Over the past couple of years, I’ve noticed a switch in my vocabulary. Where I used to say “look it up” or “search” when talking about internet browsing, I now say “Google it.” Most would agree that “Google” has become a verb in our daily conversation. Verbs are action words. Google is definitely an action.
It still is of course an adjective – describing the world’s most popular search engine, claiming over 70% of internet searches. With this kind of global power, Google is spearheading the future of the internet. First, they revolutionized online searching. And now, they’re changing the way we choose our dentist, favorite sushi restaurant, preschool and yes… our insurance agent.
So when local consumers Google “insurance agents near me,” what do they find?
How can Google My Business help improve your Google ranking?
Gone are the days of billboards and park bench advertisements. It’s 2020, and your Google listing is the best form of advertisement out there. In order to thrive in today’s market, you’ll need to learn how to improve your google ranking and get to the top of Google Maps. Below are some great tips on how to climb the Google ranks for when people search insurance agents near me.
So a little background info… if you think that people should automatically be able to find you through a quick Google search, it’s a mistake. Having a basic website and doing basic SEO just won’t cut it nowadays. You’ll also want to claim and optimize your Google My Business (GMB) account to increase your Google rank beyond the SEO basics.
It’s difficult to ensure that all of the information online related to your insurance agency is accurate. By claiming your Google My Business listing, you get to have full control over the narrative. Optimizing your listing through the GMB account will also help your listing rank highly on Google. This in effect, can prevent inaccurate pages from being seen on the search engine results page, or SERPs. Also, more and more people are using GMB to find local businesses and services near them. Google Trends data shows a significant increase in “near me” searches in the past 5 years. This proves that a strong GMB listing is critical to improve your Google ranking.
How can an optimized GMB account help with your online presence?
Like previously mentioned, your potential clients are most likely using Google to shop and look “insurance agents near me.” So, you want to be in control of what people see when they start looking for an insurance agent in your area, or when they search for your agency name specifically. Obviously, it’s not ideal if the first page of search results is filled with inaccurate listings or shows only your competition.
Statistics show that most of the people who are searching on Google for an insurance agent are ready to buy. Plenty of potential customers, ready to buy, are out there looking for you. You just have to make it easy for them to find your agency. And optimizing your GMB listing is a great way to do it.
How can you claim your Google My Business listing?
GMB is an easy to use, free tool that allows insurance agents and other business owners to manage how their company appears on the SERPs and Google Maps. The GMB listing features your company name, location, and business hours. Through the GMB account, you can monitor and reply to customer reviews, learn how and where people are searching for you, add photos, and more.
The first thing you need to do to get started ranking on Google with GMB is to claim your listing. It’s a pretty simple and straightforward process, but it does take some time. Once you claim the listing, your agency will show up on different Google properties, local searches and Google Maps. Insurance agents whose agencies run on word-of-mouth advertising can significantly benefit from using GMB to rank on Google.
Although it’s easy to claim your listing, it takes a few days to complete. Google has to verify your agency name, address, and phone number. Follow these steps to claim your GMB listing:
- Visit google.com/business
- Enter your business name and address
- You’ll be asked several questions next, so follow the prompts
- Press “submit” on the last page
- Google will then send you a postcard
- Wait for the postcard and then follow the instructions to verify the listing
What can you do to optimize your GMB account?
Optimizing your GMB account isn’t difficult, and the rewards are numerous. First, get the postcard in the mail. Second, verify the listing. Your next step will be tweaking your account so your agency can start ranking on Google. Keep your target audience in mind throughout this whole process. For example, if someone types into the Google search bar, “insurance agents near me,” how can you be sure that your agency’s GMB listing will rank at the top of the SERP? 30% of searchers will go to the first listing they see on Google. Most of the time, searchers will click the first agency they see, and not even bother going down the SERPs to insurance agency listings that aren’t ranking as highly on Google. So, what you’ll need to consider here is your overall SEO strategy for getting your agency to the top of the ranks.
So how can you make a little SEO magic happen for your agency? The secret sauce is all in optimizing your GMB listing. One of the quickest and easiest ways to do this is to make sure the right information is featured on your GMB listing.
1. Make sure your listing is accurate
Before you do anything else… seriously pause whatever you’re doing… you’ll want to make sure the information you have on your listing is accurate for your agency. Any other optimization efforts are a waste of time and resources if potential customers are getting the wrong information right off the bat. Verify that your GMB listing has the right address, website URL, insurance category, services, and phone number. All of this pertinent information tells the Google search algorithm that you’ve got a legit insurance agency that deserves to rank. Google’s main objective is to give searchers the most accurate and helpful results as possible.
Another major reason why you should take care to give Google accurate information on your listing, is that people are going to be using their mobile devices and voice assistant programs to search. Quite a few people will look up your GMB on the SERPs, then immediately call your location. The information on your listing must be accurate. If not, customers will get frustrated and move right on to the next insurance agent.
This might sound creepy, but Google knows the precise location of internet searchers. So when customers ask their mobile voice assistant, “insurance agency near me,” Google will direct them to a local insurance agent who is ranking highly on the SERPs.
Business descriptions are also essential when it comes to optimizing your GMB account. Use relevant keywords in your agency’s description that will help customers understand what types of insurance services your agency offers. Google will give you a max of 750 characters for the business description. Not sure what to put after you’ve added your services? Consider putting awards, or any other relevant information that will set you apart from your competitors. Only using 750 characters to describe your agency isn’t a lot so, make it punchy, relevant, and keyword-rich.
Recently, Google added a service menu section to GMB listings. Before, this feature was solely dedicated to the restaurant industry where eateries could put menu items on their pages. But other businesses, including insurance agencies, can now take advantage of this feature. Plugin the different kinds of insurance services you offer here. This may be a little time intensive, but definitely worth it as it will help move you up the ranks on Google.
2. Add Photos, commercials and video
Adding photos and videos to your GMB listing will also help improve your rank. Visuals and videos can help entice customers to your agency, and also make your business seem more legitimate and robust. Use videos to convince customers that you offer the best insurance services around. These don’t have to be filmed in a professional studio, use your iphone to make high quality videos. Another great tip is to consider using photos of your office, both interior, and exterior. Exterior images can help people find your agency location, while interior photos can add weight to the company and make it look professional. Pictures and videos from work events and award ceremonies are also a good idea. People love visual material and it can really set you apart from your competition.
3. Encourage reviews
Your agency’s reviews will also show up along with your GMB listing on the SERPs. People trust online reviews as much as a recommendation from a friend, and reviews can help cement a potential customer’s decision to contact you or visit your location. Ask your happy customers to leave a review on Google. You may need to follow up via different channels to get reviews. Most of the time, people forget, or they don’t understand how critical reviews are for your business, and you’ll want to follow-up.
4. Use Google Posts
If you’re looking for an under utilized, easy way to stand out from your local competition, use Google Posts on your GMB listing. Google’s algorithm takes into account all posts and will boost you up the ranks if your agency is posting relevant, consistent content. Google Posts are similar to Facebook posts. Think of posting pictures of recent company events, a new service you’re unveiling, or an office upgrade. We recommend posting industry articles and helpful home and auto tips for your current and potential customers.
The internet has completely changed how people shop for insurance. In today’s competitive market, it’s critical that you leverage the power of Google to grow your clientele and increase your agency’s profits. At Lift Local, we love helping insurance agents rise above their local competition. We can help you claim and optimize your Google My Business listing for a greater online presence. In fact, we can even run the entire optimization process for you. Contact us today to request a demo from Lift Local.