In talking to many agency owners everyday about their digital marketing needs the subject of local search continually leads the conversation. How do we attract qualified traffic to our web site? Is the question most often asked. The simple answer is that it’s all about the careful selection of key search terms for which you ultimately optimize your web pages. For example if you have a surety bond page and you sell surety bonds in Orange County California, then the page on your web site that displays your surety bond information should have the term “surety bonds Orange County” instead of “Surety Bonds”. That’s assuming you’ve done the research to determine that people searching for surety bonds in Orange County are actually using that search term. The same is true for any programs, niche markets, home or auto or whatever other lines of insurance you distribute and are trying to promote on your web site. Search engines are primarily interested in positive results for those of us using search to find an answer. Search engines realize that the key to their advertising success lies in their ability to attract people to continue using their search engine.
There was a great article in the Wall Street Journal the other day about Google Places which will give local businesses first page results. This is monumental for local agents who have been trying to compete with large national players for first page search results. The new format builds on the old format which included a list of links, addresses, phone numbers and a map showing the locations. The new format includes a photo, review ratings and an abridged review rating form sites like Yelp.com or Citysearch.com. Google is also releasing a new local advertising opportunity called Boost. For a few hundred dollars per month you can place a Boost ad which will appear above the Place Search results but will look similar to organic results.The bottom-line on all of this is now is time to take advantage of digital marketing and to make local search part of your insurance marketing strategy. If someone is trying to verify your business because they were referred to you, or they want to know who your competitors are they are going to go to the internet to do so and you want to make sure your web site comes up prominently. Let me know what you’re doing with local search and how it’s working for you.