You’ve probably wondered how search engines like Google and Bing decide which websites to include in search results. You may have conducted a search on your phone and the same search on your desktop computer and noticed that the results are a bit different. SEO is the reason why.
What is SEO?
SEO stands for “search engine optimization.” By optimizing your agency website, you can increase its visibility for relevant searches. The better visibility your webpages have, the more likely your agency will appear in search results—attracting prospective and existing clients to your business.
Search engines “crawl” every site to collect information about each page and put them in an index. Algorithms are then used to analyze the pages in the index, taking into account hundreds of factors to determine the order pages should be ranked in the results of a search. Factors (among many) that determine rank include content quality, use of keywords, and mobile-friendliness. Search engines use these factors to weed out irrelevant, dated, or poor-quality results—and to push higher-quality websites to the top. Optimizing your website and its content can help your pages rank higher in search results.
5 ways to improve your website’s SEO
Search engine rankings are organic—and not to be confused with paid ads (which usually appear at the very top of each search page). Here are some tips to help improve your website’s rankings for online searches. If you are not responsible for your website, be sure to share these tips with the web developer or web manager who is. Most of these tips will require access to the content management system (CMS) that your website is hosted on.
- Optimize your page titles. The title is the hyperlinked text of your page that shows up in search results. For example, if you search “Pie Insurance states” on Google, under our paid ad you’ll often see an organic result for “Workers’ Compensation Coverage by State.” That is the title of the linked page. Titles are important for SEO ranking because they are the first thing users see when scanning through a list of results. In technical terms, the title tag of your webpage is contained within the <h1> or <head> tag in the hypertext markup language (HTML) code that creates your website. Google looks at that tag to properly categorize, index, and serve up your page in related searches.
To boost your website’s SEO, every page needs a title and every title should be:
- Compelling – Your page title should stand out to users searching for the information that’s on your page.
- Accurate – Your page title should reflect what the page is about and shouldn’t make any false promises just to snag attention.
- Concise – Search engines only show the first 65 to 75 characters of your title in search results—so make it short and accurate.
- Optimize each page’s meta description. The meta description for a webpage is the short blurb that appears below the title in search results. Meta descriptions give users a brief overview of what the page is about and helps them decide whether to click on your page for more information.
To improve your website’s SEO, make sure every page on your website has a meta description that:
- Briefly explains what the page is about
- Includes what readers will get out of reading the page
- Includes the main topic terms (called keywords) that the page is about
- Optimize images with ‘alt text.’ Adding images to your website’s pages can help break up large blocks of text, provide visual interest, and help illustrate the topic that you’re writing about. Pages with images are also often favored by Google. However, Google doesn’t actually see the image on the page. It instead needs a text description of the image to detect and understand what the image illustrates. Make sure that every image on your website includes a description of the image in its “alt text” or “alt tag” in the HTML code.
- Link to other pages on your website. Your website should serve as a resource for your clients and policyholders. Internal links are in-text links on your webpages that lead to other pages on your website. Internal linking allows your website visitors to click on a term or call-to-action and go directly to that page. Linking creates a better experience for your website’s users because it improves navigation and makes it easier to find the information they’re seeking. When users spend more time on a website and visit multiple pages, search engines rank the site more favorably.
- Write content appropriate for your audience. While the tips above focus mostly on altering your website for search engines, it’s still vitally important to make sure that the content on your website is geared toward people, not machines. Content is any material available online—including text, images, animations, music, and videos. Make sure your content is easy to understand for your target audience. Define terms that may be unfamiliar or confusing. The writing tone should be professional and authoritative, but be sure to use language and terms that your policyholders would use.
Present helpful information in simple terms. Here’s how:
- Write quality content – That means offering compelling information without spelling or grammar errors.
- Use shorter paragraphs and vary sentence length – Limit each paragraph to three to four sentences to make it easy to skim. Long sentences may be difficult to follow on a mobile device but may be necessary, depending on the topic. Mix longer sentences with shorter ones to improve comprehension.
- Use descriptive headers – The average person spends only 37 seconds reading a piece of content. Headings and subheadings can help readers scan content quickly and move on.
- Use bullet points or numbered lists – The insurance industry involves a lot of data, facts, and examples, which can be difficult to read in sentence format. If you’re listing three or more words or phrases, consider using bullet points or numbered lists to break up all of that text.
Check out these resources for more help:
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