Harbord is an insurance brokerage that provides home, auto, and marine insurance to clients from all over British Columbia. Harbord’s mission is to be way better at what it does than any of its competitors. Caorda has had the pleasure of working with Harbord Insurance closely since 2015. We’ve designed and developed multiple websites, established new brands, managed high performing Google and Bing Ad campaigns as well as implemented an extensive Search Engine Optimization strategy.
Harbord first approached Caorda in 2015 with a desire to improve the company’s online presence with a new website. The overall look to the website was showing its age and not representative of the company’s professional services and its ability to provide competitive insurance quotes to customers. In 2017, the company decided to split off a sub-brand The Home Insurance People and use it to expand its reach across the entire province of British Columbia with a focus on home insurance services. How was this Victoria brokerage, with a stellar reputation for client service but limited experience with online marketing, going to tackle this expansion and achieve their lofty goals? They called in the team at Caorda!
Caorda has provided full end-to-end services for Harbord Insurance, including design, branding, WordPress development, custom payment integration with Bambora, local hosting, support, search engine optimization, and digital marketing for Google and Bing Ads. Caorda’s integrated in-house team, allows Harbord to leverage a group of experienced technical and marketing specialists who work together to accomplish Harbord’s goals. In 2017, Caorda helped Harbord launch a new brand and website for TheHomeInsurancePeople.com with a focus on BC-wide home insurance.
Caorda designed the first Harbord website in 2015, then did a full refresh of the main HarbordInsurance.com in 2019. The website refresh also included a brand refresh for the Harbord Insurance logo. It was super important to Harbord that we carry over some traits of the familiar and established logo. Using a sophisticated and bold serif typeface for the name ‘Harbord’, we added a modern flare with a streamlined sans-serif font to “Insurance”. In addition to the main company logo, Harbord utilizes sub-brands for home, auto, business, boat, and travel. We rotated through many variations and in the end simplicity won out and the results can be seen on the website.
Once the new brand was established, complete with new fonts, colours, and iconography, we set to work wireframing some layout ideas for the new website. Much of the same home page content was retained, as it was heavily optimized over the past 4 years. We maintained similar structure and navigation but applied fresh styling. SEO and Google Ad conversions are leading influences on the overall site design and layout. Once the home page was complete, the rest of the pages fell into place smoothly.
The goal for HarbordInsurance.com and TheHomeInsurancePeople.com is to drive new leads into quote forms, so there was a great deal of planning put towards prominent and easy to use calls-to-action at all stages of the visitor’s journey.
With a heavy Google Ads traffic source, we put a serious effort into the mobile website layouts to ensure that this new site wasn’t just ‘responsive’, it contained a dedicated mobile experience.
SEO Long-Term Strategy Yields Results
The approach for search engine optimization success and high organic rankings resulted from our holistic view and a long-term strategy. We weren’t going to pull any short term tricks for a quick win. The strategy has worked well for Harbord. The period of January to March 2021 shows a 40% increase in organic traffic across the entire website. The numbers comparing the whole of 2020 to 2019 is even more impressive, with a 93% increase in page views from organic sources with the greatest monthly increase of 162% recorded in April of 2020.
The organic traffic wasn’t just focused on the homepage, which shows how focused and well ranked inner pages are with Google. Virtually all pages are experiencing increased SEO attention. For instance, the homepage traffic increased by 88% and the auto insurance page increased its views by 160% between 2019 and 2020. Even the most competitive page for Home Insurance saw a 36% increase year over year when all insurance companies were competing tooth and nail for Google traffic.
The insurance industry is moving a lot of their day-to-day renewals and operations online. Harbord benefited from highly-focused and researched articles (blog posts) that covered a wide range of important, insurance-related topics. This work added important content to the website that was found by Google and ranked for commonly searched for keywords.
It’s good to be HIP.
TheHomeInsurancePeople.com (“HIP”) has also experienced significant increases in traffic from organic sources such as Google and Bing. Comparing 2019 to 2020, the website saw a 64% increase across the whole of the domain. While the homepage only saw a small increase, the important insurance pages established themselves in Google with direct rankings and traffic. A carefully written blog post on calculating contents insurance has consistently been the number one traffic generating page in the website. This single page success exemplifies how our SEO strategy with fresh and relevant content can provide huge returns. This post yields more traffic than any single insurance page in terms of total visits. This post saw another 68% more traffic in 2020. Two additional pages benefiting from a comprehensive SEO campaign were the Tenant Insurance page with a 125% increase and the Condo Insurance page with a 122% increase in page views, year over year. Overall, a good long term approach to organic SEO has yielded positive long term traffic growth.
Google Ads for the Win
The team at Harbord started working with Caorda for Google Ads campaign management in September 2018. They had been working with a Vancouver based digital marketing firm over the previous year but they were looking for a more personal and hands-on approach from certified Google Ads specialists. The digital marketing wizards from Caorda jumped into action and reviewed the previous one year history. We then started optimizing the search campaigns for improved results. The focus is always on driving conversions, so we can measure the results of our efforts. This is one of the benefits of digital marketing. We can always measure the results of the advertising expenditure and continually be testing for improved performance.
The top conversions we track for Harbord are form submissions and phone calls. When it comes to paid media like Google Ads, setting-up conversion tracking to track all conversions coming directly from the ads is essential to get a full measure for the return on investment and to optimize campaigns improved performance. The Google Ads for Harbord were carefully written, designed and executed. Tracking and optimizing allowed us to generate high-quality conversions from the ads — further enabling us to expand in terms of targeted location and ad types.
In 2018, we started out with a focus on Victoria and Vancouver Island for search-only campaigns for auto insurance and home insurance. This quickly scaled into a BC-wide initiative covering all Harbord service areas including: auto, home, business, tenant, marine. We have expanded the execution to include display & video ads. With a constant focus on conversions and return on investment, we are constantly tweaking and optimizing the approach. As we see the success it justifies scaling the campaigns and increasing the ad budgets. The impact of COVID restrictions on business operations has increased Harbord’s focus and efforts with digital marketing and Caorda is proud to be their trusted partner.
We have worked with Caorda for the last five years, and have had a huge success thanks to their help. They have provided us with consistent digital input, have advised us through two full rebrandings, and have developed two beautiful websites for our companies. I would highly recommend Caorda for any of your businesses digital needs.
—Charlotte de Wynter, Director of Marketing
Harbord Insurance Services Ltd.