Ultimate SEO guide to promote your profile, master your market



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Don’t miss all the SEO tips in part one of this series: Outdo the competition with this ultimate SEO guide

Welcome back! If you haven’t already, be sure to check out part one of this SEO guide to gain a comprehensive understanding of how SEO can propel your website to new heights. In that story, we talked about the basics of SEO, content and page performance.

Now, buckle up as we embark on a journey through the essential elements of backlinks and on-page optimization that will empower you to transform your website into a search engine magnet.

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Backlinks: Your website’s key to search engine success

Imagine backlinks as virtual “votes of confidence” from other websites. The more high-quality websites that link to yours, the more Google sees you as a credible source of information in the real estate market. This translates to higher search rankings and more visibility. So, let’s dive in.

What are backlinks? Simply put, a backlink is a link from one website to another. Think of it like this: if a well-respected real estate site like Inman News features an article and includes a link to your site as a resource, that’s a backlink in action.

Backlinks act as pathways for search engines to discover your website more efficiently. This enhanced discoverability not only boosts your website’s visibility but also drives organic traffic as users click through to explore your offerings.

Building a robust backlink profile doesn’t have to be complex. Below are five practical ideas and strategies that you can implement to earn valuable backlinks without requiring extensive SEO expertise. 

  1. Become a trusted source with HARO: Become a go-to expert for journalists and get valuable backlinks for your website by signing up for the free service Help a Reporter Out (HARO) Keep an eye out for HARO requests related to real estate trends, homebuying advice, or insights into your local market. When you see a relevant opportunity, respond quickly with helpful quotes and information. Publications often include links back to the experts they feature, earning you those powerful backlinks.
  2. Seek guest appearances on podcasts. Search online for podcasts in the industry and your community. By participating as a guest on relevant podcasts, you have the opportunity to secure a backlink in the podcast notes.
  3. Write testimonials and turn your positive experiences into backlink opportunities. If you use a product or service within the real estate industry, reach out to the company and offer to write a testimonial. I’ve worked for several companies that would prominently feature testimonials on their websites. In exchange for your testimonial, ask them to include a link back to your website. 
  4. Create eye-catching “linkable assets”: Become the go-to source for in-depth neighborhood guides. Go beyond basic listings and include demographics, local attractions, and school information. Tap into your market expertise and create shareable reports with eye-catching charts or infographics. Ease the path for first-time homebuyers with downloadable checklists that simplify the process. To get the most out of these “linkable assets,” promote them widely on social media, local business websites, and in your email newsletters.
  5. Find websites that might like to include your resources and guides on their sites. Focus on websites that provide valuable information for home buyers and sellers. Remember, a backlink from a trusted, relevant source is far more valuable than one from an obscure, low-quality website. When you find a site you’re interested in, reach out to the page owner, highlighting how your content can add unique value to their website … Some examples:
  • Local organizations offering first-time homebuyer programs
  • Local government agencies
  • Chamber of Commerce sites
  • Community-focused blogs
  • Your mortgage and title partners

Mastering on-page SEO for higher rankings

Have you ever published a brilliant blog post only to see it languishing in the depths of search engine results? The world needs to see your amazing content. That’s where on-page SEO comes in. Unlike off-page SEO, which focuses on external factors, on-page SEO is all about optimizing the elements within your website to signal its value to search engines and human visitors alike.

PART 1: OUTDO THE COMPETITION WITH THIS ULTIMATE SEO GUIDE

By strategically optimizing your webpages, you can give them the power to climb the search engine rankings ladder and attract a flood of organic traffic. Let’s dive into the steps you can take to transform your website into an on-page SEO powerhouse.

Unearthing your keywords

The world of real estate is all about location, location, location, and the same principle applies to keywords. In the competitive online landscape, identifying the right keywords is crucial for attracting potential buyers and sellers to your website. By targeting the search terms people in your area are using, you can ensure your content ranks high in search results, driving valuable traffic your way.

One of the biggest mistakes real estate agents make is overlooking the power of location-specific keywords. People aren’t just searching for “houses for sale;” they’re searching for “houses for sale in [your city]”. When conducting keyword research, always incorporate geographic terms. For example, some high-performing keywords for a real estate agent in Denver might include:

  • “homes for sale in Denver”
  • “Best Denver neighborhoods for first-time homebuyers”
  • “Denver condos for empty nesters”

There are several free and paid tools available to help you unearth valuable keywords. Here are a few popular options:

Google Keyword Planner: A free tool from Google that provides search volume data and suggests related keywords.

AnswerThePublic: A social listening and keyword research tool that can help you find data on what consumers are searching for.

Ahrefs & SEMrush: Paid SEO tools with comprehensive keyword research features.

Beyond Search Volume: Understanding User Intent

Simply focusing on keywords with high search volume isn’t enough. You also need to consider user intent — the goal behind a search query. Someone searching for “Denver open houses” is likely in the early stages of browsing, while someone searching for “Denver mortgage pre-approval” is nearing the buying stage. By understanding user intent, you can create targeted content that caters to their specific needs.

