In this article: How to earn good Google rankings for your real estate website, based on the best practices recommended by the Google search team themselves.
Helpful, people-first content.
That’s the kind of website content Google will reward with top rankings.
How do I know this? Because they said so, using very clear language. And if you follow their advice, you can achieve better Google rankings for your real estate website or blog—with all of the good things that come from that.
Google’s Recipe for Good Rankings
On their Search Central Blog, the search giant offers a wealth of advice for website owners who want to improve their rankings in Google. As a real estate content strategist, I read everything they publish in order to better serve my clients.
I recently re-read one of their blog posts, entitled “Creating Helpful, Reliable, People-First Content,” and noticed something interesting.
- The phrase “people-first” occurred seven times in that article.
- The word “helpful” appeared eight times in the article.
The point being: If you want to earn good Google rankings for your real estate website or blog, you need to (A) figure out what “helpful, people-first” content means and (B) work hard to create that kind of content on your real estate website.
So let’s talk about how you might actually accomplish these goals.
Helpful, Reliable, People-First Content
In the blog post mentioned above, Google’s search team states the following:
“Google’s automated ranking systems are designed to present helpful, reliable information that’s primarily created to benefit people, not to gain search engine rankings, in the top Search results.”
To put it differently, if you want your real estate website to achieve top Google rankings and good traffic, you need to create helpful and reliable content designed to benefit your target audience.
There is no shortcut when it comes to Google rankings for a real estate blog or website. It requires hard work and diligence over time. (Trust me on this. Over the past 15 years, I’ve created more real estate reports, articles and news stories than I could count.)
In the context of real estate website content, the “helpful” and “reliable” labels are pretty straightforward. Reliable means consistently good in quality or able to be trusted. And another synonym for helpful is useful.
If we put the two together, we have useful and trustworthy real estate content with a consistently good quality. This kind of content tends to earn good Google rankings over time, bringing the publisher a steady stream of traffic and exposure.
But what about that whole “people-first” part?
Google’s blog post goes on to explain that content should be “created primarily for people, and not to manipulate search engine rankings.”
A Real Estate Website Content Comparison
To further illustrate this point, let me offer an example of two very different real estate website content strategies from two different agents:
Agent #1: SEO-focused publishing strategy
A real estate agent makes a list of 50 search keywords she wants to rank for, and then pays an “SEO writer” from Fivver to write some articles for each keyword. The articles aren’t very useful, because the freelance writer doesn’t know much about the agent’s market or audience. They’re also stuffed with keywords in the hope of ranking for those terms.
Agent #2: People-focused publishing strategy
A real estate agent creates a list of questions people often ask about the local market, and then turns them into highly detailed, authoritative and useful reports. For instance, one article answers the question: “Will 2024 be a good time to buy a home in Seattle?” Each question is explored and answered in depth, using supporting data, charts, third-party quotes, and the agent’s own insights.
In the first example, the agent focuses too much on search rankings, as if that’s all that matters. She has created a content-generating “machine” just to fill up the website with keyword-heavy articles. This is a Google-first or rankings-first kind of content strategy, and it probably won’t deliver very good results.
In the second example, the agent has put his readers first and worked hard to answer their questions and help them understand current market conditions. The content is more useful and more authoritative, transforming the website into a valuable resource. This is a people-first content strategy that will help establish good Google rankings over time.
In order to create effective real estate website content—and earn good Google rankings for your efforts—forget about the search engines for now. Think about the person who will actually read your content and hopefully benefit from it.
Self-Assessment Questions for Website Owners
To summarize: Google’s search engine ranking system is designed to “reward” real estate websites that offer helpful, reliable content that puts people before rankings. And that makes sense, when you think about it.
The question is, how do you achieve this?
To help with this, Google’s search team offers a series of questions you can use to assess your own real estate content (or your content strategy in general). You might think of it as a kind of pre-publication Q&A process.
Below, I’ve selected and answered the questions most relevant to real estate professionals who want to create great content and earn good Google rankings in return.
(Note: The questions themselves were copied verbatim from the Google Search Central Blog. The supporting information and clarification beneath each question comes from me.)
1. Does the content provide original information, reporting, research, or analysis?
I love this self-assessment question, but it echoes something I’ve always “preached.” If you want your real estate website or blog content to stand out in a crowded field, you’ll need to bring something new and original into the mix.
