Why Insurance Agents Should Have Fully Optimized Business Profiles
In the past, a complete business profile meant having your correct name, phone number and address in the yellow pages. However with virtually everything being online these days, people desire more information about the businesses they choose, before they make their choice.
For insurance agencies, a complete business profile is equally important. Customers need to be able to trust their future agent, and part of building that trust is getting to know you and your agency. Consumers want to check your agency out before they ever pick-up the phone to call or fill out your website form to request a quote.
But, there are other reasons why you want to ensure your agency has a complete business profile on all the primary online directory and social media sites.
In this blog post, we’re going to take a look at:
- What a complete business profile looks like
- The primary business directories and social sites that are mission critical for insurance agents
- Why your agency needs a complete business profile
What Does A Complete Insurance Agency Business Profile Look Like?
So, you want to ensure you have a complete business profile. But you might be asking yourself, “What should my profile contain?”
Here’s a quick guide to what your business listing should have:
- Your complete business name
- Correct business details, namely:
- Your physical address
- Phone number
- Website URL(s)
- Email address
- Photos of your place of business
- Details about your agency
- Description of your products and services
- Some history and background
- Awards or certifications achieved
- Special projects
- Media or news recognition
- Professional designations achieved, e.g. ChFc
Of course, these are just the basics. Depending on how long you’ve been in business, your profile may be longer or shorter, and contain other relevant pertinent information. Keep in mind that each of these online directories and business profiles have character limits. Take advantage of the maximum amount of real estate each platform will allow you to occupy. Most of your competitors aren’t taking advantage of this secret weapon. By optimizing for the most relevant keywords and real estate, you’ll see a more positive response in your SERP (Search Engine Results Page) rankings. Search engines scrape for relevant business information from thousands of online directories and business profiles.
If you’re not sure if you should include something or not, ask yourself, “Will my customers want or need to know this?”
For example, just last week, I was searching for a handyman service for our home. Obviously, I needed someone local, so they wouldn’t have to travel too far, which means I had to check their business address. I wanted to get on the phone with them right away, so I had to make sure their office was open. Of course, they also had to have the proper licenses and insurance coverage, just in case something went wrong while they were at our home.
All these details matter, and you can bet the business who got a call from me had the most complete profile, with the best overall ratings and reviews. After all, I didn’t want to spend hours searching online for a company that fits my needs and requirements. I really appreciated that the business owner I chose took the time to put in his necessary business information. It helped me make a quick decision and saved me a lot of effort and time.
What Else Should I Consider When Writing My Business Profile?
So, now it’s time for you to sit down and write your profile. How do you get started?
It really depends on you. You don’t need an English degree to write a business profile, but make sure you have someone proof it for mistakes and typos before you hit publish.
You may want to consider writing as much as you can. Different business directories will have different requirements. For example, Google My Business allows for only 750 characters, but Yelp allows you to write up to 3,500 characters. It’s easier to edit down then keep adding more words later on.
Speaking of words, do remember to add in keywords that mention your business, as well as the cities and communities you serve. For example, you can add “Joe Smith has been providing auto insurance in Smithtown, U.S.A. for over 30 years.” This will help signal the search engines to associate such keywords to your business profile, hence the improved performance in your SERP ranking.
Also, when choosing categories for whichever business directory you’re working on, make sure you select the maximum number of categories that apply to your company. Don’t just select “insurance agency.” If possible, max out the profile and select “all that apply,” e.g., auto insurance, home insurance, life insurance, etc.
What Primary Business Directories and Social Sites Should My Profile Appear On?
There are so many websites out there where you can post your profile, you could spend hours in front of a computer just signing up and filling in the information.
Initially, concentrate on the top online directories and business profiles that will give you the most value, namely:
Google My Business
Unequivocally, this is the single most important business directory of them all. After all, Google dominates 63.2% of all search queries in the U.S.:
Check out these other “Google Facts:” https://www.impactbnd.com/blog/seo-statistics
So, make sure you take charge of your Google My Business listing.
Bing Places For Business
Bing Places for Business is next in line. As previously mentioned, Bing has a tremendous partnership going now with Yelp. When consumers do searches on Bing, they now (in many U.S. markets) are being served Yelp ratings & reviews. In some East Coast markets, I’m seeing that Bing is serving up Facebook ratings & reviews. Bing is definitely stepping up its game. Microsoft is making big investments into AI (Artificial Intelligence), which are big drivers in the voice search revolution that’s happening as I write. Bing gets over 1 billion visitors each month.
They also dominate long-tail keywords:
Most voice search queries are longer tail keywords. You have to fully leverage all of the assets that Microsoft offers and a very big one is Bing Places. Claim and fully optimize your Bing business listing at your earliest.
Plus, with everyone vying for the top spot on Google, you may find that you’ll have less competition on this platform. There’s another reason why you should be on Bing, but I’ll get to that later.
When it comes to ratings and reviews, Yelp is still king. While most people think Yelp is only for restaurants, they’ve expanded into virtually all major verticals in the last ten years.
More and more people are using Yelp to find reviews on almost every type of local service, from plumbers to insurance agents. In fact, the latest Q2 report (they’re publicly held), shows they’re now north of 160 million ratings and reviews. Just a few quarters back, they were at 135 million.
With over 32 million unique mobile app visitors, 72 million mobile web visitors, and 74 million desktop visitors, you can’t afford to not have a Yelp business profile.
Facebook Business Pages
Now, you may be thinking, “Isn’t Facebook for posting photos of my family vacation and cute babies?”
