How Online Reviews Affect Your Search Engine Rankings

By | December 10, 2019

This post is part of a series sponsored by ITC (Insurance Technologies Corporation).

People shop for and research insurance online every day. Some will do so on your insurance agency’s website.

But this doesn’t come free.

Those consumers picking your insurance agency have power because they can help your agency thrive. Or, they can sink it.

This is because consumer input matters online and it has far reaching impact.

Here’s how their input can affect your insurance website’s online visibility and how to stack the odds in your favor.

Starting off Strong

Established brands earn trust because of their long track record. Many consumers have worked with them before. And importantly, these consumers share their experience with others.

New businesses are unfamiliar and don’t have a base advantage. They need to work hard to earn revenue, market share, and a positive reputation.

Your agency may have already gone through this phase. But this is not the time to rest on your laurels.

All Eyes on You

After consumers find your agency, they are paying close attention. From your phone etiquette to your logo – everything tells a story.

If these meet expectations, your bottom line will show it. If they don’t, consumer will go elsewhere. They may even convince fellow shoppers to do so too.

For better or worse, consumers will tell you how you’re doing. Thanks to online reviews, they get to leave feedback at any time. Analytics reports can also show their indirect feedback.

That direct and indirect input means a lot, and can have deep effects online.

Impacts on Search Visibility

How does consumer input impact your agency website’s visibility for online search? It hinges on how the consumer interacts with your agency.

  • Search engines can’t track offline behavior, like a phone call or an office visit. But if staff is rude on the phone, a consumer may leave a bad review on Google. That 1-star review could hurt your visibility.
  • Search engines can track online behavior, like when consumers interact with your website. For example, how long consumers spend on your webpages before returning to the search engines. If consumers go straight back to the results page and enter a new search, that’s tracked too. And, of course, they can see online reviews too. All of this can impact your website’s visibility.
  • Search engines say they don’t use social media as part of their algorithms. But researchers did find a correlation between search visibility and social media. Either way, social media affects brand sentiment. If your agency gets a lot of love on social media, it also positively affects your online influence.
What You Can Do

When it comes to success, you can only go as far as consumers will take you.

Monitor your reputation online. Check regularly for new online reviews of your insurance agency. Set up Google Alerts for your agency name. Use website analytics to see changes in consumer behavior.

Send customers a survey to gather feedback from the source. See what they think of your company and ask how likely they are to refer a friend.

Secret shop your own insurance agency. Do your own first-hand research. Ask an acquaintance to request a quote from your website. This is a good way to detect problems customers might not tell you about.

If you get a bad review or negative feedback, implement changes. Determine what went wrong and put a solution in place.

Refresh your insurance website’s content. Update the office’s signage. Change up you social media posts. Little changes can still make a big impact.

Deliver excellent customer service, as customer service is marketing after all. If your insurance agency can’t put consumers first, someone else will. Mandate the right phone etiquette. Greet walk-ins properly. Never get behind on inquiries from your insurance website. Encourage a culture of respect and kindness.

In Conclusion

Consumers have a voice, and online that voice is loud and clear.

Today, businesses can’t put consumer needs on hold without facing consequences. Your insurance agency needs to provide a streamlined experience. It’s time to put your consumers first.

About Becky Schroeder

Schroeder is the Chief Marketing Officer at ITC, which provides websites, marketing, rating and management software and services to the insurance industry. You can follower her on Twitter at @beckylschroeder. To learn more about ITC, visit More from Becky Schroeder

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