How fresh content improves your rankings on Google
If you’re in the real estate business, you probably know by now that having a professional and unique website that shows up in online searches is critical to attracting new clients. However, the workings of search engines are complex and mysterious, which is why there’s an entire industry of search engine optimizers (SEO) working to make sense of them. However, if your business isn’t at the point where you want to hire an SEO quite yet, there are a few simple things you can do to make your website more attractive to Google, Yahoo, and other search engines.
The Science of Freshness
People often use “fresh” in the everyday sense, but freshness is also a metric that search engines use to rank your website. In most cases, making your website fresher will increase its visibility in online searches, which will translate directly to more business.
The importance of freshness depends on the search. A search for news or for a trending topic cares a lot about freshness, while a search for factual information will usually aim to return older, more authoritative pages. Real estate is somewhere in the middle: a search engine wants to return relevant (i.e. fresh) results to make sure that the businesses they display are still around.
Again, search engines are complicated, so freshness is too, but the short version is this: creating and updating content regularly will make your website more fresh. Search engines will crawl and index fresh content more often, helping you to widen the number of search terms that will find your website.
Creating Fresh Content
Websites that regularly add new content are more likely to be considered fresh by search engines, and that fresh content can allow you to add keywords to your website that will help it turn up in searches.
For example, if your website has six different posts linking to Real Estate Vancouver, and each of those posts has a different focus keyword, then Google will index that content and associate your website with those keywords. This in turn means that a wider variety of searches will find your website.
The easiest way to add fresh content regularly is to maintain a blog. Making one post every week doesn’t take much time, and you probably already have something to write about. Post about the trends you’ve noticed in real estate, or tell interesting stories from deals you’ve made recently. Your posts can be very different from week to week. But as long as you stick to a regular schedule, Google will see that your website is active and therefore more fresh. Best of all, a healthy blog will show that you are an expert on the real estate industry, and give visitors to your site more reason to trust you.
In addition to new pages, search engines notice when pages change, especially when those changes are large. One way to keep your website fresh is to keep updating content.
For example, your real estate website probably has a testimonials page. If it doesn’t, then you should ask for testimonials from satisfied clients, and put them on your site! Then, every few months or whenever you get a good testimonial, replace the oldest one with the new one. This type of regular update has two benefits: first, it ensures that new visitors to your website will see recent testimonials, and know that your business is currently going strong; second, your website will have a higher freshness score.
Note that small changes don’t necessarily make a difference, so updating your sidebar or changing a link won’t increase your freshness. Instead, focus on updating core content.
Having a Good Website
There’s a lot more that you can do to increase your website’s freshness, but in the end it all goes towards making sure you have a functional and engaging website. New content, and updated content, give users something to read and show that you are currently active in the business.
If your website is engaging and functional, and has interesting fresh content, users will spend more time on it, and Google will take notice. Websites that hold the user’s attention for longer will move up in the rankings. As Cyrus Shepard of moz.com says in his excellent article on freshness, “your goal should be to update your site in a timely manner that benefits users, with the aim of increasing clicks, user engagement, and fresh links.” In other words, put your users first, and the search engine rankings will follow.
Ask people you know to visit your website and tell you how engaging and usable it is, and take a look at other successful real estate websites to see for yourself what works and what doesn’t. Alternatively, you can hire professionals to ensure your real estate website is state-of-the-art.
Fresh Content is Good for You
The core principles of making your website more fresh are also good principles for making a good website, and attracting more business. New content gives users something to read, up-to-date content shows that you’re still in the business, and an engaging and user-friendly website makes potential clients more likely to hire you.
In other words, if you work on making your website fresh, you’ll end up with a good website.