While social networking is the site’s main goal, Facebook has expanded to so much more. Businesses can put up their own pages that advertise their services and products, as well as interact with potential customers. You can even write a lengthy “Facebook Story” about you and your agency. That additional, quality content helps with optimization across your digital eco-system. You can then repurpose some of that content across the most important digital assets in your market, namely your Google My Business, Bing Places, Yelp, Twitter and Linkedin accounts. Of course, you’ll need to adhere to each platform’s character limits.
Is it worth the time and energy to put up and maintain a business Facebook page? The answer is, “yes.” With Facebook business pages, you can reach homeowners and consumers within that pivotal 10-15 mile radius around your physical agency. The only other digital platform that allows targeting with that level of specificity is Google.
Why You Need a Complete Business Profile
Many agents may think business profiles are a waste of time. After all, if a customer wanted to get to know you, they could always just talk to you, right?
Well, that may true, but for the most part, consumers today want more information upfront before contacting a business. While in the past, salespeople had the upper hand when it came to information, that’s simply no longer the case today.
Giving away information about your company can actually be good for your business, and some of the reasons may surprise you.
First, there is the issue of trust. Many potential customers will be more willing to do business with you when they trust you, especially when it comes to service-based products like insurance. Plus, a complete profile boosts your credibility, not to mention, gives you an edge over your competition (remember my earlier example of me searching for a handyman?).
When you organize and complete your business information, you also help search engines by creating structured data they can easily index and categorize. Structured data helps create a universally accepted “knowledge card” that shows things like business hours (are you open this upcoming holiday? If not, you should say so on your business profiles), services and reviews. As previously mentioned, your business listing would also include an accurate NAP (Name, Address and Phone) along with a fully optimized business description.
Aside from having accurate information, you should also ensure that you have consistent information across the board on all these sites; this listing information should match what’s on your website, or at a minimum with what’s on your Google Knowledge Card..
These are trust factors for the search engines as they crawl and index valuable content on the web. The more times the search engines find the same business info across the web, the more they trust that your business is relevant, and trustworthy, in search results.
For example, you might have “Street” on your business address and “St.” or even “Road” on your business listing. Or you might be listed as Joe Smith – Company X Insurance Agent vs. Company X Insurance Agent – Joe Smith. Even small things like “Suite” vs. “Ste” can make a difference in terms of how the searh engines validate that “you really are who you say you are.”
There’s additional value in having a complete business profile. Obviously it helps in search Engine Optimization (SEO), but it also helps with getting served up in the fast-growing voice search results in your market. Accurate online directory listings and business profiles are crucial to be a big success in voice search.
The search engines and social sites I mentioned earlier will generally give priority to businesses that have the most complete business profile and fully optimized website. They don’t want to frustrate their users by giving them results that don’t have the most basic information, like open/closed hours or an accurate, physical address. This is especially true for mapping apps like Google Maps, Bing Maps or Apple Maps.
After all, they want users to have the best experience possible, and this means giving them as much accurate information as possible, in the quickest time possible. Given a choice between a company that has a complete profile or one without, search engines will genrally give more weight to those that have the most comprehensive profile.
What Do Business Listings and Search Engine Optimization Have to Do with Voice Search?
Another reason why you should have a complete business profile is for voice search.
With the growing popularity of Google Home, Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, Apple Siri and Microsoft Cortana (more brands are on the way, like LG appliances, etc) , it’s obvious that we are headed into the era of voice search.
More and more people are using voice search, and experts predict that 50% of all searches will be done by voice by 2020 and that ownership of smart speaker assistants will grow to 55% in the same year. In my own home, for example, we own six Google Home units and one Amazon Alexa device. Of course, we also have Google Assistant and Apple Siri on our smartphones. My wife and I use voice search and voice commands all the time. We’re not alone.
That means, more and more people are starting to search for “top insurance agents near me” while they’re at home cooking dinner or watching the kids. They might even be driving around and running errands, and they’ll ask Alexa or their Google Assistant, “Find me the top Home Insurance agent near me?” I was consulting with a client out of Atlanta recently, and that’s exactly what he said happened with a customer that was sitting in his office that morning. That’s how the new customer found his agency, via a voice query off of his smartphone.
And guess which insurance agent these digital assistants recommend? Generally it’s the one with the most complete business profile, of course. Recently, I’ve also found that Google is serving up only those businesses with a 4 star rating or higher when it comes to search queries like, “Top (or Best) insurance agent.” This is another reason why you need to be on all possible voice search platforms and strive to have the strongest online reputation possible.
When you get your completed listing on Bing, you’ll be able to reach more people. With approximately 700 million iPhones in use in use at any given time, and over 31 million Amazon Echo devices sold, that’s even more potential customers waiting (or rather, listening) for the information in your business profile.
Do I Really Need a Complete Business Profile?
Of course, no one can make you do anything you don’t want to do. In fact, if you look around the Internet, there are many businesses that don’t have a complete business profile. But, you may not be able to find them easily, because Google and other search engines won’t place them in the top results; there’s a reason for that. In many cases, it’s due to a low business profile quality score.
Ultimately, a complete business profile can only be good for your agency. It’s a great way of showing customers that you run a professional, trustworthy business.
Of course, you may be busy growing or maintaining your current book of business. Having been a former insurance agent myself, I know how your career can absorb a lot of your limited time and energy.
If you don’t have the time to complete your business profiles, then let our team do it for you. Agent Branding System can create your profile, optimize your existing profile and help you rank higher on mobile, laptop, desktop, and voice searches in your market.
We have the expertise and the know-how to put it all together for you. We can do everything from completing your profile on the main business directories, to enhancing your listings to include SEO keywords that will help drive your search engine rankings.
Call us now for a 15-minute informational session – we’re happy to listen and give you a hand in growing your book of business by using the latest insurance agency marketing “Best Practices.”
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