Ask Yoast: RSS importers and duplicate content

At Yoast we’re happy to help you with your SEO question! This time we received a question from Diana. She’s asking:

“Does Google consider it to be duplicate content when I import my articles from one blog to my main blog using an RSS Importer? Will I be penalized by Google in some way?”

Watch the answer in this video or find it in the transcript below!


Well you won’t necessarily be penalized, but Google will only show one of the two sites that have the blog articles. Your best bet probably, is to choose either one of them, and to make sure that the canonical on the one that you don’t want to rank is set to the one that you do want to rank. This might be slightly technical, but it’s in the Advanced tab of Yoast SEO. Underneath each post you can set the canonical to point to another url than the url of the post. And by doing that you’ll tell Google which one you want to rank. This solves any duplicate content issues. And you should be able to get your RSS importer to do that for you. Good luck!

Read more: ‘RSS feeds in the age of Panda and Penguin’ »

In the series Ask Yoast we help you with your SEO query. Don’t hesitate and send your SEO question to!

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How to optimize your food blog

A very popular type of website is the ‘food blog’. Cooking and baking are hot, and the number of food blogs seems to rise. In this post, we’ll go over the things that will give your food blog just that little extra. Both for your users and in terms of SEO.

how to optimize your food blog

Focus on long tail

This might be the most important piece of advice I can give you: focus on long tail. The number of food blogs grows every day. I recently talked to an old friend of mine that just started a blog about nutrition and healthy food. 5 years ago I reviewed a blog that had a weekly bread recipe and 200,000 visitors every month. The main problem with the number of food blogs, is that you really need focus to rank. You need to find your special niche and write great content about that niche to surface on page one in Google. This is really hard. The better and more unique the niche, the easier it will be to rank. I think focusing on long tail will give you a head start.

Do you know the Yoast Google Suggest Expander? You can use that tool to find all the things Google suggests when a user types a query in Google. With that tool, you might find the niche or long tail keyword you’d like to optimize for. I searched for paleo and it gave me keywords like ‘paleo almond butter cookies’. It’s quite an extreme example, but if you check that keyphrase for suggestions, you’ll find over 30 more topics/recipes to write about. These can all be considered long tail keywords.

Read more: ‘Why focus on long tail keywords?’ »


Think about this: thousands of people per day visit food websites. Thousands of people have no clue about what to eat tonight. About what to make as a healthy children’s snack. About what kind of cake would suit their occasion.

Food is the very bottom, most essential layer of Maslow’s pyramid. Food is emotion. That emotion needs to be reflected by your choice of theme. If you’re baking cupcakes, please use a more playful design than when you’re posting BBQ recipes.
Food is personal. Make sure your website has a clear picture of yourself and a description of what your personal passion for food is. What kind of food makes you happy? Make sure this is very clear from the start to bind a certain audience to your website. Add a nice tag line to your header stating just that: what kind of food is your website about.

Food blog: photography example

That very passion for that specific food can be emphasized by great photography. What I really like about food bloggers, is that they tend to photograph every step in the baking/cooking process. Usually, these are quick photos taken with a smartphone. Which is fine. Just make sure your final shot of the amazing cupcake, delicious taco or whatever is your money shot. Without reading your post, that image should make the visitor hungry. That will make him or her want to read your post. Even if your post is about nutrition and not even a recipe :)


I’m not saying that a food blog is about recipes per se, but most of the food blogs I have read at least contain recipes. We have talked about before. It’s a way to markup your content so search engines recognize very quickly what your page is about. Google, Bing and Yandex have created a Recipe schema especially for websites like yours.

The elements of a Recipe

The Recipe schema contains all kind of specific information about your recipe, varying from cooking time to ingredients. See the full list here. I’d like to point you to a few of these elements that stand out:

  • NutritionInformation: really in-depth information on how healthy your recipe is. I understand that you sometimes just don’t know when it’s a recipe of your own. Some information might help your health-driven audience though.
  • Image: as mentioned earlier, a great image really helps your post. Not just in that it triggers your visitor, but it also works in Google Images and for instance Pinterest. More on social later.

