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Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of enhancing your online content so that search engines will show it among the top results for keywords or phrases. It’s an essential tool for landowners wishing to attract potential buyers.

The mathematical algorithms that search engines use to rank search results are complex and constantly changing, but essentially, it all boils down to relevance and quality. Search engines constantly “crawl” sites to evaluate content. The sites that rank higher are those that provide information relevant to search queries, have high-quality content, and are optimized for modern browsers, including mobile devices.

Read more: How to Optimize Your Land Listings for SEO Success

Create great content

The most important thing you can do to maximize your chances of ranking high in search results is to make ensure the content on your website is as useful and well-presented as possible. It’s also important not to duplicate content from other sites.

One thing search engines evaluate is audience engagement, indicated by whether people stay on a page or return to the search results. You can increase engagement by making sure your content provides the information potential buyers are most likely looking for, so they will stay on your site.

A good land listing website should include summaries of essential information, unique descriptions of each property, and numerous high-quality photos (and videos if available). Including useful details about the local area surrounding your property can also help with search engine rankings. Updating your content regularly will keep your site showing up higher in rankings, as fresh content is a key element search engines use to measure value and relevance.

Read more: 5 Easy Tips for Taking a Great Land Listing Photo

Use keywords

Keywords are among the most important factors used to determine how relevant a site is to particular searches. Generally, the more specific the keyword, the greater the chance it will show up near the top of search results. General keywords like “land for sale” won’t get you far. Instead, use phrases like “Texas Hill Country ranch” or “Vermont farmland” that are more likely to draw qualified customers since you’ll show up in search results for people searching for those exact things.

The keywords you choose should be relevant to your most likely prospects but not so competitive that you’ll never be able to able to position your site among the top results. The more specific your keywords, the more you can narrow the competition and the higher you’ll rank in search results.

Aim to use your keyword, or variations, several times on a page, but make sure it sounds natural. If your text sounds too spammy, you’ll be penalized by search engines for keyword stuffing instead of being rewarded with higher rankings. For each page in your site, think about what a potential customer might search for to reach that page, and use this keyword phrase wisely throughout the page.

Read more: Sell Your Property on the Land.com Network

Links matter

Another important part of search engine rankings is the number and quality of other websites linking to your site or a page within it. The idea is that if high-quality sites are linking to your content, it must be relevant and useful. Increasing the number of high-quality sites that link to your website will help you rank higher in search results, and also provide additional ways for potential buyers to find you. It’s important that sites linking to you be of high quality, since search engines evaluate not just the number of links but also the trustworthiness and authority of the linking sites.

Look for relevant directories or resource websites where you can list your website, and reach out to bloggers covering relevant topics to see if they will link to your website. Be selective in choosing which sites you try to earn links from, since links from numerous poor-quality sites can harm your ranking. Of course, your best bet for earning quality links organically is to fill your site with valuable content.

Make sure your website is listed in all your social media accounts, and share links with your followers as appropriate. Within your site, make sure your pages link to your most valuable content, and always use anchor text (descriptive phrases) in your links, rather than words like “click here.”

Mobile friendliness and loading speed

In recent years, the percentage of people viewing websites on mobile and tablet devices has increased exponentially. It’s essential that your website be optimized for viewing on mobile phones. Visit your site from a mobile browser to make sure there are no issues, or check your website by using Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test tool.

It’s also crucial to make sure your website loads quickly and doesn’t have any distracting design issues that might turn users off. SEO experts have found that 5 percent of users abandon a slow-loading website for every second of delay.

Use a photo editor to optimize your photos for web viewing to ensure they appear as high-quality images but still load quickly. If you include videos, don’t set them to play automatically.

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  • Annika Hipple is a freelance writer and photographer who covers travel, environmental issues, sustainable development, and other topics. Her work has appeared in BBC Travel, Sierra Magazine, Time Out, in-flight magazines, and numerous other publications.

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