Rolling With The Punches – Penguin 2.0

For all the life insurance agents out there that have websites that bring in leads from Google, last week’s release of Penguin 2.0 shook the life insurance search results up a bit.

Personally, I have several life insurance websites that generate leads from Google search – my main website took a 20%(ish) hit in traffic and the rest of my sites were either unaffected or had a small bump in traffic and rankings.  I’ve spoken/exchanged emails with other agents in the top results and some had nice increases in rankings and others got slapped pretty hard.

The sad thing is, these updates are happening regularly.  If you’re solely dependent on search engine leads from your website, you better get used to these updates and roll with the punches.

This is the 2nd time my main website took a hit from a Google update.  The 1st one was back in October of last year (almost 8 months ago) and I finally recovered, then BAM! – I got hit again.  I swore to myself in October that I’d concentrate on generating other sources of leads and thankfully I have.  This 20% loss in traffic doesn’t hurt so bad this time because I’ve diversified my marketing.  Also, this loss in traffic is completely recoverable in the short term – I lost a few spots on some good keywords and that’s it.  Most of my rankings held steady.

But that’s how volatile SEO is.  A slight movement in rankings can swing your traffic upwards or downwards dramatically.  Those of you with lead generating websites know this.

I’m not an expert SEO, so this post isn’t a Penguin 2.0 recovery post – those are popping up all over the place.  I do want to make some comments to those agents who are dependent on their search traffic or who want to be dependent on search traffic.

Diversify outside of SEO

I’ll be the first to say that organic life insurance leads from your own website are the best internet lead you can get..hands down – no question about it.  However, organic leads shouldn’t be your ONLY lead source.

In prior posts, I’ve explained how important referral sources were and how to get them – with this new Google update, harvesting and nurturing your referral sources should hit your radar if you haven’t already been going after them.

If SEO went away  – I’d still have a great business from my referral sources and current client base.

Other ways to diversify outside of SEO and referrals are social media outreach, media buying, pay-per-click, e-mail marketing, mobile marketing or my new favorite is a combination of all of these drilled down to 1 niche.  I’m mentoring 2 agents right now with very niche sites.

If diversifying outside of SEO isn’t your cup of tea – make sure you have multiple websites with different marketing and/or backlinking strategies.  Don’t be solely dependent on search traffic.

Final Thoughts on Penguin 2.0

Don’t panic if you took a hit.  It’s completely recoverable.  Hopefully, it’s just a wake up call that you need to diversify your marketing.  If you already diversify, you know that you should diversify even more.

If you’re one of the agents who saw some increased rankings – don’t get a false sense of security.  I’ve had increased rankings on many updates only be hit by another update.

Lastly – SEO is constantly changing.  With Google Authorship, Co-Occurence signals and social media (among many other factors) becoming more important and devaluation of anchor text link density already happening – you have to be on your game if you want to compete.  So make sure you’re spending time on the authority SEO blogs to keep up with the game.

Quick plug here:  I know that some agents will probably throw in the towel on their websites at one point or another.  If you do or you ever decide to do so – contact me and I’ll make an offer to buy your website.