The final leg of racing’s triple crown is the longest race of the series.  It is a quarter mile longer than the Kentucky Derby, and typically much farther than any horse entered has run before.  The makes the race a great test of endurance and stamina.  The winner is pushed to achieve a great task that seems unending.  Executing an effective and current off-page SEO strategy is much the same – its seems to be an unending task, however it can pay great dividends.

In 2012, off-page optimization has matured from link exchanges and directory submissions to the exponential leverage of quality content.  The best way to effectively improve your web presence and Google rankings off of your site is to place your targeted, optimized content is the venues your prospects (and the search bots) will find it – quickly.  This may include social networks, article directories or news release sites.  The key is to continually share quality content in right places.  This will seem like an unending task, an endurance test like the Belmont Stakes, but the rewards are worth the effort.

Originally Posted on June 14, 2012 by John Scranton


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The Preakness is the shortest of the three Triple Crown races and its is usually run with a significantly smaller field than the Kentucky Derby.  These facts would lead you to believe it is the easiest race to win of the three crown jewels.  However, it is also the race that has recently produced the most champions.  In fact, the US Champion 3 year old won the Preakness every year from 2001 to 2010 – with one exception, the 2009 winner was crowned champion 3 year old filly and horse of the year – while the Derby and Belmont only produced 6 champions combined during that time (all of whom were also Preakness winners).  So how does the “easy” race elevate the careers of thoroughbreds to greater success than the more famous Kentucky Derby and the older Belmont Stakes?  Its because this race it not easy at all – its fast, grueling, and just two weeks after the Kentucky Derby for those attempting the Triple Crown.  It is very, very difficult – as is on-page SEO.

Firms across the country and around the world claim to be experts in on-page SEO.  They claim to have technical people who can edit your code, change your meta data and optimize your text.  S0 many firms express this claim because they believe this to be a simple,easy and cheap process.  Unfortunately, many  enter the race and fail to win.  This is often because they provide technical experts that lack business acumen.  Or worse, because they are optimizing the site for keywords that are incorrect or ineffective.  The addition of effective on-page SEO keywords is a challenging process.  However, it is one with great potential for producing champion-like page 1 rankings.  When selecting an SEO partner, make sure they have a deep understanding of the nuances and subtleties of on-page changes that will be highly effective and profitable without being noticeable.  Make sure they have proven themselves in the Kentucky Derby of SEO (keyword analysis).  And above all, remember there is no cheap and easy way to become a champion.

Check back tomorrow for the final leg of the Triple Crown…

Originally Posted on June 13, 2012 by John Scranton

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The Search Engine Optimization Triple Crown: Keywords, On-Page & Off-Page

On the heels of thoroughbred racing’s Triple Crown, I needed a way to explain how and why the SEO methodology we leverage produces such compelling results.  I needed an analogy my friends would understand, so I quickly created the Search Engine Optimization Triple Crown.  I freely admit its a bit of a stretch, but read on and I believe you will see the connection.

The Kentucky Derby / Keyword Analysis:

Without winning the Kentucky Derby, you have no chance to attempt the Triple Crown.  Its over before it starts.  Success in the race requires talent, hard work, and luck.  The same can be said for keyword analysis.  However in this case, we can exchange luck for more talent and hard work.  A keyword list must include the phrases which offer the greatest opportunity to your business.  This is measured by the probable impact on search rankings, and the value of the relationship created once you are found.

Like a Derby horse must have the pedigree for durability and distance capability, your SEO team must have a deep understanding of your business, industry and of course search algorithms.  When properly executed, your SEO will create name recognition, opportunities and revenue – just like a Kentucky Derby winning horse.

Please check back tomorrow for the 2nd leg of the Triple Crown…

Originally Posted on June 12, 2012 by John Scranton


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5 Simple Steps To Start Your Insurance Agency SEO Initiative

Posted on April 18, 2012 by John Scranton

If your insurance agency has not yet started on your insurance agency SEO (or an insurance agency search engine marketing initiative), consider these 5 basic steps to move forward, and to do so quickly.

