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 Often the most overlooked starting point is how valuable your outdated website is to the future successes you’ll have online marketing your agency.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.

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

Is a Microsite Right for your Insurance Agency?

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A microsite may benefit your agency by targeting a specific product or niche market.

If your agency writes many insurance products but you have a great niche, you may want to consider a microsite. Microsites are small, very specific websites (separate from your main website) with a collection of pages dedicated to only one product. The site would have a separate domain and would be associated to your main website through branding and backlinks. The microsite will have a look and feel all its own devoted to your specialized product.

Consider this example (a microsite can be anything, this is just for demonstration purposes):

A website dedicated to commercial auto can include landing pages for:

  • Box trucks
  • Semi-trucks
  • Flatbed trucks
  • Front loaders
  • Tank trucks
  • Auto haulers
  • Pickup trucks
  • Fleet vehicles
  • Garbage trucks
  • And many more!

Not into commercial auto? How about AirBnB, the marijuana industry, Uber & Lyft, or landlord insurance?

The benefits of a microsite are many:

  1. It works as a great email marketing piece
  2. It is indexed in the search engines as a separate website
  3. You can email it to a new lead so they can learn about your products without having to navigate past all the unrelated insurance products you offer.
  4. You can create a “microbrand” to go along with your microsite.
  5. Specific targeting for keywords and products
  6. Works great in conjunction with AdWords campaigns

If you’re considering a microsite for your business, we’re ready to help. Microsite marketing programs start at only $129 per month and include:

  1. A new domain
  2. Website design
  3. Content (up to 10 pages)
  4. Images
  5. Search engine optimization (SEO)
  6. Hosting
  7. Site Security (malware, hacking)
  8. Access to our AdWords campaigns (cost of ads separate)

If you’re ready to start your microsite and generate some new business leads contact us.