HOW TO MARKET REAL ESTATE ONLINE

Content

When we talk about website content, we’re referring to images, copy, video etc. The importance of each of these depends on your service and user’s needs. Pinterest, places emphasis on images, YouTube on video, but a real estate website needs to strike a balance between all the content types to offer users a rich experience that describes services and showcases properties. But how do we provide content that search engines love and still engages our users? Keep reading below....


Essential Definitions

Search Engine Optimisation
SEO is a process by which you can enhance your website content to get more organic traffic from the search engine results page. By making certain adjustments, your website becomes more ‘attractive’ to search engines, increasing the chances of your website being displayed prominently in search results.

Search Engine Bots
Search engines want to deliver the highest quality content to their users, which means that it has to be relevant to what that user is looking for at that time. To do this, search engine bots crawl (scan) millions of websites to see if they include content with topics or keywords that match the initial search.


How does it work?

Search engines have various moving parts, including; a crawler and an index. A crawler (also known as a spider, robot and bot) is a program that visits websites and reads their content in order to create entries into a search engine index.

So let’s get cracking with good original content.

Images obviously add value to a user’s experience by making a page more interesting. They also benefit your search engine rankings. Here are some tips to keep in mind regarding images.

  • Use Relevant Images
    The best images are original ones. If you’re talking about your team, don’t use generic people in a stock image 😕 . If you have to use a stock image for budget (or context) reasons then try stay away from obviously “stocky” looking images. You can use certain images from resources like Flickr under the Creative Commons licence or from sites like Unsplash. Please remember to credit the photographer though. This doesn’t apply to primary images related to your brand - we recommend investing in professional images for these.
  • Optimise Images
    Ensure your images are optimised through tools like ImageOptim or TinyPNG. This will ensure your website loads quickly, especially for mobile, where data is more of a concern for users.
  • Naming
    Make sure you choose a good file name, ALT text (used by search engines and for users with vision impairments) and a caption if helpful.
  • Social Sharing
    Images are carried across when pages are shared to social platforms. Ensure the right image is taken by setting an OpenGraph tag. Depending on your platform, this may need to be actioned by your website company.

Videos

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Videos have become a rising factor for any successful website and consistently generate more engagement than images on platforms like Facebook. They’ll help the appeal and ranking of a page, but will also be searchable by themselves in video results.

  • Improves SEO
    Videos with relevant content can improve your website’s rankings on search engines. Google owns YouTube, so having content on your YouTube channel further increases the possibility of having that content appear on the first page of Google. Also, adding a transcript, will further increase its influence in rankings.
  • Choose an Engaging Thumbnail
    This is the first thing that people are going to see. Ensure that your thumbnail is attention grabbing and relevant to the overall video.
  • Title and Description
    Just like the thumbnails, these appear in results summaries, so ensure both are interesting for your users. These are also going to effect the ranking of your videos, so ensure they’re relevant and include keywords, without stuffing them in unnaturally.

Copy

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This is the most important content element to ensure good search engine rankings. Below are some of the key points to remember when producing copy for your website, either personally or through a copywriter.

  • Keep It Manageable
    As mentioned in User Experience, people scan. Ensure your copy is broken into bite size pieces. Lists, sub-headings, extracts, images and info graphics are all ways to achieve this.
  • Keywords
    Don’t stuff articles or pages with keywords. It will sound unnatural to users and can actually hurt your rankings. The phrases you want to be found for in the search engines should appear naturally in your copy if the topic is relevant. Look at including LSI (Latent Semantic Indexing) keywords into your copy. These are basically keywords that relate to the main topic of a page. An example would be “beaches” or “restaurants” for copy about the Cape Town Atlantic Seaboard.
  • You’re the Expert
    You know your area. Write about what’s happening, especially if it’s relevant to the property market. This type of content is valuable to the users you want to attract to your business and Google loves it. If you know what you want to say, but not how to say it, hire a good copywriter.
  • Blog length
    A study in 2016 showed the average page 1 Google result had around 1,900 words. That doesn’t mean all you articles need to be that long. Shorter articles are shared more and lengthy authoritative articles keep users on your site and can generate a lot of link traffic over time. It’s more important that you keep adding quality content than focusing on length.
  • Share
    The whole reason to generate good quality content is to get users to your website, so share new content on your social media channels with links back to your site.

Don’t copy content from other sources even if you reference them. This can hurt your standing with Google. If their content is valuable to your users, include a snippet with a link and discuss the article in your own words.

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Takeaway

Users like images and video, they take less effort to consume. For the times users actually read copy, it needs to be engaging. If you’re talking about what you know in the areas you operate, it should naturally rank well. If you don’t have time to generate original content (or just don’t write well), hire someone that can.

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