You may have come across blog articles that state that “SEO is dead”. That statement has made great link bait for over a decade. However, real estate professionals are more baffled by the rapid evolution of search marketing than ever, and need highly targeted SEO and content marketing strategies to gain any traction in the marketplace.
A few years ago, when we optimized client sites, we focused on the keyword relevance of each page, and the quantity and quality of inbound links from other sites. If certain formulas were followed, results were very predictable. That made the system easy to game, and Google began rolling out algorithm updates to target sites with low quality content and links that were enjoying rankings they had not earned.
Following the Panda and Penguin updates, SEO has become a content play. Publish ridiculously valuable content that provides great value to your audience and your site will send all the right signals to avoid any Google penalties.
More recently, Google's Hummingbird algorithm update is addressing changes in the way users are currently searching. Mobile queries are predicted to surpass those from conventional computers before the end of this year. Switching to a responsive, fast loading site design can position you to take full advantage of this trend. Many SEOs believe Google already favours mobile friendly sites for the coveted top-10 ranking positions.
Hummingbird also enables Google to more effectively process longer, conversational searches that are often presented as questions. As Google moves away from keywords to semantic search, we need to change our writing style to align with user intent. Instead of stuffing our content with keywords like “vancouver condos” and “high-rise apartments in vancouver”, we should try to answer questions like “Where are the new condo buildings?” in our posts and articles.
If you want to outrank the sites currently holding the top positions in local search, you need to “out content” those sites by becoming “more local.”
With a diminishing focus on keywords, we can also expect Google to match user requests with the most local results. For most agents, being “findable” for their farm area means everything. It's become increasingly important to have your website associated with a local Google My Business (formerly Google Places) listing. Including a Google Map of your location on your Contact page, and publishing regular hyperlocal content also helps establish your location.
Have you upgraded to a fully responsive website yet? Are you publishing epic quality content regularly, with a strong following, and growing your email list? I welcome your questions and comments below.
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