Content: Your website’s SEO lifeline – A roadmap to optimization

Content is the beating heart of your website – it provides valuable information to your audience and gives search engines the context they need to understand your site’s purpose and relevance. Great content isn’t just about attracting visitors; it’s about keeping them engaged, encouraging repeat visits, and ultimately boosting your search engine rankings.

The more valuable and well-structured your content, the more Google and other search engines will recognize your site as a reliable source of information, leading to higher visibility in search results. 

Here’s your roadmap to optimizing it for on-page SEO:

  1. Keyword infusion: Strategically weave relevant keywords throughout your headings, subheadings, and body text. Don’t overdo it – aim for a natural flow that feels organic to readers.
  2. Structured storytelling: Organize your content using a clear hierarchy of headings (H1, H2, H3, H4) to create a logical flow and make it easy for both users and search engines to digest your message.
  3. Visual appeal: A picture is worth a thousand words, and on the web, visuals like images and videos can be worth even more. Use relevant visuals to enhance your content and keep readers engaged.
  4. Impeccable presentation: Proofread meticulously. Ensure your content is free of spelling and grammar errors, as even minor mistakes can undermine your credibility.
  5. Trustworthiness: Build trust with your audience by providing accurate, well-researched information. Back up claims with data and cite reputable sources.
  6. Freshness: Don’t let your website gather cobwebs. Regularly publish new content like blog posts, articles, or landing pages to show search engines that your site is active and relevant.
  7. Duplicate content detox: Search engines frown upon duplicate content. Identify and remove any instances of duplicate content on your site to avoid penalties and maintain a healthy SEO profile.

By following this roadmap, you can transform your content into an SEO powerhouse that attracts, engages, and converts visitors. Remember, on-page SEO is an ongoing process, so keep refining your content and strategies to stay ahead of the curve.

Headings are your content’s GPS

Think of your headings as signposts on a winding road. They guide your readers through your content, helping them navigate the terrain and find the information they seek. Not only that, but well-structured headings also give search engines a clear understanding of your content’s hierarchy, which is essential for boosting your SEO.

Create a content hierarchy

The key to effective heading usage is to create a logical hierarchy, just like an outline for a report. Here’s how it works:

  • H1 tag: This is the main title of your page and should only be used once. Think of it as the grand entrance to your content castle.
  • H2 tags: These are your main subheadings. They break your content into digestible sections and highlight key topics.
  • H3 tags (and Beyond): These are sub-subheadings that provide even further detail and structure within your H2 sections. You can use H4, H5, and H6 tags as needed for additional levels of hierarchy.

Protip: In WordPress, your page title automatically becomes an H1 tag. You can choose to keep your H1 and title tag identical or slightly vary them. Just remember that search engines display the title tag in search results, not the H1.

Crafting click-worthy titles and descriptions

The title tag — often an unassuming line of text – plays a surprisingly powerful role in your real estate website’s SEO success. It appears as the clickable headline in search engine results pages (SERPs), in browser tabs, and when the page is shared on social media. It’s the headline searchers will read, to decide whether or not your site is what they are searching for. 

A well-crafted title tag isn’t just a random string of words; it’s a strategic combination of elements designed to entice, inform, and improve your SEO.

Here’s how to craft a title tag:

  • Keyword placement: Your target keyword should appear near the beginning of your title tag. This signals relevance to search engines and users alike.
  • Concise and compelling: Keep your title tag under 60 characters to ensure it displays fully in search results. Use strong verbs and vivid language to create an intriguing headline that entices clicks.
  • 60 characters or fewer: Make sure to keep your title tag to 60 characters or less.
  • Reflect content accurately: Your title tag should accurately reflect the content of your page. Misleading titles will lead to high bounce rates and unhappy visitors.
  • Differentiate: Stand out from the crowd. Analyze your competitors’ title tags and aim to create something unique and memorable.

Example:

Let’s say your target keyword is “luxury condos in Miami.” A compelling title tag might be: “Luxury Condos in Miami: Your Waterfront Oasis Awaits | [Your Website Name]”.

Meta description: A meta description is a brief snippet of text that summarizes the content of a webpage. It’s like a miniature advertisement for your page, appearing below the title tag in search engine results pages (SERPs).

While meta descriptions don’t directly affect your website’s ranking, they play a crucial role in attracting clicks. A well-crafted meta description can pique users’ interest and entice them to click on your link, increasing traffic to your website.

Here’s how to write a meta description that steals the show:

  • Summarize the content: Briefly describe what your page is about.
  • Highlight benefits: Tell users what they’ll gain by visiting your page. Will they find valuable information? Exclusive deals?
  • Include a call to action (CTA): Encourage users to take the next step, whether it’s “Learn More,” “Contact Us,” or “Browse Listings.”
  • Incorporate keywords: While not as critical as in the title tag, including relevant keywords can still be beneficial.
  • 160 characters or fewer: Make sure to keep your meta descriptions to 160 words or less. 

Remember, your title tag and meta description are the first impressions your website makes on potential visitors. Make it a positive and memorable one.

