Why Blog on my Real Estate Agent Website?
Quality, focused, value centric blogging does very well on the search engines, on social media, and for generating web leads. We know based on data that people search looking for answers on how to do something including buying or selling a house. Article style blogs that answer these questions, provide steps and insight into the process can be great traffic drivers and sources of leads.
Let’s take our analytics tool: Clicky [lesson] and take a look at our top visited pages for the past 28 days.
- Buying a Home in Las Vegas is a blog about the home buying process
- 2nd one on the list is an IDX widget page with no article [Lesson]
- 3rd is Things to do in Las Vegas for Easter (hunts) – This is a blog post.
- 4th is a blog post about real estate taxes
- 5th is a hyperlocal blog post on what to do for Mother’s day [lesson]
- 6th is another blog post on what Credit Score is needed to buy a house.
- 7th is about closing costs when selling a house, another blog.
What we learn from this evidence is that blogs are driving a significant amount of traffic to this website. When done properly, yours could do the same.
What to blog About
As seen in the top example, questions specifically about the buyer and seller process are some of the best. You can get ideas for this by writing down the questions your buyers and sellers (and leads) ask you when you are working with them. Every question, you are ever asked, is blog content. Also shown in the example above is hyperlocal content. Hyperlocal content may not drive in customers that want to buy real estate today. Instead, hyperlocal content creates a relationship between that visitor and your website. This may help you later when that web visitors becomes a real estate shopper and does a search on Google. Because that buyer or seller was on your website before, Google may then return your webpage on the SERP (Search Engine Results Page) in a higher position because of it. The key with hyperlocal is to begin making offers and building a list so you can start “farming” these locals with your emails, facebook ads, direct mail and so forth.
My suggestion is if time and money is a challenge, start with real estate articles. Add in hyperlocal once you are ranking for real estate terms. You don’t want Google thinking you are Wikipedia. You want Google to realize your website is about real estate first.
Blog Topics you can Write About
- Things to do
- The transportation
- Average Temperatures
- Things to do on a date (Valentines Day)
- Best places to see holiday lights (Christmas)
- Free things to Do
- Best Restaurants
- Best places to get Pizza
- Best Happy Hours
- Day Trips (short drives to fun excursions)
- School Supplies List
- School Football Schedules (these make great offers as well)
- Local Haunts
- Spring Egg Hunts (Easter)
- Best Pumpkin Patches (November)
- Best Haunted Houses for Halloween
- Famous People that Live Here
- What you probably never knew about living in X
- Best Local Mechanics
- Home Safety Tips
- What is Escrow
- How to sell a house in 10 days
- When is the best time to sell a house
- Things to do with Kids
- Getting Married in X
- Things to do this weekend
- Cool Things to Do
- Exciting Things to Do
- Things to Do at Home on a Rainy Day in X
- Cheap things to do
- Things to do in Summer
- Things to do with toddlers
- Random things to do (these should be super local and fun. Only things local really know)
- Things to do on your birthday in X (Local specials should be added)
- Things to do with your boyfriend (Yes seriously – 12,100 people a month search this term. See Examples)
- Things to do in the City
- Crazy things to do (Think of skydiving and dangerous activities)
- Things to do at night
- Romantic things to do (Valentines / April make good seasons for this)
- Visiting X (This should be from the standpoint of Tourism)
- Best Places to See Movies
- Best Dog Hotel
- Bathroom Ideas (Popular search terms. Use sites that give you embed permissions for images like Houzz)
- Moving? 10 Things to do before you pack
- Real Estate for Beginners – 5 Things you may not have thought of yet
- Declutter your life with these 9 steps
- The first time homes buyers comprehensive guide to mortgage (Think 2000 + words on this one for sure)
- 101 Real Estate Terms you should know when buying and selling a house
- Are your neighbors affecting your home sale?
- Why didn’t my house sell the first time?
How to Blog
First, decide how long you would like your blog post to be. Typically, you’ll want to go with 1000 words + on competitive topics. It’s not really about the word count as much as it is how deep you can go into the subject. The deeper you go, the more words that will typically create.
Research shows us that most blog posts that rank on the first page of the SERP (Search Engine Results Page) are over 1000 words (pushing 2000 frequently). Using SEMrush and it’s SEO content template [Lesson], you can do advanced research and measure the top 10 competitors to see how many words they average and what they have written about. If your topic is not very competitive, and it’s hard to cover too much information, less words will be required.
