When you’re in the real estate industry, community pages are one of the most solid blocks you can add to your website’s foundation for local marketing. Community pages are important for a number of reasons, including ranking authority, viewer information, and above all, lead generation. By following the steps below, you can systematically create high-value content that will earn respect and authority in search engines and with your prospects.
It’s All About the Google Juice
Yes, customer satisfaction is key, and educating your viewers gains trust. But the way to attract viewers to your website is with local marketing efforts that are attractive not only to your viewers, but to search engines like Google. Google builds trust based on website authority.
Google has embraced technology and the Internet to create dynamic relationships between your website and your website visitors. The more times a viewer visits your website, the more likely they are to find your website again through Google. Google estimates that if a viewer liked your website content one time, they’re more likely to appreciate it again for additional search criteria. For example, if a viewer types Las Vegas into a search engine and finds your content about the city of Las Vegas, you gain trust in the all-seeing eye of Google. When that same viewer types in Summerlin in Las Vegas and visits your site a second time, you gain another point. Google begins to recognize that the visitor finds value in your local marketing content, and then offers your content first to that viewer. Google has deemed your website as an authoritative source for that viewer. In the realm of SEO (Search Engine Optimization), this is pure gold.
The longer amount of time a viewer spends on your website, the more authority you gain. Additionally, the more actions a viewer takes on your website, the more trust you build. You’re engaging the viewer with your local marketing, and you’re also building relationships with the search engines through authority.
The goal, then, is to provide a continuous stream of valuable content pertaining to your service area. It has been proven that Google recognizes and appreciates long-form content, meaning pieces ranging from 1,500-2,000 words, but community pages and hyperlocal pieces can be short, sweet, punchy, and to the point, coming it at around 300-500 words each.
So you’ve identified that you need authority, and that you need valuable local marketing content to build that trust, but what content should you be producing?
Let’s Talk Real Estate
IDX widgets are a fundamental inclusion in real estate pages for local marketing. You must have an IDX widget. After all, what’s the point in creating community pages if you’re not showing houses, right?
While it’s true that you may use IDX providers to display available houses in your area on your website, the search engines crave more, as do your viewers. A pretty carousel or table of homes for sale aren’t enough to generate high-quality leads, or high-ranking authority.
To build authority with viewers and search engines, and to generate lucrative leads, your content should be focused on the areas for which you provide service.
By identifying your primary areas of service, you define your community. Your local marketing content will highlight features in your community, one layer at a time. And we’re talking about layers and layers of content, so you need a plan.
What do you write about first? How do you avoid being sucked into the Bermuda Triangle of content creation? To construct a solid plan that will get you safely through your content marketing strategies, you need to understand the hierarchy of community pages.
And don’t worry too much about the actual writing of the content just yet. How to write isn’t as important at this stage of the game as what you write about. Identifying your topics is the first step.
The Hierarchy of Local Marketing with Community Pages
The hierarchy is imperative to follow for a few good reasons. First, it’ll keep you on track so you don’t get lost in content marketing’s black hole or get tangled in your own word-web. Second, you’re creating a network of content that you will be connecting through links, guiding viewers deeper and deeper into your website. Here, you’re developing a content marketing strategy – a map with a plan that will guide you from zero to hero with your content creation.
Start with your county, or counties – or, in some cases, your parish. Dig up whatever information you can find on the history of your county or counties. Open a Google search and type in “History of” and then enter the name of the county and of your state. For example, a Google search for “History of Clark County Nevada” produced a plethora of results from which you could extract interesting or useful information. Don’t write the actual content yet – just start building your outline so you get the big picture.
Next, identify the cities within the county or counties you serve. For example, Clark County Nevada encompasses the cities of Boulder City, Henderson, Las Vegas, North Las Vegas, and Mesquite. Each of those cities then become a topic.
Once you’ve identified the cities within the county, the following layer is comprised of communities within each city. This is made easier in cities that feature master-planned communities. Las Vegas has several master-planned communities, such as Spanish Trails and Summerlin. Each community then becomes another topic about which you’ll write. So your outline is beginning to look like this:
You’ll produce one piece of content for each county, one for each city in the county or counties you serve, and then one for each community within those cities. These are your stepping stones, the bricks that you’ll lay upon which everything else will be built. Once you have your community pages in place, the content creation doesn’t stop. Beyond community pages, your content becomes hyperlocal and drills down to zip codes, school zones, local resources, and venues. But for now, focus on the county, city, and community structure.
