I was recently interviewed about the most important factors for getting an insurance agency to the top of the Google Places business listings. Here you’ll see part 4 of my 12 part response. Here’s the transcript but you can see the entire video sequence on our YouTube Insurance Marketing Channel
The next factor Google uses to determine which insurance agents they’re going to show at the top of the local listings is the number and frequency of listings of your business on other internet “yellow page type” websites. Keep in mind that Google’s primary objective is to give their visitors the best results that they possibly can and put yourself in Google’s shoes…
Let’s say you have two insurance agencies, one of them has claimed their listing on Google’s website but that’s pretty much all we can find about them when we go out into the web. Compare that to another one that’s listed on Google but also has a listing on Yahoo!, Bing, Yelp!, on Merchant Circle, Superpages, Best of the Web, Citysearch,… all these different websites – they’re on all of them so if you were Google, which agent would you think was the best to give to your customers?
It’s kind of a no-brainer right?
Now I also want you to think about this… even if there were no benefit on Google to going out and signing up on these other websites to have an official claimed listing, do you think there might be a business benefit for doing that?
It’s free it’s a no-brainer!!! Again, you need lots of listings on directory type webpages
What do you think? I’d love to hear your comments on this posting below!!!
In a recent interview, I explained the major factors for getting your insurance agency to the top of the Google Places search results. Here is the third of twelve excerpts about Maximizing Google Places Listings and focuses on choosing the right categories.
The next important factor for getting your insurance agency to the top of the Google local listings is to make sure you choose the best and most appropriate categories. Google will let you choose up to five categories for your business listing, so make sure you choose all five. Take advantage of all the different categories they’re going to give you.
On a side note, Google will allow you to make up your own category so if you wanted to say, “widget insurance specialist” as your category you could do that but I really wouldn’t recommend it. I would stick with the options related to insurance that they already have in their system.
There’s probably around 7 different versions of insurance agency, There is: life insurance agency, auto insurance agency, home insurance agency, health insurance agency, and then there’s just plain insurance agency. Obviously you’re going to want to choose insurance agency. I would choose four more that are most appropriate for you.
Some agents will tell me they don’t want to choose “renter’s insurance agency” because they say, “I’m not a renters insurance agency, I sell it but I don’t want to be known for that.” It doesn’t matter because if someone goes to Google and they search for “renters insurance agency”, you want yours to show up. That would be better than if it didn’t show up, Right? Sell them the renters and then sell them whatever else you want to.
Another thing to think about is the other types of business you’re involved with. I know a lot of insurance agencies that like to use the category: “financial planner”. That’s another way you can draw people in, and you probably offer this type of service.
Put a lot of thought into your categories and most importantly use all five categories because it’s not going to work against you it will only help you show up in more searches.
You can see the entire interview on our internet marketing channel on YouTube
What do you think about categories? If you have any thoughts or questions please post them below. I’d love to get some feedback!
In a recent interview, I explained the most important step for insurance agents to get their agency listed at the top of the Google local search results. This is Part 2 of 12. Here’s a transcript:
Let’s start things off with the the most important factor for getting your insurance agency listed at the top of Google local listings. The first thing you need to do, if you haven’t already done this, is you need to claim your listing.
Let me talk about what that means. Google doesn’t rely on insurance agency owners or business owners to go to their website and provide all the business information. They go to the phone book and pull out business names and categories from the yellow pages. The problem with this is Google might not be as confident with the information they are showing to their visitors knowing it’s coming out of a phone book which may or may not be accurate.
Because of this, Google allows business owners the opportunity to go to Google, look at the listing and click a button to claim the listing as the business owner. This let’s you do some personalization, which I’ll talk about that a little bit later. The biggest thing is you’re telling Google, “Yes I’m a real business, yes this is the right category, I am and insurance agency, yes this is my phone number this is my address and hey, I’m still here I’m still in business!”
The last thing Google wants to do is to send one of their visitors to a business that hasn’t been open for the last three years. If you haven’t already done it, you need to go out to Google and you have to claim your listing. if you haven’t already done it, do it right now.
You can see the entire interview on our YouTube Internet Insurance Marketing Channel
What do you think about claiming the Google Listing for your insurance agency? Anyone want to tell their story below?
