For years, digital marketing teams and search engine optimization (SEO) professionals have struggled to find the best ways to get their content to rank highly in search results. An ever-changing digital landscape, coupled with continuous refinements of the search engine algorithm, have meant that techniques that worked in the past may no longer be sufficient to produce results now or in the future. In SEO for insurance agents, the goal is to create content that Google and other search engines want to rank. That content must also be useful to the readers who will access it through search engine results. In this guide, we’ll explore some of the best practices in creating valuable online content that satisfies both goals.
Google’s Game-Changing Algorithm Update
In August 2018, search engine giant Google rolled out a major update to its core search algorithm. Nicknamed the “medic update”, this change dramatically altered the SEO industry and its tactics. No longer was it possible to add a few keywords to a piece of content and see it begin to rank immediately. With the medic update, it had become more crucial to build a brand or online property with three important characteristics, and these characteristics take time to develop.
What are the three important characteristics? They have become so ubiquitous in the digital marketing industry that they have developed their own acronym: E-A-T. The acronym stands for:
In simple terms, E-A-T means developing content that demonstrates a given company’s experience and understanding of a particular topic; in SEO for insurance agents, this can mean providing website visitors the details they need to make informed insurance purchasing decisions. Google tends to rank authoritative, relevant, and trustworthy content higher in search results, and those rankings can positively influence user traffic and engagement to a given website.
Search Intent: The Key to Developing E-A-T Content
When we use search engines to find information about the world around us, we engage in something called “search intent”. This means what we hope to get out of the search engine user experience; does the search provide the answers we were looking for, and did the search results point us toward resources that help improve our understanding of a topic?
If the answers to those questions are “yes”, then the content developer probably applied the concepts of E-A-T to the development process. This development process treads a fine line between readability and detail; in other words, simply producing a piece of content that has all the relevant details but is dry and complicated may result in a less-than-satisfactory experience for the reader.
Creating Content that Balances Readability with Information
Google itself has offered tips for SEO professionals to help them create engaging, relevant, and high-ranking website content. In a document called Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines, Google goes into great detail about what makes a good piece of content and how it is evaluated by the search algorithm.
The major takeaway from this guide is that SEO “tricks” simply do not produce the desired results. In years past, adding keywords – or multiple instances of the same keywords in a technique called “keyword stuffing” – was enough to attract the attention of search engines, and those pages would rank favorably in search engine results pages (SERPs). Today, however, there are several tactics that help a given piece of content to rank favorably, setting aside tired tricks and instead focusing on quality. Proven strategies include:
- Making content longer – longer is often better, from both a search engine and a user perspective. Longer content has the ability to engage readers for more time, offering as many details about a given topic as possible. According to a study by a search engine industry resource, most of the highest-ranking pages were longer than their lesser-ranked competitors. SEO professionals can add length or detail to flesh out a piece of content to satisfy the E-A-T concept.
- Breaking long pieces of content into digestible chunks – slapping together a big, lengthy piece of content is great, but it may hamper readability. Instead, SEOs use techniques like bulleted lists, shorter paragraphs with headers and subheaders, and breaking up long text blocks with images or charts that help illustrate concepts.
- Improving overall understanding of a topic – when developing content, SEO professionals look at competitors to see what works and what may not. During this part of the development process, it is possible to identify any information gaps those competitors may have created in their content. Filling in those gaps is a great opportunity for building E-A-T while providing readers with the details they need to gain a better understanding of the topic at hand.
- Improving the look of content – it’s no secret that people tend to gravitate toward website content that is visually appealing. To improve the appearance of content, it is important to focus on streamlined formatting and features. Cluttered sites tend to send visitors elsewhere, as do long blocks of unbroken text. Mix things up with a clean format, and include images, charts, and illustrations to help break up the longer text areas. Another technique that pays dividends is to create a “skimmable” content piece, where readers can get the highlights of the topic quickly. This includes using subheaders to introduce different aspects of a given topic and results in shorter, more readable paragraphs.
With these strategies, SEO for insurance agents can improve the user experience, helping site visitors learn about the products and services a company offers to its customers. Building relevant, engaging, and useful content is important for both search engine results as well as the visitor experience. By focusing on E-A-T, SEO professionals can unlock a powerful new way to boost traffic, giving visitors the information they need to make purchasing decisions.
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