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Old 04-30-2008, 08:33 AM   #1
Sam
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Sam on SEO for Insurance Websites
 
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If anyone is interested, here are a few tips and points for SEO and driving traffic to your insurance website.

1. It is a myth that you cannot rank well and get decent traffic to your site just because the big boys spend millions on SEO. It is very possible to drive enough traffic to your website to supplement or even make an entire living off of. This myth mentality is harmful because it discourages you from getting started and plugging away.

2. Before you get started with offsite seo such as link building/blog commenting/social networking etc... you MUST do a good job with your onsite SEO. This means having the correct title tags, H1 and H2 tags, having a strong meta description (Not meta tags, but description), having some decent keyword density for your search terms and having lots of content. This is the best way (Aside from content) that you indicate to the search engines exactly what your site is about.

3. The single best thing you can do for your website is to have a blog on a subdomain of the website that you write consistently on. Wordpress will allow you to redirect for 10 or 15 bucks a year and you can have a blog at [url=http://www.blog.baltimorehealthinsurance dotcom or whatever your site is. You must write directly toward what your target audience is looking for. If you sell auto insurance in Nevada, then you need to ask yourself 50 questions of what someone who is looking to buy that coverage would want to know... these are the same questions that you get asked every day by your clients. Start posting them and answering them one by one. This content will be vital for long tail keyword rankings.

Post frequently and make sure that you never write something that will turn off all your clients of they were to see it. You are not looking to just bring them to the site and have them fill out a lead generation form. You want to build trust, have them forward the links to others, have them pick up the phone and call you etc... To do this, you need content content and more content.

Define yourself locally. Write about local insurance events and local streets and neighborhoods. Write up case studies of people who you have helped. Ask permission first, but trust me, people love the recognition. You write a review of what a pleasant customer that Mrs. Smith was and how she was so educated, and she will send the link to her 10 friends. Guess what, those friends all want to buy insurance from someone who recognizes and appreciates their clients.

It is not so hard to establish yourself as the local authority on your lines of insurance, as long as you follow these steps. I can't stress enough, you need to make it local. Talk about where you grew up, the school you went to, the shops you shop at.

Send a link to the blog to every lead you have ever bought, local or not. Keep a link to it in your signature and make sure it is in every email you send. This is a natural boost to your reading audience and you can convert plenty of leads who will "get to know you".

Never post without rereading it twice. These are not posts for your friends, but for future clients, and you want to make sure that don't see the nasty side of you.

Now you are ready to build links. Incidentally, having links in your signature on a forum will usually not help much. It will help you get indexed, but if you have 1000 posts, then that is 1000 links to your site from the same website, and they all get discounted. The conventional wisdon is now that run of site links or close to it, do not help nearly as much as a few well placed links. That is why it is far better to get your links into actual posts then in a signature.

Also, to correct something I have seen written here, your links on our site to your site do not help our rankings. Outbound links only help if they are to trusted and older sites, and even that is debatable.

There is no magic to building links. It takes hard work and time. The best way to build links is to find the sites that rank well for your keywords and run a link search on them. To run a search on yahoo (Which gives more results that google) just put it the following text into the search bar, replacing this site with any site you want to run a link report on. linkdomain:insurance-forums.net -site:insurance-forums.net
This will show you who is linking to the top sites, and those are the best places to start getting links from.

Commenting on blogs, forums, social media sites are all good ways to get some additional backlinks. If you write a positive review of a health insurance resource site on your blog and then send a link to the owner, that is a good way to get a strong backlink. Hard work, but rinse and repeat and it definitely works.

You should also apply for a DMOZ listing. It doesn't help as much as it used to, but it does help. I am pretty sure that two of our members are even editors there!

I got to go back to work, maybe later I will supplement with some additional ideas focusing on keyword research and identifying potential link sources.

Happy Hunting and remember, the real key is not to give up. Keep at it and it is guaranteed to work.
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Old 04-30-2008, 08:50 AM   #2
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SEO for Insurance Websites re: SEO for Insurance Websites
As someone whose entire income is derived from SEO and organic search insurance lead gen, I agree with most of the above and find it to be a nice summary. I might nitpick a few minor points, but if you follow this general advice you won't go wrong. It will take some time.

