Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is hugely important for many businesses and is a cornerstone of their marketing strategy. In industries such as real estate where there is a lot of competition, being at the top of search results in your area makes a massive difference.
We have worked with Whistler Real Estate since 2014 to create a consistent SEO strategy that has resulted in their website reaching the top of Google for the majority of relevant search terms in their area.
This marketplace is incredibly competitive as there are a number of competing broker websites, each with 20-40 Realtors who also have their own websites. This means that a good SEO strategy is essential to success.
Where to Start?
In such a competitive marketplace, where do you even start? First of all, having a good URL does help. Whistler Real Estate are lucky enough to have whistlerrealestate.ca and this alone has contributed to their success.
Another large aspect is domain authority. This domain is well established and as such has a lot of “authority” with Google, opposed to a website that has just been registered. This is the area of SEO that you simply cannot buy – time. It takes time to gain trust from search engines and in many cases, especially if you have just launched a new website, all you can do is carry out a good strategy and wait.
Myths and Mysteries of SEO
Search engine algorithms are always changing. For a long time carrying out a good SEO strategy was as simple as ticking off items on a checklist:
- Establish keywords
- Get a good keyword related URL
- Insert keywords into meta titles and descriptions
- Insert keywords into heading tags
- Add alt tags to images
- Create a blog and write articles around keywords
- Make sure articles are a certain length and have just the right amount of keywords
- Share content on social media
If you did this then you could pretty much guarantee that your website would rank pretty well within search engines, however, algorithms started to catch on and a whole host of new factors became relevant. Too many keywords were punished (keyword cannibalization), duplicate content was punished, blogs/articles had to be a certain length, content should be easier to read, mobile responsiveness became a huge factor (resulting in many websites having to be redesigned or losing their ranking), and a whole host of other “rules”.
All of these factors can seem confusing or daunting, and it resulted in many companies capitalizing on this aspect in order to sell their marketing/SEO services. The whole mystery of “getting to the top of Google” meant that marketing companies could essentially say what they wanted to get work, and if the results didn’t come there was always the fallback excuse of time.
Forget Everything you Know
So what does this mean? Basically, forget everything you know about SEO. Well, most of it. Yes, everything within that checklist is still pretty relevant, however there is one factor that trumps everything. Quality content.
If there is one piece of advice for creating a good SEO strategy it is to write content that people actually want to read.
In reality this is harder than it sounds, but essentially the most important thing to remember is that you just can’t beat or trick the algorithms, and you shouldn’t bother trying. If you write high quality content you will be rewarded. The algorithms now favour things such as time on page, clickthroughs, and social media shares. So, how do you secure those things? Write something that is actually good!
Don’t try to cram in keywords, don’t try to create something clickbait with low quality substance, actually sit down and think about what information your audience needs, and give it to them!
How Does it Work?
How do you go about writing “high quality content”? Well that depends on your industry.
Whether you work in real estate, engineering, construction, education, food, or tech, there is content that your target audience is looking for. You need to research and find out exactly what your audience wants to know, and provide that information.
In some cases this can seem counterintuitive. Why would you give away information for free? The thing is, that information is usually already out there on the internet already! You are just providing your version of it, adding detail, and explaining it to your specific audience.
When done consistently all of a sudden your company is viewed as an authority within the industry and you have gained the trust of your audience, and potentially a new customer.
What have we learnt? The concept of modern SEO is actually relatively simple when you think about it. Write something useful that people want to read and share and do it on a consistent basis.
It’s still important to tick the usual SEO boxes where necessary, but so long as the substance is there you will start to see noticeable improvements. The same goes for the rest of your website content, make your goal to create a good user experience that fulfils the needs of your users and you have a solid foundation for success.