- Before You Start Writing, Keywords!
- Post Structure
- Think About your Use of Paragraphs and Headings
- Write for your Readers, Not Just for Crawlers
- Make your Content Featured Snippet Friendly
- Include Some Keywords in your Title and Meta Description
- Try to Write Long, But Still Digestible Posts
- Wrapping Up…
An effective blog is an essential component for your estate agent content marketing, and like any type of content, it takes care and skill to create. An accessible structure, interesting subject matter, and sticking to certain SEO best practices, are all crucial if you want your blog to be a success.
Crafting a truly great blog takes time and experience, especially in the varied content marketing landscape that exists today, there are certain tried and tested principles you can follow to ensure your blog gets off to a great start, and routinely secures the top positions on high-value SERPs.
Though some sources will tell you that maintaining a blog that’s both SEO-friendly and engaging to your target market requires marrying two different disciplines, that certainly isn’t the case!
In today’s post, we’ll go over some of the key steps towards crafting blog posts that are not only SEO-friendly, but engaging, readable, and shareable.
Before You Start Writing, Keywords!
Before you write the first word of your post, you’ll need to carry out keyword research to ensure your blog will stand a chance at reaching those coveted top spots on the SERP.
Keyword volume, competition, and the intersection between keyword value and searcher intent are all important things to consider when choosing the most prudent keywords for your content. For the purposes of this post however, the most important thing is to set out a list of primary and secondary focus keywords you’ll include in the content.
You should aim for a primary keyword density between about 0.5 and 3 percent, so in a 500-word post, your primary keyword should appear at least 3 times.
It’s all too common for content creators to pick a topic and immediately start writing without much thought about structure, which results in a finished post that feels too heavy in some places and too light in others, waffles on for too long, and lacks a sense of direction.
To write a truly engaging, shareable post, you should have a clear idea of the structure you’re going to follow.
As a bare minimum, a blog post should have an introduction paragraph, a main body where you get across the core message of the post, and a conclusion, where you sum up your points or reiterate the core message. It can help to have a target word count for both the entire piece and each individual section as well.
Your post can be divided and subdivided up into a number of other ways depending on how complex the idea is, and how you believe you’ll need to break it down to make it nice and digestible for your target audience. This brings us to our next point…
Think About your Use of Paragraphs and Headings
Though every blog post is broken up into paragraphs, it’s not always done in a logical and aesthetically pleasing way.
Each new paragraph should ideally have its own point, idea, or topic. This is a method of structuring writing that’s used widely in news articles, novels, and any other form of writing you can think of, and for a good reason – it makes it easy to read!
Proper headings will also help to make the text more digestible and give your readers a clear idea of what the individual sections of your post are about. Aside from this, headings also make it easy for Google’s crawlers to understand the subject matter of your blog post, and factor this into how your content is going to rank on a given SERP.
With this in mind, try to give those crawlers an overview of what the different elements of your blog post covers by including high-volume, high-intent keywords in the H1, H2s, and H3s. When these page elements include the words and phrases your target audience is using to search, your content will have a much higher chance of reaching the top spots of your target SERP.
Write for your Readers, Not Just for Crawlers
When learning SEO to benefit your estate agency, it can be easy to get bogged down in the technical side of things, and become laser-focussed on making your pages appealing to the measurable, scientific aspects of the algorithm.
Though it’s certainly important to consider the way crawlers will view your content, you shouldn’t lose sight of one of the most fundamental truths about SEO: Google is the most popular search engine on the web because it helps people find what they’re looking for. In other words, the content that does the best job of meeting the user’s query is the one that’s going to rank the highest.
Aside from all the stylistic advice we’re giving you here, you should write each individual blog post with a specific audience in mind.
When writing for your property website to address a specific subject like selling or leasing, the content will naturally target a low-resolution definition of your target market, for example landlords. As you edit and redraft though, we recommend trying to drill the content down to something that will appeal to a more specific buyer persona.
How long has this landlord been a landlord? Do they come from money or are they a self-starter? What’s their motivation for reading your post? What are the hopes, fears, and challenges that characterise their experience in property?
By asking yourself these kinds of questions, and tailoring your content around the answers, you’ll garner better engagement, and in turn better rankings!
Make your Content Featured Snippet Friendly
Featured snippets, KAU Media Group explain them as “a short section of text, a table or a list that appears at the top of search results that directly answers a search query. It is also known as position 0 as it ranks above the 1st organic result on the search page, as shown below.” They are the little boxes you find at the top of Google that area SERP separate from the main results and are what Google interprets as the most direct answer to a search query.
As any digital marketing agency will tell you, these snippets rake in a huge proportion of all the clicks on a given results page, so optimising your post for them is an absolute must if you want to make it SEO-friendly.
To earn a featured snippet for your blog posts, you’ll need to answer the question directly and briefly in your content. For example, if you were writing a post directed at landlords and targeting the term “how do I calculate what rent to charge”, you might want to include a H2 or H3 that reads: “How to Calculate What Rent to Charge”, followed by the answer as a succinct paragraph, or with a few bullet points.
It can also help to include a partial-match to the target keyphrase in the content below the header, i.e “To calculate the rent you should charge…” Just be sure to keep the language natural, or you’ll turn readers away and send Google negative engagement signals.
Include Some Keywords in your Title and Meta Description
While including your target keywords in the page title usually comes naturally, people who are just starting to build a blog can overlook the meta description all too often.
Meta descriptions, the short string of text just underneath the title in an SERP, are another element that Google’s crawlers will look at to determine the relevance of your post for a search query.
First and foremost, a good meta description should give a reader a clear idea of what the post is about. This is the most fundamental way to ensure a healthy click-through rate, which is an important user engagement signal that Google will use to calculate your ranking.
To ensure your whole meta description is visible, you should limit the character count to 160 characters. Generally, we recommend including a maximum of two keywords in the meta description, including your primary keyword. This will allow you to send a clear relevance signal to the crawlers, without the risk of running over the 160-character maximum.
Try to Write Long, But Still Digestible Posts
In a time when short content is king and attention spans are shorter than ever, you’d think that keeping your posts short would be the best way to ensure they’re successful. However, various case studies have shown that Google actually tends to favour longer, in-depth posts, and the ideal length tends to go up every year.
Comprehensive written content, with plenty of written signals telling the crawlers what the post is about, will usually perform better on the SERPs than a simple, more granular post that focuses on one little area. By and large, a blog post that’s 1000 words or longer will tend to do better in terms of rankings compared to something below this mark.
While Google might prefer a longer post, it’s important not to go too far in this direction, and write content that’s too long and too in-depth, that will be at risk of overwhelming your target audience. In many cases, a reader is only going to be after a specific piece of information from a “Complete Guide” blog post, so make it easy for them to find with succinct sentences, logical headers, and content that gets straight to the point!
Building a high-quality, SEO-friendly blog doesn’t happen overnight, but by following these tips, your first posts will perform much better on the SERPs than otherwise. Remember the human, make things easy for the crawlers, and aim to give your readers something truly valuable, and you’re sure to see your content climb those rankings!