If I could offer one more, very important tip... If you have an old domain name with some content on it that you don't like and are choosing between it and some new domain name that you are in love with - Choose the old one.. at least for now until you get some rankings. You can always do what is called a 301 redirect from the old one to the new one down the road. But, domain/site age is an important ranking factor with older being better. So it's always better to use whatever advantage you have at the start, and that old domain/site is one advantage you have. Don't throw it away.
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Old 04-30-2008, 09:04 AM   #3
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CHUMPS FROM OXFORD on SEO for Insurance Websites
 
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SEO for Insurance Websites re: SEO for Insurance Websites
Great stuff Sam. The writing part I can handle...and actually enjoy. The technical stuff is still quite confusing...but hopefully, I'll learn.
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Old 04-30-2008, 09:43 AM   #4
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SEO for Insurance Websites re: SEO for Insurance Websites
Reminds me of the time when I felt the urge to run to Radio Shack for interpretation, but this time I think I'll just take babysteps!!!! Thanks so much for the post!
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Old 04-30-2008, 11:26 AM   #5
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The New Guy on SEO for Insurance Websites
 
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SEO for Insurance Websites re: SEO for Insurance Websites
I have sent this information to a few members on the Forum that have asked for some help with SEO. With Sam starting this thread I thought I would post it here as well.
Trust me, I'm no expert, it's the cumulative effect of everything you do that works. There's no single magic bullet.

Here is a list of some things you can do for yourself to get your web sites recognized by the search engines. There are so many opinions about what is right thing to do, and what is the wrong thing to do, that you almost can't keep up. I just keep plugging away at something.

SEO companies that promise to get your 1st page rankings immediately do so by taking an obscure seldom used keyword, then become the top bidder for that keyword, and try to impress you with doing a search for that word, and showing you the ad at the top of a google, or yahoo search.

Blogging, will get your web site indexed faster, but from what I have read that is starting to cool off, or at least that was the opinion of the person whose writing I read. It makes sense to me that if a googlebot crawls a blog, and you have 2000 posts with your web site in your signature, that is 2000 times your web address has been read by that googlebot, giving your site relevance to that subject.

Buying expired domain names is another way to go. With expired names, mainly ones that had web pages attached to them, they have already been indexed by the search engines, that's why the large companies are always buying them. For the organic traffic.

Backlinks is something that is hot right now. I am doing more research on them myself, and may try to do something on the Forum in the future with all who have websites to help each other out. Everybody linking to each other, if there is enough interest.

The truth, or the more realistic approach, is that it takes about 6 to 12 months to get your site recognized organically Internet wide. Search engine algorithms are constantly changing, as they are always trying to one up each other. What works today, or what's hot, may not work or be hot tomorrow.

Here is a list of some of the resources you can utilize yourself to get the ball rolling.

http://www.dmoz.org/ This is the main open source for cataloging web sites. You will have to drill down through categories, to find the area you wish to have your listing. Then select "suggest URL" link at the top right of the page and follow the steps.

http://www.yahoo.com/ At the bottom center of yahoo's home page, you will find the "Suggest a Site" link, this will get you to yahoo's free web site submission area. They also have a pay for submission area to get you listed in yahoo's search results for around $349 a year I believe. If you have the money, I would go that route. I haven't yet, I do pay per click instead.

http://help.yahoo.com/l/us/yahoo/maps/misc/maps-06.html This information will show you how to create a yahoo map of your location on your site. Maps seem to be all the rage right now among search engine followers. Supposedly, you will get indexed better, and or faster, by creating yahoo & google maps on your site. I work for my home, so I haven't used this.

http://www.google.com/local/add/lookup?hl=en-US&gl=US This is the link for google maps, easier to use than yahoo. If you work out of an office, you should at least do this one.

http://www.yellowpages.com/advertising?rel=nofollow This is the link to yellow pages free listing, and or paid listing area. I have done the free listing. The object is to get your web address into various search engine data bases.

http://www.orangesubmit.com/ There are many companies that will submit your web site to various search engines for free. This company will submit it to 40 engines I believe. Prepare for some Spam from these companies. This one, has yet to send me anything, as I opted out of their offers and updates. Keeping my fingers crossed, you know how that goes.

http://www.xinureturns.com/ Here is a free site to check for Page Rank, Back Links, Indexed Pages, Etc... Kind of a cool site to check your progress, and see what your competitors have as well. Just enter the web site on the left side of the page.

