Congratulations on your WordPress real estate website which allows you to do a laundry list of cool things – one of which is taking control of your SEO (Search Engine Optimization). If you take the time to learn SEO basics for real estate you can improve your websites ranking and it’s success. As you add content to your real estate website you will want to keep some key ideas in mind. Your main goal should be to provide great content that will benefit your visitors and will be something they want to share with others. You also want your content to appeal to the search engines so others can find you as well.
Most sites that rank well have a few things in common, plenty of ‘relevant’ content for the search engines to index, many other websites linking to them (the more popular the website, the more valuable the link), and to some degree ‘age’. Getting other people to link to you is a topic for another post. For now, we want to focus on letting you know what you can do on your site to improve your ranking odds.
What Search Engines Look At
Lets take a quick look at what search engines like Google will be primarily looking at on your website.
Title and Meta Description
- The official ‘Title’ of your page. Does the Title include the keyword phrase you are trying to rank for?
- The Meta Description of your page. This is found in the html code and is what shows under the Title of your website on the search engine result pages. Does your description include the phrase you are trying to rank for?
- Meta keywords. Although, this is thought to be of little value to search engines. Some believe meta keywords are not used at all in ranking a page.
- Content. Does the content support the claim that your Title makes about what can be found on this page? Is there just a brief amount of copy or does the page contain significant content about your subject?
- Links. Are links on your pages descriptive of what can be found on your site?
Above is can example of a website page and how it appears organically in Google’s search results. The Title and Meta Description are important since this what Google will display to the public.
The Title (50 characters or so) is what people see first when scanning the search engine result pages, so you want this to grab their attention and make them want to click through to your site. For more detailed information about writing effective page titles, we recommend checking out this article from the company that developed the popular Yoast SEO plugin we use on our sites, Crafting good titles for SEO.
Just under the title is your meta description (140 characters or so). The meta description should be a more detailed explanation of what can be found on your page as this will be the second thing visitors look at if they are not convinced by your title or any other title they see. Be sure to check out this article for detailed information about writing effective meta descriptions: How to create the right meta description.
Above is an example of an neighborhood profile page containing a strong Title, detailed neighborhood description and related keyword links to other pages of the site.
Method for Writing a Page or Post
When writing a page or post for your site, be sure to keep these items in mind each time. Make this process a habit and continue to focus on strong Titles and keywords.
- Determine what keyword phrases you anticipate people will use when searching for sites like yours i.e. Truckee real estate. Keep the phrase short and specific to what you want to rank for, but not too specific so that no one ever enters that phrase. Don’t hurry through this step, take the time to pick the best phrases. Use different pages, such as Neighborhood profile pages, to target more specific keyword phrases i.e. Old Greenwood cabins. To help research this consider using Google Adwords Keyword Tool and / or SEO Book’s keyword suggestion tool. Take some time to read How to Write Neighborhood Profiles for tips on how to create well developed, keyword rich pages that are invaluable for your visitors.
- Include the keyword phrase you wish to be found for in the Title of your page / post. By default, your WordPress website will display the Title of your page / post in the Title bar of the browser.
- Include your keyword phrase in the meta description of your page. By default, WordPress doesn’t give you a way to edit the description on your site. For this reason, all of the sites we build contain the All in one SEO plugin. When you edit any post or page on your site, you will find a section titled “All in one SEO Pack” near the bottom. In that section you can override / customize the Title, Description and Keywords for that page.Above is an example of the WordPress backend and the All in one SEO plugin where the Title, Description, Keywords are entered. Just above the form fields it shows you how it will display to the public on the search engines.
- Include the keyword phrase in the body of your page. Try to write about 300 words in each post, more if possible. This gives search engines more copy to help rank your page / post and the longer the copy the more you come across as an authority on the subject. Include your keywords at least 2-3 times on the page (but don’t overdo this and don’t make it look forced). For a great explanation on how this works, be sure to read this article “SEM Bootcamp: How Search Engines See Keywords“.
- When linking to other pages on your site use keyword phrases in your link text. For example, if you are writing about the real estate market in Truckee and wanted to link to an existing page on your site about Truckee lots for sale – create a link to your lots page using the keyword phrase Truckee lots for sale rather than …. for Truckee lots for sale click here. Don’t overdo this, keep your links to 2-3 per post.
Above is an example of your WordPress website backend and the All in one SEO plugin where the Title, Description, Keywords are entered for your page or post. Just above the form fields it shows you how it will display to the public on the search engines.
You will want to keep in mind these real estate SEO basics as you add valuable, keyword rich content to your site. Your primary focus should be on writing real estate content that visitors will find useful, informative, keep them coming back for and/or referring to their friends. To get you a jump start on ideas on what to write about visit our article Real Estate Blog Ideas – Your Resource Guide. By providing great content with the right keywords means search engine rankings should improve naturally over time and more visitors your website.
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- Google’s Webmaster Guidelines – Google explains the basics of what they are looking for and what you should avoid.
- Google’s SEO Starter Guide – Google has done a nice job of explaining the basic best practices of on-site optimization. Since this is published by Google themselves, it will help give you peace of mind that these are acceptable things you should do. Be sure to download and read the “Search Engine Optimization Starter Guide” found on their SEO Starter Guide page.
- Google’s Search Quality Rating Guidelines – Google’s official documentation which details their “human rating guidelines” to help webmasters understand what they are looking for in web pages.
- SEO 101 by Website Helpers – This goes over the basics of search engine optimization then discusses in more detail. The table of contents is located on the left side of the page so you can easily jump to the section you are most interested in if you don’t want to read it all.
- Search Engine Ranking Factors – Several search engine optimization professionals discuss their opinion regarding the effectiveness of over 50 different criteria that search engines consider.
- Anatomy of an SEO Audit – This article will help you understand what a reputable SEO company should be looking at when they review your website.