But often times, it’s a long-term effort. Meaning you won’t see any real results for at least a few months as you start to grow an audience.
If you want to accelerate your growth and see results faster, the best way to do that is to go hyperlocal.
So rather than trying to dominate every market area, you focus instead on a specific geographic area such as a town, neighborhood or a specific zip code.
A well designed hyperlocal website will get you to rank very quickly and will help you generate a steady stream of buyer contacts.
But how do you know if you’re on the right track? Here’s a short list of what makes a hyperlocal real estate website successful…
1. Hyperlocal websites focus on a very specific geographic area.
Rather than trying to be everywhere at once and dominate various market areas, hyperlocal websites focus on dominating one very specific geographic area.
As StudioPress founder Brian Gardner points out, “it’s much easier to rank well when you have a focused topic you regularly blog about.”
So, start by defining your target market area. Then, perform a little keyword research to determine the type of keyword search phrases consumers are searching for. Your goal is to match your content (post titles) to those search queries.
2. Hyperlocal websites have a solid base of local community content.
Consumers crave certain types of content when they’re beginning their home search. Think about it… Put yourself in the consumer’s shoes. You’re probably interested in learning everything and anything about the area, right?
First, start by identifying the area that you’re going to specialize in. Then, the next step is to determine the type of content your target audience is interested in reading. Ask yourself:
- What kinds of questions are consumers asking that I can provide answers to?
- What are they interested in learning about the local community?
As you answer those questions, make a headline list of everything that comes to mind. Everything on that list should serve you well as a new blog post because it’ll a.) provide you with a steady stream of traffic to write about, b.) it answers your target audiences most common questions.
As consumers go online to search for things like:
Best places to live in San Diego
Homes for sale in San Diego
Things to do in San Diego
Best schools in San Diego
…your goal should be to have content that matches those search queries already created. Your goal is to rank well for those terms and capture those consumers interest by creating content that is useful and highly relevant to them so that they keep coming back and engaging with your content.
If your content doesn’t satisfy their appetite for learning about the area, you’re not giving them a reason to come back and they’ll likely go search for information elsewhere.
One way to position this content on your website is by creating local city guides. Simply create a landing page that consists of:
- A brief history of the area.
- Share some key attractions or activities that the area is well known for (for example: a weekly Farmer’s market).
- Share a list of local restaurants and other things to do.
- Provide a local market snapshot with a list of the latest listings in the area.
Here are some examples of excellent local city guides create by real estate blogger Irina Netchaev:
3. Hyperlocal websites provide a consistent variety of localized content.
In real estate, the market is always changing. Which means you need to consistently update your content to keep up and stay current with fluctuating market conditions.
If you don’t, you risk easily (and quickly) losing readers. After all, if your content is consistently out of date and you rarely publish anything new, they have no reason to stick around, do they?
A good hyperlocal website approaches their content creation efforts like managing a local newspaper. While you might not publish daily, you do need to publish a variety of content to keep your subscribers engaged. Some people just want to look at listings while others simply want to catch up on what’s going on around the neighborhood. So don’t just write about real estate, write about everything and anything local! Things like:
- Your recent restaurant experience (write a review and/or interview the owner).
- Write upcoming events for the weekend (see #4 below). And here’s a fun example from real estate blogger, Irina Netchaev.
- Write updates on recent developments around the community (examples here and here).
If you want to keep readers engaged while attracting new traffic daily, you need to keep your content fresh and interesting. And remember, not everyone is in the market to buy right away, they’re just getting to know the neighborhood. So mix it up by writing about other local news items, don’t just write about your listings.
4. Hyperlocal websites are social — they provide an easy way for site visitors to continue to engage with your content.
What’s the point of having a great community-centric website if you don’t have an easy way for consumers to subscribe and engage with your content “on the go.”
Building an email list of engaged, local community members is a great complement to your real estate blog. The question is, what type of content can you provide that will keep readers interested and engaged?
The following are two examples that do this exceedingly well:
- The Weekender from Urban Daddy – This is a weekly newsletter that provides subscribers with a weekly summary of events going on around the Boston area.
- The Weekend Sherpa – Per their website, “the Weekend Sherpa is a free weekly email newsletter giving you insiders’ recommendations on the best outdoor pursuits exclusive to California.”
Email marketing service providers like MailChimp (free up to 2,000 subscribers) make it easy to start an email newsletter. If you’re already creating a mix of local community content on your blog, it should be easy to repurpose that content via an email newsletter.
So the question is, why haven’t you started your own version of the “The Weekender” and “The Weekend Sherpa” already?
5. Hyperlocal websites have a way to convert traffic into leads (via IDX).
IDX stands for Internet Data Exchange. Basically, it’s what allows you to display MLS listings on your website. So anytime you see an MLS listings on a real estate website, it was made possible through an IDX data feed from service providers like Diverse Solutions, IDX Broker and a series of other IDX providers.
If you don’t have an IDX system set up on your website already, you’re missing a big component of your online marketing toolset.
Think about it… One of the primary reasons consumers are coming to your website is to search for homes. Without an IDX system that gives them the ability to access the latest homes for sale, they have no reason to be on your website. They can easily access those listings somewhere else (through one of your competitors).
While you’re working hard to create new content that engages readers and attracts new site visitors, IDX is where you’re going to convert those visitors into interested buyers and eventually, closed escrows (which means money in the bank).
Time To Get Started…
Building a hyperlocal real estate blog is the quickest way to grow a local captive audience. But you need to consistently publish a variety of local news content in order to get them to know, like and trust you. The more consistent you are in your efforts, the more business you’ll generate in the long-term.