Estate Agents, optimize your property listings for Google’s latest Panda update
Google started rolling out its latest ‘Panda 4.1 update’ – the specific update penalizes thin or poor content from ranking well in organic search results. The rollout has started this week and will complete by next week. The update can either have a slight positive or negative effect on your property website (an estimated 3-5% of queries will be effected with Google’s latest update).
So what can you do as estate agent?
There is continued effort from Google to rank websites with high quality content better in its search results. As an Estate Agency, focus on getting the following basics right:
1) Property descriptions
Writing good quality property descriptions is not only key to attract buyers, but will help you a long way in getting better ranking in Google – not immediately but over time. A property description consisting of one or two lines will fall into Google’s ‘thin or poor quality content’ filter. Make sure you write desent and unique descriptions. Don’t stuff the description with area or property keywords (that worked fine 5 years ago!). Focus on getting decent, human readable property descriptions in place one property at a time. Every property on your website is indexed as a page in Google, so before you know it, you will have a good chunk of quality content pages with every mandate you sign. Where the property is an open mandate, DON’T copy photos or descriptions from competitor websites.
It’s more difficult to write good descriptions for lowered priced properties, so you’ll have to be creative and maybe include info on nearby landmarks, schools and malls. Be careful not to copy-and-paste parts of descriptions from other properties. Always write something unique.
2) Property News
This is the harder part as you’ll need to put time aside to write a good quality article for your website, or pay someone to do this for you.
Focus on your area of operation: it makes no sense writing news articles about Cape Town, if you are working in Pretoria. The content you write should all relate to your website. Google is clever enough to take this into account.
Be unique: a sure way to get penalized in Google is to continuously copy and paste articles from other websites as your own news. Write about current suburb trends, events scheduled in the neighbourhood or any community activity you are busy with. (Another way to penalize your website is to get dodgy & cheap content writers with no track record to write content for you).
Internal references: if you can, hyperlink keywords or phrases in your article to internal pages on your website. E.g. in the following line we’ve hyperlinked Dullstroom to search results on MyProperty:
“…with close to 25 homes constructed, Highland Gate Golf & Trout Estate in Dullstroom is back on track…”
3) Other content pages
Make sure you have a descriptive ‘about us’ page, welcome note on your website and any other pages that can contribute to providing good quality content to the Google Search Engine Spiders.
Remember that search engine optimisation should not be seen as a short term goal, it is long term work in progress, and you should continuously strive to improve your website content where you can.