A list of optimizations you should be considering for your Renaissance website

Speaking to my friend Matt Curtis (www.mattcurtisrealestate.com) and he asked if I would make some recommendations for his team on how to use their retainer time to improve the programmatic elements of his SEO.

So here is a thread for #renaissance users specifically of things to consider having coded/optimized to increase rankings of details pages (and other pages as well)

I’ll create this post with one element at a time to make it a bit easier to construct and follow.

We’ll reference https://www.carlycarey.com as examples for most of these enhancements since I have coded/tested them myself on our own site.

One note I will make, however: These are what are referred to as “on-page” enhancements, which is roughly 1/2 of the job you need to do in order to rank. The other half is building “PageRank” (or link authority) and especially when it comes to details pages, it is very hard to rank them (even with perfect on page) if you do not have a significant amount of pagerank / authority.

Here’s a list to get you started :slight_smile:

(see below)

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First up: Breadcrumbs:

What breadcrumbs are is a logical trail or path of navigation back to the source of a link (in simplistic terms)

In this example, the breadcrumb is suggesting the logical path to get to this details page was

Makes sense right?

Google tends to love breadcrumbs as they provide navigational context for a user and improve overall user experience. It also gets the main keywords (city, address) up high on your page.

Determining which pages are the ones you should determine as the logical path is the complexity here, since while IDX pages are dynamic, CMS pages are static and not relational to IDX.

So my advice is just send your programmer to Carly’s site and say “do the thing” (Breadcrumbs)

Next is to think about your Heading Tags (H1, H2 etc)

By default the address is in an H1 (the most important keyword / element on a details page) but there are several other heads on an IDX page that can be optimized.

Example from Matt’s site (done right) consider 120 fields pond drive is the keyword, what you see in the screen is an H1 containing the keyword and then you have another heading (an H2) with a variation of the keyword (variation is important)

But there are other headings on the page that could also be logical places to insert the keyword

Consider the following: (Those amenities and interior headings look like the have some room beside them :wink:

Again, I do recommend getting more complex than just popping in “120 Fields Pond” add some variation. Some spots might be just the address, others might be “120 Fields Pond + city” or “120 Fields Pond + state” or 120 Fields Pond + state abbreviation"

Mix it up, it helps get elements on the page like state name and state abbreviation and your page starts to look different to Google than all the other IDX pages out there.

Next, let’s talk about similar properties:

Not only is this super helpful to consumers to allow them to continue their journey and find other similar properties to the ones they came in on (you always want to help the user first) but it’s also a great spot to build internal links to your other details pages.

Why is this important?

Google doesn’t search your IDX, they follow links. As such, a typical MLS property is discovered via a snippet, and usually that property will only every be on 1 or 2 pages (so it only gets 1 or 2 links to it internally)

This is a problem since internal link authority helps deeper pages rank. By using a similar properties element, you are helping properties be discovered more often by Google, and other are more links going to those properties, thus augmenting their ability to rank.

And notice the heading? :slight_smile: Never waste a logical, non-spammy place to reference your keywords (but also don’t overdo it)

Thank you for this. This is the next group of things I am working on with my PM so I’m just going to forward her this thread!

No problem, working on adding some more today

One thing to consider though Andy M, this works well for “high authority” sites, I don’t know your site so I could not say if it would work well for you.

Ideally you would use retainer time in the order of highest trafficked / highest impact first.

What does that look like? Making sure you have your community pages, sub pages, blog combo dialed in. Then adding extra IDX augmentations (search options no one else has to help yourself stand out) that sort of thing

Advanced IDX augmentation can be powerful, but it has it’s time to shine, and that is once you’ve built up your pagerank to a high enough level.

Some interesting data to potentially help others decide to take on this vs another SEO project. Now we are a relatively low authority site (compared to aged large team or broker domains) and we are in very small areas. So your volume will be different in larger areas.

So far since the move to Renaissance, our brand www.carlycarey.com has been show approximate 12,000 times for keywords with the word “street” in it (one of many street name abbreviations)

We certainly have found success being able to rank for addresses, but the other thing to consider is the relatively low search volume for each property. This is partly due to how fast homes sold in the past few years (which as we know is about to change) but the data is interesting.

If I were to look at “ave” it’s another 15k+ impressions. (You can do this for all the street abbreviations in the search console to really get a sense of the scope of it)

One thing to consider, I’m using impressions (not clicks) in terms of brand exposure here. That is the first of the elements we need to evaluate (how much potential is there) - the good thing about this method is it shows you how much traffic you “could” get if you were to fight for top positioning in Google since we know CTR (click-through rate) goes up considerably in the top positions (often as high as 50% or more in the #1 position.

