Keeping up with search engines’ algorithms and ranking factors can be difficult, time-consuming, and confusing. Plus, it can be difficult to identify what advice is accurate and based on fact.
In our latest 20 Minute Marketing Webinar, BrightFire Sales Executive Spencer Breidenbach identifies and debunks common search engine optimization myths to help you better understand what elements search engines look for when ranking websites. He also offers insights to help you feel more confident on knowing how to develop a long-term SEO strategy.
Topics he covers include:
- Website SEO Myths
- SEO Content Myths
- Search Engine Results Page Myths
- SEO Expectations Myths
Finally, Spencer details how BrightFire’s Ultimate SEO Bundle, which includes our Insurance Agency Websites, Reviews & Reputation Management, and Local Listings Management services, offers everything your independent insurance agency needs to get ranked in Google.
Watch The Webinar
If you have any questions about this webinar or our Ultimate SEO Bundle, please contact us or call us at (888) 778-4393.
Chelsea: Hello everyone! My name is Chelsea Peterson, and I’m a Digital Marketing Coordinator here at BrightFire, as well as your host for today’s 20 Minute Marketing Webinar. Thank you all for joining us.
Last month, we discussed Recent Local Search Trends to Help Your Insurance Agency’s Business Listings. 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 do have questions throughout 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 Common Insurance SEO Myths Debunked, and it will be presented by Spencer Breidenbach, one of our Sales Executives here at BrightFire.
Keeping up with search engines’ algorithms and ranking factors can be difficult, time-consuming, and confusing. That’s why today Spencer will focus on identifying and debunking common SEO myths to help you create a successful, long-term SEO strategy that will increase your agency’s visibility in top search engines.
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.
With that being said, I’ll go ahead and hand it over to Spencer to kick off today’s webinar.
Spencer: Thanks, Chelsea, and thank you to everyone joining in. There are four main categories of SEO myths that we will be going over today. First, we’ll cover some common fallacies agents have pertaining to their agency website. Then, I’ll dig a little deeper into the actual content on your websites and debunk a few myths related to the length of your content and how many keywords are needed on each web page.
We’ll then move over to some myths we commonly hear regarding the search engine results pages. I’ll discuss different ranking factor myths and popular misconceptions agents have about their specific circumstances such as company size and location.
And the fourth category of myths we’ll debunk is general SEO expectations agents have about how quickly you should see results, as well as how much time and effort is needed to keep up with search engine algorithm updates to stay ahead of your competitors on search engines like Google and Bing.
Finally, we’ll review how BrightFire’s Ultimate SEO Bundle can support your agency’s efforts to grow your online presence with a consolidated, long-term SEO strategy.
Myths About Insurance Agency Website SEO
Spencer: So the first myth we have today is, “SEO is only related to my website.” Oftentimes, agents believe that the only elements that matter as it relates to ranking on Google are the on-page ranking factors such as the amount of content on your website or the number of certain keywords or phrases. But that’s definitely not the case. Google takes into account the overall online credibility of your agency when it determines your rank, including off-page ranking factors such as how many backlinks you have, meaning how many other websites see your agency as credible and link to one of your web pages.
Other influential factors are your online reviews and your local listings like Google My Business and Yelp. Search engines want to show their visitors content that will be most helpful and relevant to them, so Google and Bing, among others, will be more likely to rank your agency higher if they see that you are actively keeping your listings updated with correct information. They also check to see that your listings are consistent across different business listings. In addition, you’ll rank higher if other individuals offer reviews and ratings showcasing how much they have enjoyed working with your agency.
Moving onto the next SEO myth, I often hear agents say, “I need to have a page for every city I want to sell insurance in.” When I say page here, what I mean is publishing similar product pages specific to each city you serve. For example, Auto Insurance in Arlington, Car Insurance in Dallas, and Fort Worth Auto Insurance. Each page would have pretty much the same content in this example, with the exception of the city in Texas that’s being represented.
Instead, you can indicate which cities your agency serves in the footer of your website and say something like, “Acme Insurance provides auto insurance in Arlington, Dallas, and Fort Worth, Texas.”
The only times we would really recommend creating separate pages or accounts would be if your agency has multiple physical locations. In this scenario, you should create a contact page for each location, as well as individual local listings accounts per location on sites like Yelp and Google My Business. You should also add each physical location’s name, address, and phone number – or NAP for short – on the footer of your website and on the contact page.
