If you’re an active blogger, an occasional poster, or just an agent with a “Blog” section on your website, you may have heard of SEO.
SEO: Search Engine Optimization. A collection of strategies that improve a website’s rankings on search engine results pages.
When it comes to SEO best practices, even the professionals have a hard time; the exact methodology for how search engines rank their results is tightly-held information. Many SEO experts have to get their answers from brute force experimentation.
To make it harder, search engine results algorithms are always changing. Google Webmaster Trends Analyst Gary Illyes confirmed on Twitter that changes are made to Google’s rankings algorithm every day.
So how do you keep up?
After years of regular algorithm updates, the most consistently effective strategy has been to create great content. Writing helpful blogs, posting informative content regularly, and using your blog to help people is the best way to move your content up search engine results pages.
It sounds easy enough: “Just write great blogs!” But as a content creator, even I struggle with writing posts that are useful and helpful to my audience. So how do you get there?
In this post, I’m going to outline:
- Why the investment into content is well worth your time and effort
- The quickest way to narrow your target audience
- The must-follow checklist of high-quality content
- Implementation of specific SEO strategies that have work
Sound good? Let’s start with the benefits:
It’s true – it takes a lot of time, energy, and money to develop great content. And I can pretty much guarantee that you won’t see results right away. But, over time, with consistent effort, you should reap the SEO benefits that many are seeing in real estate blogging.
A strategic blog presence can:
- Increase new and repeat visits to your site
- Improve your clients’ knowledge base and set their expectations
- Make your brand seem more knowledgeable and trustworthy
- Increase inbound leads
- Convince a potential client to hire you – long before you’ve ever heard of them
Clients are searching for properties online well before contacting a Realtor. Capture that audience using SEO strategies, and then use your great content to convince them to hire you.
Does it sound like something you’d like to incorporate into your web presence? Here’s the trick: you have to target a specific, niche audience for it to work at all.
Get to Know Your Audience
Consider: who are you writing for? What do they need to know?
Spend a little quality time with your audience by filling out this template:
- Who are they?
I don’t just mean their age or gender. I mean the jobs they have, the roles they fill on their teams, their technical savvy, how they spend their time online. If you work with both buyers and sellers, fill out this template twice for each audience.
- What do they want?
Remember, we’re only talking about the people you mentioned above! To keep your analysis short and breezy, only include what they want out of their real estate journey.
- What are they afraid of?
What keeps them up at night? What do they anxiously Google? What worried questions have these clients asked you in the past?
- What are they struggling with?
This is an important question; I call them “pain points”. What’s stopping your audience, right now, from buying a home? What specific road blocks, however small, exist for this audience?
My audience is different from yours, but it’s one you should know well: hopefully, it’s you! Here’s how I filled out this audience analysis with my target audience in mind.
Who are they?
Real estate agents, and in particular, team leads. They have a fair knowledge of digital strategy in marketing. They know that most of their clients start their real estate journey online, and want to capture that audience with sound digital strategy. They want useful, applicable information on branding, marketing, and lead generation.
What do they want?
To get more high-quality leads, improve the experience of existing clients, and use digital tools to more effectively market real estate.
What are they afraid of?
Getting behind on must-have digital tech, or not using it effectively. Missing out on potential leads to competition.
What are they struggling with?
The overwhelming amount of digital marketing information online. Cost and time investment of trying new technology and strategies. Unclear on how to implement specific strategies if they’ve decided they want them. Like, say, a blog.
Does this sound like you?
Now, you should have a good idea of who you’re talking to. Do you feel like you could help them? Can you create content that helps them reach their goals, ease their fears, or address their pain points?
The Content Triangle: A Checklist
Your quickest way to creating effective, SEO-friendly content is to use this three-point checklist:
- Choose topics that are targeted, and only meant for your target audience and their issues.
- Create content that is useful, and can be applied by your audience immediately after reading.
- Be as specific as possible. Ensure you’re offering value with in-depth, data-backed information.
“10 Surprising Things You Didn’t Know About Real Estate”
“How to Accurately Estimate Your Pre-Construction Closing Costs”.
You might think that the first one is a better title – and blog post – because it has a general appeal to a broader audience. But your readers will to skip it without clicking, guaranteed. It’s not immediately applicable to them. It doesn’t sound like it will help them in any way.