Pay Per Click:

I use google & yahoo right now. I may add others in the future. You can run campaigns locally, statewide, nationwide, and or internationally.

This will take some trial and error on your part to get it up and running, but this is where the big insurance companies, and the leads companies that we purchase leads from, get many of their leads.

There are many companies that will help you setup, and run a PPC campaign for a fee. But it's not really that hard to do it on your own.

http://www.google.com/intl/en/ads/ Click on ad words on the left side, and follow the process.

http://searchmarketing.yahoo.com/as/ Click on search marketing on the left side, and follow the process.

AOL is also working on a pay per click model, this is another one I may check out in the future. MSN, is another site that offers PPC.

If you just use Google, and Yahoo PPC, you have about 75%, or more, of the internet search traffic covered.

I can help with some of the small things, or
answer some questions you may have.

Just send me a PM.

I'm sure I will need some help myself on insurance matters that you may have knowledge of.

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Michigan Health Insurance Is my main site. Check out the links directory, more than 9875 helpful links and growing.

Hostmonster.com Is who I use for My web site hosting.
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Old 10-07-2008, 07:27 AM   #6
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sunkist219 on SEO for Insurance Websites
 
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SEO for Insurance Websites re: SEO for Insurance Websites
Have you had any luck with that YellowPages free listing? I put 2 up (one for me, and one for someone else) about 2 months ago and the status still says "processing". I'm guessing YellowPages really doesn't want you do to the free stuff.

Also, I really wish I knew which members worked at DMOZ so I could tell them to review my site! I've again been trying to submit there several times with no luck. A lot of people I know are saying that it's really not worth the effort and it's better to get listed in more, less complicated directories that are free.

As far as the blogging comment - it really does work. I put up a blog this weekend and yesterday (monday) it was already indexed and showing up on the first page of Google for about 3 of the keywords that I picked to target. If you're trying to figure out which blogging website to use -Wordpress is 100x better than Blogger. There are more capabilities for good SEO material.

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Joy Hawkins, SEO Director
Internet Marketing for Small Businesses
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Old 10-07-2008, 12:01 PM   #7
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JRoot on SEO for Insurance Websites
 
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SEO for Insurance Websites re: SEO for Insurance Websites
Great tips Sam and New Guy. I must have missed this post the first time around.

I was talking to a successful realtor in my area last week at happy hour and he was raving how his blog was bringing in 80% of his business this year. Blogging definately helps.

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Old 10-07-2008, 07:14 PM   #8
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CHUMPS FROM OXFORD on SEO for Insurance Websites
 
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SEO for Insurance Websites re: SEO for Insurance Websites
"The single best thing you can do for your website is to have a blog on a subdomain of the website that you write consistently on. Wordpress will allow you to redirect for 10 or 15 bucks a year and you can have a blog at [url=http://www.blog.baltimorehealthinsurance dotcom or whatever your site is"

How do you do that?

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Old 10-07-2008, 09:06 PM   #9
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sunkist219 on SEO for Insurance Websites
 
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SEO for Insurance Websites re: SEO for Insurance Websites
1. log into your Wordpress Blog
2. Click on "upgrades" tab
3. Click on the domains tab that shows up below the Upgrades tab

It should give you directions from there.
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Old 10-07-2008, 09:29 PM   #10
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CHUMPS FROM OXFORD on SEO for Insurance Websites
 
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SEO for Insurance Websites re: SEO for Insurance Websites
Thanks. I'll try that.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
"
Using the DNS tools provided by your domain registrar, remove any existing nameservers and add the following:
  • NS1.WORDPRESS.COM
  • NS2.WORDPRESS.COM
  • NS3.WORDPRESS.COM"
Somehow, I'm not sure if I should do that.
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Last edited by CHUMPS FROM OXFORD; 10-07-2008 at 09:35 PM. Reason: Automerged Doublepost
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