Myths About SEO Content for Insurance Agencies
Spencer: This next category of SEO myths still pertains to the website but is focused on the actual content on your web pages. The first myth we will discuss in this category is, “Adding lots of insurance or geographic keywords to my website content gets you ranked higher.” This is probably the one I hear the most and it’s a very old tactic called “keyword stuffing.” People believe that the more keywords they add to their web pages, the more their rankings on Google will improve.
This idea has led to keyword stuffing, where people will post something like these examples, where the word insurance is in almost every sentence, if not multiple times in a sentence.
For obvious reasons, keyword stuffing like this has become an outdated SEO tactic or a negative ranking factor over the years as search engines have become smarter and more focused on authentic credibility and relevance.
Now, I don’t want you to think after this myth explanation that keywords don’t matter. They most certainly do. But like anything else, you should use them strategically and thoughtfully. Focus instead on writing as you would speak or read, and fit in keywords naturally where they make sense.
This leads us into our next myth, which is, “You should write to please bots more than website visitors.” When you’re keyword stuffing, whether you realize it or not, your main focus is trying to please the search engine bots that are crawling your site. But when you do this, you end up deterring your readers by writing redundant content that is often hard to read.
You have to keep your readers in mind as you write. If it helps, read it out loud afterward to make sure the content flows well and makes sense to real people. Even if that means deleting a few keywords here and there, your agency’s SEO will benefit in the long run. Think of it from an analytical standpoint. If you’re writing to please bots by adding every iteration of a keyword, people will quickly start to leave your website and not convert into customers.
Focus instead on providing high-quality content that best explains what your website visitors need to know about your agency to offer them a great user experience.
The last SEO content myth we have for today that you have probably thought or heard of before is, “Longer content is the only way to rank higher.” There have been studies released that show the average word count of highly ranked content is about 1,500 words, and it can be tempting to think you have to have at least that many words on every page and every blog post in order to rank. But again, it goes back to what we talked about in the last couple of myths – you have to keep your end-user in mind.
Who is reading your content? What are they looking for when they come to your website? Likely, individuals are looking for a way to get an insurance quote or contact information to ask a question, such as, “Hey, I need to know if my engagement and wedding rings are covered in my homeowners insurance policy.”
In a scenario like this, your reader most likely doesn’t want or need to read a 1,500-word blog post to get an insurance quote. Instead, think about the user’s intent when they come to a web page and focus on quality over quantity. Have a goal in mind with every product page or blog you’re writing, and stick to that one and only purpose for writing that piece of content.
At the end of the day, if you’re delivering on what your visitors want, they’ll be more likely to engage with the calls to action you provide on that page, even if that means you’re providing shorter, more concise content that answers a question a visitor has. So don’t write for search engines to improve your SEO rankings, but rather, write to help your target audience and answer key questions they have. When Google sees that your content is relevant and helpful, no matter how long the content is, you will start to improve your website rankings.
Myths About Search Engine Results Page (SERPs) SEO
Spencer: Now, let’s move on to the myths we hear about the search engine results pages. This first myth is one I get all the time – “Your SEO is failing if you don’t rank in the first position.” Everyone wants to be ranked first for every keyword. But it just isn’t feasible for every agency to rank first, even on a local SEO level. And no matter how experienced an individual or an SEO agency is, there is no way to absolutely guarantee that the effort put into an SEO strategy will get your agency ranked first. So just be cautious if someone is claiming they can do this for you.
While earning the top position is a great SEO goal to have and reaching the first spot on Google or Bing will get more traffic to your website, your SEO strategy can still be successful even if you aren’t in the top three results on the first page.
Are you getting more prospects to visit your website? Are your website visitors, even if there are fewer than you would like, converting into customers? These are the questions that matter, and improvement should be your main focus. There will always be search engine algorithm changes that require SEO optimization on your website, as well as competitors striving to rank for the same keywords that can keep your agency from hitting number one. But your end goal should always be focused on maintaining continual growth and improvement for your agency, no matter what those numbers or rankings look like for your specific agency.
On a more extreme end, some agencies believe that SEO doesn’t work for them at all because they are a small agency that can’t compete with the bigger companies, which brings up our next myth. I can’t emphasize enough how important SEO strategies are for agencies of all sizes.
Especially after this past year and a half, people are actively looking to support small businesses. Consumers want to have interactions with and a relationship with the individuals they are giving their business to, which greatly benefits your independent agency. So you shouldn’t just write off SEO altogether.