On the other hand, the second option is very niche; only certain people will be looking for that information. But that’s a good thing! Your target audience is searching for help on estimating their closing costs right now. Why shouldn’t they find your blog? Why can’t you be the hero they need?
And that’s why effective content is your best SEO strategy.
Specific, targeted, useful content is an SEO-power house because it inherently:
- Increases clicks
- Increases time spent on your page
- Generates social shares
- Causes others to link to your post as a good resource
- Makes readers click to read more of your helpful posts
All of which tells Google to boost your post up on its search engine.
Implement These Strategies
So this is what you came for: helpful, useable strategies that will boost your blog higher on search engines. Before I dive in, I just want to stress that all of these tips are in conjunction with writing specific, targeted, and useful content for a specific audience.
You should be hyper-focused on creating great resources for potential clients. But here are the best ways to make your great resources more effective.
Post longer content
Specifically: Recommendations vary from about 400 words to well over 2,000.
Why it matters: Inherently, an 800-word-or-more blog post will have more in-depth information than a 200-word post on a similar topic. Search engines try to prioritize things that help searchers – so you should, too!
But don’t: Write a lot for the sake of writing a lot. Readers can tell very early on if your post will be useful to them, and how long they stay on your page matters to search engines. Niche topics may only need a few hundred words.
Specifically: Use “long-tail keywords”, which is the technical term for keyphrases. Use varying keyphrase synonyms for your topic, like “bubble” “real estate crash” and “frothy market” in the same post.
Why it matters: Search engines can’t always tell what kind of “bubble” you’re talking about, and so adding multiple relevant keyphrases helps them understand what your content is really about (and your readers, too).
But don’t: Load up on tags. Search engines prefer body text to random words or scattered tags, so prioritize writing helpful content on a specific subject. If your post is targeted, specific, and useful, it will likely already contain all of the keywords and long-tail keywords you need.
Specifically: Prioritize regularity over frequency (once a month is better than every day for a week, then never again).
Why it matters: Search engines think that sites that post more often are more up-to-date. Posting regularly with a well-written piece will keep readers coming back too, and search engines notice.
But don’t: Post a lot for the sake of posting a lot. Focus instead on posting effective (targeted, specific, useful) content instead, and creating content regularly.
Use images and graphics
Specifically: Use as many as you’d like, but make sure you add in important metadata (the description of the image) when you post the image!
Why it matters: Search engines can’t see your image, so adding in a keyword-related description of the image helps them understand what the picture contains. It also helps visually impaired users who are using text-to-speech software.
But don’t: Spam graphics. Try to think about how a visual can add to your audience’s experience with your post. An image with every major heading is a good way to separate ideas, break up intimidating text blocks, and give your readers a quick reading break.
Specifically: At the end of your content, add a form or blurb to move readers to action. Whether it’s requesting a quote, calling your office, emailing a question, or simply clicking on another blog post, give your readers a direction!
Why it matters: The longer a visitor stays on your site, the more time they have to interact with your brand (and the more time you have to convince them that you’re the right agent for the job). Search engines take note of how long a visitor stays, and how many pages they visit on your site.
But don’t: add more than one or two CTAs per page. Calls-to-action direct your readers to what you want them to do unconsciously, and you shouldn’t overwhelm them with choice.
Have a well-designed website
Specifically: Your site and content should be easy-to-navigate, clear, and readable. Having a slick and modern site helps, too.
Why it matters: Visitors will leave your site before they even get to your content if it’s hard to read. They also won’t trust your information if your visuals are out-of-date or clunky. Search engines know when you have technical issues (like links that lead to nowhere), and will drop you down their list accordingly.
But don’t: overhaul your existing site by yourself. It’s possible to redirect pages that are performing well without sacrificing your current Google rankings. We can help you with this; send us a message if this is something you’re interested in, we’d love to chat!
The final takeaway
The only consistently-effective SEO strategy is creating high-quality content regularly.
High-quality content is meant for your audience. It helps them solve a problem, reach a goal, or address a worry they have. It’s long enough and narrow enough to be useable and useful after reading.
The other stuff matters too; graphics, headers, titles, and a well-designed website all help move your blog posts up search engine rankings.
Your readers will thank you – and hopefully, hire you – for writing really helpful content.
Want more tips for improving your digital strategy, increasing your leads, and generating more traffic for your site? Get a quote today!