So what makes a good real estate website? As an agent looking to attract new business, posting plenty of useful property information such as the square footage, school districts, association fees, the number of bedrooms, bathrooms, and of course the pricing statistics certainly satisfies the basic needs of a real estate page, but does it accomplish its main purpose of reeling in new clients?
To bulk up the site for users, you may even add lots of images, tidbits about the neighborhood or community, and some background information about your real estate business. But to your surprise, what makes a great site for consumers and what makes a great site in terms of page ranking on the major search engines are two completely different things.
Sure, having a simple, user-friendly property search, some basic content relating to the real estate industry and a few professional-looking photographs is a nice touch for page viewers in the market for a new home, but if these very same homebuyers are unable to find your site during a simple Google search, what purpose does it really have besides acting as a glorified business card?
In order for your real estate website to start attracting a high-volume of traffic and producing quality leads that eventually generate more home sales, strategically combining the features that cater to both the home buyers and the major search engines should be your main objective when trying to reach the ultimate goal of boosting your overall revenue. In fact, some of the same optimization strategies that will improve your search engine ranking will actually coincide nicely with the usability your site has towards not only attracting potential clients, but keeping these clients on the site once they’ve found it.
For example, to understand what a website is selling or reporting, viewers need to be able to read the text and content that is provided on each page. Well, in order for a search engine to return your website in a basic search result, the search engine must be able to read the site’s text in the same way we do. So what’s one of the best ways to get your site noticed by these search engines? It’s simple--add more pages and add more content. The more index-able pages your site has available, the more text Google has to search and understand the relevance of your site in relation to what’s being searched. Similarly, the more pages and information your site has, the more likely viewers will stay on your page or contact you directly; rather than continuing to look for the information they are seeking and stumble upon a competitor’s site.
However, before you run off and start writing content until your eyes blur, understand that content is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to search engine optimization. Making sure the content you write has applicable context will clearly work to your advantage, but to adequately optimize your size, it’s going to take time, patience, and complete dedication on your part. Writing page content is a perfect start towards getting your site to rank, but if you’re serious about using your site as a true lead generator, you better be in it for the long haul and avoid cutting the many corners some web “experts” may suggest.
Joe Heath is a graduate of Indiana University and possesses a Graduate Certificate in Real Estate Development from Drexel University. After working in the market research sector and authoring published Market Snapshots for Hanley Wood Market Intelligence, Joe now works as a Web Marketing Specialist and co-owns Real Estate Web Creation with his partner, Ted Guarnero-a 25+ year real estate veteran.