Insurance Marketing HQ

Why is this “Poor Quality Site” Ranking Above Me? Part Two, Weaknesses v. Strengths

Posted on Aug 29, 2013

By Shawna Arnold

Last month, we discussed why “poor quality” websites might be ranking above you. This can be increasingly frustrating, especially when you’re doing everything “right” (e.g. blogging, participating in social media, etc.). We also went over how the search engines work and what to consider in evaluating a website. Now, let’s discuss what you can evaluate in regard to the strengths v. weaknesses between your website and the websites ranking around you!

Going along with the two key questions Google is asking to generate its search results, you need to ask yourself:

  1. Does my content address the searcher’s intent? Does the content of the websites ranking around me?
  2. Does my content provider greater unique value than anyone else? Does the content of the websites ranking around me?

Asking these questions will help you determine the content quality and usefulness of both your site and the other sites ranking around you. Having unique, engaging, and high quality content is important to Google and the other search engines.

Here are some other things you can look at to measure strengths and weaknesses between your website and the websites ranking around you…

Search Results / Result Listings

When evaluating the results pages for your website or others, make sure you take a look at the way the listings appear. Does the listing have a great marketing message in the description? Does the title adequately describe what the site is for / what it’s about? Having a poor title or description can work against you or a competitor. Having clear, concise messaging in the title and description that also markets to people and reaches out to them is key.

Search Listing ResultBranding

Another big thing to look at between you and your competitors is branding. How well-known is your agency? What is your authority and recognition within your area and the industry? How about for the companies whose websites are ranking around you?

Something else to consider that connects to brand is a website’s domain authority and recognition. How long has your domain (and those who rank around you) been around? What are your trust factor ratings like, as well as those ranking around you? You can check for these statistics and more with free browser extensions through Moz, Majestic SEO, and more. Typically, such extensions are available on Chrome and Firefox.


An online citation can be a link, brand mentions, social shares and mentions, local reviews and ratings, and much more. It can be overwhelming to try and collect all of this information, and some you might not have access to. Try starting with this list:

  1. How many backlinks does my website have versus the websites ranking around me? (You can use the aforementioned browser extensions to find this data.)
  2. How many local reviews does my company have versus the companies ranking around me? (Start with looking at Google, Yahoo, and Yelp.)
  3. Do I have a rating on my Google Local page? How does it compare to the websites of the companies ranking around me?

Generally, websites with more relevant and authoritative backlinks, local reviews, and local ratings/rankings will perform better than those lacking these elements.

Website Design & User Experience

This can be hard to truly evaluate without someone technical on your side, but simply look at the design of your website compared to the designs of the websites ranking around you. Ask yourself some simple questions, such as:

  • Do you find that those websites ranking around you are easy to navigate?
  • Were you able to easily find out what their products and services are?
  • Were you able to easily find out how to contact the business?
  • Did they provide multiple methods of contact? (e.g. a contact form, email address, social media links, etc.)
  • As a consumer, would you want to learn more about their services or purchase their products?
  • Was the navigation of their site easy to use or confusing for you?

There is so much more you can get into with design and user experience, but start by asking yourself these simple questions and try and stack up your competition and compare with your own website.

When evaluating the strengths and weaknesses between your website and those ranking around you, remember that Google intent will always be to provide search users with the most relevant and valuable results. Make sure you evaluate things like branding, design, user experience, content, citations, and search listings before you assume that the sites ranking around you are poor quality or shouldn’t be there. Not all things are as they appear on quick glance!

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AuthorRank: Anticipated Google+ Authorship Algorithm Update

Posted on Jul 9, 2013

By Shawna Arnold

Last month, we introduced the concept of Google+ Authorship and how/why you can put it into play for your agency. This month, we’ll outline an anticipated Google algorithm (ranking system) update that involves participation in Google+ Authorship: AuthorRank.

As of now, the details behind AuthorRank are speculations. This algorithm update has not been rolled out as of yet, but there are plenty of signs it’s coming. The idea behind AuthorRank is that your reputation as a content creator online will influence the way search results are ranked. Google has filed a patent for AuthorRank that references individuals being ranked by using the reception of the content they create and their interactions with other content and content creators.

AuthorRank Factors

So how does one make their content receptive to an audience? How can you show your interaction with other content and content creators? It’s speculated that these will be signals for AuthorRank*:

  • Average number of +1s and Google+ shares your content receives
  • The numbers of Google+ circles an author is in
  • Connections to high AuthorRank authors
  • Quality and quantity of sites your content is published
  • Google+ engagement
  • Social engagement: Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn
  • Being published on Google Books and Google Scholar

In order to get ahead of the game with AuthorRank, you need to be prepared to get your Google+ Authorship up and running, to be a regular producer of content, and to interact / engage in the content community.

We recommend getting a handle on Google+ first and foremost. Make sure that you have your Google+ Local listings up and running for any of your office locations. Then, get a Google+ business page (social) going for your agency. Once you’ve completed your local listings and have a consistent presence on Google+, then Authorship is a great next step.


*Image and ranking factors courtesy of Moz.
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Google+ Local Updates

Posted on May 30, 2013

Google has been making some big changes to their local business listings over the past year. Most recently, they merged Google+ and Google+ Local business listings. Google+ is Google’s social networking site, which was launched on June 28th, 2011. On it, users are able to connect with their friends, share text, photos, and videos, and utilize the messenger and Hangout (video chat) features.

Google+ Local business listings are the business listings which show up in any Google or Google Maps searches based on location. They include a business’ NAP (name, address, and phone number) and website. The listing would be marked by a location pin on the map along with any reviews a business might have. For example, if you searched for “Astonish Warwick, RI” on Google Maps, you would find this result (image in thumbnail):

Astonish local listing

On a list of the most popular social networking sites, Google+ is second only to Facebook. By merging Google+ Local business listings with Google+, the business listings will probably get a lot more traffic. Increased traffic isn’t the only perk to come out of the merge, though. Insurance agencies will no longer have to create separate Google+ pages and Google+ Local business listings, which mean they will no longer have to go through a verification process for each. On one verified Google+ Local page, you can list agency information as well as social media content. Agencies can easily build an audience by posting engaging social media content and build brand authority through user reviews and +1’s (the Google+ version of a Facebook “like”). Another bonus that is coming out of the merge is that any additions or changes you make to your business information will be approved faster!

Hopefully you see now how helpful the new, merged Google+ Local can be for your agency. It is available to new agencies already and should be available for agencies that have already created a Google+ account or Google+ Local listing within the coming months.

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