How "Optimized" is your Website?
Multi-tasking, voice searches and cell phone use all affect your SEO.
When was the last time you thought about your website? Once listing season kicks in many agents are so busy they barely have time to post their listings on their sites, let alone worry about things such as optimization. In fact, many agents pay for a site and then never think of it again. With this in mind, taking a look at your website should be something you add to your list of priorities this fall. Why? Google search algorithms are constantly changing to improve the Google search experience so it's important to keep up to date with the latest in SEO trends. Here are a few things you want to look for to make sure you keep your site optimized:
HTTPS versus HTTP
HTTP appears at the beginning of all web addresses. However, for a while now Google has preferred HTTPS web addresses. This protocol shows Google that your site can be viewed safely. Not to get too technical on you, but you require a Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificate to get that much wanted S. This certification encrypts visitors’ personal data, so it remains secure, which is why Google will give preference to HTTPS sites over HTTP. This will improve your SEO.
Tip: Make sure your website is equipping you with an SSL certificate, so Google and visitors will feel safe visiting your site.
SERP stands for Search Engine Results Page. When you do a search, you don’t just see your URL. You will also see a description that provides search engines with a little overview about your page. It also provides a snippet of info searchers can read to see if the page is worth visiting. The better your “rich snippets”, the more chance there is that your page will be displayed and the more often people will want to click. Google will show off your snippets based on the search request and the clearer you are on what your page is for, the more Google will like it.
Tip: Some good tips to rank higher is to add an FAQ page on your site that will answer questions for a searcher, or have blogs with quality information that might answer queries such as First Time Buyer Tips or Selling my home in Austin. This provides answers to Google bots, who are happy to then share the info with the searcher.
We are getting lazier, so even typing becomes a lot of effort for some of us. Voice activated searches are becoming more common with people shouting out a question to Siri, Alexa and all kinds of cyber beings. Therefore, people will want to be able to shout out to find your services. This means providing those rich snippets and complete responses to common questions is important to help search engines find you for voice searches.
Tip: Voice searches tend to be actual questions instead of just random keywords and therefore making sure you have answers to specific real estate questions will help you rank higher.
Google watches how searchers respond to their searches, so they can help determine what the searcher really meant when they entered their keywords. For example, if they enter Austin real estate, do they want to see listings, agents, news articles? By watching what people end up clicking, Google can better understand the intent of the searcher. By watching which links get the highest clicks, Google can then see the average person’s intention and use this to fine tune search results based on the most common clicks from past searches.
The more people that click the same content, the better equipped Google becomes at showing the right content. It also assists Google's auto suggest. So, meeting the needs of real estate clients on your website will provide them with the info they want, and will also help Google see your site provides value to their users.
Tip: You can do some searches of your own and see what pops up at the top. If you see most top links are videos for example you might consider adding some videos to your website such as a virtual tour of the neighborhood, or just a video explaining what a first-time buyer should know before they start a home search. Also, this can help with your keyword selection. As you have probably noticed, when you begin to enter keywords, Google’s auto suggest will try to anticipate your entry. This is a great way to zone in on popular keywords you can use on your site.
When was the last time you looked at your website on your phone? Considering that Google stats show that 50 percent of searches are done by phone, you want to ensure your website is set to display well on a handheld device. Also, you want to make sure it can load quickly so people aren’t waiting to see your pages. People will abort a search almost instantly if they are forced to wait. Because of the stats, Google does look for mobile friendly sites and will rank them higher.
Tip: Make sure your website looks good and loads fast on your mobile. You also want to be able to scroll and see the navigation easily, so people can make their way through the site without struggling. If needed, arrange to have your site updated to a fluid design that adapts to the device people are using to view your site.
Taking the time to look for these details on your site and how it appears in searches will help you improve optimization for better rankings.