When we moved to North Carolina from Massachusetts, one of the first things we did was find a new insurance agent. I’ve always felt much more comfortable using a real live agent for insurance so I can have someone actually listen to me when bad things happen.
My wife found a great local State Farm guy, Tim Farless. He came over to our house after dinner a couple of times until all of our “stuff” was taken care of. We end up calling him about once a year for a question or a problem, and everyone in his office is great.
Then, this morning I saw he was also a member of the Holly Springs Chamber of Commerce. I followed the link to his website to check it out. It looked fine, probably like every other State Farm agent in America’s, but functional. Then I decided to see if it showed up in the search engines.
First try was in Google, searching for “holly springs insurance agent”. The results were not what I expected for such a specific search, his site did not show up in the first 100 results! Maybe I could do better by modifying the search a little to be “holly springs state farm insurance“. No better, still not in the first 100.
I decided to try the same queries on !Yahoo. Slightly better, “holly springs insurance agent” did show up on page 5 of the results. Finally I tried the same query at MSN, where it finally showed up on page 3.
So what can be done in a situation where your website is dictated by the corporation?
I would suggest that Tim take a couple of steps to free himself from the seach ghetto he’s currently in. First I would stop using my name as the domain that points to my State Farm page. I would use the default domain assigned by State Farm since I’m getting no real bang for my buck from that S.F. site. I would then repurpose the timfarless.com domain to be my local seach bait site.
What I mean by that is he could have a page entitled “Holly Springs Home Insurance”, and another “Holly Springs Car Insurance” and so forth. These pages would be keyword rich and would only have enough information on them that the visitor would say, “ah-ha, this is exactly what I was searching for”.
The “new and improved” timfarless.com would be a few very simple pages which would be optimized to rank at the top of searches, and every page would link off to the State Farm page where much of the “heavy lifting” is going to have to be done.