People do business with brands they know, like and trust. The larger the investment, the more important these factors are.
Building relationships and earning trust are key to earning lasting relationships with customers. Here’s how to achieve these 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 type 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 group or Twitter, 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 potential clients, actually earning those relationships? How many of them are trustworthy?
Typically, real estate (and many home service brands) websites are sources of OK content, offering generic and regurgitated information.
Users get the same property, product or service listings and calls to action as every other site in the SERP.
Real estate has always been incredibly competitive. Recent changes to interest rates and housing prices have made this even more complex.
We spend a lot of time testing campaigns at our agency to know what works and help keep our clients’ phones ringing without wasting time on strategies that don’t convert. One thing we know for sure, you need to be where your customers are.
One of the best ways to stand out and get the attention of both customers and Google is to have content that sets you apart from the competition.
Our first challenge: What content is worth your time and effort, and what doesn’t really matter?
Two of our top performers are location pages and blog posts.
People often overlook the value of the distinct differences between the two. They are not the same, and you want to utilize both for their unique benefits
- Location page: Lasting, informative content about the area, including general information, top destinations, activities, points of interest, and popular neighborhoods – anything that shows you as an authority in that area.
- Blog post: Unlike location page content, blog posts must be specific, timely, and relevant. Write for the audience you want to sell to. Show your audience that you’re the local authority on what’s happening in the area and which 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 site. You can do better.
Creating outstanding location pages
A great location page offers valuable evergreen information about an area. You’re selling the community here, not just one house.
Add demographic info, area schools, amenities, cultural opportunities, and anything else people researching the area might be interested in.
Let them know if it’s urban or rural, and talk about the town or community’s unique personality. What sets this location apart from the others?
Location pages offer you an opportunity to become an authority in that area.
This helps build trust with your audience when it is time to choose their location and move forward with purchasing a home (or whatever service you’re providing in the area).
It also keeps them from leaving your site to find that info elsewhere.
Helping your buyers narrow down where they do and do not want to live saves you time when you get ready to show them properties.
Bonus benefit: You can also link to your blog posts focused on specific area information pages to provide additional value to site visitors.
Writing great blog posts
Great blog posts do well in search and with site traffic/conversion assists.
We’ve found value in creating content briefs before creating new content to ensure we stick 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 strategy for blog content.
We’ve seen success with “best of” and “top” lists for neighborhoods and communities, area guides that review restaurants or fun area activities, and timely information like festivals and holiday events.
Make sure to utilize great images and current SEO best practices.
We started creating blog content for a client at the end of last year. Here are the results so far.
Non-branded location-based queries increased substantially when we started increasing local area blog content. How is this relevant to their real estate business?
It’s helping their audience get to know the brand, they like the content they’re being served, and they trust this brand as a reputable 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?
Get the daily newsletter search marketers rely on.
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 utilizes an evergreen article with an interactive map about local events updated weekly for their specific city.
This appeals to everyone in the local community, further building the brand’s know, like, and trust factor.
This blog post is currently the top-performing URL on their site. It ranks well, performs consistently, and has become a local authority on “things to do in” for that town.
Is it leading to direct real estate conversions? No.
But neither is the first visit to your home page, that one Facebook post, or your generic listings feed.
Investments as large as real estate and many home service offerings rarely convert on the first click.
Take time to nurture your audience and build a strong authoritative reputation in your community.
In time, you’ll earn personal referrals from community members, carrying far more weight with potential buyers.
Wait to build new pages
Before you freak out, I’m not saying don’t ever create new content. I’m saying you may not be ready for that yet.
If you have the website equivalent of a 1980s bathroom badly in need of a remodel, new pages will help you about as much as new hand towels will help this bathroom.
Creating new content is a waste of time if your house isn’t in order. There’s no point in putting an awesome kitchen in if there’s no walkway to your front door.
Build strong, reliable pathways so the content you create is actually accessible, usable, and helpful.
Make those structural repairs and ensure your existing real estate is where you want it to be. Clean up the existing content on your site before you worry about new content.
Utilize analytics to see what is performing well on your site and what you can improve upon.
Don’t be afraid to update, edit, merge, unpublish, or remove posts or pages to ensure the content that is working for you gets the attention it deserves.
This freaks people out until rankings and traffic to their site increase. Just like staging a home, don’t be afraid to declutter!
Update, measure, evaluate, adjust, measure, repeat
The only constant in SEO is change. Expect to adjust your site structure and content as things change, just as you would update or redecorate a home.
Remember the dusty blue and rose color scheme that was so hot 30 years ago? Or how it seemed like nearly every kitchen in America had geese as their primary source of decor?
What worked in 1993 will not hit the same way in 2023.
Website content will never be “set it and forget it”. You need to track and measure the results of your efforts continually.
Evaluate success, make changes, track, and measure. This cycle will ensure success both in the SERPs and in your conversion rates
Now, you’re ready for new content
Make sure you have a plan mapped out. Create a content brief for each page or post to ensure you prioritize efficiently and not leave anything out.
- Where are the gaps?
- What can you create to add value and complement your existing work?
- Where is your competition outperforming you?
- Where do you have a competitive advantage?
You want to be everywhere they are and also where they’re not.
This is similar to our agency’s framework for planning new pages and blog posts. Create a content brief outline that best suits your brand’s individual needs and skillsets.
Adding videos to both pages and posts is a great way to boost visibility and increase conversions.
Video is a great way to get an edge on the competition. This is not where you want to be cheap and cut corners.
Stay in touch
Don’t forget to stay top of mind for your past clients.
Only 53% of home sellers used the same agent to purchase their next home after a previous sale, according to the National Association of Realtors.
The biggest gap?
Aging demographics moving farther away from their agents, not realizing they can still provide great service from a distance.
Stay in touch and foster strong relationships by utilizing email marketing, a great CRM, and social media to stay top of mind with your clients.
Get multiple benefits from your content by repurposing it for blog posts, emails, and social profiles.
What not to do
Don’t lean too heavily on AI. Let AI tools assist you in content creation, but don’t hand them the keys.
Remember, AI is only as smart as the information it is fed. ChatGPT and other AI platforms are not always accurate.
We have seen instances where ChatGPT completely fabricated information to fill in the blanks on queries.
Always verify the information before you publish it. Make sure to remove erroneous verbiage, inaccurate information, or anything else that doesn’t serve your audience.
Remember, your competitors are being served the same information. What you do with this information is where you will stand out or fall behind.
Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.