  1. Create a list of you preferred keyword phrases. Examples of this include: New York Liability Insurance, Connecticut Business Insurance, Owner Operator Insurance or Group Health Insurance. These are called long tail keyword phrases and need to appear prominently on your agency website. Financial professionals should be able to determine many of these without assistance as they are mentioned in your ever day discussions, and then should review these phrases in Google AdWords, a free and simple tool provided by Google.
  2. Select the best phrases for your agency after reviewing them in Google AdWords using both competitive and less competitive phrases. Even searches that occur 10 times a month can be valuable to your insurance agency marketing plans.
  3. Incorporate these phrases into your insurance website. Target 6% as an ideal keyword density (as of this writing) for each of your best phrases. This is easier if you have a page dedicated to a particular type of coverage. For example, if your agency was in Connecticut and you have a page dedicated to group health insurance, your agency should target a 6% density for this phrase (Connecticut Group Health Insurance) on that page. An oversimplification of this would be that this phrase would appear six times for every 100 words on that website page (the formula is a little more complicated than this – but this is the basic concept).
  4. Add this phrase to the HTML coding on your website. You may need a technical person or “coder” to do this for your agency. These should be added to the meta description and meta keywords to start. There are many other places within the actual HTML code that allows for keyword phrase addition, but at a minimum, start with the meta keywords and description.
  5. Add these keyword phrases to your insurance agency blog. If you don’t have an integrated website blog, your insurance agency should add one right away. Insurance agency blogs optimize content creation and help with both agency SEO and insurance search engine marketing. Remember, if you have very little content, there is little for the search engine robots (Google, Bing, etc.) to index. Blogs offer a great way to provide relevant content to clients, prospects, and yes, to the search engine indexing “bots” too.

Of course, these are just the basics for an insurance SEO initiative. There are much more sophisticated tools available than those provided for free, and many sophisticated nuances to insurance SEO and search engine marketing (sometimes referred to as Search Marketing Optimization). That said, there is nothing wrong with a “crawl, walk, run” approach, and these basics can help move your agency past the infancy stage of your insurance SEO program.

Follow these basic steps and you’ll be walking before you know it. However, if your agency is a sprinter as opposed to a walker, you can outsource your insurance agency search engine marketing initiative to a reputable insurance marketing agency and get off to a running start.

StartUpSelling, Inc., provides outsourced marketing, sales and lead generation services focusing in the areas of insurance eMarketing, insurance agency webinars, insurance agency SEO, insurance social media marketing and insurance agency website development. StartUpSelling, Inc. specializes in innovative entrepreneurial marketing and sales concepts. For more information visit:

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Insurance Agency SEO – 4 Blogs to Get You Started

Posted by John Scranton on December 13, 2011

White Hat Insurance Agency SEO Versus Black Hat Insurance Agency SEO

White Hat SEO versus Black Hat SEO Definitions

Hopefully your insurance agency is now familiar with terms like insurance agency SEO, insurance agency search engine optimization or insurance agency search engine marketing, the process in which agents attempt to lift their websites to a top position on page one of Google or Bing’s search engine results pages (SERP). There are two basic approaches to accomplish improved search engine rankings, which can ironically (or iconically) be found in old Westerns. I’m referring to the old white hat versus black hat cowboy days featuring white hat actors like John Wayne and Clayton Moore (The Lone Ranger) against black hat actors like Jack Palance. For a more contemporary version, Luke Skywalker versus Darth Vader comes to mind, minus the hat for Luke. Fast forward to today and we’re now referring to white hat versus black hat SEO tactics. Hopefully your agency is not engaging in black hat tactics accidentally or otherwise. As with the movies of yesteryear, the black hat represents the villain, and the villain is usually vilified. Black hat SEO tactics can get your agency in trouble with the search engines, and there is no need to resort to these methods to achieve compelling SEO results for your agency…

Optimizing Insurance Agency SEO with Anchor Text

What is anchor text?

First, let’s start with a basic definition of anchor text. Simply stated, anchor text refers to the text that incorporates a link to another web page. Here is an HTML anchor text example:

<a href=””> Awesome XYZ Agency</a>

The phrase “Awesome XYZ Agency” which would appear as a live link on a web page, is an example of anchor text and will result in an active link back to a specific website. In this example, the website is:“” (this is a fictitious website, and I certainly hope that nobody would use a website name that long)…

Insurance SEO Best Practices: Attain the Attainable

In search engine optimization, as in all things, our attention to detail, complexities, and nuances can cloud our perspective – we can’t see the forest for the trees. A common manner in which this SEO vexation manifests is through keyword rank tunnel-vision. In a previous blog, we explored the nature of the keyword – what makes a keyword a good or bad pick. Now we must reexamine our keywords to determine performance, efficacy, and attainability.

