Insurance search engine marketing can be confusing for insurance agencies and companies. As with any new field, even though it may seem complicated at first glance, you can quickly understand the basics and jargon. Let’s look at the insurance search engine marketing and identify terms and acronyms.
Let’s consider insurance search engine marketing (insurance SEO) in relation to the insurance industry. It is as though we are referring to the Yellow Pages phonebook of the distant past. 15 years ago, someone could pull out a Yellow Pages from the shelf to find a company, product, or service. They could flip through pages until they found the right pages. Let’s assume someone is looking for property and casualty coverage and wants to find agents they can contact. After finding two yellow pages listing insurance agencies, the person searching for insurance might scan the names of the insurance agencies beginning with “A”. This is similar to a Search Engine Results Page from Google, Bing, or Yahoo. The key difference is that search engines show results alphabetically and not by relevance. The SERP placement of names relates to organic SEO or, in this instance, insurance search engine optimization.
There would be numerous advertisements within the phone book pages of both small and large agencies. These ads are similar to PPC (Pay Per Click) ads that can be found on search results pages. The only difference is that with a PPC your agency pays only when someone clicks on your ad. For clarity purposes, PPI (Pay per Impression) is another option. This would allow your business to pay for impressions. However, for the purpose of our discussion on insurance agency website optimization, we will stick with our PPC advertisement analogy. It is as easy as having your agency name in the Yellow Pages for free versus paying $1,000 per month for a display ad. This is the difference between insurance search engine marketing and PPC ads. This is the appeal of organic web-marketing. If your agency rises to the top of an organic SERP, then you will be able to direct web surfers to your website (read it as insurance agency leads). You can also reap the benefits of PPC without paying any PPC fees. This is similar to the old phone directory listings where companies started their names with “AAAA Auto Parts”, or “AAAAA Insurance Agency”. This ensures that their names will appear first. The SERP is a better option than the printed Yellow Pages names game in that the agency’s name is secondary to more relevant criteria. Search engine algorithms can use over 100 attributes to determine relevancy and determine whether your agency website should appear on page one (SERP Ranking).
Here is a simple explanation of key terms that are often used in insurance search engine marketing (insurance SEO):
- Back links – Links from other websites and directories to your agency website
- HTML – A code used to create numerous websites.
- Keyword density – This is the percentage of time a keyword phrase has been used on a page of an insurance agency website. Divide the number used keywords by the page’s total words. Experts differ on the optimal percentage to optimize for all engines. However, aiming at 5% should be sufficient. Important note: Some article directories allow keyword density up to 4%.
- Keywords: Words that are entered into a search engine in order to return a list of sites and documents (SERP).
- Long-tail Keywords: Longer keyword phrases will yield better search results that are relevant to your agency. These long-tail keywords are three to five words combined. For example, the long-tail keyword “insurance agency marketing” can be used as a long-tail keyword. “Insurance” is not.
- Off Page Optimization: Content creation, directory submission, and back link building are all used to improve search engine rankings (SERP)
- On-page Optimization – Modifications to the content and HTML code of insurance agency websites to improve search engine rankings (SERP positioning).
- Organic SEO – A search engine returns page ranking results based on relevancy, not a paid placement.
- Page rank – This is a measure of how popular your site is. It is usually determined by the number of visits to your site and the links they have. While this was once an important performance indicator, it is no longer the best. However, niche industries such as agents and insurance companies have made other criteria more important than page rank or back links.
- PPC – Pay Per Click – Your business places an advertisement on a search engine. You get paid each time a user clicks on your ad. These ads appear above and to the side of search terms. PPI is another variation of this. It is also known as Pay Per Impression. This is where you pay a bulk rate per thousand times that your ad appears, regardless of how many times it was clicked.
- PPI – Pay Per Impression – Your agency pays a flat fee for every thousand times your ad appears on the Google, Bing, or Yahoo results pages.
- Search Engine Marketing is a process that allows insurance companies and agencies to rise to top of organic SERP listings or to place ads on page results pages for long-tail keywords.
- SEM is an acronym for search engine marketing in insurance.
- Search Engine Marketing – SEM
- SEO – Search Engine Optimization
- SER – The acronym SER can be used to refer to Search Engine Results (Rankings, Relevancy) or other aspects of Search Engine Results.
- SERP – Search Engine Results Pages
- Web Marketing – Search engine marketing for insurance agencies is one subset of an overall plan for web marketing.
Insurance search engine marketing aims to drive qualified leads to your agency website. After these prospects arrive at your agency website, it is time to create a compelling call-to-action. This topic will be covered in another article about insurance agency marketing. A compelling website and call-to-action, along with more qualified leads from other agencies, will result in higher premiums and increased agency book growth.