agency websites, search engine optimization as well as newsletter and blogging campaigns. If you’re interested in receiving more information about Tosten Marketing, please request a call from someone on our staff though the contact form.