Google all of it
In today’s technological world, conducting research is easier than ever before. With the click of a mouse, answers to burning business questions can appear at your fingertips.
When researching the insurance industry and looking for quality advice on how to grow your book of business, generate additional business from current customers or best prepare your agency for an upcoming transition, it is important to remember that not all search queries produce quality results.
With more information online than ever before, how can we best sift through search results to find the quality answers that we deserve? Here are a few important steps:
STEP 1: Begin with a specific question in mind
When searching online, keep your end goal in mind, and use specific search terms to receive better results. One helpful way to do this is through the use of question mining, which involves generating several questions on a topic, wording them in various ways and ranking them by importance and clarity.
STEP 2: Check the date of your results
It's important to make sure the information you're reading online is still relevant. One of the biggest challenges of accurately researching topics today has become sifting through the massive repositories of information online to find currently accurate content. There is a plethora of outdated information that still appears in search results, and the best way to mitigate this is to filter your search results by year.
STEP 3: Look for citations
Articles with cited research that link to other quality websites and scholarly pieces are more likely to be of high quality themselves. Those who take the time to research the topics they write about generally produce better content. Pay attention to the origin of cited sources, of course, but citations in general are typically a good sign.
STEP 4: Consider bias
Take a moment to consider whether the article could contain bias. Might the author have a motivation to present information in a certain light? Does the content seem to be more opinion than fact? Try to stick to factual articles for more accurate information.
STEP 5: Evaluate the resource’s reputation
You likely already have a good idea of reputable resources. When combing through your search results, check which resources are giving you returns. An educational source may produce higher quality content than others. Focusing on reputable information sources can help you to steer clear of anything that could dilute the strength and quality of the research you’ve conducted.
Reliable Source Quick-Check
Gone are the days where you can accept online content without questioning its legitimacy. Quality research takes work. It requires in-depth follow up with the publication, blog or author. It also requires investigations into what types of content the publication has produced before, and evaluations of whether the source has any other written pieces or any controversies surrounding them. Before delving that deep, however, make sure that you can say ‘yes’ to the following quick-check questions:
- Does the website address contain an official .com, .co, .org or.gov?
- Did the website appear near the top of the search results page? Google deems these to be higher quality sources and rewards them by placing them higher on the page (just below the paid ad links).
- Does the website list sources and citations for all quantitative data such as statistics, infographics or published study results?
- Can you find cross-references for all definitive statements, such as “insurance customers always…”?
As the internet becomes increasingly flooded with content from people across the globe, putting in extra effort to ensure that your online research produces quality results becomes more and more important. Keeping these tips and tricks at the back of your mind will help you to find quality results more easily and efficiently, saving you time and effort in the long run.
Chapter 1: How Search Engines Operate. Moz. 2016. Retrieved from https://moz.com/beginners-guide-to-seo/how-search-engines-operate
|Lindsey is an innovation researcher at Glatfelter Insurance Group who likes to contemplate existence, debate whether or not the universe is a simulation and incessantly plots ways to grow absurd amounts of muscle on her rather petite frame. (It hasn't happened yet.)|
Lindsey Tepfer, Research & Innovation
Lindsey is an innovation researcher at Glatfelter Insurance Group who likes to contemplate existence, debate whether or not the universe is a simulation and incessantly plots ways to grow absurd amounts of muscle on her rather petite frame. (It hasn't happened yet.)
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