By NICK LOVEGROVE
Editor’s note: Nick Lovegrove is owner of limeyboy.com, a real estate website provider.
Ask any real estate agent what they want their real estate website to be about and they will tell you that it has to reflect their track record, their successes, communicating their area knowledge, their expertise and that certain "je ne sais quoi" that just makes them special.
Ask buyers and sellers what they are looking for, and they will tell you that it really boils down to two things: the actives and the solds.
Now, ask any real estate agent what they want their real estate website to do and it really boils down to one thing: get them leads.
There lies the fundamental problem with many real estate websites and this discrepancy is why many of them aren’t generating leads.
You see, if the content of your real estate website is predominantly concerned with information about you, it’s highly unlikely to show up at search engines when people are looking very specifically for actives and solds. Which, incidentally, is where you get the leads from!
Most agents say that they know that people are not searching for real estate agents. However, many agent websites make me doubt they really believe it.
Many agents will tell you that they show up in searches for their name. However, this really should be the bare minimum, as many names are fairly unique keyword phrases. If people are searching to find you by name, they already know you on some level. What a good real estate website can do is to help you be found by people who don’t know you, which is how you grow your business.
However, showing up for real estate terms is a different matter altogether. Furthermore, if your website’s content isn’t aligned with what people are searching for it isn’t going to stand a chance of showing up online.
So what are people searching for?
If you decide to leave the safe harbor of your "about me" online resume, I mean website, for the uncharted territory of aligning your website’s content with what people are searching for, there is a great tool to help you plot your course.
Google offers something called their KeywordTool to help you figure out what people are specifically searching for in your area. Once logged in, (you may have to sign in with a Gmail account) you can experiment typing in various keyword terms and see the amount of search volume for each term or phrase.
For many agents this is both humbling and insightful. It’s insightful in that it gives you the simple facts of what people are searching for in your market area. Where it’s humbling is that it always reveals that hardly anyone is searching specifically for you! Oftentimes, the only person searching for you is … well, you! This is precisely why your website’s content should not be about yours truly.
By using this tool at the beginning of a project, you can ensure that your site’s content is aligned with what people are searching for. I think that a lot of agent websites are still being created with little consideration of aligning with what people are searching for. That’s a rather large consideration to ignore.
An effective website should not be a 10-page online resume. What’s the first rule of resume writing? It has to fit on one page. So dedicate the other nine pages to providing the information that people are searching for that’s been defined for you using the keyword tool.
"Is this what you think buyers and sellers are doing at Google?"
Remember, search engines essentially only have the content within your site to make a determination of its relevance against what keywords people are typing into search boxes (inbound links aside). If your site is full of keywords such as "integrity," "experience" and "trustworthiness" but people are searching for "condo" or "apartment," you can kind of see the problem.
If you are serious about showing up online, you have to be serious about crafting content that is aligned with the demand for it.
How are you making sure your website’s content fits with what people are looking for?
Future of Real Estate Marketing is a part of Inman News.