You can do this by publishing original real estate market analysis, research, and detailed reports that help buyers and sellers alike. As a bonus, this kind of content is also more likely to attract links from other publishers (another ranking factor used by Google).
2. Does the content provide a substantial, complete, or comprehensive description of the topic?
With all other things being equal, Google will reward a more comprehensive article with higher rankings, compared to a shorter piece that glosses over the same topic. That’s what they mean with their “substantial, compete and comprehensive” labels.
To be clear: I’m not recommending that you stuff your articles or blog posts with unnecessary verbiage just to reach some arbitrary word-count goal. I’m encouraging you to publish detailed, well organized, and useful content that covers all aspects of the topic being presented.
A comprehensive research and writing process will benefit your readers, while helping you achieve good Google rankings for your real estate website.
3. Does the main heading or page title provide a descriptive, helpful summary of the content?
Page titles (or headlines) are important for several reasons. For one thing, they help your website visitors understand what a particular blog post or article is all about. They can also entice visitors to stay onsite and keep reading by suggesting there is value in doing so.
Page titles can also help search engines understand what your content is all about. Clear and accurate titles help search engines deliver the right content to the right audience, based on the user’s search query.
Good page titles are clear, accurate and succinct. They intrigue readers by suggesting value. They include relevant keywords based on the subject of your blog post or article.
4. Does the content provide substantial value when compared to other pages in search results?
This is what it all comes down to. This is how Google decides which websites and pages rank above others, and they use a variety of “signals” to measure it.
But it’s really quite simple. If you publish an article about a certain topic—and it’s better and more useful than all other articles that cover that same topic—there’s a good chance it will eventually enjoy good rankings in Google.
Let’s say you’re writing a blog post about home price trends in your local area. Your first step should be to search the internet for this topic, to see what others have published.
Pay particular attention to the pages with good Google rankings, the ones that appear toward the top of page one. Analyze the length, detail, and overall usefulness of those articles.
Now you know what you’re up against.
The next step is to create something that’s more in-depth, more detailed, and more useful than what’s already out there. Dig deep. Do your research and leave no stone unturned. And before you publish your piece, ask the question that Google has posed above.
Is it better than everything else that’s currently out there?
How to Implement the E-A-T Strategy
To close out this tutorial, I want to introduce a concept called E-A-T. The Google search team created this term to help bloggers, publishers and website owners create the kind of content that helps readers while also ranking well in Google.
According to a December 2022 article on the Google Search Central Blog:
“Many creators are familiar with the concept of E-A-T, which is used in how we evaluate if our search ranking systems are providing helpful, relevant information. Would ordinary people feel the results they get demonstrate E-A-T, that is: expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness?”
That’s all well and good, but how do you actually achieve this?
To shed some light on the subject, I gave Google’s Bard AI chatbot the following prompt. “Offer some tips to help real estate bloggers meet the E-A-T recommendation for a good reader experience.”
Here is Bard’s response, verbatim and unedited:
Ensuring a good reader experience is crucial for real estate bloggers to meet the E-A-T (Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness) recommendation. Here are some tips to achieve this:
- Demonstrate Knowledge: Share in-depth knowledge about real estate topics, backed by relevant education, experience, or certifications.
- Cite Sources: Properly cite sources to support your claims and demonstrate credibility.
- Use Industry Terms: Employ appropriate real estate terminology to showcase your expertise.
- Establish Reputation: Build a strong reputation as a reliable source of real estate information through consistent quality content and engagement with readers.
- Backlinks and Mentions: Earn backlinks from reputable real estate websites and receive mentions from industry experts to enhance your authority.
- Guest Posting: Contribute guest posts to established real estate blogs to expand your reach and establish your expertise.
- Transparency: Disclose any personal interests or affiliations that may influence your content.
- Accuracy: Ensure the accuracy of all information presented, including data, statistics, and quotes.
- Objectivity: Maintain an objective tone in your writing, avoiding biased opinions or personal agendas.
- Accessibility: Use clear, concise language and avoid overly technical jargon to make your content accessible to a wider audience.
- Engagement: Respond promptly to comments and inquiries from readers to foster trust and build a loyal following.
So there you have it, a guide to developing good Google rankings for your real estate website or blog. Remember, if it’s good for your readers, it’s good for search engine rankings as well. Put people first when writing your content. Work hard to educate your target audience. Do these things, and the search engine benefits will follow.