In a recent interview, I explained what Google Places is, how it relates to insurance agents and their online marketing plan, and why it’s so damn important that any insurance agent who’s serious about growing their business understands it. Here’s the transcript:
So what is Google Local, and why is it so important for insurance agents to understand it?
Google Local is like your modern day yellow pages. Thirty years ago when someone wanted to shop for insurance they would break out the yellow pages, find the insurance section, and call an agent. It was really easy to be a marketer as an insurance agent because all you had to do was buy the biggest ad that would actually draw people’s attention.
Nowadays things work a bit differently. When someone is in the mood to shop for insurance, the majority of the time what they’re going to do is go out to the internet, and a lot of those times people are going to go to Google and type in the word: “insurance”.
This is what they’ll see… At the top will be Allstate, State Farm, the lizard, and below that you’ll see a map of local agents. They call it Google Places, Local Listings, or Business Listings, and Google shows several locations on the map where there are local insurance agents. They don’t rank those agencies in order of nearest to the person who is searching. They actually rank them in the order of who they think is going to be the best agency to show to their website visitor.
It’s important to understand what is Google is looking for so you can adjust your listing and show up at the top. Now why is that important? With so many people searching for insurance in this way, being at the top of that list will bring your agency exponentially more phone calls, more referrals, more business, more of everything if you can get yourself to the top of that list.
Now getting there isn’t easy. It takes two things: number one you have to know what to do, you have to understand what Google is looking for The other thing is you have to actually go out and make changes so you’ll show up there.
Now I want to mention, that it doesn’t matter if you own your own website with your own domain name, or if all you have is a little section of a larger domain name, for example if you’re a State Farm agent and you just have a little section of the State Farm website with your webpage, Google doesn’t really care so you have just the same opportunity as does the person with their own domain name and their own website.
That being said, I repeat, it takes two things, Number one: you have to understand what to do, and I’m going to go through that, I’m going to tell you everything you need to do to show up at the top of that list. But the second is, you have to actually go out and do it. Alright?
You can see the entire interview on our YouTube Internet Insurance Marketing Channel
What do you think about what I said? I’d love to hear in the comments below…
VirtualInsure.com is a website that allows insurance agents to connect with their current and prospective clients online easily.
Any insurance agent is allowed to join VirtualInsure.com and after doing so will receive their own individual subdomain on VirtualInsure.com. An example would be: http://BobJones.VirtualInsure.com.
Here’s an example of what a typical VirtualInsure.com webpage looks like:
When a current or potential customer of this particular insurance agent visits the website, they have many different options to communicate with the agency virtually. All the visitor must do is click the button that corresponds to the method with which they would like to interact with the agency. Here are the options:
1. Get a Quote – This feature allows visitors to fill out easy forms for over 15 different types of insurance. The information they submit to the form will be emailed to the agent instantly.
2. Video Conference – Takes the visitor to a video chat room where they can speak face-to-face with an insurance agent. This requires both parties to have a webcam but there is no software to download.
3. Text Chat – This allows the visitor to have a live “instant message” type conversation with the agent. This is tied into Windows Instant Messenger for the agent so they will receive a notification as soon as anyone wishes to participate in a text chat. If the agent is not logged into his instant messenger the website will display a “temporarily unavailable” graphic.
4. Service Request – Insurance customers can use this to request changes to their policy or other customer service requests. Upon completing the request, the information from the customer will be emailed directly to the agent.
5. Email – Customers can send an email to their agent. This includes captcha technology, to prevent spammers!
6. Appointment Request – In case a website visitor is unable to connect with their agent through video conference or text chat, they can send an appointment request to the agent for a future time and date.
7. Agency Information – Customers can visit this section of the agent’s website to learn more about the insurance agency and also get door-to-door driving directions to the agent’s physical location.
If you own an iPhone and are interested in being able to regularly check out the information here at the VirtualInsure.com Internet Marketing Blog, here’s how to download our app to your iPhone:
Step 1: In your iPhone web browser (Safari) go to this page:
Step 2: Tap the “+” Sign at the bottom of the screen.
Step 3: Tap the “Add to Home Screen” button.
Step 4: Replace “Insurance Ag” with “Virtual Insure”
Step 5: Tap the Add button in the top right corner of your screen.
That’s it, now you should show an app button on your home screen so you can always check out new content on the Virtual Insure Insurance Agent Internet Marketing Blog.
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