Yesterday, Google officially announced the release of the Google Knowledge Graph Carousel for local searches. The Carousel will appear when users search for local restaurants, bars, landmarks, stores, or small businesses.
The Carousel displays search results horizontally, with colored images appearing against a black background. The left to right display will disrupt search results, as it will spread clicks more evenly through the page. Being the first search result will no longer be as advantageous, as the second of third search result in the banner is just as likely to get clicked.
A disadvantage for many businesses, however, is that URLs and contact information are not displayed immediately on the search results. Users must click on the image on the Carousel before more detailed information is presented as the first search result and also on the right hand side, as seen below:
Currently, the search carousel is only extended to restaurants, hotels, local landmarks, and similar venues, but will surely affect more and more local businesses, including your real estate company, as more features are introduced. We will keep you updated as the Google Carousel search evolves and becomes more prominent.
SEO and community come hand in hand. In order to strengthen your search presence and drive more people to your site, your SEO strategy should focus on building relationships within your community. By creating content that your community members are interested in, they will more likely visit and return to your site.
Promoting your brand and company requires more than writing about yourself and the listings you have available. Many leading companies, for example, only generate about 20 percent of their content to promote themselves. They use the other 80 percent to present information that is of value to their clients. This information may be about community events, relevant news, or any other topics that would interest potential leads.
If you are not sure what your clients want to read about, you can simply ask them by providing a survey on your blog. You should also follow community members on social media channels, namely Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn, to learn about what topics are trending in your area.
Sharing information that more people in your community are interested in will lead to more link building, Twitter retweets, and Facebook likes and shares. This will ultimately drive more people to your site and help you capture leads. More importantly, it will help you build a presence in the neighborhoods you serve.
To read more SEO tips click here.
Google released Penguin 2.0 with goals to reduce black-hat techniques and reward sites with white-hat SEO. White-hat SEO refers to sites that generate great content, work to improve load speed, and practice creative marketing techniques. These sites produce content that are of value to users. Black-hat techniques, on the other hand, refers to sites that use keyword stuffing and link schemes in order to improve in rankings. These techniques do not benefit users, and while they may positively affect a website’s rankings in the short-term, long-term, when the algorithm catches up, the site will suffer.
To avoid being negatively affected by Penguin 2.0 and any future algorithm updates, real estate companies should focus on these 3 strategies for building SEO: content, links, and social media.
- Content – regularly update and publish new content to your real estate site in order to remain relevant
- Link build – only link to high quality and relevant sites. You can also repackage existing content and build internal links
- Social media – build your online network and share content through these channels
While it may be too early to speculate on the impact of Penguin 2.0 on websites, you can minimalize adverse affects of the algorithm change by following SEO best practices and being avoiding black-listed.
To learn more about how to improve SEO, click here.
In an earlier blog post discussing Google Analytics, we briefly touched upon the significance of bounce rates. The goal of this post is to gain a deeper understanding of bounce rates.
Bounce rates measure the percentage of users who leave a website after visiting only 1 page. In the real estate industry, the lower the bounce rate, the better, as it indicates that visitors are engaged and browsing through the site. Sites that generate a high volume of leads generally have bounce rates ranging from 30 to 50 percent. The real estate industry tends to hover over the lower end of the range, as homebuyers tend to search through multiple homes. If your website is within the 30 to 50 percent range, you are in good shape and on route to generate quality leads. It is also important to note that high bounce rates may not necessarily be bad, as it shows that people with specific searches were able to gather all the information they needed on the landing page.
There are two types of bounce rates that are generally referred to in SEO: site bounce rate and page bounce rate. The site bounce rate refers to the average bounce rate of the entire site, while the page bounce rate measures the percentage of users who landed on and left a specific page. The page bounce rate helps you see how effective your landing pages are in engaging and maintaining site visitors.
In order to lower your bounce rate, there are a number of different factors to consider. Firstly, the design of the website is important, because it gives visitors the first impression of your site and of your real estate company. You should have an effective design that provides users with sufficient and clear information. To do so, make sure that options above the scroll are minimized and there are clear indicators of pages that users can click to in order to continue their search. The page should be interactive and include call to actions.
More attention should also be directed towards landing pages, as they are key to lead generation. Keywords should be placed strategically throughout the page in order to improve SEO and target specific users. It is important that you make sure that your keywords accurately represent the page in order to provide a consistent user experience. In addition to attracting users through organic search traffic, you should think about using Google Ads or other forms of paid search advertising.
Having a website with a clean design and providing a consistent user experience will help improve your bounce rate and generate more leads. To further understand how to create effective content strategies and track bounce rate results, contact our marketing team.
By optimizing landing pages for search engines, you will not only draw more people to your real estate site, but also generate more leads. Landing pages, unlike home pages, are hyper-focused and are designed specifically to convert leads. Real estate landing pages are those that highlight developments or neighborhoods that your company covers.
To attract visitors to your landing page, you must improve SEO and be sure that key phrases or words are used. This means that the page title, URL, and headings must include optimal phrases that are trending in search engines. When creating page titles and URLs, it is important to keep the phrases short in order to be registered by search engines. Page titles, in general, should be kept under 60 characters and URLS should have dashes to separate words. For example, a landing page for the Back Bay neighborhood of Boston may be: /back-bay-real-estate. The headline, on the other hand, should explain the page clearly and concisely. It is better to use fewer keywords in the headline than more, if it hinders the meaning or clarity of the phrase. The “H1” heading is the first line site visitors read, and is meant to keep them engaged and clicking through your site.
To further strengthen SEO and make the landing page aesthetically pleasing, you should include photos that capture the neighborhood or development. Keep the file name of the photo short and include an alt text. This will help search engines distinguish the photo. Finally, as part of SEO best practices, you must link the landing page to other parts of your site. These links should not only be contained to your website, but should also be shared via social media channels.
Keeping landing pages simple and professional will make it easier for potential leads to navigate through your site and featured listings. The better the information on your site is presented, the better results you will get in terms of lead generation.