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What are best practices to get the community pages ranking high? Also, is there a good way to use the blog to connect to any of these pages that would help with the rankings?
Are people having more success with leads by having the IDX snippet at the top, or the Community snippet at the top?
Great questions and you are absolutely on the right path and thinking.
Let’s dive into your questions:
1.What are the best practices to get the community pages ranking high?
Best practices in real estate SEO for higher ranking community pages center around user experience and keywords, in that order.
User experience is “giving the people what they want”. Giving them the right amount of information that they are looking for, preferably with a mix of media (text, images, video).
Keywords are trickier because this is where SEO focus has been since it’s inception, and most markets are saturated and hard to compete against.
General best practices are to ensure that the keyword you are looking to rank for is in prominent places (page title, page headers, image alt text, and sprinkled throughout your page copy). Be careful to avoid keyword stuffing.
Let’s take your Holland community page as an example, I ran a couple of quick tests, and it is consistently showing up on the second page of the SERPs. There are some big guns that are taking up the first page of results, but they’re still should be a little room to move here.
Look at this page as you would if you were looking to buy a home in Holland MI. Does it answer the typical questions your clients ask you? Can you demonstrate your real estate expertise here? (“buying in Holland MI”, “Holland MI vacation homes”).
You could also add photos or even videos in your community description (keeping people on your page a little longer can help). The benefit is that you could rank higher for those keywords, bringing the overall value of your community page up.
Where you will win is creating the best possible user experience that you can. Look at your competitor websites, and offer more relevant information that is in line with what buyers are looking for.
Keeping your page content fresh and updated is important, and plays into search engine preferences favourably. Our SEO team can lead you in the right direction on some higher-level steps to increase your ranking beyond best practices.
On a side note, you could also add a CTA to your pages to increase this page’s conversion.
2.Is there a good way to use the blog to connect to any of these pages that would help with the rankings?
Blogs are wonderful creatures and are sadly underused (or used improperly) in real estate.
Our clients that are active bloggers tend to do very well with site traffic. They cover interesting topics that provide a holistic approach to the services that they offer.
They often cover hot topics (festivals, events, local area news, architectural styles) that bring more eyeballs to their site than their listings typically would.
Blogs are first and foremost, a way to develop a relationship with your leads. They do not have to be real estate-focused but should tackle your market.
To use your blogs as a tool to help in community page rankings, talk about something related to the community you are targeting, and link back to your community page. This becomes a double-edged sword in your arsenal as you are ranking for the blog AND giving some love to your community page.
A great example of a blog this (which has been picked up by Google as a featured snippet, above everything else):
The important thing is to blog often (twice a month is a good place to start), BE INTERESTING, and link back to relevant pages on your website.
3.Are people having more success with leads by having the IDX snippet at the top, or the Community snippet at the top?
Your template was designed with user experience in mind, so it’s default layout with the community snippet first yields the best results, generally speaking.
However, it will never be the same result in every market. You could try A/B testing a couple of community pages using alternating layouts, and see which page has a longer dwell time (how much time your visitors are spending on the page). If you change the layout to test, make sure that you mark the dwell time before you make the changes to give you a benchmark.
Your Google Analytics account is really the key to seeing what works for your website.
Our SEO team can also help you analyze this through an SEO audit to give you more clues into the best formula for your market. Things like setting up your pages to earn the spot in Google coveted Featured Snippet spot can be just what you need.
Thanks for the helpful advice! There was a time many years ago where my website ranked #1 for everything but those days are long gone so some of the long tail keywords are important to me. I’m not as concerned about specific city as I know that’s a long shot but the subdivisions within the city is important to me like “Bay Meadows Homes for sale” which is a community within Holland. I really want to rank well for New construction homes in each specific city so that’s what I’m working on now. You mentioned CTA in follow up to question #1. What does CTA mean?
I have followed Austin Texas real estate page (Jim olenbush??) for many years and their community pages don’t even have the community snippet just the IDX snippet with some good context and that is a website that seems to do really well, so wanted to get other feelings on that before I started working too hard on this.
A CTA is the abbreviation for “Call-to-Action”. A common example of a CTA would be a block of text or images with buttons directing a user on your website to another area. On your homepage the “Buying, Selling, Map Search, and New Construction” image buttons are considered a CTA.
You can reuse or create new CTA’s on your website by using CMS Snippets. The code in these snippets will create a CTA to be used on the frontend of your website.
SEO is a tough nut to crack, and the science of it has evolved into so much more than keywords.
Being #1 isn’t necessarily the focus of SEO anymore. It is really about providing a great user experience (which is demonstrated by how long searchers spend on your page/site and if they continue to click around your site after they land).
A well set up site will give your readers a CTA or hyperlinked text just at the right moment so they continue to click over to new pages (hint - this a great place to hyperlink to blogs!).
And you are absolutely right to give focus to longtail keywords.
“New construction homes in X” would be a great opportunity to try for a Google featured snippet. Here is a great article explaining the basics for ranking in featured snippets by Neil Patel.
CTAs in Real Estate
Travis did a great job of explaining a CTA, and he is right, if you make them a snippet, you can simply drop the snippet on each page (snippets like this are a total time saver).
All it does is give your readers a way to act. The more time they spend on your page the more invested they are, the more likely they are to act, the more likely they become a lead.
You want to try and give different options to convert your readers, depending on how they found you and where their interests lie.
Listing registration is a form of a CTA (sign up to see this listing).
But readers that come to your sub-pages organically may not be at the same stage as a listing viewer—they are usually in the research stage and looking for more information. This is a wonderful place to start building an early relationship with your leads (again, blogs are a great way to help them along with their research, hyperlink to anything that will help them learn more, like a blog!).
If your focus is on new construction homes in Community X, a CTA could look like:
Your CTA should stand out visually from the rest of the text. The simplest way to do this is to use the CSS class that is built into your template.
This is pretty basic, but it does achieve a visual break from your other text. If you are handy with HTML, you can also design something that stands out a little more. If you prefer, this is a pretty quick job for our designers to do something amazing for you as well. It all depends on your skill and comfort level.
CTAs are a great place to get creative! Here are some examples of CTAs:
Using a Simple CSS Class:
Stylized CTAs (I love this one!):
Your goal is to give your readers a way to commit more to you. Even if they are not clicking on the CTA, it has a lasting effect and helps to keep you as the REALTOR of choice top-of-mind.