The two most important SEO factors today are quality content and its value to others. If other people find it valuable, they will share, talk about and respond to that content. That’s GREAT SEO. But how do you create content that someone will want to talk about?
That’s the toughest job of all. You don’t have to be a great writer or composer, but you do have to come up with striking material that will catch someone’s attention and cause them to click on, browse, talk about and share.
Real estate can be so difficult because it’s often a one-time thing. People need to know about a house or neighborhood so they search one and done. It’s not often an industry that you can come back to time and again, unless, of course, you are buying another house. And usually once people know the neighborhood, they stop researching it. So how do you keep those people engaged long after the sale has closed?
It can be a full-time job just to stay engaged with your audience, and it can get frustrating, stressful and difficult, but with a good set of tools and a plan it can be done.
You know your business, and whether it’s real estate, mortgage, staging or some other industry, there are things about it that no one else knows but you. You have to find those nuggets of knowledge and expand on it in a way that draws people in and then keep it in front of them long after they have utilized your services for future references and business.
Start with great content
Three hundred words used to work, but now great content is more like 1,000. I know, that’s a lot. But when you start talking about something you know a lot about, you can usually go on and on. But don’t let that turn into rambling just to get out your 1,000 words. Use clearly defined bullet points, heading tags, bold words, and break the information up into digestible segments that people can really use and take away.
Don’t just write a neighborhood post — write everything about the neighborhood, including a calendar of events that is timeless; a video of the neighborhood that will also get indexed and found for the search terms; images of the homes, parks, area; market trends; graphs; and maps. It’s detailed, yes. It takes time, yes, but the result will be a timeless wealth of knowledge about that neighborhood that no one else has, and THAT is what Google will find authoritative. It’s not a blog you sit down and write in an hour. It’s a well-thought-out page that clearly tells the reader, “You are the expert here — better call you.” A great example of this here: Heritage Green in Frisco by Jeff Fritzson.
What if it’s not a neighborhood?
No matter what industry you are in, you can write relevant, authoritative content that is timeless. Hub pages like Squidoo and HubSpot keep your information active only if others find it valuable and continue to click on it, search for it and read it — otherwise it goes bye-bye. Talk about a mortgage secret, buying or selling secret, or inspection tip that only you know from your years of experience. But then don’t just leave that amazing tip floating out in Never-never land, share it — and share it again and again. Don’t spam the cover of my Facebook feed, but share it today, share it tomorrow, share it next week and continue to link to it over and over.
How the best content gets around
Great content, blogs, news and videos don’t just magically have 8,000 hits their first day unless they have already created the authority. It happens over time with more and more people sharing and commenting on it.
Get on that social media you have been so putting off. Google Plus is one of the best because your posts and links can get instantly indexed when you use Google’s social media to share it. Google looks at that content and then watches it to see whether anyone else likes it. Google gives it more or less value based on what others think about it and how much it’s shared and talked about. Respond to any and all comments and likes or plusses on your social media and let people know you are a real person, not just an automated application that posts every 3.5 days to your accounts. It used to work in the past, it doesn’t anymore. Be real, be in the moment and be ready to respond.
Tell me WHY I should be clicking and reading? If you simply say, “Look at this new post,” I will barely blink an eye as I keep on scrolling. “I bet you didn’t do THIS the last time you bought a house!” Hmm … now that gets my attention. What didn’t I do? I don’t want to do it again, do I? You’ve seen those somewhat annoying video posts on Facebook, “I thought it was just another cat video until the cat did this” — ugh … now I have to click and see for myself. HA! But it works … people can’t imagine NOT knowing about that stupid cat. Draw people in the same way. Make them want to know more, read more and then share it themselves. Give them the carrot once they click and make sure it’s a good one.
IMAGES, IMAGES, IMAGES
Wow, images are everywhere and they are getting better. The standard stock image of a nice family in front of a house doesn’t ring our bell anymore. We need to be wowed with a great image. Break out that Photoshop or elements program and find a fun image and then write on it. Make it pop. Tell me about your content in the image, not just the image itself. Lynn Pineda and Bill Gassett do a great job at this with great images and fun captions. And they don’t use just one. They use several, telling a story as they go. This is also great when sharing your content numerous times, as you can use a great image to draw people in and then do it again the next day with another image. Use Pinterest to grab those scrollers over there and again on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and others.
Make it EASY TO SHARE
So many people have great websites but because I have to copy and paste the URL and write my own two cents about it, it probably won’t get shared. Make it EASY for people to pin, tweet, like, Plus and share your content. Website provider doesn’t allow for that? Maybe it’s time to call them and tell them to get on the ball OR find a more social-friendly platform.
Related: Where does Google want to see you?
Find a concern, need or problem, and answer it
Now, don’t just throw out this great content, great images and great information and leave it there. Talk to your people, add more to your circles, or connect with people in groups and communities who might benefit from your experience. Find a concern and answer it. Find solutions or simply communicate with others so they know you are active and responsive. We are narcissistic people who love to have our ego stroked with more comments, responses, likes and attention. Give it to others and it shall be given back.
Don’t just like your own stuff, which you should, but like others’ content, share others’ content when it works, and link to others’ blogs and content to help your readers know even more about what you do. Google will notice and people will, too.
Be where your audience is
- The most intelligent companies know that consumers use the social space to educate themselves before a purchase. You should, therefore, be present in the circles where your core audience communicates. Additionally, people use social media to share their experiences — positive and negative — with companies and brands. Responding to concerns and compliments sends the message that your company cares about an individual’s experience; this is priceless marketing. [Source]
If you are a real estate agent talking only to other real estate agents, you may not get much business. Be where your audience is. (Why do you think I blog on ActiveRain?) YOU are my audience. References are great but you have to get to where the people are. Find homebuyer or seller groups, and talk to your friends, relatives and relationships and remind them what you do on a daily basis with your content, information and fun videos and images. You have to go where the business is.
It can be difficult because you say, “Well, anyone can buy a home so my audience is everywhere!” That’s right, but dont’ be stuck in a Realtors group without any contact from the outside world. Talk to everyone who is NOT a real estate agent; host buying or homeowners education classes at your local library; connect with communities, groups and pages that respond to homeowners; and find a local niche, HOA or community group in your area that you can offer help and assistance with.
Yes, it does take time. Yes, it’s work, but it pays off. It’s time consuming, I know, but only you know your business like no one else. Prove it and Google will reward you.