Whether you’re a new insurance agency or have been around for generations, visibility is heavily important for gaining new clients as well as SEO ranking. That’s why it’s important to ensure that your agency’s local listing profiles are set up, up-to-date, and are being monitored on a regular basis to keep up with local listing requirements.
View this webinar on-demand as BrightFire’s Sales Advisor Spencer Breidenbach discussed common pitfalls that are made when it comes to local citations and how to navigate them.
What are Local Citations?
Local citations, or local business listings, are mentions of your business’ information online such as the business name, address, phone number, and many times your website address. They are considered a strong ranking factor for local SEO.
What is Local SEO?
Local SEO is a search engine optimization strategy that helps optimize your business’ visibility in organic local search results. Any business that has a physical location or serves a geographic area can benefit from local SEO.
Common Local Citation Mistakes
When you don’t understand how local citation mistakes can impact your local SEO and business, you can unintentionally make them without even realizing it. Here are the 5 local citations mistakes we cover in this webinar:
- No Google My Business Listing
- Duplicate Listings
- Inconsistent or Missing Business Information
- Unclaimed Listings
- No Google Reviews
Finally, Spencer will dive into how BrightFire’s Local Listings Management service can help you in ensuring your agency can be found across the web and is set up for local SEO success.
Watch The Webinar
Princess: Hello everyone! My name is Princess Ruff, and I’m a Digital Marketing Coordinator here at BrightFire, as well as your host for today’s webinar. Thank you all for joining us.
In January, we covered Humanize Your Website & Boost Sales With My Agent Personalization. If you missed it, or any of our previous webinars in the 20 Minute Marketing Webinar series, you can access the whole series on-demand by visiting brightfire.com/webinars.
Our goal with these webinars is to provide you with digital marketing advice and discuss current digital marketing topics in a brief 20-minute format followed by a Q&A period to answer any questions you may have. If you have questions during the webinar, please use the Q&A feature in Zoom found at the bottom of the screen. We’ll do our best to answer all of the questions that come through; otherwise, we will personally reach out to you afterward.
Today’s webinar topic is 5 Common Mistakes With Local Citations, and it will be presented by Spencer Breidenbach, one of our Sales Advisors here at BrightFire.
Whether you’re a new agency or have been around for generations, online visibility is critically important for gaining new clients as well as website search engine ranking. That’s why it’s important to ensure that your agency’s citations or local business listing profiles are set up, up-to-date, and are being monitored on a regular basis to keep up with local listing and search engine requirements.
In this webinar, we will discuss common pitfalls that are made when it comes to local citations, how to navigate them, and how BrightFire can guide you in ensuring you’re following best practices for building your local SEO.
Today’s webinar is being recorded, so everything we discuss will be saved and emailed to you in the next business day or two so you can watch it later on-demand.
Lastly, we do have a couple of polls for today’s webinar. When launched, you’ll see the poll pop up on your screen with the question and multiple-choice options. You can select more than one response, and every poll is anonymous. We’ll give you roughly 30 seconds to share your response, and then we’ll discuss the results with the group.
With that being said, I’ll go ahead and hand it over to Spencer to kick off today’s webinar.
Spencer: Thank you Princess and thank you everyone for joining us today. I think we can all agree that awareness is one of the most important components of your business. If potential customers can’t find your agency online, aren’t aware of how to contact your agency, or the wrong contact information is published on the internet, it will hinder you from getting new business, or even retaining current customers.
That’s why understanding how local citations (or local listings) work and the different guidelines that apply are so important. In today’s webinar, we’ll discuss the most common local citation mistakes and how BrightFire’s Local Listings Management service can help you avoid them.
I’ll also discuss the features that are included in BrightFire’s Local Listings Management service and how BrightFire can help you get your local listings on the right track so that you can improve your SEO, attract more customers, and overall have peace of mind.
Spencer: Before we get into the specifics of Local Listings Management, here’s a brief background on BrightFire, since we have a mix of current customers and agents that are new to BrightFire attending today.
BrightFire began by providing insurance agency websites in 2000. Over the years as the needs of insurance agents grew, we expanded our digital marketing services beyond agency websites to also include:
- Search Engine Optimization
- Reviews & Reputation Management
- Social Media Marketing
- Local Listing Management
- Pay-Per-Click Advertising
Currently, there are over 2,500 independent agencies across the nation using at least one of BrightFire’s digital marketing services.
