Site Maps and Search Engine Optimization for Commercial Real Estate Websites
Yesterday, we officially launched the new mljordan.com. This was especially exciting because we put a lot of work into it. One of the cool things about being a commercial real estate marketing agency that creates commercial real estate websites as a service offering, is that we can be a “test case” when developing internal marketing resources. This ultimately helps us offer the best solutions that are also streamlined, as we’ve learned through our own experiences.
With all the above being said, the original goal and idea behind the new mljordan.com was to continue to improve upon our organic search rankings. We’ve found since implementing an aggressive inbound marketing approach through HubSpot over a year ago that most of our new clients are finding us through online searches (primarily google). Being a marketer, this is exciting because we’re continuing to grow our business, with essentially free advertising (I won’t even get into the automatic customer trust factor that occurs when being found by search engines).
Anyway, like any good entrepreneur – good is not good enough. If I see an opportunity to improve upon things that are working, I immediately want to keep pushing to the next level. Without further ado, these are the first steps that I took when developing the new mljordan.com.
Monthly Searches and Keyword Competition
You may think you know keywords that you want to rank for, but trust me – unless you’ve done analysis on keyword monthly searches as well as looking at the competition associated with these keywords – you really can’t definitively say which keywords you want to rank for. In short, these are the items you want to focus on when selecting keywords.
- Do a thorough analysis of several keywords that you assume will be good for rankings. Use a tool that will generate similar keywords based upon the ones that you enter. Google Keyword-Planner is a good resource for generating keywords.
- Using the keywords that you pulled, import into a system like Moz and have a look at the two most important data points. First, the monthly search volume and second, the keyword competition.
- Export keywords into a spreadsheet and choose a reasonable number of search terms that meet the criteria of high search volume and lower levels of competition.
Develop your Site Map
With an understanding of the keywords that you want to rank for, it’s time to develop your site map. This is the outline that you’ll refer to throughout the entire website development process, and will determine the pages that you’ll be creating.
Initial Page Structure
At this point of the process, opinions in terms of the best way to start the content development process may differ, but for us – we’ve found that this is the best way to structure all the pages that you’ll be including inside of your website.
- I’m big into structure and because of this my first step would be to create a folder called website text and inside I would include an individual word document for each of the website’s pages.
- Create a page structure that you can keep similar throughout the entire website.
- Understand the most important aspects that will have the largest effect on your search engine optimization …. Page URL, Page Title, Page Description, Header 1 and the initial text included in your first paragraph. Inside of each word document develop a standardized structure that has room to fill in all the categories mentioned above. Additional details below.
Key Components to SEO Strategy
I touched on the most important aspects of SEO to include on each of the pages above but will go into a little more detail to further explain. The most important item for each of the below is that you want to include the keywords that you’ve selected that you want to rank for.
Page URL – Inside of the url – you’ll want the slug to mention the keyword that you want to rank for – for example – on our commercial real estate website pricing page we wanted to rank for… you guessed it, commercial real estate websites. Because of this we used the url mljordan.com/commercial-real-estate-websites.
Page Title – Again, incorporate the keyword inside of the page title – this how your page will be displayed in search results. In our case, the page title is Commercial Real Estate Websites – ML Jordan. Keep in mind, use the most important keywords towards the front of the page title, as these keywords carry more value.
Page Description – Although it’s said that search engines (google) is no longer using the description as a criterion that affects search results, however it will highlight keywords included inside of the description that’s being searched.
Header 1 – The Page title will not be displayed on the actual web page – instead the Header 1 will. Again, you’ll want to incorporate the keyword that you selected and feel free to get creative if you’d like – it’s also fine to repeat the same words you used for page title.
First Paragraph – with the first paragraph, use the keyword towards the beginning and be sure to include inbound and outbound links throughout the body of the text.
Alright, does the above seem like a lot? As mentioned, I love innovating inside of our company because I can immediately share the strategies that we’ve used with our clients. After the initial site structure is created, it’s time to create the wireframe! This is something that we may cover in a future blog article.