Formatting for readability

In addition to headings, proper formatting can significantly enhance your content’s readability and SEO performance. Here are some tips:

  • Use text formatting: Bold, italicize, or underline key phrases to make them stand out.
  • Choose a readable font size: Aim for at least 14px for body text.
  • Keep paragraphs short: Three to four lines per paragraph is a good rule of thumb.
  • Add white-space: Ensure adequate spacing between paragraphs to make your content easy on the eyes.
  • Use cascading style sheets (CSS): CSS allows you to style your content consistently and create visually distinct sections.

Optimize images and multimedia

Visuals like images, infographics, and videos are more than just decorations for your web pages; they’re powerful tools for engaging your audience and boosting your SEO. However, without proper optimization, they can become roadblocks to a smooth user experience and hinder your search engine rankings.

Image types:

  • PNG: Delivers superior image quality but tends to have larger file sizes. Best for graphics and images requiring transparency.
  • JPEG: Offers a good balance between image quality and file size. Ideal for photographs and most web images.
  • WebP: This next-generation format offers smaller file sizes than JPEG and PNG without sacrificing much image quality.

Image size and filenames:

  • Size matters: Smaller image files (measured in bytes) load faster, improving user experience and SEO. Use image compression tools to reduce file size without sacrificing quality.
  • Name games: Before you upload them to your website, give your image files descriptive, keyword-rich names (e.g., “modern-kitchen-renovation.jpg”) instead of generic names like “IMG12345.jpg.” This helps search engines understand what the image is about.

Alt text: 

Alt text (alternative text) is a brief description of an image that’s displayed if the image fails to load. It also serves a crucial role in SEO:

  • Accessibility: Alt text provides context for visually impaired users who rely on screen readers to navigate the web.
  • Search engine visibility: Search engines use alt text to understand the content of images and include them in image search results.

Craft your alt text carefully, using relevant keywords and providing accurate descriptions.

Multimedia:

Don’t limit yourself to images. Videos and infographics can also captivate your audience and boost your SEO. If your target keywords often lead to video results on Google, consider incorporating relevant videos into your content.

Remember, multimedia should always be relevant and engaging. Use them to complement your written content, not just as decoration.

By optimizing your images and incorporating multimedia strategically, you’ll create a website that’s not only visually appealing but also optimized for search engine success.

Build bridges with internal links

As your website grows, it’s essential to prioritize internal linking. This helps search engine crawlers efficiently explore your site, uncover new content, and understand the context of different pages. Without internal links, valuable pages may remain hidden, leading to missed opportunities for conversions and engagement.

Not only do internal links enhance user experience, but they also play a crucial role in SEO by helping search engines understand your website’s structure and hierarchy. I wrote about a style of structure that Google loves in part 1 of this SEO series, called content clusters. But there is more that you can do to enhance your internal links below.

Strategic linking:

  • Connect the dots: Link relevant older content to newer pages and vice versa. This keeps your content fresh and helps distribute link authority throughout your site.
  • The Rule of Five: Aim to include at least five internal links on each new page, connecting them to other relevant content within your site.
  • Natural flow: Don’t force internal links. They should fit naturally within your content and enhance the reader’s experience.

Anchor text: 

Anchor text is the clickable text within a hyperlink. It’s like a signpost that tells users where the link will take them. Use descriptive anchor text that accurately reflects the content of the linked page. For example, instead of “click here,” use “learn more about on-page SEO.” This not only helps users but also signals to search engines what the linked page is about.

By strategically weaving internal links into your content, you’ll create a well-connected network of information that benefits both your users and your SEO efforts. So, start building those bridges and watch your website’s potential soar.

A continuous journey of learning and adaptation

Google’s search algorithms are constantly evolving. To stay ahead of the SEO game, you need to evolve, too. This means staying informed about the latest algorithm updates, emerging trends, and challenges in the SEO landscape.

Think of it like this: SEO is not a one-and-done task. It’s a dynamic, ever-changing field that requires continuous learning and adaptation. The more you know about Google’s algorithms and the tools at your disposal, the better equipped you’ll be to make informed decisions and keep your website ranking high.

Here are some tips for staying ahead of the curve:

  • Stay informed: Make it a habit to regularly follow industry news and updates. Subscribe to reputable SEO newsletters, blogs, and forums. 
  • Become a blog enthusiast: Many SEO experts and agencies share valuable insights and analyses on their blogs. Subscribe to these blogs to deepen your understanding of SEO best practices. One of my favorite sources is the Semrush blog.
  • Connect with experts: Follow thought leaders in the SEO space on social media platforms like Twitter and LinkedIn. Engage in discussions, ask questions, and learn from their experiences.
  • Tap into Google’s wisdom: Subscribe to the Google Search Central Blog for official announcements and insights directly from the source.

Remember, the SEO strategies that worked wonders a few years ago might not be as effective today. Google’s algorithms are constantly being refined to deliver the best possible user experience. By staying informed and adapting your strategies, you can ensure your website remains visible and relevant in the ever-evolving world of search.

Marci James is the founder of Be Inspired Digital. Connect with Marci on Linkedin and Instagram.





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