One more thing about nutrition. If you’re serious about adding this to your recipes or other ramblings about food, Google Knowledge Graph helps. It provides some extra information:

Food blogs: Google Knowledge Graph

That entire right side will give you more information about fat and vitamins. Just a tip!

Seasonal posts

“Holidays are coming.” If you have specific food blog posts about Christmas, Easter or Thanksgiving, please start planning early. If your website needs to start ranking for all your Easter recipes in the week before Easter, you’re too late. Now I know this might be hard, when you’re in your first year of blogging. But especially if you’ve been blogging for a couple of years, it will pay off to promote these recipes from time to time during the year. Easter and Christmas could possibly both include bunnies, right…

You’d be surprised how many people start planning Christmas early. I, for one, would appreciate all of these dishes in September as well. See if you can find seasonal dishes without linking it directly to holidays as well. Categories like ‘for a winter’s evening’ or ‘a rainy day’ might be more suitable for your audience. Last year Jamie Oliver released a book about comfort food. I like that on a stormy day in May as well. I can imagine the number of searches for that go up in September/October though. Google Trends agrees. In Google Trends, you can clearly see that during the summer months, that keyword will give you less traffic. People like BBQs and ice cream during these times.

Bottom line: let Google know you have these post in time. And feel free to repost a Christmas post/recipe around Christmas, by the way. Just make sure you check the content of the post, update if necessary and keep the same link. If you don’t have the link in your URL, simply change the publish date and you’re good to go. It might give that ‘old’ post new visitors.

Your food blog and social media

One out of ten posts on my Facebook timeline is about food or beverages. About cooking or restaurants. On Instagram, people use tags like #yummy, #foodporn, #instafood, #foodpic and multiple variations of #(om)nomnom a lot (don’t you just hate that omnomnom trend? I do). Searching Pinterest for ‘salad‘ will keep you scrolling recipes for hours. If you know me, you’ll understand I obviously searched for ‘burger‘ and just changed the link. Same story.

If you have a food blog, you need to leverage social media. Find out what social media platform your preferred audience is using and start engaging. Pinterest and Instagram seem to work really, really well. But why not leverage sites like as well? We’ve written about branding before, and sites like that might help you get your name out.

Let’s not forget Youtube. Almost 600,000 subscribers for BarbecueWeb and a whopping 2,500,000+ subscribers for MyCupcakeaddiction! This can only motivate you to start recording videos. Set up your channel, promote it via your website and other social media and see if it works for you. Please note that numbers like that require hard work and a lot of effort. Give it your best shot.

I hope this article will give you some pointers for your own food blog. Feel free to share your own food blog success stories via social media or the comment section below. I’m looking forward to these!

Keep reading: ‘Social Media strategy’ »

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Today: launch of our Yoast SEO for WordPress training

As of today it’s possible to become a certified Yoast SEO for WordPress expert! The Yoast SEO for WordPress training is available! In this course, you’ll learn all the ins and outs of our Yoast SEO plugin. Through video tutorials, instructional videos and lots of challenging questions we’ll teach you everything you need to know about the Yoast SEO for WordPress plugin. If you buy our Yoast SEO for WordPress training now, it only costs $99 for the first year! After April 6 the price will be $129.

Read more about our Yoast SEO for WordPress training or watch the video in which Joost and Jaro explain all about this great course:

Basic SEO Training

If you want to know more about SEO in general, you should definitely check out our other SEO training. Basic SEO teaches you everything you need to know to optimize your website. And with the launch of our Yoast SEO for WordPress training, we decided to lower the price of our Basic SEO training. For only $199 you will learn all the basics of SEO!

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5 tips to write readable blog posts!

Reading from a screen can be hard. If you want your readers to read your entire blog post, you should make sure your blog post is easy to read. Posts that are nice and easy to read will result in more returning visitors and a higher conversion rate. In this blog post, I’ll give five tips on how to improve the readability of your blog post!

Writing a readable blog post

Focus on your audience!

The most important advice I would give you, is to make sure your text isn’t too difficult for the audience you’re writing for. If you write about LEGO and focus on kids, your text should be easy to read. But, if your audience consists of scientists with a Ph.D., your text could be much more difficult and still be suitable. The five tips I present below should thus be seen as general rules. For some audiences, a text should be made even more simple, while for other audiences the rules will be a bit too strict.

