Nobody said it was easy to build a real estate website that ranked well in the search engines and provided the information consumers need to help make it convert once they do find you online but it can be worth it if you take your time and set up the pages carefully. I’ve recently been doing an audit on my website and found numerous careless errors, pages with little or no content and otherwise useless pages to consumers. This was obviously a problem that needed to be corrected quickly and I needed to correct it in a way that provided consumers what they want.
So, What do Consumers Want?
First and foremost consumers want to see the homes that are for sale in their area. Look no further than the big national sites who have lots of money to do comprehensive testing and you will find that their landing pages consist of almost nothing but homes for sale. i think that’s great. For them. But I don’t think it’s exactly what you should do on a local website where you should be an expert.
Provide content and neighborhood specific information that goes deeper than the big names like Zillow
If you want to compete online in the estate world today with big brokerages with deep pockets, you need to invest time and effort into what you write about on your community pages and you need to think about what should be on the page if you were a consumer.
What not to do…
This doesn’t mean your community pages should tout you as the greatest real estate agent in the area or that you sold the most houses. There certainly is a time and a place for that but not at the introductory level when consumers are doing their research. They want information. They want to know how big a neighborhood is and if it has amenities and what is located near the neighborhood.
What your content should say…
Is the community close to shopping and dining? What schools do the kids go to? Is there a pool and tennis courts? How about an HOA? This is the kind of information you can put on your neighborhood pages that the big websites aren’t doing – at least not yet.
What About City Pages? How Do you Tie Them Together
Take for example, this page on Roswell real estate on my website. What I’ve tried to do is provide an overview of the city, where it is, the different sections of the city and then you can dive deeper into the neighborhoods within the city if you want to see them specifically. The main city page has all of the homes for sale with simple price range links. The individual pages all have some general information on the neighborhoods as I outlined above nd they all also link back to the main city page.
Links, even internal, shouldn’t be used simply for SEO purposes
On each neighborhood page, there is a short paragraph of content about the neighborhood and at the end of the paragraph is a link back to the main city page. People land n the neighborhood pages while doing searches and often times they want to stay and look at more than one neighborhood. By providing that link back to the main city page they know they don’t have to switch to another website to start a broader search or to search for other neighborhoods. This paragraph should be short so they can quickly see the listings in that neighborhood though. Don’t write everything above the homes for sale. Save some of the content for below the fold. Not everyone wants to know everything about the neighborhood right away.
Remember – they want to see the homes first!
If they do want more information, most consumers are savvy enough today to scroll down to learn more. I think this works best of the user experience. Give them a little info, then the homes they really want and then below that more information. This ensure the page has quality content and in the order the consumer wants to see it.
Remember, you don’t have to stop with words. Users love photos of neighborhoods or videos. Please try not to make the videos too cheesy though 🙂
After all, SEO isn’t about gaming the system. It’s about creating a solid user experience. Today I went through this Roswell example above and found numerous typos and pages with only about 25-30 words of content. I must have created a slew of pages at one time and thought I would go back later and complete them. The result was a bunch of pages that have been on the website for years that never ranked well because they weren’t set up properly.
I spent some time this morning going back through and adding content, correcting typos and correcting some layout issues. Unfortunately I’ll now have to wait for Google to swing back through all of these pages and see that they have been made for a better user experience with more content now and hope for the best. My advice to you is not to do what I did but instead, take you time and do things correctly one page at a time.
So that’s my aha for the day. Hopefully it will be of help to someone!
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