One of the most common topics I see in real estate forums concerns Search Engine Optimization (SEO) for realtor websites. It is of course true that SEO is important to any business seeking an online presence for the basic purpose of being found. Sadly, I detect in these discussions that “being found” through perfect real estate SEO is the digital equivalent of a yellow pages ad in the real estate section that is bigger than all of your competitors.
The thing is, many of your potential clients are doing their pre-buy/sell research (usually online) well-before they get in touch with an agent. You want to begin interacting with these future clients as quickly as possible. And that is where the real estate blog significantly outperforms the corporate website.
Realtor Blog vs the Real Estate Corporate Website
I know many of you will have a blog attached to a corporate website and so may wonder, What’s the difference? I cover this in a different post AND why a blog should be detached from your corporate website, but for the purpose of this post will focus on why you should focus your SEO efforts on your blog.
But we do need to clear up one thing: yes, blogs are technically websites too, but in practice it all comes down to understanding the different purposes and different user expectations of each online medium.
- Your corporate website is the place for professional branding and selling of your services as realtor. In this sense it act in a similar way to traditional advertising (like Yellow Pages) but with much more scope to include things like testimonials and, of course, property listings. Here, visitors to your site will expect to see what you can do, what sort of track record you have, etc.
- Your real estate blog is where you engage with people while answering their questions or solve their problems. As I mentioned, prospective buyers and sellers will often begin their buy/sell process well before they pick up the phone to arrange a listing presentation. They will see a detached, third-party blog to be more trustworthy and expect it to be (mostly) free from blatant self-promotion.
So your SEO efforts need to be directed at answering as many of the questions prospective buyers and sellers may have and optimize your answers so they are found. When done well you begin to build credibility, trust and expert status. Make your blog genuinely helpful and relevant and you name will be front of mind. This idea is nicely summed up by Eric Hempler, Minnesota Realtor/Blogger who wrote in a guest blog:
The biggest thing I think a blog does is build credibility. A Realtor website alone is just a resume and it doesn’t tell the reader you know and understand market conditions. The advice articles you write on your blog along with your Real Estate experiences dive home the fact you’re a Real Estate Expert and can provide unparalleled advice.
Also, if done well, your blog will then direct enquiries to you. You can bet that before considering your as a selling agent, any prospective client has also done the step of checking out your website where you have the more explicit promotion of your professional services.
For a great example of all this it is worth visiting Jim Duncan’s RealCentralVA Blog which has a great mixture of real estate and community-related information. You will also see that this well-constructed blog has many ways for visitors to then take the next step to get in touch with Jim for his services as a realtor.
Do you know of any other blogs that 1. provide meaningful and genuine advice and information to people in the real estate market; and 2. are detached from a corporate real estate website?
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