Tip 1: Clear paragraphs

Make sure to write clear paragraphs. For a blog post, we would advise you to always start your paragraph with the most important sentence. Then explain or elaborate on that sentence. This way a reader will be able to grasp the most relevant content from your article, just by reading the first sentences of your paragraphs. Make sure paragraphs aren’t too long (7 or 8 sentences is quite long already).

Tip 2: Short sentences

Try to write short sentences. We consider sentences containing more than 20 words as lengthy. Try to limit these lengthy sentences. Make sure you only have a few sentences in a blog post that count more than 20 words. Also, make sure a paragraph doesn’t contain more than one long sentence.

Tip 3: Limit difficult words

Limit the use of words that are difficult to read. Remember that reading from a screen is harder for everyone. Words that contain four or more syllables are considered difficult to read. Make sure to limit the use of such difficult words.

Of course, in some cases, your blog post just is about something that is difficult to explain or requires a more advanced vocabulary. Just a few weeks ago, I wrote a post about illustrations. Illustrations is a word containing four syllables and can therefore be seen as a difficult word. Still, I had to use that word (and quite often too). In such cases, make sure your sentences and paragraphs aren’t too long and your readers will still be fine!

Tip 4: Use signal words

A text can be made much more readable with the use of proper signal words (or transition words, same thing). Signal words are words like ‘most important’, ‘because’, ‘thus’, or ‘besides that’. They give direction to your readers. These words give a signal that something is coming up: if you’re summarizing, you’ll use first, second, third etc. If you want to contrast you’ll write same, less, rather, while or either. If you want to conclude, you’ll use hence, consequently or therefore.

Using signal words will be like putting cement between your sentences. The relation between two sentences becomes apparent by the use of signal words. Readers will understand your content much better if you make proper use of these kinds of words.

Tip 5: Mix it up!

For a text to be attractive to a reader, it should be very varied. This means that you should try to mix it up a little! Alternate longer paragraphs and sentences with short ones and attempt to use synonyms if you tend to use a word very often. Some people use the word ‘and’ or ‘too’ very often. Mixing it up with ‘also’ or ‘moreover’ could make a text more attractive and much more readable too.


If you want your readers to read your entire blog post, you should make sure that your text is easy to read. Don’t make a text more difficult than necessary. Avoid long sentences and write clear paragraphs. Tools like Grammarly and Hemingway can help you to write a readable text. At Yoast, we’re currently developing new checks to be added to our content analysis. We aim to include several readability checks as well. That way, you’ll be able to check whether your text is SEO friendly and readable at the same time.

Another way to make sure a text is readable is by choosing the right typography. You shouldn’t use a small font and make sure the spacing between lines is wide enough. I’ll write a post about typography in a few weeks, so stay tuned!

Read more: ‘The site structure of a growing blog’ »

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Yoast SEO plugin tutorials

Do you encounter any difficulties configuring your Yoast SEO plugin? Want to know more about all features and settings of the Yoast SEO plugin? We have great news for you! Joost has made a series of Yoast SEO plugin tutorials for every tab on every page of the Yoast SEO configuration pages. A playlist of a total of 33 screencasts is available for free for all of our users!

In these video tutorials, Joost de Valk will explain all the settings of the Yoast SEO plugin in detail. He’ll talk you through all the possibilities the plugin has and explain why you should configure your plugin in a certain way. With every update of Yoast SEO, new screencasts will be released. Check out our extensive playlist! And, don’t forget to subscribe to our YouTube channel so you won’t miss any updates!

Yoast SEO plugin training for WordPress

Yoast SEO for WordPress training

For those of you who want to dive in all the possibilities our plugin has, we have developed a Yoast SEO plugin training. This training will be released on Wednesday the 30th of March. This training consists of these same 33 Yoast SEO plugin tutorials and of 8 in-depth instruction videos in which Joost de Valk gives extra information about all the settings. On top of that, the course comes with a lot of challenging questions, to test whether or not you truly understand the Yoast SEO plugin.

