Published: 25/05/2021 By Paul Bauer - Marketing & Communications ManagerOf all the questions the team here at Webdadi get asked, the one that we get most often is ‘How can I improve my website’s organic search visibility?’
It’s a question almost as old of the internet itself, too! Since the dawn of search engines, virtually anyone with a website has been looking to get their site onto the hallowed #1 spot. But when virtually everyone and their dog is jostling for that all-important top ranking on Google, what can companies do to give their site every chance of being found through organic search results, and generate the right kind of traffic they need?
Luckily, the answers as not as complex, or as mysterious as you might think! So, without further ado, let’s take a look at some really simple tips that you can implement to get your estate agent web design site ranking better on search engines.
Always Remember That Good Quality Content is King
When thinking about how to improve your website’s SEO, always keep in mind that content really is king. If you have a website with little in the way of content (other than your property listings), then it’s time to think about adding good quality content.
A simple and easy way to do this is by adding a blog feature onto your website. Having a blog that is regularly updated and features interesting and industry-specific content can not only help educate and inform your audience; but it will also give your company its own voice and, to an extent, a personality – and for start-ups entering a crowded market place, this can be really important.
For small agencies or businesses looking to make their mark, it can be incredibly difficult going from nothing to something with a new website – but a blog can provide your website with vital ‘real estate’ for search engines to ‘crawl’ and get noticed. This is because when you implement a blog page and update it regularly, you’re creating more indexed pages for your site for Google to crawl – and more pages, better chance of being spotted!
It’s also the case that if you’re producing content your readers find interesting or entertaining, they’ll likely stay on your site for longer, too. This will help improve your website’s ‘Dwell time’ – basically, how long a visitor spends on a page that they’ve clicked on via a search engine result. The longer they stay, the better as this indicates that the visitor has read all (or the majority) of your content (meaning it’s good stuff and worthy of traffic) before moving on to another search, or another area of your website.
Regularly Add Evergreen Content to Your Website
Google tends to crawl websites that are regularly updated with evergreen content; so, whenever you add new content to your site, you’re effectively telling search engines that your site is active and should be checked more frequently. Keep in mind that it’s likely that the core pages of your site will remain static and unchanged, so little chance to update or add on a regular basis – blogs on the other hand have no such problems.
Now, at this point, if you’re an estate or lettings agent, you may be saying to yourself ‘but I publish lots of content thanks to our property listings!’ And to an extent, you’d be right; however, these listing tend to be list-based content (so not search-term driven, which we’ll come onto a little later) and removed or archived from websites once properties are sold – meaning they’re only visible to search engines for a potentially short amount of time.
Good quality SEO-supporting content should be evergreen in nature and based on the subjects and search terms your prospects are actively looking for – and this is what a blog is perfect for. This way, you stand a better chance of being visible on search engine results for the audiences you want to reach.
Don’t Forget Your Page’s Meta Descriptions
Meta descriptions (or meta data) are the little summaries of pages you’ll see underneath search engine listings. When they’re left blank, search engines will often show content from the main body content of the page it’s indexing; which is of course no bad thing – but when it comes to improving your SEO effectiveness, you should really ensure you add a proper page meta description.
Your website’s CMS should give you the ability to update you website page meta descriptions and ideally, you should aim to keep your meta descriptions to around 150-160 characters in length; this will ensure it’s the perfect length to appear correctly in those all-important search listings. There’s also a few other bits of SEO best practice to keep in mind when crafting a good meta description:
- Don’t duplicate your meta descriptions – Yes, they may only be small bits of content, but simply duplicating content across all your page meta descriptions will actually do more harm than good. Try to ensure each page has its own unique meta description that is super-relevant to the content on the page.
- Make them compelling – Your meta descriptions are the teaser to your website’s pages; so make the description compelling and something your audience wants to know more about!
- Include relevant and researched keywords – your meta descriptions should contain the keywords your users are typing to logically reach your website; so, don’t just include them within the main body content of your pages – include them in your meta descriptions, too!
