When I talk about blogging with my coaching clients, one frequent question always comes up – why do it? Many agents have heard that it’s a good idea, but they don’t really get why it’s such a great idea. Over the past year search engines like Google have made a number of very significant changes to how they rank websites and they have become very good at discerning the intent of people who are searching. When a search engine senses that a visitor is looking for a business, service or purchase, it will tend to favor local businesses in its search results.
I mention this because you – the real estate agent – provide a service that thrives within a territory. So your website should maximize its efforts to connect with the local community in such a way that when someone from your territory is searching for homes and agent services, search engines can confidently recommend your website as relevant both for its service and its location.
Blogs are one of the best ways that you can do this and search engines love a website that has a regularly updated blog. According to NAR, over 41% of home searches began online last year and 90% of buyers searched for homes online (that number goes up to 96% in the under 44 demographic). You want a piece of that potential business showing up on your website and connecting with you and your brand.
Even if you aren’t entirely sure what search phrases you should be targeting and you don’t know what longtail or SEO means, you can still improve the odds of your website appearing in your prospects’ search results by blogging. Here’s why:
Blogging is often about things in your local area.
Whether you’re writing about local events, charities that you support, businesses you work with, restaurants you like, market trends, or just about real estate agent life, when you blog you often are writing about something that’s both fresh and local. Search engines use that content, the mentions you make about local venues and people, to ascertain where your website geographically “lives.”
Blogging is fresh content.
Old content is not without its merits, especially if you have a lot of it, but search engines love a website that receives regular updates at least a couple times a month. The perception is that fresh content is more likely to be relevant for the impulsive searcher who is looking for now information. Websites with regular fresh information receive a little perk in search engine rankings.
Blogging is regular content.
At least it ought to be! Regular content means that you are paying attention to your website and not letting things get stale and out-of-date – at least, that’s how search engines view it. Regular content means that you are participating in the “world wide web” and that you’re more likely to have current and perhaps more reliable information. Search engines like this too.
Blogging is real content.
It’s not advertising, it’s not some big sales message, it’s real, actual content that someone might want to actually read. It’s something you are contributing to that could improve the experience of others and search engines reward that karma with improved rankings. You’ll find that other people are likely to reward your efforts too, with links and social mentions of content you wrote that resonates with them. That too helps your standing in search results and it creates additional opportunities for potential clients to find you. Blogs are a great way for you to stay in touch with previous clients.
Blogging grows your website.
Not just in terms of repeat visitors, but in terms of size too. The larger your website, the more it looks like a resource to search engines. The logic goes something like this – if your website is relevant for the thing that the visitor is searching for, if it’s a big website then it probably has other things there that will interest your visitor too. Search engines live by delivering their visitors to the right website, so if yours looks like an authority on a variety of related subjects, they reward this with better ranking.
Many agents don’t blog because:
a) the thought of creating new content all the time is overwhelming or
b) the thought of tackling new technology is overwhelming.
However, the thought of blogging shouldn’t send agents into a technology tither! I am going to have some great solutions for you in the next Zebra Report where I am going to share twelve easy blog ideas that will take you less than an hour to get from launching your browser to clicking “post”.
As for tackling technology, if you create your website via WordPress and include a blog, posting and creating additional pages is a snap. And if you enlist our help in getting your website created, then you have our expert resources to help get you started.
If you’re not sure how to add a blog to your website or need help growing your website give us a call or write to me at [email protected]. We have lots of resources for agents seeking to grow their presence both on and offline.
Have a blogging success story to share? Send it to me and we’ll feature the best stories in an upcoming Zebra Report.