August 22, 2011
You’d most likely say the answer is the name of your agency. If your agency name is ABC Insurance, your domain name should be ABCInsurance.com, right? After all, your customers, people in your community and your target markets know you by that name. And that’s okay, if you don’t want to use your website to find NEW customers.
The problem with ABC Insurance is that it’s not a very good search term. Do a Google search, for instance, on ABC Insurance, and you’ll get pages and pages of listings for ABC Insurance, with locations all over the country. Actually, you may be surprised that so many insurance agencies have ABC in their name. This is mainly because in the pre-Internet days when Yellow Pages advertising dominated the search market, companies chose firm names that ranked closest to the beginning of the alphabet, because that’s where the listings for a category, such as insurance, begin.
Today, smart insurance marketers still want to be where all the eyeballs start looking. But the strategy is different.
If you want to optimize your domain name for the best search ranking — known as search engine optimization, or SEO — you should keep three things in mind: location, function and branding. These will determine how search engines rank the key words of your domain name in a search query.
Location: With almost 400,000 insurance agents, brokers and companies doing business in the U.S., it’s hard to stand out, especially in a metropolitan area. Here’s where specificity matters. Include the name of your city in your domain name, especially if it’s a small city. There are thousands of agencies selling auto insurance in the San Francisco Bay Area, but there’s only one AutoInsuranceSanMateo.com or AutoInsuranceColma.com.
Function: The location example I just gave, AutoInsuranceSanMateo.com, also illustrates how to focus on function in your domain name, in this case the kind of insurance product you specialize in. Or you could create a domain name that includes your job description: InsuranceFromJackJones.com. Or you could use: QuotesFromJackJones.com, JackJonesInsuraneAgent.com, JackJonesRiskAdvisor.com. The objective here is to help people find you on search engines. If they already know your name, the emphasis on function will be helpful. If they don’t, you probably want to focus primarily on location, then function.
Branding: If at all possible, include your firm name, at least a variation of it, in your domain name, to build on the branding you’ve created. If your agency name is Jack Jones Insurance Agency, the examples I just gave will work pretty well. You could have a domain name without your firm name in it if it says something that’s important about your brand. For instance, maybe a major component of your branding is your relationship to your target market. If your target market is architects and engineers, your domain name might be designprofessionalinsuranceadvisor.com.