SEO is one of the most constantly updating elements of digital marketing and 2018 will be no different. Due to new technologies, strategies, and a significant Google update that will change the game, the influences on insurance agency SEO will be different in the coming year. Insurance brokers need to get in front of these changes in order to grow and maintain strong search engine ranking results.
We’re all about helping brokers here at the Broker Tool Belt, so this week I’ll list insurance agency SEO updates you need to pay attention to in 2018
MOBILE-FIRST INDEXING IN EARLY 2018
With Google’s mobile-first index due out in early 2018, optimizing your agency’s online content for mobile is no long about just simply gaining a competitive advantage – it’s a key influence on your insurance agency SEO strategy. But, in order to understand exactly how this will impact your agency you first need to understand what mobile-first indexing is in the first place.
So what does “mobile-first” really mean for your agency’s search engine ranking? Currently Google populates results based on the perspective of a user searching queries on a desktop. In other words, Google prioritizes desktop versions of websites. So, in 2018, that will no longer be the case, the mobile version of websites will be prioritized. So if your website and content isn’t optimized for mobile, then your search engine ranking will significantly drop as it will be considered a low priority website by Google.
How can you optimize your agency’s website for mobile?
The first thing you need to do is to check if your website is mobile friendly or not. Get results from the tech giant itself by using the Google Mobile-Friendly Test; it crawls your website like Googlebot and shows you what you need to improve. The test couldn’t be any easier.
You should also test your website’s loading speed on mobile. Use Google Page Speed Insights to learn what factors you can target to improve page-loading speed for your mobile website.
If tests show your agency’s website isn’t optimized for mobile, there are three ways you can design your pages to be mobile friendly:
- Responsive design: This method serves the same page to users regardless of device, but adjusts the website’s layout based on screen size.
- Dynamic design: This method serves users different HTML based on the user’s device. This means your agency’s website will serve different content for mobile users and desktop users. This means you can remove large images and/or videos that will slow down loading times for mobile users.
- Parallel design: This method means creating a URL layout that hosts pages specifically for mobile users. Basically, if your website is hosted at www.example.com, the mobile version of your website will be m.example.com. The server automatically redirects any user on a mobile device to the mobile URL.
Though you can use any of these methods to optimize your agency’s website for mobile, responsive design is generally considered the best option since it’s the easiest to implement. It’s also Google’s preferred method for creating mobile-friendly pages.
Google’s approach to SEO revolves around the user’s experience. So given the data, Google has adjusted their algorithm to show results that provide users with the best experience. Basically more people do searches on mobile, so Google shows them results that are optimized for mobile.
VOICE SEARCH IS ON THE RISE
Over 60% of online searches are now conducted on mobile devices, and nearly 20% of those mobile searches are voice searches. Due to this increasing usage of voice searches, it’s only natural that Google and other search engines are beginning to factor it into their algorithms. In 2018 expect voice search to become increasingly important. Here are some ways you can optimize your insurance agency SEO strategy for voice search.
- Voice search leans more towards “humanized” keyword phrasing; such as “Insurance brokers in New York” instead of “insurance brokers NYC.”
- Questions are the main form of interaction for people who interact with voice-activated personal assistants like Apple’s Siri or Amazon’s Alexa. This will need to reflect on how you choose keywords for your content.
- Your agency’s name, address, and phone number will be important for voice searches. Think about creating a comprehensive site map for your website to make this information readily available.
Voice search goes hand in hand with mobile optimization. So when optimizing your website and content for mobile, consider how keyword phrasing will differ for voice searches.
LATENT SEMANTIC INDEXING (LSI)
LSI keywords are words and phrases that are strongly associated with your page’s topic, these associated keywords provide context for the user.
To explain exactly why context is so important for Google’s algorithms today, consider that Google discovers a page with the word “Apple” on it, how does it differentiate whether the website is talking about the fruit or the tech company? It uses LSI keywords like fruit, recipe, flavor, and any other similar words or phrases to provide context for the website’s content.
For a broker, if the keyword phrase for your website is “group health insurance” then LSI keywords would be similar phrases like “group health insurance for small businesses” or “employee benefits broker in NY”. Now remember, Google’s goal is to provide the user with the best and most relevant results. Not only do LSI keywords provide context for the user, but it also shows Google how relevant your website is to the user’s query. The more relevant LSI keywords on your website, the more Google’s algorithm views your website as a ‘one stop shop’ for everything on “group health insurance”.
I recommend checking out LSI Graph; it’s a free LSI keyword generating tool. Simply enter keyword phrases into the search bar and LSI Graph will produce similar keyword phrases users search for.
I’ve mentioned before that marketing has shifted to focus on the customer experience. With even Google updating their algorithms to provide an improved user experience, brokers also must update their insurance agency SEO strategy to meet the standards of today’s industry.
SEARCH ENGINE RESULTS PAGE (SERP) – PPC
Google has, subtly, made a number of changes to its search engine result pages (SERPs) that now, and in 2018, the No. 1 spot in search engine ranking results is no longer the only relevant method to increasing traffic.
Here’s a few examples of what Google looks like today, can you notice something?
Or in this one?
The top spots for search engine results are dominated by paid advertising and other elements of Google’s SERP updates. The first organic result is in the latter half of the page. This is what Google looks like today, and if you consider the logic behind it you’ll come to understand what you can expect for SEO in 2018.
A large portion of Google’s revenue depends on advertising. PPC performance has dipped over the years, and Google has been making updates to turn it around. Google is dependent on businesses using Adwords to bid for keywords and show up on the display network. With Google’s recent updates you can see those changes in action in the images above.
This in turn will impact another element of your insurance agency SEO strategy in 2018.
Organic Click Through Rates Decline
Google’s updates provide an even more intuitive experience for users.
Users don’t even have to click on a website anymore to find relevant information. This in turn can have significant consequences for businesses that rely heavily on organic traffic and on the content shared online. Data shows that only 66% of searches performed on Google resulted in a click, meaning 34% of searches resulted in no clicks.
In 2018 you can expect to see Google’s paid advertising becoming a major player in SEO. While organic traffic will continue to be a major factor, consider boosting your paid advertising for the new year.
INSURANCE AGENCY SEO in 2018
All of these changes will have a significant impact on your agency’s website results in 2018. In order to stay competitive it’s important to get ahead of these changes and implement them early in the new year.