Real Estate SEO Expert Audit / Advice for under 50 daily visitors (please use forums for questions)

Here is a technical SEO question for my website.

When I got to Google Search Console and look at the pages that are indexed and not indexed, I have over I’m getting over 175+ pages showing up as a “Soft 404.”

From what I can tell, it’s because there are no listings showing up on the page and so Google is basically saying this page isn’t useful.

With the lack of inventory over the past couple years, there are more and more pages that have few listings. Or have listings for a day or two and gone. And these are pages I’d love to get indexed and rank for.

Is this an issue others have had? Any suggestions on changing what appears on the page instead of “No listings were found matching your search criteria.”

You’re absolutely right! Google hates what is referred to as “thin content” (or now that we have the Google Helpful update) “unhelpful pages” - so they won’t index them (and they shouldn’t).

So here is what you (and all readers) should do:

Stop thinking in terms of “page count” (or how many pages “could” be indexed) and instead focus on “page quality” (pages that DESERVE to be indexed)

As a general rule of thumb, if you did not spend at least a few hours researching, writing, creating, formatting, and publishing a page, it doesn’t deserve to rank.

Gone are the days where you could just toss up pages with nothing but listings on them (listings which BTW a million other websites also have duplicates of) and expect to rank.

I should back up on the top part - a “soft 404” is not a “thin page” (it’s a page that for whatever reason in a moment in time Google wasn’t able to reach) but the concept you describe while separate, is accurate and what my explanation applies too.

You’re going to get 404’s in real estate (listings are on the market, then gone) Google understands the behavior and it’s not harmful (not different than large retail sites where products come on and off the inventory. It’s expected and does not harm your rankings.

Back to @kim.blanton question on “link building” I wanted to give you a real-life example that I just posted today.

For a couple of reasons:

#1: Because I want to give you an example of the level of effort a piece of content can require

#2: Hopefully it might inspire some ideas or creativity (learn how to jump on trends when they are time)

#3: Because I told you that you need to make sure you get it out there! This is also me “getting it out there” - I’m posting about it on my community (engaging people I’m connected to < that’s you guys to share, comment, link to it. So please share/comment and link to it :slight_smile: But also promoting the other places I’ve linked to it as well creating as much awareness of the content as possible.

So here’s my link-building (link attraction) idea.

First, I needed something people would really react to. I picked Lensa since it’s HUGE right now on social media (and I wanted to be on trend)

Next, I needed a good idea (how can I get folks to notice my content) - what did I come up with? I’ll do Lensa Fan art of the top leaders in real estate (since they have huge audiences) that way I can ping them, and if I make the photos look really great, they won’t be able to help themselves, they will share/engage with the content.

As soon as I started I realized #1: Holy smokes, this is a lot of work (I needed to curate the photos of every singe leader and then smack! My head of agency @AmyPye said - hey we can’t do this, we don’t have enough photos and can’t use other people’s… DOH!!! MY IDEA!!!

But then it hit me… we don’t need photos, we have video (that WE own) of these people.

The journey continues (and now I have an even cooler angle!)

But now I have to create the photos for 50 leaders (each time it costs me a huge amount of time and $) then have my agency team create landing pages for each, then write content for each (since I plan on ranking these pages for the leaders names etc) then I need to come up with a strategy to get the content out there, then I need to actual execute on the strategy to get it out there.

And HOPEFULLY. People might actually care… .(or not, and all of this time, effort and cost is wasted)

So please (pretty please) feel free to share, comment and like this stuff as you see it :slight_smile:

Here is the first part of the content strategy up and live (hot off the presses) Too few photos for Lensa? No Problem! Use Video Instead

If you could share it on social media, comment on my posts about it on social media or even write a blog post of your own (on your website) talking about the AI trend, and perhaps link to it from your article, you will be my new favorite person :slight_smile:

As you see more content come out (this will be a multi-step, multi-week process) please engage with that content as well.

Here is my LinkedIn post as well Morgan Carey on LinkedIn: Real Estate Solutions

Good info, thanks!

Wow! Hate to say this but at first had no idea what Lensa and the AI trend was, and now I have downloaded the app. I am not sure it has made it to my part of the country as I havent seen anyone use it but I may just be missing posts where Lensa is used. Going to learn more about this. Love how you did a 'How to solve a problem" post that is getting engagement for you on LinkedIn.and elsewhere. Gives me lots to think about. Thanks

Thank you for this! yes, horses are my passion and it was a perfect fit for my real estate business. I am working to improve my equestrian pages. I have set up my site so that the equestrian content looks like a separate website. I thought my Equestrian Property Search and Equine Homes By Kim Blanton were off to a good start for pillars but perhaps I am not understanding yet. We are in the middle of revamping the layout and I know I need to add links to my blog regarding equestrian articles. Yes, I want to be first on the search results!
In regards to Tims Ford Lake, yes I agree it needs a pillar built around it given the traffic it seems to get. I am still learning the search console as well. Appreciate all your insight.

You’re going to want to reconsider/get rid of these buttons:

Using HTML / text links is far superior to using image links when it comes to SEO and interlinking. I don’t recommend using image links ever within content as you miss anchor text opportunities.

Also, you have quite a bit of issue on these pages with respect to mobile. (user experience matters, especially on mobile for SEO)

If you can, I recommend going through your whole site “as a consumer” - check all your high traffic pages (on your computer and on your phone). Anywhere you think “I could probably improve the way this presents” is a good indication it might need some adjustment.

Thank you for the advice. Will be working on this.

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@Morgan I took your advice and got rid of the buttons you mentioned in the above post. Here is what was created for me,

on this page :

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That looks much better! There are still several image buttons on that page that could be converted, but this is good progress :slight_smile:

@Morgan thanks! In regards to the other image buttons, I like the way they make the page look nice so I used anchor text and links in the content and hoping that strategy is ok?

It is not best practice, no. In our view as SEO’s (but also to ensure readability on all devices etc) links should never be images if you can help it. If you want more “visual” appeal and to have CTA’s or look like buttons, then you should use CSS (cascading style sheets) to properly style your buttons “not” images.

If you absolutely insist (must) use images, be sure to have appropriate alt tags that include what the anchor text would have said if it was a text link or CSS button.

Actually Kim, I just looked at another part of your site, and you seem to already have button styles (in CSS) that look much better than those image buttons anyways (so you should use those)

Try creating a link that looks like this <a class="button button--large button--primary" href="/some-link.php">Anchor Text</a> and see if you like the look of it (I think it’s much cleaner than your image buttons and is better for SEO)

@Morgan Thank you! will give this a try. Appreciate your help.

@Morgan I have a question. I have a Page for Communities, then each Parish (county). Within the Parish page I have links to the different cities. If I were to add specific subdivisions, should I do that in a blog form and link back to city and parish on the website?

The communities page is “not” a pillar (since you don’t want it to rank for a lot of keywords) it’s actually an extension of navigation (so no sub pages needed)

Parish may or may not be a pillar (depending on how many searches) but in that case the only “sub pages” of a parish are other pages also optimized “for that parish” (not for cities or neighborhoods within the parish)

City pages are most definitely pillar pages (and should have main pages, sub pages, blogs AND listings all working together in a hub

Neighborhood pages “can” be pillars (if there is a lot of traffic) but often then can rank well enough as a sub page of the city page, but still should have “pages” “blog posts” and listings again working together.