Performance manifests itself in the simplest, most easily tracked manner. Has the ranking of your site for a given keyword gone up or down on a given search engine in the last month (monthly assessments are best)? If your rank has improved, then your site is likely performing well. If you were on page 3 and you are now on page 2, that is a very good start. If you were on page 3 and you are now higher on page 3, that is a modest gain that must be improved upon. Inevitably, your site’s rank for some keywords will stay flat or go down. Simple enough…

Insurance Agency Social Media Marketing as a Tool for Insurance SEO

Social Media Marketing is one of the hottest topics in the marketing community, and the business community as a whole. Everyone wants to harness the power of the web’s hive-mind. And for many B2C operations, Social Media Marketing in and of itself can present a massive opportunity for lead generation and conversion. For largely B2B endeavors (the majority of revenue for most insurance agencies), the best bet to generate leads is by driving traffic to your site. “But wait”, you say, “isn’t that what Search Engine Optimization is for?” This is quite true, but an underutilized and under-appreciated aspect of Insurance SEO is SMM – Insurance Agency Social Media Marketing

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Webinar: How to Create Killer Content for Insurance Marketing

  • Posted on July 18, 2014
  • by John Scranton

Join us for this brief, complimentary webinar and learn the key steps to killer content marketing for insurance agencies. Our panel of subject matter experts will explain how to execute each step of the process and review case study samples of agencies running successful campaigns. Topics include:

SUS-white logo

  • Blogging to Convey Value & Generate Inbound Leads
  • Leveraging Articles to Demonstrate Subject Matter Expertise
  • Optimizing Content So Your Prospects Can Find You
  • Deploying Social Media Marketing to Reach Prospects

Date & Time: Wednesday July 30th 12:00-12:30 EST

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Seven Simple Reasons Why Every Insurance Agency Should Blog

  • Posted on April 26, 2014
  • by Alan Blume
Every Agency Should Blog

Every Agency Should Blog

We often say that great insurance agency marketing begins with a quality insurance agency blog. If your insurance agency doesn’t blog consistently (at least once a week), you’re missing a big opportunity to impress prospects and clients, and to help improve the effectiveness of your insurance agency website. Seven simple reasons that your agency should have a quality blog:

  1. Drive Website Traffic: A blog, preferably with original content, helps drive clients and prospects to your insurance agency website. It gives them a reason to visit, and a reason to stay.
  2. Convert Traffic Into Leads: Quality blogs will help convert visitors into interested prospects. Prominent and professional “Calls To Action” will help agents glean prospect information and increase inbound inquiries.
  3. Establish Credibility: Your agency can demonstrate expertise by offering timely and topical blog content. High quality insurance blogs answer common questions prospects and customers have. For example, what’s the latest PPACA ruling on bronze plans, what is the impact of CSA scoring on fleet management, or what is the difference between group captive and partially self insured plans. If you’re consistently creating content that’s helpful for your target customer, it’ll help establish you as an expert in your field.
  4. Content Baseline: Use your insurance agency blog to share or repurpose your content in many ways. Send the blog link to prospects, leverage the blog in eMarketing campaigns, share the blog with social media, join and create groups on LinkedIn and post your content to these groups. Original content will help carry your brand and messaging to thousands of prospects.
  5. Convert to Case Studies, Ezines and Vlogs: A succinct blog can be converted into a one page case study, 400 word article or even a recorded video. This repurposed content further extends your messaging, expertise and audience. We’ve have many inquiries from articles we’ve written and published, after converting the articles from our blogs. Your agency can do this, converting blogs into other content, including recorded videos (recorded webinars for example). These can then be posted to YouTube for further reach.
  6. Improve Insurance Agency SEO: Blogs help improve insurance agency search engine optimization. Your original content is indexed by search engines such as Google and Bing, and helps prospects find your insurance agency website through organic searches.
  7. Insurance Agency Website Stickiness: Blogs can and should be one of your most visited website areas, with the longest visit duration on your website. Website visitors impressed with a blog, will be impressed with your agency expertise. Showcase your agency expertise with a timely, topical and relevant blog.

Some agencies lack the time or resources to create a consistent and professional blog. In these cases they can outsource this important marketing initiative to insurance agency marketing experts, a marketing team that understands both the nuances of insurance and intricacies of web marketing. Visit StartUpSelling for more information on territory exclusive insurance agency marketing and lead programs, call (518) 222-6392 for a complimentary insurance agency marketing review.

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Webinar: Should Insurance Agencies Invest In Press Releases?

  • Posted on March 31, 2014
  • by John Scranton

Should small and medium size insurance agencies invest in press releases? Larger agencies are already. Join us for this complimentary webinar and learn how press releases provide agencies with many insurance agency marketing benefits, including:

* Expand market presence
* Reach new markets
* Create name recognition
* Define expertise
* Improve insurance agency search engine optimization
* Attract media attention
* Increase website traffic
* Boost social media traffic

Our expert panel will review the different options available for free and fee-based Press Release distribution and share ideas for effective topics and content.

Date & Time: Wednesday April 23th 12:00 – 12:25 EST

To Register:

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