SEO is more than just the organic traffic coming to your website. It’s also about search presence, how a business appears in the organic search results. With the recent uptick in online activity and the shift in online consumer behavior, a businesses search presence should be a top priority for marketers now more than ever. Ultimately Google (and the other search engines) do control how and what search results return, but there are ways that marketers and businesses can help influence what appears.
How comfortable are you about the organic results Google would return for a search for your business, or how they would be displayed? Would your model hours on your Google My Business listing be accurate for the current times? Are the models open by appointment or only available for scheduled virtual touring? All of this pertinent business information needs to be front and center to keep your potential home buyers in the know about how they can continue to seek building a new home in one of your communities.
The easiest way to begin to get an idea about what your business’s search presence looks like is to do a search for yourself and see what results are returned. Begin by searching for your brand name, how someone would search when they know that you are who they are looking to find information about. Then, consider more abstract searches that your ideal consumers might be searching, for example “new homes in city, state.”
- Are your new homes and communities accurately represented organically for each search?
- Would a consumer searching for a new home easily be able to find you and ultimately get in touch with one of your sales people?
(Keep in mind that Google has endless variations of how their search results can appear based on the user and the search itself and they are always making changes and improvements. So a search result feature you experience today, could very well be a thing of the past tomorrow.)
Make note of the results you believe are the best representation of your business and also take note of where updates need to be made in order to return the most up to date information about your homes and communities. Making sure that your website and Google My Business listings are up to date with the most accurate information is first and foremost when it comes to Google returning the proper information in the search results.
The information on your website and ease of navigating that information should be the focus when it comes to helping to influence the search results. Obviously your website should reflect the latest information about your business, so updating it accordingly is key. Consider the recent shift in online consumer behavior and the importance of being able to conduct business virtually. Organize all of your virtual content and tools in one easy to find consumer friendly page or section of your website. Consider utilizing your blog so you can share COVID related information as things change so your home buyers can continue to stay up to date. Adding all of this information to your website in an organized manner will help Google return the best results for searches related to your business.
Google My Business listings are typically returned for searches for a business brand name or when Google deems the search query relevant enough to display the business in the map list. For this reason, similarly to your website, it’s important to continually update your GMB listings; hours of operation, extra services you’re providing to the community, adding new photos, sharing relevant virtual tour or model videos in posts for your customers to easily find and digest, sharing blog updates for how you’re continuing to conduct business during COVID, etc. For businesses affected by COVID-19 visit Google’s GMB Help for guidance and support, here.
Now’s also a great time to reevaluate your website’s current content and look for areas of improvement and ways you can cross-link internally to help with the ease of navigation and flow of information for the user. Prioritize the most important content that would help to drive users to your communities, plans and specs based off of your website analytics and overall search presence. Websites with unique and original content tend to get rewarded by the search engines with more prominent organic listings. Having a more prominent organic listing means more organic impressions and potential clicks and more “free” traffic to your website.
For proof that Google likes to reward unique original content, see the graph below. This is a data snapshot from Google Search Console, over the past 16 months (Jan 2019 – April 2020) of organic impressions and clicks for just ONE blog post, generated by ONeil, on a builder’s website.
This one blog post has received just as many impressions as the builder’s homepage over the same period of time and is the second leading page of click-throughs after the homepage. That’s a lot of NEW organic exposure and traffic that the builder website wasn’t previously getting before.
The goal of a search engine is to present the most relevant information to a user searching and the engine’s AI’s have been getting smarter over time. So it’s no wonder that the engine prioritizes rewarding websites that have a lot of unique, up to date and easy to navigate information. If SEO, organic search presence and unique content generation has you overwhelmed, contact us today to see how we can help take your organic presence to the next level and help get your builder website to rank higher in the search results.