Instead, focus on where you can excel, such as your local SEO efforts where the local map pack comes into play. Google treats most insurance searches as having some degree of local intent. You’ll likely see a few of the big competitors in the normal results, but somewhere on the first page, you’ll see the local map pack showcasing local agencies selling insurance, and that’s where you should strive to be.
On the topic of local SEO, this brings us to our last myth related to the search engine results pages, which is, “Local SEO is not important to me if I don’t have a brick and mortar location.” Whether you are working in a virtual office, shared space, or in your home, you still can – and should – create a service-area business listing on Google My Business. This type of account will still ask for an address to send a verification code to, but you can opt to hide this address so Internet users cannot see it. I’ve also had a few people ask about making their home address public, but it is important to note that Google requires you to have permanent signage placed outside of your property in order to do this.
The good news is that you can still show up on Maps even if you hide your address. You’ll be asked to enter up to 20 zip codes or cities that your agency serves, and your local listing will show only your main city and state in place of the full address.
Bright-Line Insurance Service is a good example here, as you can see when I searched directly for their agency, it highlighted the whole state as the service area instead of pinpointing an exact location. And, when I searched for “independent insurance agency sandy springs,” they still show up in the list of all relevant agencies on the left.
This goes to show that it is still really important to work to improve local SEO efforts even if you don’t have a physical building. Add your service area keywords into the content on your website, and optimize your local listings by filling out every section offered, including your business name, address, phone number, brief description, services offered, year established, photos, and more. The more information you provide to Google, the more credible your agency will appear, and the more your SEO rankings will improve.
Myths About SEO Expectations
Spencer: Now let’s dive into our last category of myths for today – different expectations agents tend to have about SEO. The first popular one we hear is, “SEO is a quick way to boost lead generation.” We all want to see improvements in our rankings as soon as we optimize or update our listings and website pages.
It’s important to remember that SEO is a long-term strategy. If you’re targeting niche terms with a lower search volume, you might see some improvements quickly. Every agency’s digital footprint and SEO history is different, so it could take weeks or several months to see improvements in your agency’s rankings, and you should be wary of any SEO experts or marketing companies that may promise you quick results.
Even after updating or optimizing your content, it still takes time for Google to crawl your website and process the information, so you shouldn’t assume your SEO efforts aren’t working just because you don’t see immediate results.
This leads us into our next myth about SEO expectations – “SEO is a one-time thing.” So many people want to move on after their agency website is built and launched. But SEO, like many things, is a continuous process and a cycle of researching strategies, making updates, and waiting to gauge the results of your updates.
By continually optimizing your SEO content to meet your website visitors’ expectations and needs, you’ll attract more web traffic, which can ultimately result in more leads and sales. On the flip side, if you never update your website to keep it current with SEO best practices or your end-users’ needs, then you risk falling severely behind.
At the end of the day, you’re not the only one trying to rank first on the search engine results pages. Your competitors are, too, and because of this, optimizing your content and local listings to provide the most beneficial information for your target audience is a never-ending process.
As far as your local listings go, you can’t set them up and forget about them either. As we mentioned in our last webinar about local search trends, search engines are constantly updating their algorithms and the features they offer. It’s important to check for new sections and features to fill out on your listings, as well as monitor and respond to any reviews you may receive. Google ranks companies higher if they have full profiles that are updated frequently since they are perceived as more trustworthy, relevant, and helpful to consumers.
Now let’s move onto our last myth of the day, “SEO is something my IT guy can do.” It can be so easy to confuse the job roles of someone in Information Technology who fixes computer hardware, servers, and Internet connection issues with someone who is an expert on SEO, rankings, content, and website optimization.
While people in IT are important to make sure your agency’s network and computers are running smoothly, they often have a totally different skill set from what is needed to design, build, and maintain a website. Building a successful SEO strategy requires another completely different set of skills. Whoever is managing your SEO strategy should have a marketing background with expert knowledge of local SEO, content marketing, local business listings, review marketing, and technical on-site SEO. All of these things are important and best handled by highly experienced professionals in their respective fields.
How BrightFire Helps Independent Insurance Agents with SEO
Spencer: If you believe your website’s SEO and overall online presence can be better, BrightFire’s digital marketing experts can help with our Ultimate SEO Bundle. We only serve the insurance industry, and with 20 years experience building insurance agency websites and SEO, we have the expertise to help your agency improve your website’s search engine rankings.
