Let’s talk about the best strategies for structuring your hyper-local website.
Written by Travis Saxton, REAL Trends manager of technology and marketing.
With so many brokers and agents fighting for competitive ranking and position on the search engines, the landscape has become very complex. I recently left a client who was seeing me for the second time in three years for a refresher visit. This client took my direction the first time we met and implemented all of the strategies from our REAL Trends Technology Consulting team. One of those strategies was to develop local neighborhood community pages on their website. We put a big emphasis into the structure, content, promotion and more. This client grew over the three-year period from about 40,000 visits a month to over 100,000 visits a month over matching time periods. A deeper dive into their analytics discovered that of the top 25 landing pages on their website (where a consumer enters), almost half of them are these new community pages (contributing nearly 20,000 visits total per month). That is powerful and proof that the strategy has paid off.
Let’s take a look at some of the key ingredients into a well-structured hyper-local neighborhood strategy. Imagine a blank page, then follow along as we go from top to bottom discussing potential features:
1. Build the Foundation. All great houses are built on a sound foundation. Develop the proper page titles, URLs and Page descriptions. I will use my neighborhood as an example.
• Page Title. Indigo Hill—Highlands Ranch, Colorado Real Estate and Neighborhood Information
• Page Description (can get a little more descriptive). Welcome to Indigo Hill, a residential real estate neighborhood in Highlands Ranch, Colorado. Let (insert company or agent name) take you on a tour of all the homes for sale and nearby amenities of your Highlands Ranch dream community.
2. Don’t overlook the URLs. Make sure to have something like www.brokeragewebsite/Indigo-Hill-Real-Estate-highlands-ranch-co
3. Create an introduction. Include high quality photos of the entrance to the community or key features of the neighborhood. Two to three photos laid out nicely at the top of the page will work well.
4. Section the pages. Have sections on the page (ideally using header tags for those tech-savvy folks). Section headers should be like the next few bolded bullets:
• Welcome to Indigo Hills Real Estate Page and Community Information. Write two to three paragraphs about the community.
• Schools Nearby Indigo Hills. Pull in content from numerous sources such as education.com, city-data.com, or other sources. Be very careful when taking the easy route. Many data providers package their product so that the content is linked out or resides in an iframe or on their server, essentially rendering it useless for your SEO value.
• Homes Sales in Indigo Hill—Highlands Ranch CO. This section offers an opportunity for you to interpret the market data for this area. If you can’t go as detailed as the neighborhood, it doesn’t mean you can’t go the next level up and interpret the zip code level for the consumer. Don’t just copy and paste paragraphs and charts in a mindless fashion. Interpret this for the consumer. You may even want to include a video that tells the consumer what’s happening in the market. Be sure to name your video and upload it to YouTube.com, or better yet, use Welcome Mat, a video-hosting platform.
• Recent home sales in Highlands Ranch, CO. This could be a lead generating opportunity, but be smart about this. If you need to collect contact information to display sold data, then do so, but offer something more of value. Perhaps you can tie this to an e-mail strategy, such as a neighborhood market report.
• Current homes for sale in Indigo Hill, Highlands Ranch, CO. Notice how I am using variations of keywords and included a local neighborhood and community (city) in my headers? This will attract what we call long-tail and short-tail traffic to your pages, increasing your coverage for both the consumers who know what they want and for those who may not know what they want. This section should be mapped as detailed as you can go. Some systems allow you to conduct a particular search and draw your own search with a tool. Do this, and then place that search on the page. It’s ideal if the map with the boundaries drawn and home icons present so the consumer can visually see these 12 homes are in that neighborhood and not on a generic page.
5. Don’t Forget the Right Rail. In the right rail of the page, you have the opportunity to capture some leads and feature area partners. Consider a section such as, “What’s my Highlands Ranch home worth?” and a Highlands Ranch mortgage section.
6. Don’t Forget Contact Forms. Don’t be afraid to prompt a pop-up window after about two minutes welcoming the visitor to the Indigo Hill community page. Ask them to sign up for the neighborhood newsletter that features neighborhood property alerts, sold properties, trends, stats and home values.
Now that you’ve built these pages, it’s time to start marketing. Search engine marketing (SEM) campaigns drive visitors to these pages and can help you pick up some less expensive traffic (remember your competitors are focused on the big terms like “real estate in Denver”). You can generate traffic for a much smaller cost. Secondly, construct a social media strategy around these neighborhoods where you feature one neighborhood a week in rotation to increase links to your page.
Increase your views and, ultimately, your sales with hyper-local neighborhood pages.
This article originally appears in the July issue of the REAL Trends Newsletter and is reprinted with permission of REAL Trends Inc. Copyright 2014.