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How the Shakeup of Google+ Affects Your Insurance Agency Website

Google map pinYour agency’s Google+ page was a great way to improve your local search rankings. We blogged about it before

Last week, Google announced a redesign to its social networking website. Some of these updates have gutted many local search capabilities associated with Google+. While these changes are inconvenient, they don’t have to spell doom for your agency marketing efforts. 

I’ve outlined some steps below you can take to get your local search marketing strategy back on track.

What’s Changed?

Google+ has revamped the focus almost exclusively on its Collections and Communities features. The platform is now more of a topical- and discussion-based social network. If you look at a Google+ business page today, you’ll notice information like hours, reviews and location map is gone. 

Should I Continue to Update My Google+ Business Page?

Yes. It’s still worthwhile to share blog posts to your Google+ business page. These posts can help build brand engagement, which can benefit your agency.  Google+ posts also get indexed. This means the blog posts you share can appear in Google search results more quickly.

What About Everything That Was Removed From Google+?

Yes, this information is no longer viewable through Google+. But, Google still takes reviews, office hours and location data seriously when ranking your insurance agency website in local search results. So, you’ll have to use the following resources to manage that information.

Manage Your Agency’s Information Through Google My Business

Your Google My Business portal is vital for managing your local search presence. Be sure to create a listing for each of your agency’s locations. Add your agency logo, office hours and description of services to each listing. Also, check that your business name, office address, phone number and website are correct.

Remember to verify each listing. This short process will ensure the listing appears in both Google Maps and Google local search results. It will also keep your listing from getting deleted.

Use the Google Knowledge Graph or Google Maps to Gather Reviews

There are now two places for people to review your agency on Google. The first is the Knowledge Graph, which works better for consumers on mobile devices. The second is Google Maps. Here’s how to direct your clients to each.
Knowledge Graph
 
Google Knowledge Graph
  1. Go to www.google.com. NOTE: IF you already have a Google+ business page, use this tool instead, and then skip to Step 4.
  2. In the search bar, type your agency name and the city and state of your office location. Hit Enter.
  3. You should see a knowledge panel with your business information to the right of the search results. (If you don’t see this panel, try the Google Maps method listed below.) A Write a Review button is toward the bottom of that panel.
  4. Copy the entire URL of the search results page, and paste it in a URL shortening tool.
  5. Use the shortened URL on your insurance website wherever you ask for reviews.
  6. Repeat this process for any other office locations you have.
  7. If you have multiple offices, be sure to specify which office each link goes to.

Google Maps
Google Maps
  1. Go to www.google.com/maps.
  2. In the search bar, type your agency name and office address. Hit Enter.
  3. If the Google My Business listing is verified, you should see a business information panel to the left of the map. (If you don’t see this immediately, click on the business name text next to the map pin.) The blue Write a Review link will be near the bottom of the panel.
  4. Copy the entire URL, which will be long, and paste it in a URL shortening tool.
  5. Use the shortened URL on your insurance agency website wherever you ask for reviews.
  6. Repeat this process for any other office locations you have.
  7. If you have multiple offices, be sure to specify which office listing each link goes to.
It may now take a little more effort to manage your agency’s local search presence through Google. But, the extra work is definitely worthwhile to grow your agency’s online visibility.

Do you have a question about these changes? Leave it in the comments section below. 




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