When you choose to enroll in our Ultimate SEO Bundle, we’ll develop a successful long-term SEO strategy that includes a properly optimized agency website, accurate and well-maintained local listings, and a consistent stream of customer reviews.
By combining three of our digital marketing solutions – Insurance Agency Websites, Reviews & Reputation Management, and Local Listings Management – your agency will have access to everything you need to rank higher in Google, stand apart from the competition, and attract new insurance buyers.
Our website service includes a custom design, weekly blog posts, on-going SEO updates, and our Sales Tool Suite that helps you save time, strengthen relationships, and increase productivity.
Our Reviews & Reputation Management service helps you grow and protect your reputation online by allowing you to easily monitor and respond to your reviews through a robust and user-friendly dashboard. We’ll also help you generate new reviews through our Net Promoter Score or NPS Survey campaigns.
Lastly, our Local Listings Management service creates, manages, and updates your agency’s contact information on over 40 of the most important local business listings. Not only does this service give search engines the data they want to deem your agency credible and rank your website higher, but it also provides valuable backlinks from credible sites and helps Internet users easily find your agency across the web and contact you, even if they never click to visit your website.
How to Get Started with SEO for Insurance Agencies
Spencer: So how can you get started? As I mentioned a minute ago, BrightFire’s Ultimate SEO Bundle includes three of our digital marketing services – Insurance Agency Websites, Reviews & Reputation Management, and Local Listings Management. It only costs $190 per month for the bundled services, which saves your agency $30 per month compared to the standalone cost of each of these services.
Like all of our digital marketing services, there are no setup fees or contracts, and a 30-day money-back guarantee is always included.
Our onboarding process is designed to take the burden off of you as much as possible and only consists of three brief phone calls. Typically, we can launch each of these services within a week of your onboarding call.
As a thank you for attending today, we’re offering a $50 promo to webinar attendees. You can receive a $50 account credit for signing up for our Ultimate SEO Bundle or any of the three services included in the bundle. This promo ends Wednesday, June 30th.
To get started with a successful long-term SEO strategy from our digital marketing experts, please visit our website at www.brightfire.com, or you can also give us a call at 888-778-4393.
Q&A on Search Engine Optimization for Insurance
Spencer: That concludes our presentation on Common Insurance SEO Myths Debunked. I’ll now pass it over to Chelsea to start the Q&A session if anyone has any questions!
Chelsea: Great. Thank you, Spencer! As a reminder to our attendees, we’ll do our best to answer any questions that come through. If we aren’t able to address your question during the webinar, someone from BrightFire will follow up with you via email to answer your question. Let’s get started.
“What does BrightFire do to keep up with search engine algorithm updates?”
Spencer: Great question. First of all, BrightFire is a certified Google Partner, and we stay up to date with Google best practices through our industry network and by closely monitoring the performance of the thousands of insurance agency websites we have built and maintained. We receive notifications of new changes or trends, and can update our clients’ websites when needed. We also continuously improve our services and strategies to help our agents succeed in being found in Google and other search engines.
“How do online reviews improve my search rankings?”
Spencer: Google and other search engines place a lot of weight on online reviews when determining local search results. The quantity and frequency of your reviews, as well as your engagement with them, are major ranking factors when it comes to local SEO for insurance agencies.
Chelsea: Alright, 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.
Upcoming 20 Minute Marketing Webinars
Chelsea: Our next webinar is, “The 3 A’s of Reputation Management for Insurance: Awareness, Assessment, & Action.”
It’s important you know what policyholders are saying online about your independent insurance agency to stay on top of consumers’ minds while standing apart from the competition.
In this webinar, we’ll show you how to analyze your agency’s current online reputation and offer pragmatic steps to effectively manage your reviews online so you can improve policyholder satisfaction, consumer engagement, and lead generation.
This webinar will be held Thursday, July 29, at 2:00 p.m. Eastern or 11:00 a.m. Pacific.
Finally, our webinar in August is, “Unlock the Power of Engagement in Insurance Social Media Marketing.”
In today’s digital age, there’s no question that social media should be a part of your marketing strategy. But to truly increase brand trustworthiness and loyalty, your agency should go above and beyond simply being present and occasionally posting on social media.
Join us in this webinar as we dive into how engaging with followers on your social media channels can have a substantially positive impact on your brand and book of business.
This webinar will be held Thursday, August 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.