By Paul Peeples
A member reached out to us about his agency possibly having its website pirated by an online Yellow Page-like service. There are
numerous services out there that help with local or regional business
searches, and new ones pop up all the time.
After doing some investigation as to how all of these local search
providers populate their data, I found that there are a handful of data
aggregators out there that provide national Yellow Page-like listing
information or data (see the chart below that will make your head swim). You can see how everything revolves around them, and nearly all the
online local Yellow Page-type providers buy and use this data to
populate their offerings, but it is unknown as to how they populate
their initial data or blank fields such as website information before
they sell or lease the data.
I was able to get one of these aggregators on the phone, and he said that when they have blank fields, they just don’t offer it to their
customers, and that they have real people looking for and calling these
businesses to make sure the information is correct in their database. I
also found out that they don’t all do it that way. I went further to
ask if they offer these spots such as website addresses to advertisers
if they are blank, and she said absolutely not. So, how is it another
site seemingly sits where yours should be on one of these local search
sites? I can only speculate, but being a past software developer, I know
you can write programs to guess at things when data is missing so it
looks like the data is complete. It could also be just bad data entry
and people enter websites that they know are popular.
You may also ask the question “What about when I search for my agency
or some keywords that should show my agency?” These are typically
things like Google adword searches by someone running a Google ad
campaign. They are basically willing to bid for search positions on
particular search words or phrases. So for instance if I was running an
ad campaign and wanted to be found when someone typed in Florida
Insurance, well it all depends on how much I am willing to pay for that
click or for it to even be seen (impressions) on a web page. That is why
you see the large direct writers on these searches. They pay big bucks
to be seen.
So what can you do?
First, and I know I am telling you to go do more work, make sure you
scour the web for all the local search sites and make sure your
information on them is right, and then claim your listings as they all
allow you to do that, and in fact want you to. They are out there, and
your agency will more than likely be listed whether it is correct or
not. The more correct your data becomes over time on these sites, the
more it will be correct when there are new services that come out
because the national data aggregator’s data will be better.
Next, and most importantly, utilize and take advantage of your Trusted Choice listing at TrustedChoice.com and become an advantage subscriber.
There are over 27,000 Trusted Choice agencies nationally, and they all
link back to TrustedChoice.com. If you want to beat the giants, beat
them locally in your zip, and take advantage of that National brand.
Agents across the country are being found by consumers who are
discovering that they really do need an agent that can educate them,
give them options, and deliver the right insurance solutions. Web
traffic to TrustedChoice.com is up over 600 percent since the re-launch in
July of 2013. In February alone the site was hit 85,000 times, and is
expected to have been hit over 110,000 times in March. FAIA has also
directed the “Find An Agent” link to Trustedchoice.com, and that is the
fourth most visited link on www.faia.com because the consumer is looking for you, the independent agent!
Tell us your experiences.