Estate agents: How to structure property blog posts for maximum exposure
Getting your content out to different media channels is vital for your estate agency’s content marketing strategy to be effective. One of the main channels to do this will be through the news section or property market blog on your website. We have seen plenty of blog articles on estate agents’ websites, often with informative content but lacking in any real structure, this article aims to show how to structure property blog posts properly.
This is why we thought we should share a few helpful pointers to give you the best head start when creating your blog content. These tips will help Google to see that your page has a proper structure and will rank your content higher in search engine results pages (SERPs), helping you gain more traffic to your website.
Blogging platforms vary in the way that they achieve desired structures, but are generally made to have a simple user experience allowing the blogger to write their content in the easiest and most effective way. WordPress is most popular and widely used blogging platform, however, there are other helpful options such as Blogger. For this article we will reference the way WordPress is setup, as it is the most common of all the blogging platforms (used by 59.5% of all content management systems on websites at the time of writing). However, the principles can easily be applied to other platforms.
Understanding a blog posts hierarchy for a better structure
There are many aspects that go into structuring a blog post, from the heading to the conclusion, so it is important to have a good idea of how it will flow before you begin writing. You need to ask yourself some questions before you put pen to paper, or in this case, finger to keyboard: what message do you want to communicate and do you have a beginning, middle and end?
The article’s main heading is your starting point, otherwise known as an H1 tag, which Google uses to help rank your content in its search engine. Therefore it is a good idea to write a heading that is likely to be typed into Google. For example, if you’re an estate agent in Derby writing a blog about the rental market in the area, a suggestion for the title would be: ‘What is the rental market like in Derby?’ You are using keywords in your heading and a search phrase that people who want to know about the rental market in Derby will likely type into a search engine.
Sub headings, otherwise known as H2 tags, are another good feature for your blog. These help to break up your blog up into sections, making it easier to read. It is helpful if you can put a keyword in one of your H2 tags, but not as important as having them in the H1. Remember, while you should add relevant keywords to your blog, it is not worth doing them at the expense of the content. Don’t put them in for the sake of it; find a way for them to naturally fit into your content.
Heading tags also carry on in the numerical hierarchy, from H1, H2, H3 and H4. These heading tags should be used correctly with the relevant content so they make a logical sense to the search engines. For example:
You don’t need to type the code as these can be easily used in WordPress’ editor to generate the code, shown in the image below:
Other effective ways to structure your blog and engage readers is by using topical lists. List blogs have been very popular over the years and they have worked specifically well for estate agents because of the nature of the content they tend to write about. Maybe you want to do a piece on the top 10 things a landlord should do before letting, or five best restaurants in your area, to really show your clients that you know everything about your patch, not just property.
Google will see the post title and understand the list, length and detail of the article. This means that it will help the page to rank higher while also helping your website as a whole because it sees you are putting out content that is rich in information. This is key to having not only success in the search results but also in maintaining the users’ engagement.
Make sure your meta tags are filled on your blog post
Meta tags are important to your blog because they act as snippets of text that help to describe a page’s content. They are usually a description of what your blog is about, often structured in a sentence or two and can be automatically done within WordPress.
They are seen by Google so it can read them and decide what your blog is about which, in turn, affects how the blog is categorised on search engines. That is why it is important to write a correct description in relation to what your blog is about when filling in the meta tag. Think of them as a type of code, usually between 50 and 60 words, for Google’s benefit.
The meta tags are the content that Google uses to display your web page in the search results. The main blue link is the meta title tag and the brief description underneath is the meta description tag. Obviously these are very limited on space and do alter in size between desktop and mobile.
Google also alters and overrides these tags when it feels necessary. For example, it may add your estate agent brand name onto the end if they are searching for your brand. You can not control this but it is made to be more beneficial to the user.
There are excellent online sites like Yoast, which help you to create better tags and SEO for your blog. These are plugins for WordPress that guide you and tell you what you are doing well and where you can improve your keywords and SEO.
Imagery in your property blog post
Everybody likes images, right? Nice shiny images give your blog post a an extra kick, helping to draw the reader to your content. Selecting an image should be relevant to what your article is about; no one wants to read a blog post on refurbishment when the picture features a rugby player. Carefully selected images strengthen your post, so it’s really important that your main image captures people’s attention and gives them good insight to what the article will be about.
