Estate Agent's guide to writing online content
24 February, 2010 | Web design
Estate Agent online content needs to combine a mix of creativity and basic guidelines. This is because a content writer needs to create content that performs well for Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) as well as grabbing people's attention. This balance is difficult to attain but if it is done well, it can be a website's main source of traffic.
An understanding of how people read websites is important. The image in this article is a heat map showing where people look on Google's search results on the Sawdye & Harris website. As you can see, people are impatient and are only looking for information that is important so instead of reading everything, they will only scan the web page.
Due to the way information is gathered on the internet, bullet points are one of the most important tools for a content writer. They summarise information and create clear points of reference for the reader. Therefore I will be using bullet points to show key tips on how to write for the internet:
- Make sure that headlines as 'Sun Style headlines' so that they grab the reader's attention and force them to read the article E.G. "Vicar makes own holy water" - I'm not even sure what that entails but it makes me want to read the article.
- Make sure that there are keywords in the title (Keywords are the words that are used to reveal the internal structure of an author's reasoning.) Using the example above, a search engine would pick up a combination of 'Vicar' 'Holy Water' and lastly 'makes his own' and then see how that relates to the rest of the article. If you were then to write an article about bird watching, a search engine would flag this as inappropriate or spam.
- Pretty as a picture - After a headline, make sure included picture is relevant, attention grabbing, and if possible, colourful. (Warning do not use sexy pictures as this will attract the wrong audience).
- Use Keyword density. This is the percentage of times a keyword or phrase appears on a web page compared to the total number of words on the page. This is used for search engines looking for words that are repeated.
- Search engines will place higher importance on words that are in the top left more than words in the bottom right. Notice that the title in this article follows this rule.
- Use as many keywords as naturally as possible - Make sure that it is readable by humans and not 'Estate Agents' repeated every other word.
- Search engines ignore punctuation. You can place keywords at the end of a sentence and at the start for search engines to pick up. i.e. "...Estate Agents. Housing shortage..."
- Know your audience - If you are writing for Estate Agents, make sure that the content you are writing will interest Estate Agents.
- Keep up to date - This year is 2010, try to keep it that way.
- Cut paragraphs into small paragraphs - this is easier to read than a big chunk of text.
- Use hyperlinks - Create hyperlinks that link to all over the website. This is good for SEO as well as giving the reader an option to move from the article to another part of the website.
- Check, double check and then get someone else to check your work - mistakes are easily spotted and it is not always possible to see the mistakes that you have made.
- 82% of facts are made up - This backs up your article and helps the reader believe your article.
- Keep positive - Positivity goes a long way!
- A sense of humour! - This goes a long way and keeps the reader entertained, even if the jokes aren't particularly funny.
Troy Stanley, CTO of Resource Techniques comments, 'Estate Agents that write original content on their own website will boost their website's SEO. I would advice any Estate Agent to seriously consider writing their own news.