SEO is constantly changing and adapting, and that means to stay modern and effective, your SEO strategy should be changing and adapting as well.
There will always be core fundamentals in SEO that work, but there are also new updates and techniques happening all the time, some of which are worth investing in, while others are best left behind.
As you plan your overall marketing strategy for 2023, here are some techniques you may want to build into your overall SEO strategy to keep it modern, consistent, and effective (in addition to the core fundamentals that you’re probably already doing):
★ Want to learn more about real estate marketing in 2023? Have a look at this post called: Real Estate Marketing Strategies to Embrace in 2023.
Machine Learning, AI, and Quality Content
Machine learning and AI seem to be everywhere lately, and there are a lot of AI applications that claim to be able to write all of your content for you with just the click of a button; if only it was that easy.
The bottom line is, AI-generated content will not replace high-quality, clearly-communicated, well-written content that’s been created by a human (at least not in the next year or two).
In August of 2022, Google published a post about their algorithm content update called: What creators should know about Google’s August 2022 helpful content update, which you can read right here.
In it, Google provides a lot of information and tips about producing content as part of your content strategy to keep it in line with search guidelines, and while there’s a lot of useful information there, above all, their consistent messaging is: high-quality content wins every time.
Those in-the-know go as far as to say that Google actually considers content that’s automatically created by AI writing tools to be spam. Once Google thinks you’re producing spam, your entire marketing strategy could be in jeopardy.
As far as machine learning or AI-generated content goes, as of right now, it’s best to avoid it completely or risk all of your marketing efforts to date.
Writing high-quality, well-written content on a consistent basis is difficult and takes time, but it’s absolutely worth doing. It goes back to our saying at Artifakt that: whatever is most difficult to do in real estate marketing, is probably what’s the most worth doing (and this is no exception to that).
Quality, Not Quantity, Backlinks
Backlinks are an extremely important part of your overall SEO strategy, but it’s not just about the number of backlinks you have. As Google updates its spam detection algorithms, focusing on quality versus quantity is more important than ever (although, it’s always been important).
While Google continually rolls out updates, one of the focuses of their latest spam detection update is on finding low-quality backlinks and penalizing websites that are using them as a way to artificially inflate their number of backlinks.
What makes a low-quality backlink? If you’re buying links for some shady website, just because you think the number of backlinks matters more than their quality, you’re most likely getting low-quality backlinks from those websites, and Google knows it.
High-quality backlinks, from a reputable well-known website, take a lot more effort to get, but it’s an effort that’s worth putting in.
If you’re producing high-quality, well-written content, you’re more likely to get high-quality backlinks from reputable websites, often organically, and that will be more important than ever as we go into 2023.
★ Want to know more about backlinks? Have a look at this post called: Why You Need an External Link Building Strategy for Your Real Estate Website.
A common theme with the SEO focuses of 2023, is that nothing that beats high-quality, well-written content that solves a problem, that people find valuable, and that people enjoy reading.
High-quality content brings people back to your website, helps you prove your authority, makes people trust you, and helps improve your SEO metrics.
But high-quality doesn’t just stop at blog posts; it also applies to real estate listings. Just because a listing is yours, doesn’t mean it will display anywhere near the top of search results. Chances are, there are a lot of more reputable, more authoritative websites that rank higher for your own listing than you do, and while that has to do with authority, it also has to do with quality.
There are a couple content-related things you can do to improve the search prominence of your listings (provided they’re added manually and not added automatically through an IDX feed or equivalent.
For example, you can:
- Write a Better MLS Description: If you manually add your listings, and you copy/paste the same MLS description, you’re probably not going to rank in search results. That’s because doing so gives your website the exact same information as all of the other more authoritative websites, and doesn’t differentiate you, which is a key way of improving your listing’s position in search results.
- Write a Descriptive, Clickable Meta-Description: If you’re able to custom write the meta-description of your listing, you absolutely should. Not only does it help, again, differentiate you from more authoritative websites, but it also can improve your click-through-rate if it sounds more interesting and people engage with it more as a result (instead of just pulling and displaying the default meta-description text).
★ Want to more about how to improve your listings in search results? Have a look at this post called: Strategies to Get Your Listings to the Top of the Search Results.
Google Zero Click Searches
Although we first mentioned it in Views back in January 2020, zero-click searches still happen at an increasing rate, and they’re definitely something to consider as part of your overall SEO strategy.
In fact, around half (maybe even more) of all Google searches end without the person clicking on anything, which happens because they’ve found the answer they’re looking for on the search results page itself.
Here’s how it works: if you were to Google the phrase: what does a bully offer mean in real estate, then you’re likely going to see a text callout at the top of the search result that tells you the definition of a bully offer; and then, you’ll probably just close your browser (or move on to something else) because you’ve found the answer to your question. In that case, there was no click, hence the term: zero-click search.
From an SEO perspective, there are 2 things you can focus on to take zero-click searches into account:
1. Rich Snippets
The first way is of course to have your website display as the piece of text you see at the top of the search result in a zero-click search, which is called a rich snippet.
Even if someone doesn’t click through, they might save the post since it answered their question, or come back to look at more of your content later since you’ve solved a problem for them.
Showing up as a rich snippet is complicated, and even Google says that you can’t position your content to display as a rich snippet; only Google can reward you with a rich snippet if it thinks your content is valuable enough. But by following SEO best practices, building your domain authority, and producing high-quality, answer-based content, you’ll at least be putting yourself in a better position to capture some of those rich snippets for yourself.
2. Better Meta-Descriptions:
If your website is not the rich snippet itself, the only way to capitalize on a zero-click search is to make your website search result appear better than the rich snippet.
And that starts by having a better-written, more descriptive, highly-clickable SEO meta-description, that shows in the first few search results.
The more effort you put into writing them, the more clickable they’ll be, and the better chance you’ll have of someone clicking your website instead of just reading the rich snippet and moving on.
★ Want to learn more about meta-descriptions? Have a look at this post called: Understanding SEO Titles and Meta-Descriptions on Your Real Estate Website.
★ Want to learn a bit more about building an SEO strategy? Have a look at these posts:
- Optimizing Your Content for Humans (And Not Just for Search Engines)
- Writing Content for SEO as a Real Estate Agent
- Building a Well-Rounded SEO Search Strategy for Your Real Estate Website
- How to Start Building a Solid Real Estate Local SEO Strategy
Voice-Based Search Optimization
Most people have access to a voice-based search device. Whether you say “Alexa”, “Hey Google” or “Hey Siri”, voice-enabled search is all around us and people continue to use it more and more when they’re looking for answers.
And because so many people use voice-based search, it makes sense to optimize your content for voice-based search devices.
It isn’t easy, but one of the best ways to help position your content for voice search is by writing “answer” based content that starts with who, what, where, why, or how; and ensuring that content is written in a conversational tone.
There’s quite a bit more involved to make it successful of course, but it all starts with having a solid overall SEO strategy in place and producing high-quality, answer-based content, and you’ll be taking the first step towards better positioning your content for voice-enabled search devices.
SEO is Never Finished
The key to a successful SEO strategy is to understand that it’s never finished. SEO is a constantly moving target, but it’s also made up of core fundamentals. By ensuring your core strategy is solid, and building in new strategies and techniques if they make sense to, you’ll have a solid SEO strategy in place that returns on your investment time and time again.
After all, continued investment in your SEO strategy is continued investment in your marketing strategy.
Want to learn more about SEO and get more traffic to your website? Our SEO Strategy Building Guide is a mix of curated content and self-guided workbook that will help provide insight on how you can build and implement a modern SEO and overall search strategy.