Nowadays, simply having a website is longer enough – it is all about being in the ‘Top 5’ of a Google search results page (SERP). If your company is not in the ‘Top 5’ of the organic search, you have to pay for an advert and even this is not a guarantee of success since it is now generally accepted that most people (72%) ignore Google ads.
Furthermore, the 10 websites that appear on page 1 of a Google search result page (SERP) get, on average, 91.7% of the traffic. Failure to appear on page 1 is often referred to as “only having an 8.3% chance of being found”.
Of these 10 sites, the ‘Top 5’ get over 75% of the web traffic.
Once you get on to ‘page 1’ there is an advantage to getting listed in the top half of the page, i.e. people tend not to scroll down.
With the popularity of smartphones and their inherently smaller screens, it is even better if you are listed in the ‘Top 3’ because these three companies get over 60% of the traffic between them.
So, how are the Irish insurance companies doing in terms of SEO?
The table below displays the position for three common search strings, i.e. car, van and home insurance, respectively. Not all insurers offer cover for all three types of insurance, so non-appearance on the first Google SERP is not necessarily an SEO failure.
So, what can be done to improve SERP position?
And, most importantly, what insurance company is doing best at SEO in Ireland?
One of the most popular SEO analytic tools is OpenSiteExplorer.com (MOZ) and, although many of the advanced features are only available via subscription, there are a range of excellent reports available free of charge (albeit on a limited basis). These are more than enough to illustrate the shortcomings of many Irish insurance websites and show who is doing their SEO homework?
Google doesn’t publish how it ranks websites and it is constantly experimenting with ways of giving everyone a fair chance of being found. Every so often, one of their employees drops a few hints and everyone goes off to test their new theories against old (and new) SEO strategies and tactics. MOZ is one of the ‘thought leaders’ in this field and they have developed a set of analytical tools to help webmasters improve their site performance in terms of SERP positioning.
There are two key metrics – page authority and domain authority. The tables below show a figure for each + a subset of the metrics that affect these theoretical measures.
What is Page Authority?
Page Authority is MOZ’s calculated metric for how well a given webpage is likely to rank in Google.com’s search results. It is based off data from the Mozscape web index and uses a machine learning model to predictively find an algorithm that best correlates with rankings across the thousands of search results that they predict against.
How is Page Authority Scored?
MOZ score Page Authority on a 100-point, logarithmic scale. Thus, it’s easier to grow your score from 20 to 30 than it would be to grow from 70 to 80. MOZ constantly updates the algorithm used to calculate Page Authority, so you may see your score fluctuate from time to time. The scores below were calculated on Thursday 11 September 2014.
Given that scores are marked out of 100, I have given A-B-C-D grades for each company website. Please note that this is merely a snapshot today – some of these positions may change tomorrow relative to one another.
Page Authority vs. Domain Authority
Whereas Page Authority measures the predictive ranking strength of a single page, Domain Authority measures the strength of entire domains or subdomains. The same is true for metrics such as MozRank and MozTrust.
It is interesting to note that 10 out of the 15 insurance websites in this report could be doing a lot more in terms of SEO, i.e. there is plenty of scope for improvement.
- It is much easier to get from the 30’s into the 40’s, than it is to get from the 50’s into the 60’s.
- As can be seen from the tables above, most of them are no where near the 60’s
SEO is vitally important for companies with e-Commerce sites or a website with a quotation engine.
It isn’t a question of how good your site is, it is a question of how well it is doing compared to your competitors.
If you are number 5 in the line and you don’t do anything, you can guarantee that the number 6 and 7 company wants your spot – so complacency is not an option. Your position on a SERP can change daily, so this is something that every Marketing Director is looking at.