The Key to Unlocking Keyword Magic
Keywords are the bread and butter of content marketing. Although you don’t want to be caught “keyword-stuffing” your content, you do need to include relevant keywords in your title, text, and content descriptions (metadata).
To determine which keywords are most likely to work for you in search engine results, there’s a tool called Google Keyword Planner. The service is free, but you do need to have a Google Adwords Account in order to use the planner.
Within the Google Keyword Planner, you define your product or service, your area of service, and your criteria for keywords, such as over 200 searches a month in your area for that keyword. You also want to select keywords with low competition.
Use the Google Keyword Planner to find the best keywords for your counties, cities, and communities, and have those outlined before you write (or have written) your content.
Pictures Don’t Need a Thousand Words
Content is more than words. Content includes words, images, videos and any form of media information your viewers will be extracting from your website. Include at least one picture or a video in each piece of content you create (or have created). If your content is long or broken into segments, consider more than one image, or a combination of images and video. Images and videos are eye-candy and break apart the text into digestible bites.
Using images in your posts can also foster brand recognition. When you overlay your image with your logo, you’re reenforcing who you are to the viewer. Of course, you can’t just snatch an image off of the Internet and make it your own. But you have options. Your first option is to take the pictures yourself. The second option is to hire a professional photographer to take the pictures for you. Your third option is to use a resource like shutterstock.com where you can use images with permissions from their creators.
To brand an image with your logo, you can use image editing software like Photoshop or Lightroom, or keep it simple with a resource like Canva. Canva.com is a useful tool because it includes templates for various image styles, such as social network posting, blog banners, and more. You just pick your template, upload your image, and add your logo. There are also filtering options to change the color of your logo to match the image you’re using. Easy-peasy.
Where Writing Comes From
You don’t have to be a skilled writer in order to create website content for local marketing. In today’s fast-paced world of delegation, outsourcing, and freelancers, it’s not difficult to find someone who can write the words for you. Of course, the cheaper option is to write it yourself, although you must factor in that time is money. When writing just isn’t in your back of tricks, delegate and outsource the word-weaving to the wordsmiths. Ballen Marketing also offers content packages.
One of the most important factors to keep in mind when shopping for content is that you want content that is unique to you. The piece of writing you publish on your website should not be a carbon copy of what’s on another website, or worse, across multitude of websites. Content that is not unique to you dilutes the content’s authority.
Grammarly.com is a resource you can use as a word processor to assist with punctuation and grammar, but it also has a convenient plagiarism checker to ensure your content or the content you’ve purchased isn’t stepping on anyone’s copyright protected toes.
Another important consideration to remember is fair housing laws. When you hire freelance writers or ghost writing services, you must specify that they do not write about age, race, gender, religion, income, or other information that doesn’t align with the law. Proof-read carefully.
Connecting the Dots with Links
Connecting your content with links is imperative in content creation. Remember your goals: provide valuable information for your viewer, engage the viewer for longer periods of time with more action, and build authority with search engines to generate links. In short, keep the viewer on your website for as long as you can by giving them plenty of options.
When you write about the county first, you can then link the county name in any content you’ve created about cities. For example, “Las Vegas is a city in Clark County”. Clark County becomes a link that can lead the viewer to more information about the county housing the city.
When you write about a community, the city becomes a link. For example, “Summerlin is a master-planned community in the city of Las Vegas”. Las Vegas becomes the link.
When you write about a park in Summerlin (hyperlocal blogging), Summerlin becomes the link.
Not only are you creating opportunities for local marketing online, but you’re also creating a trail of bread crumbs your viewer can follow deeper and deeper into your word-woven web offerings.
Being in the real estate industry, you have an advantage in content marketing strategies. By being able to create local marketing opportunities through hyperlocal valuable content will keep your viewers and the search engines coming back for more. You’ll not only gain the trust and authority of viewers and search engines, but will also begin to establish yourself as an expert in your field and in your location. Oh, and let’s not forget leads! Content marketing and building does not need to be difficult, but it does need to be strategic and consistent. In the case of real estate, it all begins with community pages.