So with that background on BrightFire, let’s get started.
Understanding Local Citations & Local SEO
Spencer: Before we dive into common local citations mistakes, let’s first discuss exactly what local citations are and their connection to local SEO.
What are Local Citations?
Local citations are mentions of your business’ information online such as the business name, address, phone number, and many times your website address. These can be on local business directories such as Google, Yelp, the Better Business Bureau, social media like Facebook, LinkedIn, and even map apps like Apple Maps or Google Maps.
Local citations are considered a ranking factor for local SEO. When your agency is listed across several trusted directories, it lets Google know that your business exists and that the information is credible and authentic.
What is Local SEO?
Local SEO is a search engine optimization strategy that helps optimize your business’ visibility in organic local search results. Any business that has a physical location or serves a geographic area can benefit from local SEO. When Google sees the same agency information across multiple credible websites, directories, and apps, it further improves your local SEO ranking.
Now that you have a better understanding of local citations and local SEO, let’s dive into five common local citation mistakes.
No Google My Business Listing
Spencer: The first mistake we’ll discuss is not having a Google My Business or Google Business Profile at all. One of the best ways to set yourself up for local listing success is to create a Google My Business profile. Having a Google My Business profile plays a major role in local SEO because Google uses your profile to pull all of your business information like your agency name, phone number, address, and website address. Additionally, you cannot generate Google reviews without a Google My Business listing.
They’ll display that information in their local pack when a user searches for “nearby insurance agents”, “insurance agent near me”, or even “auto insurance”. In fact, according to Moz, your Google My Business profile is responsible for almost 20% of Google’s local ranking factors. The great thing about a Google My Business profile is that it’s free and easy to set up, which we’ll get into more detail about later.
Spencer: The next local listings mistake is having duplicate listings. If your agency has been around for some time, you may have come across a website or directory that had duplicate listings for your agency. These duplicates will often display conflicting business information, whether it’s the wrong phone number, old address, or even an old agency name. Some insurance carriers also automatically create listings for their agents that are branded primarily as the carrier with the principal agent’s name.
Having duplicate listings can also negatively impact your local SEO results. This is because accurate NAP, which stands for agency name, address, and phone number, are considered a local ranking factor.
Another reason having duplicates is a major issue is Google could view them as spam and penalize your Google My Business profile. Duplicate listings with inconsistent information can confuse potential customers and may result in a loss of new business opportunities.
Lastly, if you have a duplicate listing with inaccurate business information, this could lead to additional listings being created with the wrong information due to many smaller directories consuming information from larger directories.
Inconsistent or Missing Business Information
Spencer: The next mistake we’ll discuss, which we touched on in a previous slide, is inconsistent or missing business information. As mentioned, having inconsistent business information on one listing, let alone multiple listings, is a major issue.
It’s important to have consistent business information listed on both your website and your Google My Business profile. However, that’s not all. Google takes the contact information on your agency website and compares it to information listed on multiple websites, apps, and directories across the web.
Maybe your agency phone number has changed or your office has gone from physical to remote. These all need to be considered and addressed when it comes to your listings.
Imagine a prospect is on a time crunch and desperately needs to contact your agency and get their policy started. They call the old phone number listed on your Google listing, but it just gives them a message that the number has been disconnected. So they decide to drive to your office, but are unpleasantly surprised when they see what used to be your agency is now a completely different business. This is not only extremely frustrating for a potential customer, but it can also lead to a bad review and a loss of business.
So, it’s also crucial to ensure all the needed contact information is listed across directories and nothing is missing.
Spencer: Let’s move on to a mistake that we’ve seen a lot of our agents run into: unclaimed listings or citations. In these scenarios, the listings were often created by someone else at the agency and after they removed themselves as owner or admin, the listing was left unclaimed.
Ensuring that you’ve claimed all of your listings is an important step because you want to make sure you have access and control over your listings at all times. If not, unclaimed listings can leave you open to competitors potentially tampering with your listing information, which could lead to misleading your potential customers or even losing them to your competitor.
