“Build a better mousetrap, and the world will beat a path to your door.”
Though heralded by innovators and entrepreneurs alike, this classic misquotation of Ralph Waldo Emerson is no longer true (if it ever was).
A better mousetrap will not lead to success, but rather is the baseline upon which success is built.
Simply having a mousetrap is not good enough.
Your mousetrap must catch mice.
For today’s discussion, the mousetrap is your website.
Your website either attracts insurance consumer attention and drives revenue opportunities or it doesn’t.
There is no other reason to have a website.
Having a website simply to have one, is pointless, a waste of organizational resources and most likely, negatively impacting your brand value.
Build a Better Mousetrap… errr Website
Website design and functionality is the easy stuff. There are plenty of well-respected insurance website design firms out there who can build a good-looking, efficient and effective website at a reasonable price.
Here are two I personally recommend:
Don’t overthink this one. Get a good clean design that works with your agency brand and move on.
To rank your website in search there is, of course, tons of content marketing work that needs to be done.
You’re also going to definitely need a feel for SEO and Google Local. Agency Nation University can help with that.
But in these days of ever more sophisticated search algorithms and consumer search fatigue, great content alone is not enough.
Enter structured data.
I know. I know.
I just went well “structured data” on you and you’re like…
The rest of this post is going to be nerdy SEO stuff.
If you’re not into nerdy SEO stuff, read this instead: Insurance Guest Posting Strategy 101: How to Get Your Agency Brand in Front of Other People’s Audience.
If you are ready, let’s move on…
What is structured data?
“Structured data” as a general term simply refers to any data which is organized (i.e., given “structure”). via Moz
Schema.org (often called Schema) is most commonly used semantic vocabulary of tags (or microdata) that you can add to your HTML to provide structure to your website data and improve the way search engines read and represent your website in search engine results.
The star rating in this search result for Progressive in one example of Schema can be used to structure data (in this case review data) and deliver it in search engine results:
Here’s what Jeff Teschke, founder of Forge3 shared on the importance of structured data on insurance websites
Visible and viable. Those two words make any successful agency, well, successful.
Do you show up when people look for you? And, if so, do you look the part? Of course, these days, being “visible” in search is part of the puzzle.
Schema data is a tricky concept to highlight in a few sentences. Most people don’t know what it is.
This is what makes a focused effort on adding Schema to your website such a huge SEO opportunity for most agencies.
You can start with intentional effort on improving titles and meta descriptions of each page on your website. This is easy within most website platforms. However, you can also add star ratings, local pack data and other links using schema data.
This is more involved, but with a little effort can drastically improve search engine visibility.
I know structured data and Schema seem like heady topics. They’re not.
Kissmetrics has the simplest explanation of Schema:
Schema tells the search engines what your data means, not just what it says.
It’s time we focused on doing SEO the right way.
Structured data is part of the SEO game today.
Here are 3 types of structured data you should consider adding to your insurance website:
1) Knowledge Graph
The Knowledge Graph is a block of information on the right-hand side 0f Google search results.
This block details business specific information about a particular search engine result. In this case, we’re looking at a branded search for The Murray Group, (my wife’s agency).
The information included in the Knowledge Graph by Google is determined through cross-checking and referencing related content from different locations around the Internet.
In the case of The Murray Group, we’re using the Yoast Local SEO Plugin for WordPress to add local Schema data which matches exactly our Google Local page and various other directories throughout the Internet.
Here is a close up of what Knowledge Graph search engine results look like:
A good tool to verify your data is correct across all Internet directories is Yext.
2) Consumer Reviews
Studies have shown that rich snippets can improve CTR by anywhere from 5%–30%.
There is no more powerful rich snippet (structured data showing in search engine results) than consumer reviews.
You know the most common methods for acquiring consumers reviews:
- Google Local Page
Well, you can add a fourth method to the list…
The Trusted Choice Platform now supports customer reviews. (click here if you’re not on the Trusted Choice Platform yet)
Why is this exciting?
In 2017, 97% of consumers read online reviews for local businesses…up from 88% in 2014.
What does that mean? It means that if you don’t have online reviews, you are actually pushing online insurance shoppers away.
Unlike Yelp, who makes it incredibly difficult for you to manage your reviews, your Trusted Choice profile reviews are easy to manage.
Reviews are about helping prospects learn why they should work with your agency.
Not a platform for competitors or the occasional disgruntled client to spout off.
This is just the beginning of what consumer reviews can do for your agency.
It’s still early, (we just released the consumer review feature a month ago), but we’ve seen significant improvement in the search engine ranking of Trusted Choice Advantage profiles with consumer reviews.
We took a screenshot of the search results page for Lanoix Insurance Agency, the day consumer reviews became available.
At that time, the Lanoix Insurance Trusted Choice profile ranked in the 10th position of page one search results.
Since that time, Lanoix Insurance has had one consumer review.
Now, only three weeks later, the Lanoix Insurance Trusted Choice profile ranks in the 5th position of Google search results.
Want to add consumer reviews to your own site as well?
Unfortunately, there isn’t a super easy way to do this. Your two best options are going to be:
- Hire a developer and drop some coconut on getting the proper structured data and review collection features on your website.
- Use a service like TrustPilot.
Neither is a great option for small business as each comes with development work and cost, but it can be done.
A cheaper an more effective option is enhancing your Trusted Choice profile.
3) Local Business Results
Showing up in local search engine results is vital to generating consistent inbound new business opportunities.
Unfortunately, because of the Google Local Pack, ranking your website through traditional SEO tactics may not be enough.
Google Local Pack results are the results that display the physical address of the business and/or the location on a map. Local results are not included in the organic search results.
Here is an example of Google Local Pack results:
As you can see, the Google Local Pack shows up before traditional organic search results.
How to Show Up in Google Local Pack Results
There is no guarantee your agency website will ever show up in Google Local Pack results.
That being said, there are things you can do to give yourself the greatest chance of showing up.
- Make sure your website includes (on every page) your agency address (physical address) and phone number.
- Make sure this information matches your Google My Business page.
- Make sure this same information is accurate across all web directories around the internet.
Google is going to ping these databases to verify your location and contact information. If these listings do not match you decrease your chances of being shown in the Google Local Pack.
If you have a WordPress website, I’d recommend the Yoast Local SEO plugin.
Chris Langille, the founder of Advisor Evolved, sums structured data up like this:
Even though Google’s algorithm is getting smarter, you can’t rely on it solely to find you online. The more data you can serve the search engine, the more visible your website will be in search, in particular at the Local level with the use of Review Schema. When implemented correctly, Schema can give your site a real advantage over competitor websites.
For a long time, structured data was not considered a direct ranking indicator. What structured data did instead was help improve click-throughs, user experience and quality of traffic delivered to your website.
All very important, for sure.
But now, per the comments from Google executive John Mueller, structured data on websites may be finding its way into Google’s search engine algorithm.
Regardless if structured data has a direct impact or not, on today’s web, it is a necessary next step in the evolution of your website.
If you’re interested in the Local SEO aspect, I’d highly encourage you to give Agency Nation University a try today.
In the meantime, plug a couple pages from your website into the Google Structured Data Testing Tool to get a feel for what structured data your website is currently delivering to Google.
P.S. I’m serious, give Agency Nation University a try today.