This article was first published August 1, 2015, on the iAgentPRO Blog by Rose Marie Tronge. Local Online Marketing plans now must include the optimization of online citation accounts. They have become a major search ranking factor, but also provide numerous opportunities for prospects to find information about a company. The brief article below provides an excellent start to understanding more about “Online Citation Accounts for Insurance Agents.”
Online Citation Accounts for Insurance Agencies
How Do Citations Affect Your Agency’s Online Ranking?
Online Citations for Insurance Agencies are a key component of the ranking algorithms in Google and Bing to improve local search engine rankings. Businesses with a greater number of citations will probably rank higher than businesses with fewer citations. Basically, Google likes to see accurate and consistent information across the web so that it can give users the best possible search results.
Citations are defined as mentions of your business name, address and phone number (NAP) on webpages such as online business directories and local chamber of commerce or business association web pages. Your NAP is basically your online fingerprint—Google’s unique identifier for a business. If your business information is incorrect, and your local NAP is inconsistent, your business is not going to rank as well in the top 3 search engines: Google, Yahoo, and Bing.
The top 3 search engines get their data from four primary sources; which in turn get their information from secondary sources, and so forth. The variety of secondary search engines are also valuable in driving traffic to your website. Most of the secondary portals get their data from the exact same places that the major search engines do. One more reason you need to make sure your business information is correct!
By referencing the graphic below (Thank you Moz!), you can see how extraordinarily intricate the citation process can become.
If you’re not included in the databases of the major search engine providers, your business is not going to rank as well as your competitors.
More often, we see many local business owners have online listings with incorrect or out-of-date information. Unfortunately, this could happen when companies sign up for business services and when citation data is shared among directories get data from and between data aggregators. Typically, one unique index from an aggregator captures contact information from another index, and then publishes it. The infographic by Neustar below depicts the life of a business citation listing.
Another issue we see is duplicate listings. When a business has more than one listing for one location in an online directory, these other listings are considered duplicates. Duplicate listings diminish a business’s ability to rank well online. Google has specific guidelines for local business listings, one of which is to only have one listing for one business location.
The major search engines will not know which of the listings to rely upon because of the way that data is fed from one local business index to another on the web. Even one duplicate listing with bad data can be replicated across multiple platforms, old listings with incorrect information can end up creating new listings with duplicated errors, and so on.
It is imperative to validate a business listing for two reasons:
1. Accurate and Consistent Citations confirm that a business actually exist, and
2. Accurate and Consistent Citations make a business more relevant for a particular search.
Managing citations can become overwhelming if they are not handled correctly, and swiftly. If your business needs to update information, you may end up editing the wrong listings if they are duplicates. Your changes may never appear live because you are not editing the listing the search engine or index has decided is most authoritative for your business.
Citation Creation and Management is one of the essential Done-For-You Services offered by iAgentPRO. Our Project Managers have the experience and the most up-to-date software tools needed to design and implement highly effective SEO campaigns. Our Done-For-You Insurance Agent Marketing Services will help agents become a leader in an increasingly competitive, and ultimately, customer-driven environment.
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