Congratulations!

Your new insurance website looks great (especially if you built it using AgentMethods insurance website builder). It's loaded with great content, clear and compelling calls to action, and quote forms that entice your visitors to contact you. It's going to do great things for your business... once people start visiting it. 

Enter Google. Google's business is built on helping people find content on the web - like yours - that meets their needs. Google crawls the web using something called Googlebot, indexing the content it finds to show up in search results. You can sit back and wait for Googlebot to find you, but that can take weeks. So instead, let's give Googlebot a little nudge. 



So how exactly does Google work?

The details of Google's ranking system is a closely guarded (and very complicated) secret. We have some decent ideas of what you need to do to move up the rankings (you can read more about them here), but before a site can even move up in the rankings, it first has to get into Google's index.

This is where Googlebot comes in. Googlebot is constantly crawling the web, looking for new websites, updated content, and fresh items to add to Google's index (it's also looking for things that have moved or been removed). Googlebot finds new content a number of ways, including following links from other sites.

Once Googlebot finds a website, it then has to figure out what pages are on it. You can hope Googlebot can find your site by following links, or you can do some things to help it along. Once it reaches a page, it doesn't worry about ranking it, it simply downloads it into Google's index. From there, another set of services will analyze the page and determine where - and if - it should be shown in search results. 


How to Get Your New Insurance Website Discovered and Indexed

Enough theory. How do you get your site into Googlebot's index? Here are a few ways. And best of all, these activities should help you get more traffic to your site regardless of what Google does.

  • Login to Google's Webmaster Tools here. Then, click on the big "Add a property" button in the upper right. They will give you a number of options for verifying the property - AgentMethods customers should click on "Alternate Methods" and select the "HTML Tag" option, then paste the tag into the Page Header Code field on your AgentMethods site settings page (don't forget to click save).  

  • In order for Googlebot to know what pages are on your site, you need to give them a sitemap.xml file. This file lists all of the pages on your site and when they were last updated, so Googlebot can figure out what it needs to crawl. We automatically generate a sitemap for AgentMethods websites - it's located on your site at /sitemap, like http://www.seattleinsurancepartners.com/sitemap. Enter this into Google Webmaster Tools.

  • This is a great tracking tool that will give you insight into your website. Some people believe Google uses it to identify pages they should index, so take a few minutes to add it. Here are instructions for AgentMethods websites. AgentMethods customers also have access to our built-in tracking platform that provides you with a focused snapshot of your website activity.

  • Some people suggest you don't do this, but I've never seen a downside. Submitting a site won't help you move up the rankings the way other activities may, but it is still a fast path to letting the search engines know they should be crawling your site. You can submit to Google here and Bing here

  • Update your Facebook page, LinkedIn page, and Twitter accounts to link back to your website. These are usually "no-follow" links, meaning they don't get counted in rankings, but they are still identified and noted by search engines. Plus, people will click on the links and end up on your site (and that's the goal, right?). 

  • This is the hardest step. Ultimately, Google needs to see that other sites are endorsing you by linking to you. Getting links does take time, but it will speed up the review process and move you up the rankings. Reach out to other professionals, your referral sources, friends, community organizations, and anybody else that you think may link to your new site. One great way to get links on other sites is to link out to them first, and then show them the link and ask if they can reciprocate. 

  • If you are moving your site from another provider or have old pages that have been moved, create 301 redirect links. This way you can ensure that people that find those old links will get to the right place, and that search engines will identify the new page. AgentMethods customers can add redirects on your site settings page under "redirected links" - let us know if you need help. 


Now What? 

Once you've completed this checklist, Googlebot will make it over to your site. Keep an eye on Google Webmaster Tools for any updates on when your site was crawled and what pages have been added to the index. They'll also show any issues they find that might cause problems with your site's search engine rankings. 

Once you get indexed, you will begin to see the benefits of being found on Google. Your work isn't over at this point, but you're well on your way.