The great thing about this mistake is that it is very easy to fix. Once you’ve found your unclaimed listing, claiming it is usually as simple as providing a form of business verification. Once your listing is claimed, you’ll have the ability to update your business information as needed.
No Google Reviews
Spencer: The last mistake we’ll discuss today is not having any Google reviews. In recent years, search engines have incorporated online reviews into their ranking algorithms, which play an increasingly significant role in search engine rankings.
This is because reviews and SEO basically have the same objective. Google wants to help its users to find the right product, service, or information in the quickest way possible, while reviews serve to separate the good from the bad and help consumers find the best business for their needs.
When your Google listing lacks reviews or only has bad reviews, Google’s ranking algorithm will deem your business as less credible and lacking prominence. And as a result, Google is more likely to push your agency listing further down in rankings.
Keep in mind that these are just a few aspects of a good review and reputation strategy. We unpack more reviews and reputation management best practices in our Do’s and Don’ts of Managing Your Online Reviews webinar. You can also learn more about BrightFire’s Reviews & Reputation Management service at www.brightfire.com.
How Does BrightFire Help with Local Listings Management?
Spencer: BrightFire’s Local Listings Management service is designed to free up your time while our team of local listing experts handles all of the setup, maintenance, and monitoring so you don’t have to.
This service includes several features like:
- Management of over 70 local listing networks.
- Agency branding
- Update your existing local listings to ensure accurate and consistent business information.
- The removal of new and existing duplicate listings that can negatively impact your SEO.
- Claim your unclaimed listings.
- No cost listings updates when your business information changes.
- We also provide a user-friendly dashboard where you can view your listings all in one place.
Lastly, our trusted guidance doesn’t end at onboarding. Our friendly Support Team is always an easy call or email away from answering any questions about your local listings to ensure you are in compliance with guidelines and keeping your listings updated.
How to Start Improving Your Local SEO?
Spencer: If you’re currently enrolled in our Local Listings Management service, our team of local listings experts are already monitoring and managing your listings regularly to keep them aligned with local citation best practices to boost your local SEO.
If you’re new to BrightFire and would like to take advantage of this service you can sign up for BrightFire’s Local Listings Management service for only $50 per month.
Our Local Listings Management service, like all of our digital marketing services, does not have setup fees or contracts. We also include a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Onboarding consists of one 30-minute phone call and we’ll handle the rest.
You can also take advantage of our Local Listings Management service through our Ultimate SEO Bundle for $210 per month at a $50/month discount. This bundle includes our Insurance Agency Website, Reviews and Reputation Management service, and our Local Listings Management service.
To get started with BrightFire’s Local Listings Management service, please visit our website at www.brightfire.com or give us a call at 888-778-4393. On our website, you can submit your purchase, start a live chat with us, or schedule a call with a BrightFire expert.
Q&A on Local Listings Management
How do I remove a duplicate listing?
For this, it varies by network. First, you have to find it, then figure out how to remove it, which could mean reporting it directly to the network or getting access to the listing.
What if I have a listing but it’s claimed by someone that is no longer a staff member with my agency?
You’ll most likely need to complete some type of business verification process to prove you own the business. This process also varies by network.
Princess: Well, I think that is all the time we have for questions today. Thank you to everyone who submitted a question, and again, we’ll follow up with you individually after the webinar if we didn’t get to your question today.
Before we close, I’d like to remind everyone of our upcoming 20 Minute Marketing Webinars.
BrightFire’s Upcoming 20 Minute Marketing Webinars
Princess: Our webinar in May is SEO Best Practices for Blogging.
In this digital era, it’s not enough to simply have a website. It’s important to include relevant content on your site to attract leads and rank in search results. The best way to do this is through organic blogs.
In this webinar, we’ll dive into some of the best practices for blog writing and things to avoid. We’ll break down how you can get started with creating your own quality content and how BrightFire’s ready-to-go content can give you a jumpstart for your Insurance Agency website.
This webinar will be held Thursday, May 26, at 2:00 p.m. Eastern or 11:00 a.m. Pacific.
You can reserve your spot at these webinars by visiting the webinars page on our website at brightfire.com/webinars.
So that does it for today! From me, Spencer, and the rest of the BrightFire team, we’d like to thank all of you for attending.