For SEO specialists and marketing managers working in the insurance field, I feel your pain. Most online marketers are aware that insurance is one of the most competitive niches that you can get involved with.
Insurance SERPs are plagued by Dodgy Tactics & PPC is Incredibly Cost Prohibitive.
PPC advertising is only available to those with an almost unlimited bankroll, with some terms topping a CPC of $50 in the US and £30 in the UK. To achieve any results in the organic field is just as difficult, as most of the major leading insurance companies engage in link buying on a mass scale.
If that’s not bad enough, Google have started their comparison service meaning that when someone does an insurance related search that triggers this additional ad, resolutions under 1024×768 won’t see a single organic result.
Combine this with years of dodgy agencies selling SEO at £99/month for any key term and promising x number of links instead of discussing ROI and genuine ways to reach their target audience. This has resulted in clients and companies that don’t understand the true cost of SEO, who then refuse to spend money on legitimate marketing strategies that can increase their organic visibility!
Who said being an SEO was easy?
Thankfully all is not lost, if you’ve survived the almost unrelenting Penguin and Panda updates as an SEO and still want to learn more and increase your skill set in one of the most difficult niches online, then read on and see if my top 5 tips on Insurance SEO can help you make your mark in the insurance world!
1. Go for quick and easy wins – long-tail is your friend
Due to the sheer level of competition in the insurance game, your best chance of getting results quickly would be to find long-tail searches with a high enough search volume but low levels of organic competition. While the insurance industry isn’t your typical long tail SEO play (unlike travel or retail, for example), if you’re smart about it you can discover some very interesting opportunities.
The Google AdWords Keytool can be infinitely helpful in helping you achieve this task. Let’s assume you’re a car insurance company – we know that a brand new site won’t be able to compete for this headline term, but with a little creative thinking we can find a search term that has very little competition, but would most likely result in a high level of conversion.
Car Insurance – 450,000 Local Monthly Searches – KWD Score – 76%
Audi – 246,000 Local Monthly Searches – KWD Score – 68%
Audi Insurance – 880 Local Monthly Searches – KWD Score – 33%
Audi Car Insurance -390 Local Monthly Searches – KWD Score – 33%
Audi Car Insurance UK – 28 Local Monthly Searches – KWD Score – 33%
*KWD Score = Keyword Difficulty Score calculated by SEOMoz
With a KWD score of less than 40% these key terms should be quite easy to rank for, and if you wanted to take it to the next level you could start targeting specific models as well.
E.G – Audi A3 Insurance – 46 Local Monthly Searches – KWD Score – 36%
2. Plunder Your Competitors’ Backlinks
I spoke to Luke Eales from ingenie, leading young drivers insurance provider, who said, “Any successful business needs to understand the market it operates in – appreciation of what has and hasn’t worked in the past is crucial to formulating your strategy for future success. There’s an abundance of great tools in our industry that make competitor analysis so easy, it’d be a crime not to bake it into your SEO process.”
There are a few ways to go about this. The easiest by far is the SEOMoz labs competitive link finder.
Alternative tools to scout your competitor’s backlink profile include Ahrefs and Citation Labs.
3. Go Local
For insurance providers that have physical locations, make sure you take full advantage of Google Places and other local directories. Not only will you benefit from additional visibility for local based searches, but you’ll also see the advantage of the multiple backlinks that you can acquire from sites like Yell, Brownbook, 118 and more!
4. Become An Information Hub
If content marketing isn’t on your current agenda, then you need to make sure it is soon! Don’t get left behind, as AuthorRank is tipped to be one of the next major influencing factors within the SERPs. With a claimed author prolife that is connected to your site, you will not only see the benefit of additional real-estate within organic listings, but by creating helpful and informative articles, you’ll be increasing the foot-traffic to your website.
I’m not a copywriter by trade and frequently find myself struggling to find topics to write about. If you find yourself stuck for ideas on what to write about as well, then here are two great resources to help you find a topic:
5. If you have to resort to buying links, be smart about it
Steer clear from any link or blog networks and be wary of sites like PayPerPost. There are much better ways to spend your marketing budget and come out on top.
Most local events accept sponsorship deals that will result in a backlink from a local property. These sites are usually linked from government portals as well and sponsorship generally starts from about £50. So do something good for the community and benefit in kind.
Charitable donations – similar process as above.
I don’t advocate the purchase of links, but when it has to be done try to approach sites that are hyper-relevant to your topic. Don’t buy links from xyz123directory.com or dropped domains that still have some residual PR. These are strategies that will quite quickly get your site ejected from the SERPS.
For example if you’re trying to rank for Audi Insurance, try approaching Audi enthusiast sites. You don’t necessarily have to purchase the link either. You could broker an affiliate deal with the owner of the site or offer their users 5% off all policies. Be creative!
Remember – Quality > Quantity
The days of mass buying links are all but over. Sure it works in short bursts and you’ll see the benefits overnight, but in a week when you can’t find your site in the top 1000 you’ll wish you’d have taken the time to invest in a proper SEO strategy.
Have you worked as an SEO in the insurance field? If so, I’d love to hear your experience in the trenches in the comments below!