Search Engine Optimization becoming extremely challenging in the insurance industry!

‘’We live in a world of tough tough competitors” – these were the words used by Tom Cruise in the movie Jerry Maguire. Nobody knows and understands this more than the marketing departments at Insurance Companies.

I would like to quote from the financial results released earlier by Old Mutual – and with reference to Short Term insurer Mutual and Federal:

“Premiums were lower than anticipated, reflecting the highly competitive trading environment since the exceptionally good industry results in 2010. This environment prompted a number of insurers to reduce rates in an attempt to gain market share.”

Competitive Trading Environment and Online Competitors

The internet has significantly increased the competition in the insurance industry. Insurance clients are no longer only purchasing insurance through their financial advisor or broker – many direct insurers are now cutting out the middleman and are offering highly competitive premiums. The younger consumers who grew up with the internet are no longer afraid of doing business online and are rather comfortable in buying insurance online!

Search Engine Optimization [SEO] and Insurance

In the movie Field of Dreams it is Kevin Costner who says “If You Build it They Will Come”! This is not quite the case with websites in the insurance industry. If you build the website – there is no guarantee that you will be found and that the visitors will come…. and more important – that these visits will result in a buying decision!

This is where search engine optimization comes into play! I would like to discuss the importance of search engine optimization in the insurance industry in this post and I would like to do so in a manner that is easy to understand for those like myself with limited programming skills….

What is search engine optimization [SEO]?

“Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of improving the visibility of a website or a web page in search engines via the “natural” or un-paid (“organic” or “algorithmic”) search results.” [Wikipedia]

But why is it so important to have your insurance website optimized?

The easiest is to use the analogy of a golf player and how the player is to make money. If you play in a tournament with a small field of for example 12 players – such as the Sun City Million Dollar Tournament  – it is easy to find yourself on the first page of the leader board and to make money.

If you however play in a major tournament such as the Masters where you play amongst the very best 90 players [who had to qualify for the tournament] – you need to play exceptionally well to find your name on the first page of the leader board and with a chance of taking home the big prize money.

In the insurance industry and online environment there are important similarities. There is a VERY big playing field and you compete with many other insurers trying to get to the first page of the leader board. The leader board is the search engines such as Google, Bing, Yahoo etc – and you will only make the big money or attract the online purchases if you find yourself on the first pages of the search results.

How Big is the Playing Field?

The best illustration is to share the search on Google for the search term “insurance”. Note the number of search results!

In an increasingly competitive trading environment insurance companies compete with one another and with big marketing budgets. Insurers are very aware that their financial sustainability depends on the ability of the consumer to find their websites, to be enticed into requesting a quote and to make that purchase!

Many of the larger insurers pay hundreds of thousands of rands to companies that claim to be search engine optimization specialists or SEO specialists. These companies tweak websites, provide quality content, create links with other websites and do everything in their power to ensure that the websites of their insurer clients are easily found!

Conclusion on SEO and Insurance

Direct insurers and insurance aggregators are increasing the pressure on the more traditional insurers to remain relevant in the modern era of insurance marketing. These new role players are focused on search engine “visibility and findability” and well capable of taking away market share from those insurers who underestimate the power of direct and online marketing!

On Insurance Chat we would like to share with readers in a few more posts some of the techniques used for search engine optimization in the insurance industry and also advise consumers on why it is important to remain cautious before making their insurance purchases.

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