Slapping neighborhood pages on your real estate website isn’t enough

Writing real estate neighborhood pages isn’t as easy as it seems.

I ran across a post this evening on a popular agent website provider’s blog. It was about real estate content and neighborhood content in particular. The writer interviewed a Keller Williams agent who, he says, has “cracked the code” with her neighborhood descriptions.

Interestingly, when I ran several Google searches on the neighborhoods on the agent’s sites, none of them came up on page one, two or even three of Google (I gave up after searching three pages).

Several other local brokerages did show up – right there with the usual page-one hogs like Zillow, Trulia and Realtor.com. But this amazing code-cracker? Nope.

Don’t get me wrong, the neighborhood descriptions may be quite helpful to someone trying to become familiar with the area. Personally, I found that they read too much like promotional pieces – the type of fluff one finds on builder sites about new home communities.

But, the biggest problem, at least for this agent, is that these pages are useless – they’re dead weight on her site.

They’re not ranking because they’re not SEO optimized. Very few people will find them organically so, very few people will read them. What a waste of energy and space.

When neighborhood pages are done right, they work

Neighborhood pages, if done right, are amazingly effective. In fact, I would wage money that they are probably the only way you can compete with Zillow, Trulia and Realtor.com for that valuable page one search result.

Now, it’s not easy – especially if you work in a huge market like San Francisco, New York or L.A.

In smaller markets, however, it’s like shooting fish in a barrel.

Here’s an example. Amber Uhren, broker/owner of Realty Billings, shows up on page one for all but one of her neighborhoods (Downtown Billings – a butt kicker). Kris Lindahl with RE/MAX Results in Minnesota gets the same results for his neighborhoods in Blaine, Minnesota.

Now, it’s not that these two agents don’t have competition. On the contrary, like in every inch of every city across the country, there are other real estate agents competing for the same business. But these two do it smarter, and better.

Since I wrote and optimized the pages I’m not going to give away the farm here (hey, a girl’s gotta make a living, right?). What I will let you know is that the heading of these pages is where the gold lies.

Titles such as “Realtors Guide to [Name of City] are just plain stupid. And this one, by the way, comes from an agent in New England who is all over the internet giving SEO advice. Yet, he can’t manage to get to page one of Google for even the tiniest markets he serves.

Does he really think that real estate consumers are seeking a “Realtor’s Guide?” Of course not, they’re looking for consumer information. There’s not a thing wrong, and everything right, about titling your neighborhood page simply, with the name of the neighborhood and that homes are for sale there. Not “real estate” not “Realtors,” simply “Homes for Sale in The Lakes, Blaine MN.”

“Real Estate” is an industry term — it isn’t something that consumers use when looking for homes for sale so quit using it.

Think about it. If you were looking for a home to buy, like I was last year, what are you going to type into the search box at Google? Homes (or houses or condos) for sale in Las Vegas? Hey, it’s a big city and there are plenty of areas that you’d have to pay ME to live in.

Nope, you’re going to search for your preferred area. I used “homes for sale in Silverado Ranch Las Vegas.” And, if I were writing the descriptions of this neighborhood for an agent, he or she would’ve shown up on page one.

As it was, I had to navigate to page two to find a REAL real estate company with IDX on their site, and not Zillow. Most consumers, as you know, will use Zillow or one of the other sites on page one.

If you don’t aren’t writing neighborhood description pages on your website, what are you waiting for? And, if you don’t have a blog, shame on you. But we’ll get to that one next time.

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