It is also important to set an ALT tag on your image. This is a small description that lets search engines know what your image is and helps with the SEO. Blogs will rank better with ALT tags than ones without, as Google will believe they offer a better experience to the user. They are also handy for blind people who are using a screen reader to listen to your blog.
If your image is of a two bedroom apartment, you would write ‘two bedroom apartment in (location of property)’ in the ALT tag box. If it is a graph displaying rental figures, you would call it ‘property graph for rental figures in (location)’.
Visual searches are proving more and more popular on Google, with many people opting to use this method for inspiration when looking for something online. By having ALT tags, you are increasing your chances of being found on Google images. Let’s say that you are looking for a ‘4 bedroom property in Barnstaple’ and looked in Google images, you may find a certain agent’s property shows up because they have entered the correct ALT tag. Ideally, you also want to be a in a position where your pictures are showing up in Google images when people are doing image-only searches.
Making sure that the ALT tag correctly informs Google about your image will be one of the most important things you do when setting up your blog post for your estate agency.
Quotes and linking in your blog post
There are two types of linking: internal and outbound. Internal is when you link to another page within your website. You may be writing a post about properties in your local area and decide it is relevant to link to the sales page on your website. By linking internally you are giving the reader more scope to your site, aiding their navigation and user experience, while also helping rank the popularity of pages on your website. It is important to make sure that your links make sense, otherwise the reader will feel cheated if you are linking to parts of your website that do not relate to the content in your blog.
Outbound linking is when you send people to another website altogether. It may be that you’re describing something and want to send people to another site so that they can get more information. Some people worry that linking externally will cause web browsers to leave their site and not return. This shouldn’t be a real concern; if the content that you’re providing is good, people will always want more. One of the ways to keep your website are the forefront of people’s minds when outbound linking is to set the link to open in another tab. By doing this your website remains open in one of the tabs at the top of their browser and is easily accessible for the user to switch back to your page.
To create a link that opens in another tab in WordPress, select this option from the create link tool as shown below.
If you are linking to good quality websites that are relevant to your blog, you will be better associated with the types of brands you want to be compared to. It is also an opportunity to build relationships with other websites, which can be helpful if they are important figures in the residential property market industry.
To add the date to a blog post or not to add the date?
To date or not to date? We’re not talking about that co-worker you have the hots for. We’re talking about whether or not to add a date to your blog post so people can see when it was first published. The cons to adding a date may be be that people decide against reading older material as they do not think it will be relevant. It is a personal choice and you need to decide what works best for you, but you can have content that stays relevant and stands the test of time (known as evergreen content) rather than leaving the date out of your blog. It is also possible to write updates to your older articles, meaning you can keep refreshing the dates every time you update the content.
If you are writing a piece that is relevant to the year, it might be a good idea to keep it in the blog, as Google will take this into account in the search result, especially as some people only search for date-specific content.
Adding the personal touch with an author of the property blog post
By adding an author to your blogpost you are giving the reader someone to identify with which may further enhance engagement. If they know who is writing what they’re reading they may feel more of a connection.
However, if you have a high turnover of staff, or lots of different writers contributing, you may want to consider having an alias everyone uses when writing content. The setup of your agency will ultimately determine whether you think it is necessary to use authors. If you have one person dedicated to writing, it might be a good idea to use an author. If multiple people contribute to the blog, think about using your agency name as the author instead of personal names.
To make this possible there are certain plugins like Starbox and WP About Author that allow you to have extended functionality. One of the main features is being able to add a bio about each author which will give the reader even more background on their expertise.
Start publishing a better structure to your property blog
With these tips you should be able to put together a real strategy for your blog pieces, allowing you to create rich articles that are evergreen and optimised so that search engines will recognise your content and make it easily accessible to users.
As your blogs become more popular, your agency will grow in stature, with its online profile further enhanced in the process. You can start incorporating a monthly newsletter with a selection of your latest property market content while also promoting your online blogs to potential clients when giving property valuations. Anything to show your client base that you are the most important voice on your local property market will only help your agency move forward and gain more instructions.
We always like to hear estate agents marketing problems, so let us know how your blog is doing and we could give you some free advice on how to make it even better.