So the fight for the top IS worth it in many cases, but it’s a battle for sure. And you can only win it with strong PageRank, link sculpting techniques such as the ones here etc

Continuing on with suggested optimizations:

Where it says Community Information (in an H2) not only have we put the city name in there, but we’ve hyperlinked it to a featured / showcase page (you can see the page in the screenshot, it’s linking to Nanaimo Homes For Sale | Nanaimo, BC Real Estate for example)

This one is a great one for building up more links back to your community pages which in terms helps them rank for more competitive higher funnel terms. Often times there are several pages that “could” be linked, and so if you’re doing just this one, then it’s important to be able to dictate which page is one that gets the link juice.

Next is similar pages:

Now instead of the optimization above where you need to pick a page to link to, in this case, what we’re doing is looking at cityname= within the IDX database and then we look at all pages with that particular cityname in the filename.

This gives a really nice sub set of links to all your area pages and sub-pages.

As I look at this feature / screenshot though, I see a few ways we can improve it (@AmyPye @aporter can you take a few notes and make these changes?)

#1: It is showing PPC pages (it shouldn’t), this is a miss on our part. By default we use the “hide” button in the CMS so these don’t get linked to (they are only for PPC) and so this particular algorithm should look for that, and if it’s a hidden page, then don’t link to it.

#2: We’ve missed a keyword opportunity in the similar page heading. It could say “Similar pages containing cityname, province, country” for example or it could say "“Similar pages to address, zip code, province, property type” there are lots of options.

#3: It’s currently an H2 (secondary heading) it probably is not as critical as the onpage information structure-wise, so could be an H3

Finally (on page) let’s look at what we’ve done to get even more listings found by Google.

This is similar to the “properties for sale similar to” above, however that one is all about the visual CTA’s, but we can’t have a million of them or it would impact page speed/performance. So if they go past even that and they want more properties, you can list more as we have here.

These are dynamically generated based on what a consumer might most want to see next (based on community, price point etc)

On this page (might as well put our SEO thinking cap on again since we’re here) there are a few opportunities I can think of right off the top of my head.

First: Similar to above, we’ve missed an opportunity to include a keyword phrase in a logical place

Next: This is a new idea, which will be especially helpful (no pun intended) post-Google helpful update is including a lightweight description of each property (say the first 100 characters of each) along with each link.

Why does this help SEO?

One of the biggest issues with IDX pages is they are all basically the same (in Google’s eyes) there are hundreds (or thousands) of IDX sites, and Google needs to decide which to rank (which are superior) and one of the ways they do this is to establish which sites/pages add the most value.

If you were to help consumers navigate to their most logical next choices, and provide a much better preview of what they might encounter if they click through, not only do you get a better customer experience (which is what we all want, including Google) but it will also show Google that your page is NOT the same as everyone else’s, you offer a unique feature & user benefit. You offer MORE value!

I have a 23 Domain Authority score according to SEMRush. Definitely still something I’m working to improve and I’ll be doing SEO with you guys as soon as the customizations I’ve requested are done. Even if you get zero SEO benefits from this right away, I think doing these things gives a better consumer experience while they’re on the site so it keeps people engaged longer and that’s the whole reason for doing stuff like this!

Any idea how many custom hours a project like this would take?

If we have sold data is it possible/recommended to have similar sold properties as well on the page?

Typical caveat on custom work (since the back and forth with a customer can vary greatly on a customer to customer basis) but if you did only 1 thing, typically 3-6 hours (since there is setup, communication, testing etc)

But if you do a lot of these things, and have a well-organized list, it could be as low as 1-3 per element after setup and communication if we aren’t working around any other customizations. (That is if you do a large list and average the time)

So really depends on how much you do. Always start with an hour or two of setup, comms, testing etc, then the actual coding work is in the middle and can be optimized.

That is a double edged sword and depends dramatically on MLS compliance since some boards do not allow you to show your sold data unless completely hidden until after registration.

Also, since you DO have to choose (you can’t possibly rank for everything) it is far better to sculpt your links towards the highest value active listings than it is to sold data.

I mean if you have infinite pagerank? Then do all of them (at that point you’re Realtor . com or Zillow)

But since we’re just lowly pagerank mortals, it’s best to be selective with your listing indexing.

I don’t believe my MLS board requires registrations to see sold data based on other websites in my area having it publicly available. Would there be a downside to displaying it? Im thinking about consumer experience and being able to look at similar comps (assuming you can show similar properties in the same neighborhood that closed recently with same number of bedrooms, similar square footage, etc.) I believe would be a great value add as long as it doesn’t negatively affect anything else simply by putting it there

The negative is having “too many pages” (if you’re thinking about SEO) - more is not better when you must be conservative with your authority. I personally like sold data (and we use it) but not really so much for SEO, more just for users.

On these suggestions above regarding Similar pages, Community Info:(City), is this included in the Renaissance platform or is this custom?
My Dev site does not currently have this layout in dev.kblanton

They are customizations - setting up and fine-tuning SEO takes programming labor and design to incorporate. Well worth it though if you’ve built up your authority.

thank you I will reach out to Jason Phee. I do already have an existing site and getting ready to launch Renaissance soon. I have watched your video three times already. Great info and you made if easy to understand