Use Keyword Research to Guide Your Website’s Content
As we mentioned earlier on, a blog with lots of interesting and engaging content is a great way to drive traffic to your site; however, writing content for the sake of content isn’t going to necessarily attract the people you want to attract to your site. For estate or lettings agents, this is extremely important…
When you look to produce content to feature on your site, think about the specific search terms your prospective customers would use to find your company. By conducting keyword research that relates to your business, you can discover:
- What are people searching for?
- How many people are searching for it?
- In what format do they want that information?
The search terms you choose to target in your content will also need to be relevant to your business and services being promoted on the site. With this in mind, always aim to create content which aims to answer a relevant search term or pain point your ideal customers would use to bring them to your site.
Use Alt-Image Tags In Your Website’s Imagery…
Images are often a focal point for many estate and lettings agency websites; meaning that there can often be hundreds of property images on a website at any one time. Aside from making the user experience more engaging, images can also play a big part in enhancing your website’s SEO effectiveness, and this can be done by using alt-image tags.
Alt image tags are used within an HTML code to describe the appearance and function of an image on a website’s page. Also called "alt descriptions," alt-image tags are the written content that appears in place of an image on a webpage should it fail to load properly, and are also used by screen readers (mainly used by visually-impaired users) to describe what is being shown on-screen.
In addition, your alt-image tags are also crawled by search engines in much the same way as your website’s core content. This means that the more descriptive and relevant your alt-image tags are to your website copy, the better chance you have of search engines locating your page.
Most good website content management systems have the ability to add alt-image tags without having to change HTML code on a website; so, whenever you upload an image to your site, ensure that you add a relevant alt-image tag that describes the image. For example, if you’re uploading an image of a property for sale, you could add something like ‘3 bedroom house for sale in (your property area) (your company name)’. This is search-based content, and accurate to the image you’re displaying – both key ingredients for good SEO!
… And Do The Same For Your Image File Names
Like alt-image tags, your image file names can also be crawled by search engines; so, to give your site every opportunity to rank and make better use of your nice website images, give them descriptive file names much like your alt-image tags.
For example, don’t just have lots of images with generic filenames; before uploading them to your website, ensure the filenames are descriptive of the file – for example, if you have an image of a property’s garden, call the filename ‘Large garden of a 3-bedroom home for sale in (your area) (your company name)’.
Improve Your Page Loading Times
Got lots of images on your site? Great! But always bear in mind that having large, high-quality images can slow down your website’s loading time, and slow loading times can be detrimental to your website’s SEO performance.
With many people’s browsing habits now shifting to mobile rather than desktop, it’s more and more likely that visitors to your website will be using their phones and potentially a mobile network. It’s for this reason that having a mobile-optimised and fast loading website is critical, as there’s research to show that 40% of visitors will leave websites if its pages take longer than 3 seconds to load; and worse still, 80% of those visitors often won’t return to that website if it simply takes too long to even load up!
Fix Any Dead Links
With estate and lettings agencies often having a revolving door of properties on their website, it’s common for links to listings to become broken or dead once a property has been sold or let. Dead or broken links can be negatively affect your website’s organic search rankings as search crawlers will follow links on your site and, if what they’ve been linking to has been removed, will simply end up at a virtual dead-end and not go any further.
Regularly fixing and removing broken links is one way to avoid this problem and allow site crawlers to freely roam your website and index all your relevant pages. Plus, from a user experience point of view, it’s just good practice and makes the process of browsing your website more pleasurable for everyone!
Be Active on Social Media Channels
Finally, another really easy way to improve your organic search rankings is to be active on social channels, and share your website’s content as often as possible. Now, it’s important to mention that social media doesn’t directly contribute to SEO ranking, but the links you share across social platforms help increase brand exposure – so it can have a positive effect on things like lead generation and brand awareness.
Ultimately, your shares across social media sites have no direct place in SEO rankings. But, when more people share your content throughout social media, it generates social signals that indicate your posts are useful to your target market – and this can help drive more targeted traffic to your website.
While social media doesn't directly increase your search engine rankings, it indirectly affects your digital presence, improve lead generation effectiveness and helps build your brand – two critical parts of building a successful estate or lettings agency.
Struggling to generate inbound enquiries from your website? Not generating enough new sale instructions? Not ranking highly on Google search listings? Why not book a 20-minute chat with one of our expert website consultants and see what a Webdadi website can do for you... Just hit the link below to get started