Once you have completed the Yoast SEO plugin training, you’ll receive a badge and a certificate to put on your site. The badge and certificate are a Yoast seal of approval. If you have completed our course, you’re qualified and able to set up and properly configure our plugin.

Want to become a Yoast SEO plugin expert? The plugin training will be available next week! The Yoast SEO for WordPress training will cost $129 for the first year and $69 in the following years. The first week you can even get it for $99! The videos and the questions will be updated after every major release of Yoast SEO, making sure you’ll remain a real Yoast SEO plugin Expert!

Read more: ‘Next week: Yoast SEO for WordPress training’ »



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The power of our reviews

We’ve been doing our website reviews for quite some time now. Over the past years, we have reviewed more than 1,700 websites (!) and counting. In this article, I’d like to show you how our reviews can help your website by highlighting some of the recommendations and how the follow-up on that resulted in increased traffic and sales. Bully Max is a very loyal customer of ours, that is using a lot of our products (far more than just the website audits). Let me demonstrate how our reviews have helped them grow their business.

If you order a review for your webshop now, you’ll get $50 off! Just use SHOP2016REVIEW in the checkout. Go optimize your webshop today! »

The website review

It all started when our friends over at Bully Max ordered a website review from us in June 2013. Their website homepage looked something like this (this is a screenshot directly from our review):

Bully Max Dog Supplements Pitbull Food Dog Vitamins 710 7

The website had a lot of potential, with the company being in a clear niche market and having a very passionate team that was willing to go the extra mile. As there is always room for improvement, they asked us to do a website review for them.

Some of the things that just had to be improved

The website had a slider, which we disliked then as much as we do now. Sliders often cause distraction from the main element of your (home)page. This could lead to a very noticeable lack of focus. There was simply too much going on.
At the moment, Bully Max’s homepage looks like this:

Bully Max, official website

Create trust, great call-to-action. Remember that these vitamins for pitbulls are a rather emotional product. We’re talking about your pet here and you only want the best for your pet! Once the website has convinced you about the products, there is a clear call-to-action to go shop for your dog’s vitamins. No doubt about what the visitors should do here. Much improvement when it comes to focus.

Please note that Bully Max shifted the main product area to, where we reviewed the original domain of That website still exists, but links to the brand domain for products and more. Activities shifted from one to another website, visibility still increased for the old domain (nice job).

Of course we found more on the initial website. Looking at their product pages, we found the product descriptions were all duplicate. If you own a webshop and you’re selling products that others are selling as well, here’s an invaluable tip: write your own content. No matter how awesome your website is, you just won’t rank for your product descriptions if there are 500 other webshops with an exact copy of that description. Webshop owners often simply use a manufacturer’s description, for instance. This inevitably leads to duplicate content.

As I bet some of you know, we are unforgiving in our review. The final report consisted of almost 6000 words of critique. And Bully Max was ecstatic. They simply understood the value of all that we had to say and got to work. You just got to love customers like that!

The results in ranking

Bully Max considers their website an ongoing work in progress, and have told us multiple times they’re using our reviews almost on a daily basis. So, to us, the results they’re seeing isn’t much of a surprise. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t make us proud. I mean, just look at it:

The traffic on their website almost tripled over that period! And that’s just traffic. Look at this visibility chart I took today (

SEO visibility for (chart)

An extra to that is the chart for the new website (launched around the second quarter of 2015):

SEO Visibility for bullymaxcom

The increasing visibility for both websites, and the extra traffic that comes along with that, is the result of hard work on the side of Bully Max. And the willingness to take on our advice and trust what we had to say.

Buy one of our Website reviews »

The Conversion review

Back in 2014, we felt we could share more knowledge about conversion as well. Before releasing the Conversion review, we held a trial among our website review customers. That way, we could perfect our product before making it available to the masses.

Literally within 10 minutes of sending the mail, Bully Max replied that they wanted to buy the Conversion review. They were very eager to try out this new product. We obviously were very happy to have such enthusiastic and hard-working customers for our first Conversion review.

