Smart Insurance Digital Marketing

SEO and Digital Ads

SEO and Digital Ads

A winning combination for insurance agency marketing

Some combination of SEO efforts and digital ads should be at the core of every insurance agency marketing strategy- but let’s talk a little more about how they fit together. This assumes we have identified our keyword targets and laid the groundwork for measuring our success by making sure we are listed in Google and Bing maps and that we have access to Google tools. Now that we can determine what our traffic baselines are currently and we can track our progress- where do we go from here?

Start with SEO

Search engine optimization is not the fastest way to generate leads tomorrow or next week, but it is the most effective. You should also start with SEO precisely because it won’t happen overnight. This is something you need to begin to put resources into and steadily feed it. Think of it like disciplined strength exercises for your business. The results take time, but they are extremely gratifying. 

When you make progress in this area, you will have fresh batches of eyeballs to your business every single day, and this can accelerate your improvement in every other area. When you have steady traffic, you can improve your engagement and conversions. If you don’t generate traffic, the slickest sales people and most efficient processes can’t help you generate more sales. It’s like having a lid on your sales funnel.

Search engine optimization incorporates a lot of different aspects- but we might break it down into 2 major categories and a couple of subcategories. 

On-site optimization includes the structure of your site and the content on your site.  The structure is something that your webmaster will do…and if you have a DIY website, it will take some reading to make sure you have some of the basics covered.  Our General SEO module can certainly help if this is something you’re trying to tackle on your own or collaborate with your vendor on.  The site audit and marketing plan will help you identify some areas that may need improving.

The content is something you can delegate if you’d like…but if you’re delegating some things and keeping control of others- I’d suggest delegating site structure and controlling your content.  The content serves two purposes.  It needs to include the commonly searched terms you’re trying to catch search traffic for…and it also needs to connect with your audience.  Robots will determine which sites rank…but ultimately, your content needs to be presentable to your target audience, not robots.  The more time people spend engaging with your content, the more that the robots assume your site is relevant to users and the higher you’ll rank.

The second major area of optimization is off-site.  In short, this is simply the process of soliciting links to your site from other credible and relevant websites.  The two categories of backlinks are citations (directory listings containing your business contact information) and everything else.  Online publications, affiliate services, referral relationships you build. The local SEO tool will help you identify where you’re listed and provide a list of directories that may be worth registering in. Non-citation backlink opportunities are the other kind of backlink and are more valuable by comparison.  They may take some effort to identify- but the General SEO tool helps by showing you the sites that link to your competitors, so you can get some inspiration about the kind of businesses and websites to reach out to and ask for links.  Dedicating even a few hours each month to this task can pay huge dividends.  Non-citation backlinks are the single most important element to SEO assuming your site is reasonably well constructed and has content that is relevant to the keywords you are trying to attract search traffic for.

Clearly, SEO is not an overnight rocket to the top- so how can you accelerate sales opportunities while you’re building your organic visibility? Digital ads….more specifically Google Ads.

Using Digital Ads for Agency Marketing

Ads can fill your funnel before your SEO kicks in, and there are two distinct types of Google ads, as well as numerous other advertising platforms online. Google search ads appear when someone google’s a specific keyword that you have chosen to advertise for (ex: car insurance quote). Google display ads are shown at random- not during an active search…but they can be targeted at certain demographics (ie. high wage earners, families with kids, etc) or even to users that have “recent interest or intent”…meaning they aren’t searching for insurance quotes right now, but they did recently. Search ads generate immediate traffic for people searching for quotes, but you might be wondering why display ads are an effective form of insurance agency marketing.

Display ads are extremely inexpensive. The chart shown here is taken from which aggregates and analyzes advertising data.
Cost effective display ads
Look at the difference between print advertising cost in red and online mobile/display in purple. The way you should think about Display Ads is like “Billboards in your palm”.  They are a very cost effective alternative to traditional advertising- like print, radio, tv, etc.  This kind of advertising is measured by impressions, which are the number of people estimated to ‘see’ it. I use air quotes because if you’re in an airport, do you really ‘see’ all of the electronic posters displayed between each terminal or gate? Each potential view is considered an “impression”.  Does every magazine reader actually ‘see’ each ad? They know how many people were potentially exposed to an ad based on foot traffic, or listeners, or viewers- but there is definitely some nuance to the definition of an “impression”.
Not only are mobile display ads less expensive- which ad is easier to respond to?  Something on the corner of a newspaper page or magazine…or something staring you in the face on your phone- with a button that you can click to call or request a quote? Mobile ads are much more responsive and engaging.

Does advertising with Google affect your SEO with Google?

You’ll see some professionals that say “no”, because Google makes it very clear that SEO is not pay to play and no preference is given to companies with big budgets. Even if paid ads don’t influence SEO directly- traffic and engagement does. Sites that get more visitors, and visitors that stay longer and engage with the site- signal to the search robots that people find the content useful. This is undeniably helpful…so ads help IF they are effective at engaging customers. We know that getting in front of customers online is the name of the game now- and it will be the name of the game for the foreseeable future.  Pursuing both SEO and Ads is the most predictable way to generate growth opportunities for your agency.

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