What Content Should I Create?
Content is the real bread and butter of SEO on a real estate website. It’s everything you see on a page, including text and images, real estate listings, and info charts. The content you put on your site is what sets it apart from the competition, and it’s also the reason people visit your site in the first place.
There are a few standard types of pages that you’ll find on almost every real estate website. We’ll talk about those first, and then we’ll discuss other types of content you can consider to really give your site a competitive edge.
The first page you should set up on any website is the home page. A home page should be an introduction, reflect your company, and draw people into the site. It provides a very quick summary of what you have to offer, and sets the tone for a user’s entire experience. Exactly what you put on the home page is up to you, but these are a few current trends:
- High-resolution cover photo (see Image Optimization)
- Real estate listings search bar
- 1 paragraph introducing major keyword or website theme
- 1 paragraph introducing the company
- Featured listings
- Featured agents
- Featured communities
You can optimize a home page for any keyword you want, but modern design trends push SEO content to the wayside in favour of strong visuals. This creates a challenge. Because home pages have “thin” content by design and because short tail keywords require a lot of relevance and authority, you’ll typically need to build up a super strong site before your home page can draw in traffic for your most important keyword. Therefore, optimizing your home page for your absolute most important keyword is a good long term goal, but isn’t necessarily something you should spend a lot of time on when first setting up your website. Start by building a home page that simply makes sense, and you can optimize it down the line.
The next SEO step for any real estate website is to optimize your branding. You want to ensure the search engines know this is your website, and guarantee that it shows up when users are searching for you. Most company names aren’t that competitive, which means you should be able to get top visibility for your company name with just one or two key pages.
About Us Page
Start by writing a page about your company, using your company name as your main heading. You can talk about anything you want in this section. Consider including your company history, mission statement, and information on your team members. The keywords for this page should focus on your company name and, optionally, local real estate agent search terms.
A lot of real estate websites also include a page for all their agents. This makes sense in a team environment, and it can be super beneficial for your website’s SEO. Like your company name, people’s given names also tend to be fairly unique, which means they can be relatively easy to rank for. If someone searches one of your agent’s names, your website will ideally be among the top results.
Community / Area Pages
The most obvious keywords for any real estate website are “[place] real estate”, “[place] homes for sale”, or similar. The simplest way to incorporate these types of keywords into your website is through community pages or area pages.
Community pages can be set up in many ways, but they all tend to contain:
- Real estate listings
- Unique information
Because relevance is an important factor in all SEO work, you’ll want to ensure the listings and information on the page are specific to the community you’re targeting. This applies regardless of whether you’re targeting a big massive area, like San Diego, or a single subdivision within a small town.
Area Page Layout Example
Here are a couple examples of the typical layout you might see on an area page:
(Click to expand)
Note how these area pages are focused and relevant. From the headings and content, to the property listings, the community pages are built around the target keyword—without feeling mechanical or formulaic. This is done with writing and layouts that are natural, yet optimized.
Property Type Pages
In addition to community pages, many real estate websites will also have property type pages. Like their name implies, these are pages segmented by specific property type, as well as geographic area.
Examples of property types include:
- Duplex / Fourplex
- Single-Family Homes
- Lots / Vacant Land
- New Construction
- Foreclosure / Short Sale
These property type pages target less competitive keywords, and can be extraordinarily successful in markets with minimal competition. Just keep in mind that the search demand has to be there to make this worth your while, so these searches often only make sense in larger geographic areas.
Lifestyle & Miscellaneous Pages
Similar to property-type pages, it also makes sense in certain communities to segregate listings by status or lifestyle opportunities.
- Luxury or Gated
- Waterfront, Beachfront, Oceanfront
- Retirement, 55+
Keep in mind that the goal is to match up with specific keyword searches for your area. If very few people are searching for “nanaimo golf homes”, it’s not worth writing a page about.
Real Estate Listings
In addition to searching for general neighbourhoods and property type pages, people often look up specific real estate listings.
The Challenge of IDX Data
One of the biggest and most obvious challenges of a real estate website is that the bulk of the content comes directly from the MLS board. In SEO, this raises the challenge of duplicate content, where search engines try not to rank more than one page with the same content. By their very nature, MLS feeds are full of duplicate content.
In order to beat out the competition, real estate websites have to provide valuable information above and beyond what’s already found in the MLS data. Real estate agents have the most opportunity to be competitive for their own real estate listings, as this is where MLS boards often grant additional creative freedoms, and it’s where a real estate agent has a clear competitive advantage—they know more about the property.
Extended Listing Content & Property Descriptions
The absolute best way a real estate agent can dominate the search for a particular property is to add content to their own site that simply can’t be found in the MLS data. Working with their website provider, real estate agents should build sites that allow them to add extra content about a listing to their own pages. This could include:
- 2 more paragraphs of listing information
- Additional photos, virtual tours, 360 views, 3D walk-throughs, etc.
- Extra info on schools, restaurants, recreation centres, clubs, community events, etc.
Anything you can add to the listing page on your own site, above and beyond what would exist in a typical MLS listing, the stronger the page will be. The more you add, the more likely your listing will beat out all the generic copycats auto-populated by the IDX data feeds.
Blogging is a fantastic way to target long-tail keywords and show off your expertise on local real estate topics. As a general rule, the more relevant to real estate buyers and sellers, the stronger a blog post will be from an SEO perspective.
But there’s also traffic to be gained by positioning yourself as a local authority. Many real estate teams will share info that is local yet unrelated to real estate to increase their brand awareness and build relationships within the community.
A few ideas for blog topics include:
- Real estate advice
- Real estate news & seasonal updates
- Local news, events, & reviews
- Featured listings, buildings, or developments
Regardless of the strategy you take with your blogs, ensure your content is written for real human readers. They probably aren’t coming to your blog for a sales pitch, or to see dry market statistics. Keep your blog conversational and light.
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