Always ask yourself: “If I wanted to learn more about (topic), what else would I want to know. In addition, you can use Google’s suggestions tools in the search bar, suggestions at the bottom of the page, and in their “people also ask” sections to add more ideas to your piece.
Once you have your project “size” and topic, begin by creating an on page outline. You are now going to create the paragraph topics which will build up your page. Don’t decide how long each paragraph will be just yet. Only create the paragraph titles. Add as many as you can think of that would apply to that particular blog post. If they are too “niche” focused, you may want to save them for another blog post and then link back to this one later. As you dive in through more of our Ballen Method Lessons, you’ll learn more about that internal linking strategy and why we do it.
Each of your paragraph headings should be a Heading Tag. H2 is probably the right tag. If you are using a WYSIWYG editor, like we see in WordPress (What You See Is What You Get), you will probably see a drop down option in your dashboard to pull down a heading. Simply highlight the title of your paragraph and then drop down to the Heading 2 tag. Your title should now be larger and bolder.
Here is an example of an H2
Once you have all of your paragraph headings, divide you estimated word count by these paragraphs. If you want 1000 words and you have 5 paragraph topics, that will be 200 words for each paragraph. Now you can take them in small “bites” to get them done. If you want to be creative, you can put each one on video.
Break up each paragraph with items like dividers, notes, boxes, and buttons. Check out the cool features provided by Shortcodes Ultimate, a free WordPress Plugin [Lesson] for some of these items at your fingertips. It’s free by the way. We love free!
Add a Video
Add a Video wherever you can. It increases time on site which is a positive signal to Google. If it’s a good video, it will create a better user experience. The video doesn’t have to be yours. Go to Youtube and type a search in the bar that matches your content. Find a video that is not done by a competing real estate agent. Often you can find some done by mortgage, or news channels, or home improvement websites and so forth.
Once you find the video you like, click share, then embed, then more. Only check the show player controls box. Uncheck the others. Choose the size that works well on your website.
Categories and Tags
You’ll want to consider carefully, your use of Categories and tags if you are building on WordPress. Your category should be the primary topic, the top tier such as “selling a house”, “buying a house”, “Living in X” and so on. Then, you’ll use tags to better define your content. People will use your search bar on your website to search for topics. These categories and tags can help them find what they are searching for. Keep your categories more simple like the headings in your outline. Then add tags. You will have one category while you could have mutiple tags.
Example: What it Escrow? Category: buying a house Tags: Escrow, Title
Example: How long does it take to close on a house: Category: buying a house Tags: None
Example: The best pizza places in Vegas: Category: Best of Vegas Tags: Restaurants
If you do this well, your categories and tags can rank well on the search engines on their own. When someone clicks it, it will pull a list of all of your articles in that category or with that tag.
Don’t go overboard by stuffing in what you believe to be keywords related to your topic. If it gets heavy and spammy, Google will take notice. And not in a good way. Only use tags you will use more than once and that are very relative to the blog topic.
There is a ZERO position on Google. This position is awarded to the webpage that earns the featured snippet. These featured snippet’s are chosen typically from position 1-10 search engine ranked web pages that have either tables, lists, or answer a question. When you create these heading tags with paragraphs and they appear to be “steps” in a process or a list, Google may award your page the zero position [Lesson]
Your Featured Image
Your featured image is very important. This is the image that gets posted to social media and Google Images and pinterest. It should be clear, compelling and articulate what your blog is about. You’ll want to take your own photos or use copyright free stock art. Shutterstock is expensive, but it’s got a wide selection of both photo and video footage. The size we download from Shutterstock at Ballen Brands is Medium | 1000 px x 563 px | 3.3″ x 1.9″ @ 300 dpi
I wrote the Blog, Now what?
Share it on Social, Run it as a Facebook Ad, Email it to your clients, whatever is relative. The key now is to get traffic to it as quickly as possible. Traffic will send a positive signal to Google. Share it more than once. Set yourself a calendar or consider a tool that will auto share it for you to social. If it’s not content that will expire, schedule it to post once a month for a year, or once a week at all different times and days. Don’t let your content go stale. When you feel like it, add more content to the blog if there is more to add. When you do that, change the published date in the side column and share it again
Track your results to see if you are ranking on the search engines [lesson] on SEMrush, or by using your Google Search Console [Lesson]. Remember, searching for a phrase on your own computer on Google will result in artifical rankings based on the fact that Google knows who you are and where you are. You’ll want to search Google from a browser you have not used before if you want to do this manually.