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Agent to Agent: Get Local: Optimize Your Company’s Website for Local Search

By Roger L. Stevens, President
Roger L. Stevens Insurance Agency, Inc.

What do modern consumers do when they have a question about anything, whether it’s related to health, sports or entertainment? They Google it! This phenomenon has brought about an entirely new way of advertising – search engine optimization. Big businesses may do it best, but it’s becoming more and more essential that small, single-operation companies get in on the local search action. Although Google automatically uses an individual’s geographic location to provide the most relevant search results, companies that include local information on their websites are more likely to rank higher and therefore, get more hits. So how can a small business ensure that it reaches people within the same community? Here’s how:

  • Adding geographical content, such as addresses, maps with street names and keywords can increase the odds that search engine users will be directed to a business in their area. For example, an insurance agency that offers state-specific policies can incorporate keywords like “California home insurance,” so that Google results drive potential customers to their website.
  • It’s not all about you. The content on your business’ website doesn’t always have to pertain to company events or industry news. Turning your page into a resource for local information can boost your search engine rankings. However, don’t be afraid to tailor content so that happenings around town are related back to your business. For example, there’s always something in the news about individuals suing a company. So, why not write up a quick piece on this relevant news and add in a little blurb about how CA business insurance can protect companies from unforeseen lawsuits or accidents.
  • Networking with other local businesses can cut down on the amount of work that small company owners need to do in order to make their websites more local-friendly. Build a social media page like a Twitter or Facebook account so that when another nearby business posts something community-related on its page you can re-tweet or share it via Facebook. Again, this increases the chances that your business will appear when search engine users’ geographic information is incorporated into Google algorithms.

The role of the Internet in marketing is always increasing and evolving, so it is important for small businesses that want to compete with their nationwide peers to keep up with their online strategies. Internet marketing can cover more than just a company’s website. Creating blogs and social media accounts can be useful in helping companies reach their full sales potential.

PIA Members: For more information about optimizing your agency website for Local Search, please refer to page 28 of the 2011 PIA National Agency Marketing Guide.

October 3, 2011