People do business with brands they know, like and trust. The higher the investment, the more important these factors are.
Building relationships and earning trust are key to earning lasting customer relationships. Here’s how to get them with great location-specific SEO content.
(While the studies referenced in this article focus primarily on real estate brands, this information will help location-based businesses.)
What kind of local content is worth your time and effort?
Everyone knows at least five local real estate agents or brands. Just ask a real estate question on a local Facebook or Twitter group and you’ll be bombarded with agents offering their services.
How often are those agents annoying in their marketing efforts, pushing content but not engaging in conversations with prospects, actually earning those relationships? How many of them are reliable?
Typically, real estate websites (and many home service brands) are OK sources of content, offering generic and regurgitated information.
Users get the same property, product or service listings and calls-to-action as any other site in the SERP.
Real estate has always been incredibly competitive. Recent changes in interest rates and house prices have made this even more complex.
We spend a lot of time testing campaigns at our agency to learn what works and help get our clients’ phones ringing without wasting time on non-converting strategies. One thing we know for sure, you need to be where your customers are.
One of the best ways to stand out and grab the attention of both customers and Google is to have content that sets you apart from the competition.
Our first challenge: Which content is worth your time and effort and which doesn’t really matter?
Two of our top performers are location pages and blog posts.
People often overlook the value of the stark differences between the two. They are not the same, and you want to use both for their unique benefits
- Location page: Informative and enduring content about the area, including background information, top destinations, activities, points of interest, and popular neighborhoods – anything that shows you as an authority on that area.
- Blog posts: Unlike job page content, blog posts need to be specific, timely, and relevant. Write for the audience you want to sell to. Show your audience that you are the local authority on what’s happening in the area and what hot topics matter. Provide immediate value to locals and visitors alike.
Most real estate website location pages are simply automated listings for that area, just like every other location page on every other real estate website. You can do better.
Creating outstanding location pages
A great location page offers evergreen valuable information about an area. You are selling the community here, not just a home.
Add demographics, area schools, amenities, cultural opportunities, and anything else people searching in the area might be interested in.
Let them know if it’s urban or rural and speak to the unique personality of the city or community. What distinguishes this place from the others?
Position pages offer you the opportunity to become an authority in that area.
This helps build trust with your audience when it’s time to choose their location and move forward with buying a home (or whatever service you’re providing in the area).
It also prevents them from leaving your site to find that information elsewhere.
Helping your buyers narrow down where they want and don’t want to live saves you time when getting ready to show them properties.
Bonus benefit: You can also link to your blog posts that focus on information pages about a specific area to provide added value for site visitors.
Write great blog posts
Great blog posts work well in search and site traffic/conversion aids.
We’ve found value in creating content digests before creating new content to ensure we’re sticking to our original goals for the content and cover all of our bases.
Look at location-based queries in Search Console and use that data to map out a blog content strategy.
We’ve seen success with « best of » and « top » lists for neighborhoods and communities, area guides reviewing restaurants or entertainment area businesses, and timely information like festivals and holiday events.
Make sure you use great images and current SEO best practices.
We started creating content for a blog for a client at the end of last year. Here are the results so far.
Non-branded location-based queries increased dramatically when we started ramping up local blog content. How is this relevant to their real estate business?
It is helping their audience get to know the brand, they like the content that is being offered and trust this brand as a reliable source of information in the local community.
Who do you think they’ll call when it’s time to help them find the perfect buyer for their home?
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Work with existing content
Instead of publishing a new blog post every week that will lose relevance almost immediately and end up in the blogroll graveyard, a client uses an evergreen article with an interactive local events map updated weekly for their specific city.
This appeals to everyone in the local community, further reinforcing the brand awareness, liking and trust factor.
This blog post is currently the best performing URL on their site. It ranks well, performs consistently, and has become a local authority on « things to do » for that city.
Is it leading to direct real estate conversions? NO.
But not even the first visit to your homepage, that Facebook post, or your generic ad feed.
Investments as large as real estate and many home service offerings rarely convert on the first click.
Take the time to nurture your audience and build a strong authoritative reputation in your community.
Over time, you’ll earn personal referrals from community members, bringing in much more clout with potential buyers.
Wait to build new pages
Before you freak out, I’m not saying never create new content. I’m saying you may not be ready for that yet.
If you have the website’s equivalent of an 1980s bathroom in desperate need of a makeover, new pages will help you just as much as new towels will help this bathroom.
Creating new content is a waste of time if your house is out of order. There’s no point in putting up a fancy kitchen if there’s no walkway to your front door.
Build strong and reliable journeys so that the content you create is actually accessible, usable and useful.
Make those structural repairs and make sure your existing real estate is where you want it to be. Clean up existing content on your site before worrying about new content.
Use analytics to see what works well on your site and what you can improve.
Don’t be afraid to update, edit, merge, unpublish, or remove posts or pages to make sure the content that works for you gets the attention it deserves.
This drives people crazy until rankings and traffic to their site go up. Just like staging a home, don’t be afraid to tidy up!
Update, measure, evaluate, adjust, measure, repeat
The one constant in SEO is change. Expect to adjust your site’s structure and content as things change, much like you would update or redecorate a home.
Remember the dusty blue and pink color scheme that was so hot 30 years ago? Or how it seemed almost every kitchen in America had geese as their main source of decor?
What worked in 1993 won’t work the same way in 2023.
Website content will never be « set it and forget it ». You need to continuously monitor and measure the results of your efforts.
Evaluate success, make changes, monitor and measure. This cycle will ensure success in both SERPs and conversion rates
Now, are you ready for new content
Make sure you have a plan mapped out. Create a content summary for each page or post to make sure you prioritize efficiently and leave nothing out.
- Where are the gaps?
- What can you create to add value and complement your existing work?
- Where is the competition outstripping you?
- Where do you have a competitive advantage?
You want to be wherever they are and even where they are not.
This is similar to our agency’s framework for scheduling new pages and blog posts. Create a brief description of the content that best fits your brand’s individual needs and expertise.
Adding videos to both pages and posts is a great way to increase exposure and increase conversions.
Video is a great way to get an edge over your competition. This is not where you want to go cheap and cut corners.
Don’t forget to stay top of mind for your past customers.
Only 53% of home sellers have used the same agent to buy their next home after a previous sale, according to the National Association of Realtors.
The biggest gap?
Aging demographics walk away from their agents, not realizing they can still provide great service remotely.
Stay connected and foster strong relationships using email marketing, a great CRM and social media to stay first with your customers.
Get multiple benefits from your content by repurposing it for blog posts, emails, and social profiles.
What Not Do
Don’t rely too much on AI. Let AI tools assist you in creating content, but don’t hand them the keys.
Remember, AI is only as smart as the information you feed it. ChatGPT and other AI platforms are not always accurate.
We have seen cases where ChatGPT completely fabricated information to fill in the blanks in queries.
Always verify information before posting it. Be sure to remove incorrect verbiage, inaccurate information, or anything else that isn’t helpful to your audience.
Remember, your competitors are being fed the same information. What you do with this information is where you will stand out or fall behind.
The views expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff writers are listed here.