To attract clients, many insurance agents are trying to build up their search engine marketing. By improving areas like search engine optimization (SEO) and paid search, prospects can more easily find insurance agents through Google and other search engines. Yet one area of search engine marketing that perhaps does not get enough attention is local search marketing.
What is local search marketing?
“Local search marketing is all about putting your business on the map in local searches when customers are searching for a business like yours.”RevLocal, A Digital Marketing Agency
This can involve both literally putting your business on the map — e.g. showing up in Google Maps or Apple Maps when someone searches for a business near them — as well as metaphorically on the map, such as showing up as a top listing when a business owner searches for “commercial insurance agents near me.”
Insurance agents may be able to take on clients outside their immediate area, such as by having a business owner sign up for a policy online and conducting video or phone meetings, which is why regular search engine marketing can be valuable and part of your overall marketing strategy. But many people want to work with a local business, whether that’s because they feel more comfortable being able to visit in-person or maybe they want to support their local community. Either way, insurance agents can benefit from drawing in these types of leads.
In this article, we’ll explore three categories that insurance agents can focus on to improve their local search marketing and start pulling in more leads nearby.
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Search Engine Local Business Profiles
In order to be more easily found online, insurance agents should claim their profiles directly with search engines and try to build up their profiles.
“Claiming and optimizing your Google My Business listing is arguably the most important part of local SEO, although Bing Places and Apple Maps listings are important too,” notes SEO platform Ahrefs. “Setting these up isn’t too difficult—you just follow the instructions offered by Google/Bing/Apple.”
These listings differ from your website. Instead, think of how if you search for a type of place like “restaurants in Chicago” you would see listings in a map area separate from the main text results. Or, you might search for a specific restaurant and see that business pop up in a map and/or in a separate section of the search engine results (e.g., a sidebar) that provides more detail.
If you’re unclear what this looks like, try it out. Simply search for a specific local business or enter a type of business followed by a location (e.g., banks in Seattle). You can then click on these map-based listings, or you might be able to see some information that fits directly within the search engine window, such as a company’s:
- Contact information
- Business description
Some of this information might automatically get compiled by search engines, so it’s possible that your insurance business already has a local listing. However, if you claim your profile, you can have more control and ensure the information is accurate to help optimize your local search marketing. The links to claim your business profiles through Google, Microsoft and Apple are below:
Another important way to boost local search marketing is to incorporate local keywords on your website. Your SEO strategy might involve trying to rank for terms like “general liability insurance agents” but that could be difficult considering the number of agents you’re competing with. To improve your chances of being found online, you also can specify the location, such as using keywords like “general liability insurance agents in Houston” or whatever area you’re in.
Keep in mind that you don’t have to limit yourself to your exact location. For example, if you’re located in a suburb, you might want to use keywords related to a nearby city and broader metro area.
“These keywords likely receive much higher search volume than your own town’s name, and as long as your business is close by, customers won’t mind that you’re technically a mile or so outside of city limits,” explains marketing firm WebFX.
Similarly, you might want to include keywords related to your state, depending on your location. For example, in a small state like Connecticut, you might have more success by using keywords like “commercial insurance agents in Connecticut” rather than listing a small town, because the search volume could be higher for the broader term. Meanwhile, you may be able to serve customers across the whole state, so you don’t have to limit yourself to your immediate area.
Insurance agents can incorporate local keywords for local search marketing in areas such as:
When creating website pages, you can incorporate keywords into meta titles and meta descriptions to boost your local search marketing. This metadata can boost your SEO and it gets displayed to search engine users in the form of the name of the search result page and the description below.
So, you want to include keywords that communicate your local credentials, such as by clearly stating the areas you serve or where you’re based. If you’re unsure how to add metadata, your web design professional should be able to easily help. Or, if you created your own site, the platform you made it through should provide straightforward guides.
Primary website copy:
Throughout your main website pages, you can incorporate keywords for local search marketing. In your “About” page, for example, you might specify not only that you help small business owners but that you help “small business owners in the [insert your specific city] area”.
You can create entire articles with a local focus to improve your local search engine marketing. For example, you might create an article on economic conditions in your home city or state, which local business owners might find intriguing. These articles can be helpful on their own from a content perspective, and you can also naturally work in some local keywords to try to improve local SEO.
Similar to having properly listed search engine business profiles, insurance agents should also try to ensure that the information about their business on other websites, such as social media platforms and review sites, is also accurate. That’s because if an online source cites your business, it can be helpful to your search rankings.
As marketing blog, 99Signals explains, “Citations are complete or partial references to your name, address, phone number or website (NAP+W) anywhere on the web…Local citations are also important to validate that a business is part of a community.”
However, you don’t want those citations to have the wrong information, both for your potential customers’ sake and for SEO.
“If what they encounter is accurate, the search engine trusts the validity of the data, which is believed to strengthen the business’ chance of ranking well. However, if the data search engines encounter is inconsistent, this trust is eroded, lessening ranking opportunities,” says SEO platform Moz.
Automated vs. Manual Verification
One way to get a handle on your citations is to use a tool that can automate your citation search and help you identify inaccuracies. Doing so can save time, but there may be a cost associated with it. For example, Moz offers a free listings search, but access to more robust local search management tools carries a fee.
You could also manually search for your business on search engines, social media sites, and other platforms where you know there might be listings. From there, you may be able to claim your listing and correct the citations, or you may have to contact the site to update your information. This can be free but takes more time, and you may not know where to look for all your local citations.
Creating a Good Experience Online and Offline
As you improve your local search marketing, you want to be able to easily serve customers both online and offline.
For example, if you promote yourself online as a local resource, you should be willing to meet with clients in-person, and ideally, you would have a good understanding of the local community. Otherwise, that client could get the same type of experience from any other insurance agent throughout the country.
That said, if you work with a lot of business owners locally, you can still build yourself up as a digital insurance agent. Clients may find you through local search marketing, and they may like being able to meet with you face-to-face to discuss coverage options. But from there, they may appreciate digital conveniences, such as being able to easily renew their policies online.
Local search marketing can be a great supplement to your lead generation strategy, but it doesn’t have to be the be-all-and-end-all. Consider how you can incorporate local search engine marketing into your prospecting, but don’t lose sight of the importance of serving customers digitally either.