SEO strategy can be a tricky business. No sooner do you get to grips with the keywords, tags and other factors that help your page rank, than those meddling Google elves start mixing it up with changes to their algorithms.
But, if you want more people looking at your properties, booking valuations or signing up as landlords and vendors, a great SEO content strategy is crucial.
Based on years of experience of running SEO campaigns for UK estate and letting agents and the expert view of where SEO strategy for the property sector will go in 2020 – here are 13 key things to address in your SEO marketing strategy that will help boost your website’s results.
To start with, be realistic. Don’t imagine that as an independent, small-to-medium agency you can try and out-rank property’s big players such as Zoopla, Rightmove or Foxtons. Their sheer size will always give them a disproportionate authority when it comes to ranking on Google. Instead, concentrate on the nifty, creative moves you can take to improve your ranking in niche areas.
Experts have been talking about Google’s shift from quantity of links and keywords to site quality for years. In 2020 this will become more crucial than ever, as analysis of content quality intensifies.
So, your SEO strategy needs to prioritise making site pages and blog posts strong enough to get people staying, reading, sharing and linking to your content.
This means your content needs to address common problems; offering solutions and useful information. It also needs to be well-written and engaging as well as accurate and original with quality images and video.
Remember, the world never stands still and content that was once great soon becomes stale and dated, so keep reviewing your pages for freshness and relevance.
Content planning is a crucial factor in any SEO strategy, so before you begin, you need to do some digging. Google wants relevance, quality and usability, (but that’s a whole new topic), so it is important to invest time and resources in creating it correctly.
You need to find out your ideal customer is searching for in your area and sector but, crucially, you should know what the intent behind their search is too.
Get our tried and tested method for delivering qualified traffic to your blog by producing articles your audience wants to read.
Find out what they expect to see when they type a keyword into Google; whether that is text or video, images or audio. Look at the things your target audience is asking around a subject and really question whether your pages provide good answers.
Here’s an example. Say your agency is particularly targeting potential buyers, and you know that the majority are young families. There is a good chance they will be searching the web for the best schools in the area. If you were to create a comprehensive list of schools with useful facts about Ofsted ratings, catchment areas and facilities, this would be a truly helpful resource. Chances are that users (and in turn Google) will credit you, your ranking will improve, and you’ll get potential future buyers visiting your website.
This is just the start of your marketing journey. At this point we would recommend introducing remarketing with a lead magnet that will enable you to retarget those visitors around your website. This is a whole new topic - read more about remarketing for the property sector.
When planning your content think of it like an upside-down pyramid. At the bottom of the pyramid are your main pages. These might be specific neighbourhoods where you operate or other big service pages that a vendor or a landlord needs to visit before they progress to a valuation booking.
For example, say you’re an agency operating in the Battersea area. Your bottom of pyramid content could be specific branch pages in the area or a list of services for landlords.
You need to optimise these pages for phrases that suggest intent to engage with your agency including:
+ post code
reviews of +
Next, think about the middle and top of the pyramid pages. These can be your blog and resources pages. In most cases, they will provide content that deals with broader topics relevant to the local area. So, taking the Battersea example:
Include words such as:
how to +
list of +
As consumers spend more and more time on their phones, mobile optimization is increasingly critical to SEO. So, start by making sure you test your site’s performance and load speed across all devices. If it’s too slow, you may miss the chance to engage with a crucial visitor.
You also need to understand how searching on a phone is different to searching on a desktop computer. Think about your own search habits when you’re on the move and consider which results get your attention first - most likely, the ones offering clear answers quickly. Is your site doing this?
For your SEO strategy to be successful it needs to put humans centre stage. Start with your audience when creating content and make sure it is both interesting and relevant to them so they will feel compelled to read more.
Only when you have created the content that your readers want should you focus on optimization.
Remember, it’s not just about picking the keywords which will improve your site’s rankings. You’re looking to pick the keywords that your audience would use to find the content that’s relevant and engaging.
User experience (UX) is a huge and complex field – and not one you need to be an expert in. But, you do need to understand some basic principles.
Firstly, UX optimization is about focussing your website on the visitor. While helping people find what they want, search engines are mining great quantities of data that is used to alter algorithms, so their searchers get more relevant content.
SEO is about attracting the attention of the search engines, but they in turn are (almost always) looking for the things the data has shown that their users want.
If your website is delivering the right content, it has more chance of landing within the first few search results.
Backlinks – people linking to your site – remains a key indicator to Google of your credibility. But overwhelmingly, it’s the quality of those links that’s important, not how many you have - search engines will ignore links which look too spammy.
Building quality backlinks is about reaching out to good sources and offering value in exchange for a solid link. Read more about how to do it in this guide.
Google tends to see links from new and different sites as more credible than multiple links from the same places. And links from external websites are worth more than your own internal links.
However, don’t ignore quality and relevant internal linking. Done properly, adding internal links improves your website’s indexing and guide traffic to appropriate older posts. Doing this can strengthen an argument and help improve your site’s standing with Google.
Your site will rank better in Google if you’re seen as an authority. Including expert, trustworthy content is a good way of enhancing credibility.
Look at bringing in experts to author content and draw data from industry-recognised sources, properly crediting it. Could you make your employees go-to experts for journalists by encouraging them to write and speak on niche topics?
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However good your content is, you won’t get conversions if you aren’t showing people how to take the next step down the funnel, whether that’s to subscribe to your newsletter, book a valuation, search your properties or just find out more. Review your CTAs and use A/B testing to make sure they are really nailing it.
Read more about the psychology behind the call to action.
Schema markup is a type of code vocabulary used to label a website’s content and make it more visible for Google’s algorithms.
An FAQ schema is a way of structuring data at the same time as adding clarity to different categories or subjects, which is increasingly expected by Google. It can also improve your site’s ranking by improving your visitors’ user experience.
Featured snippets are the boxes of content that you see at the top of many Google searches, which seek to answer a query immediately.
Being featured in a snippet makes you appear the authority, boosting your traffic. If you have great, original content particularly on a niche area, make optimizing for snippets part of your SEO strategy.
The results from featured snippets vary depending on industry and query, but some reports have indicated:
There are four different types of featured snippets to be aware of:
Find out more about featured snippets here.
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Creating an SEO strategy for your business should follow a set process. Start by organising your website's content by topic. This will help search engines like Google understand the user's intent when searching. By optimising a web page around topics, then keywords within that topic, you can increase your expertise in the eyes of a search engine and rank well for long-tail keywords related to that topic.
Creating great content isn't enough to achieve great SEO results in and of itself. Strategic content planning and execution involves prioritising lower difficulty topics, content layering and great internal linking, understanding linkability and identifying opportunities and regular upkeep and maintenance of existing content.
There are 3 main components to a successful SEO campaign: 1. technical optimisation – look at ways to improve your website by removing any errors. 2. Quality and relevancy of your content – look at ways to improve your content based on your visitors’ intent. 3. External backlinks – look at ways to increase those from quality, authoritative websites, relevant to your niche.