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How New Ways of Searching Are Changing SEO

Hello Google: are you listening? Increasingly, your phone or other device is actually listening to the words that you say and translating them into answers found online. As an insurance agency, you need to understand what this means for your insurance clients and for your insurance marketing strategies.

The Shifting World of Insurance Marketing

The world of insurance marketing used to be relatively simple. You would advertise in the newspaper or with flyers, but much of your advertising was focused on your bricks and mortar business, community engagement, and word of mouth. Today, there are a lot more ways to market your insurance business. Some of them require a level of expertise in technology. SEO is one of them.

Since the internet became a household presence, people used it to get the information that they need, and search engines have created algorithms to help search words yield the right websites. SEO began with keywords, but a focus on just a few keywords led to poorly-written, keyword-stuffed website copy that was not actually useful for readers. Today, search engines are more complex and have some appreciation for more engaging writing that uses multiple keywords to help search engines find the site.

The Last Decade of Online Marketing

In the last decade, the world of social media has exploded as well. Writing for a social media audience means that you need to engage different techniques than writing purely for search engines. While search engines seek out keywords, different social media platforms engage with your writing differently. On Instagram and Pinterest, you're challenged to create graphics that are shareable, saveable, and draw your readers in. On Twitter, your marketing must yield blog posts or images that are easy and enticing to summarize in just a few characters.

Into this busy, eclectic, and challenging world of insurance marketing comes a new way of engaging online: voice to text search. According to Search Engine Journal, "55% of teens and 41% of adults use voice search on a daily basis," and while two years ago the error rate at recognizing words was 20 percent, today it has improved immensely to 8 percent. While it may seem like this is just another way for people to search using the usual keywords, using your voice to ask a question actually changes search substantially.

Voice to Text is Changing Online Marketing

How is voice-to-text changing the way people search? While it seems like you'd conduct a similar search whether you're using voice or typing a question, people type and speak differently. For example, if your customers want to find auto insurance, they'll likely type in "auto insurance" and a city name into the search engine.

However, if they're talking into a phone, they're more likely to use phrases such as "Where can I get car insurance in LA?" Treating a device like a person who can answer a question yields new keywords, and it also skews search in favor of long tail keywords and phrases rather than shorter keywords such as "auto insurance." People don't talk the way they type, and your insurance marketing copy needs to integrate this change.

Making Changes to Your Insurance Marketing

What should your insurance agency do to respond to this change in search methods?

  • Research long tail keywords for your agency's marketing efforts and make a point of including these in your website copy and on your blog. You don't need to get rid of shorter keywords entirely. Try to write in a more conversational and natural style. You'll be able to incorporate some of the questions that people are asking online.

  • Focus on your FAQs. FAQs are made up of questions and answers, and they're the perfect venue to add a lot of long tail keywords and answers to search queries.

  • Make sure that you have key information on your website. For example, someone who wants to visit your insurance agency will need the address, and they're likely to ask questions like this in a voice search. This information should be easy to find.

  • Talk to search engines directly and explain what all of the website data means. According to Kissmetrics, "schema markup is code (semantic vocabulary) that you put on your website to help the search engines return more informative results for users." If you've ever looked up a local theater and seen a listing of upcoming plays and dates, they're usually there because the website manager has placed instructions on the website about what information is important, what kind of information it is, and how it should be displayed. Help Google transmit information to potential customers by using the Structured Data Markup Help page.

Are you trying to add value to your website pages and blogs? Make your valuable pages easier to find. At American Agents Alliance, we're here to help you build the marketing side of your insurance business from networking events to educational opportunities. Contact us today to learn about our many membership benefits.

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