How To Blog Your Way Through More Website Traffic
Today, an active website and consistent social media presence are essential for real estate professionals to attract new clients and remain top-of-mind with their past customers and broader sphere of influence.
Websites are our virtual storefronts, welcoming many times more visitors than could ever enter our physical offices. Social media platforms, by extension, let you establish your professional brand when you share useful marketing and industry updates. You can also show your personality with humorous and personal posts.
Too often, however, we don’t take full advantage of the energy available on social media. That energy can help draw attention and traffic to your agent website. Here’s how you can make sure you’re harnessing that potential.
You are probably already using Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other platforms to promote your listings and other brand marketing. My rule of thumb is that for each of those business items you share on social media, you should share three “nonbusiness-related” items that are not there to promote what you do. These can be fun videos, personal experiences or stories from a reliable news source.
However, just “sharing” a link to them does nothing to energize your website. For that, you need to first make your own blog post.
Tapping into your website’s energy
When it comes to your real estate website, research shows that the most-visited page after the homepage is “About Us.” That’s where potential buyers and sellers look for information to help them decide if you should represent them. The next most-visited pages are those that provide generic service functions, like “Search for Homes” and “Home Valuation,” in that order.
But those information pages don’t have the kind of “search engine attraction” that you can get through periodic, topical blog posts. Most modern websites include blogging capabilities, which can be an enormously useful means of raising your visibility and pulling visitors to your site.
The most valuable in terms of establishing yourself as a source of useful information — and drawing more visitors, which, in-turn, raises your standing on Google’s radar — is reliable content about real estate: local and national market trends, mortgage news, consumer tips and so on. As Creed Smith wrote on Inman, “You should put nearly all of your effort into building engaging and relevant content based on your market niche’s desires.”
Great sources for real estate news include CAR.org, realtor.com, CNBC Real Estate and Forbes’ real estate news and analysis, among others.
Making media work for you
Typically, these sites include social media link icons beside each article to make it easy for you to share the story with your Facebook, Twitter and Instagram followers. This is how those sites build up their numbers and viewership, which can convert to advertising or subscriber revenue for them.
Instead of posting a link to a story from their website, incorporate the content into your site as a blog post. That way, your site becomes the destination for the reader, and it gets the “energy” generated by the visit and the resulting “bump” in its Google, Bing, Yahoo or other search result ranking.
However, it’s imperative that you properly credit the source with a referral link back to the original content. Don’t attempt to pass it off as something that’s written by you. Include the original headline, photos and keep the author’s byline at the beginning. Also include links to the original article, along with a link to the writer’s profile page, which will typically include past article links. That makes reporters happy!
SEO wizard Neil Patel wrote on the subject, noting that “a huge percentage of the Internet is duplicate content. Google knows this. They’ve been separating originals from copies since 1997 — long before the phrase ‘duplicate content’ became a buzzword in 2005.”
In addition to the promotional value the source gets, that “backlink” to the original makes sure the company that generated the article receives engagement too. Now, instead of posting only a link and being outside the flow of energy, you’re right in the middle of the energy current.
Blogging made easy
To do this, here are the four simple steps.
1. Locate the article
Any article you view online can be shared. If you find it interesting, and it fits whatever subject matter standards you determine for your blogging, you can share it as a post. Be careful with articles that you are only able to access behind a paywall. News sources do not want subscriber-only articles made free to the public.
2. Draft a brief synopsis of the article, including key points or takeaways
Write a brief description of the article in your own words, including a short summary of the key points or takeaways the reader can expect to gleen by reading it.
This synopsis can and should be relatively short (from 100 to 250 words) depending on the article’s length and complexity. It is simply meant to interest and encourage the reader to click through and read the entire article.
3. Create a new blog page on your agent website
First create a “new post” page on your website. This requires going into the “back end,” which you are already familiar with from posting your listings. Then copy your article synopsis into that new post.
4. Save the post, and share the link
That’s all you do! You now have content on your site that meets Google’s mission — to access and index everything online so it is, in turn, accessible through search results. Save the post, and share the new link you created on your various social media accounts.
While you have to spend more time than it takes to simply post a link, it will be worth it in the long run — and you’ll keep getting better at it.
Putting content in context
So, while you’re raising your search engine optimization (SEO), what specific types of stories and videos will help raise your brand?
Nothing is better for growing your “reputation” than a community expert, or your need to take your business “hyperlocal” than to share information about your community. So, for those additional three recommended nonbusiness posts for every business post, share a restaurant review, an interview with a local business owner, or information on a business that’s coming to your neighborhood.
You might go as far as interviewing local residents yourself! Do it as a video to post on your blog. Talk to a city council member, the mayor or a local fire captain, and make sure to tag them when you share the post on social media.
One popular theme is history or nostalgia. “I remember” stories and pictures are always of interest. Work with your local historical society for content and ideas.
In addition to sharing posts on the usual big platforms — like LinkedIn, which is a powerhouse of a platform for engaging with your top prospect demographic — remember that the king of search in North America is Google. Be sure to use your Google My Business account. If you haven’t created a Google My Business account, I will cover that in a future article.
At the end of the day, with a little more effort, you can give your website a considerable bump in SEO, social media energy, traffic to the articles that reside on your site (even if you’re borrowing the content from elsewhere) and therefore your website. Ultimately, the exposure will come to you and your brand.
Eric Eltzholtz is a marketing technology director with WEST, A Williston Financial Group Company, in Temecula, California. Connect with him on Facebook, Instagram or LinkedIn.