It’s a brave new world out there for insurance sales. Companies adopting online sales systems seem to be jumping ahead of the pack. And if you take a look at successful online insurance sales systems, there are a number of given attributes that make them work. This week we take a look at search engine optimization and marketing, an attribute on which all successful insurance sales systems are based.

When people look to purchase something online – such as health and life insurance – the vast majority will go to a major search engine like Google, Yahoo, or MSN to locate Web sites. These Internet indexes use automated robots, also known as spiders, to analyze Web sites and rank them appropriately. The process of making your Web site readable to the search engines – and the resulting ability for prospective customers to find your site – is known as search engine marketing (SEM).

SEM should be considered and planned for BEFORE the Web site is designed, BEFORE any text is written, and BEFORE any programming is begun. Keywords need to be selected, studied for the frequency in which they are searched upon, and distributed judiciously about the text. Placement of keywords and phrases need to be weighed against placement of graphics in the Web site. Whether or not to use pay-per-click advertising and pay-per-submission needs to be considered.

It can be mind-boggling. That’s why it is important to either spend the time to become a search engine expert, or hire a Web development and design firm that is. So from the very start, your site is easily found in the search engines. Too often, SEM is considered after the Web site for the insurance sales system is completed, leaving the carrier wondering why its products aren’t being found – and then, hobbling together an SEM program hoping to make it work.

Next week, we’ll talk about effective site design for insurance.