The way people have searched has evolved. From the original concept of the internet in 1962, this “Galactic Network” of interconnected computers has evolved into something more. As Google continued to grow, new opportunities were realized and capitalized on for the benefit of the search engine. One of those biggest opportunities for Google was local search.
As the insurance industry adapted their traditional marketing strategies, such as direct mail and telemarketing, users also adapted how they found insurance agencies. Given the influx of outbound marketing, it became commonplace to consumers to only discover information if provided. One reason why Google has become so successful is due to reversing this trend of outbound material to creating another avenue for users to seek out their own information. This is why Google has overtaken its market making information accessible to all its users.
97% of consumers are using the internet when researching local products/services (BIA/Kelsey)
Google’s Local SEO is a complete game changer for insurance agencies. In only the last few years Google has drastically changed their search algorithm from pure organic rankings, through PPC (Pay Per Click), through Google Maps, through mobile optimized searches, and finally locally optimized search results.
Why is this different? Before when Google had one list of organic rankings, every search was identical. It became who spent the most stayed on top of the search results. And as an independent insurance agent or small business, this didn’t benefit you or the end user.
54% percent of Americans have substituted the Internet and local search for phone books (comScore)
As Google integrated local search into their results, searches became more relevant. Searches now conducted in New York, New York were seeing different results than in San Francisco, California. What’s more, search wasn’t dominated by direct-writing carriers who had the budgets were moved down in the ranks, allowing independent insurance agencies to compete. Insurance agents now were not only able to compete in the long tail keyword space such as “San Francisco, CA Auto Insurance,” but in the short term category such as “Auto Insurance.” This is due to the fact that Google references your area of search to provide a tighter geographic radius of results around the “centroid” (your current location) to provide you with more relevant results.
There are many factors that come into play when trying to compete on a local level. Throughout the next series of blog posts, I will be providing key tips for insurance agents to optimize their local presence and build a reputation to increase conversion rates.