Here’s what their website looked like then, after a number of initial changes they did following our first review:

power of our reviews

Bully Max added loads of content. They did a great job improving the website, and we noticed. As I mentioned earlier, there is always room for improvement, there are always some things that can be better. Their main conversion issue, which was most probably costing them sales, was their website’s responsiveness. Their website was less suited for a mobile device and to be honest, their mobile website just didn’t work at all. And that’s a big flaw, if you consider the fact that almost 50% of their traffic came from mobile.

These days, with Accelerated Mobile Pages being a hot topic, most website owners understand the need for a great mobile/responsive website. That has changed a lot over the past two years. Having said that, we still see our share of websites that are just not optimized (enough) for mobile users. If a theme is responsive, that doesn’t mean all your content is. Videos or images that just don’t scale are rather common. Don’t just believe your web developer created a mobile website, but visit your website from a mobile device from time to time, to check if all of your content nicely scales as well.

As I said, Bully Max continues to improve their website. The current design is already a lot different from the orange and black improvements they made back then, but just look at what their homepage looked like in April of 2014: design (April 2014)

What I really like about Bully Max, is that while a design improvement is rather easy to do (switch theme, change some CSS and images, things like that), the chart above shows that Bully Max continued to focus on content as well.

Looking at their long tail keywords, I found that is ranking very well for specific long tail keywords:

Rankings long tail; keywords - - table

That just means they kept a lot of focus on (new) content, while continuously testing and improving their design as well. Meanwhile, nails the brand-related keywords:

brand related keywords

The homepage ranks for these keywords, but well, that is just what we mentioned in our post about branding.

The results in sales

Of course we won’t be publishing any hard numbers, but we do have approval to show you some nice percentages (March 2014). Let me show you why BullyMax is so happy with our review:

ecommerce_overview_-_google_analytics_2014-03-11_11-31-49_2014-03-11_11-31-52 2014-03-14 15-40-06 2014-03-14 15-42-58

These are the increases and decreases in percentages. I’m already hearing you say: “but the average order value went down!”. Yes, it did. And that’s the only thing that went down, and not even significantly so. For the non-believers out there: the sales weren’t low to begin with, so these percentages really do mean something.

The conclusion

“As you can see your reviews have paid off big-time for us. Your reviews continue to inspire us daily at Bully Max. Also, your blog is now what I consider written by the dream team of SEO and internet marketing. You guys have sure put together a great team of which we read every chance we can. Sometimes I see a new awesome educating article and have to email it to Matt.”

Todd Jirecek, Director of SEO, Bully Max Inc.

As we’ve tried to show you in this post, both our website reviews and our conversion reviews can have a major impact on your business. Note that our current Diamond review combines all of this.
Please note this doesn’t just happen like that. We can’t emphasize this enough: you have to work really hard at it. These audits will do nothing for you if you’re not willing to sit down and get cracking on your website. If you really put some effort in it, our reviews will have a lasting effect, as this Bully Max case shows.

By the way, please don’t make the mistake of thinking that SEO, or Conversion Rate Optimization, is a ‘trick’. There are no settings you need to tick or untick to make your website rank or sell better. It requires genuine effort. And the payoff will taste all the sweeter for it, so go optimize!

What do you think? Are you ready to optimize?

Read more: ‘Planning and checking your Conversion Rate Optimization’ »

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Next week: Yoast SEO for WordPress Training

Next week, on March 30, we’ll release our Yoast SEO for WordPress training. After our Basic SEO training, this will be the second course we offer at Yoast Academy!

Yoast SEO for WordPress training

Videos for all features of Yoast SEO

The Yoast SEO for WordPress training consists of many training videos and even more screencasts. Joost de Valk will teach you step by step what our Yoast SEO plugin is able to do for you. All the settings and features will be explained and discussed in the course. Also, you’ll be challenged to answer many difficult questions about our plugin. These questions will force you to really dive into the material. We’ve created this course for people using and configuring the plugin regularly. Developers or people who maintain websites can really benefit from this training. After completing the course, you’ll definitely be a Yoast SEO for WordPress expert!

Yoast SEO for WordPress training badge

badge yoast seo trainingAfter completing the course, you’ll receive a certificate with your name, gravatar and date of completion. You’ll also receive a badge, like the one on the right, that you can place on your site. This badge links to your certificate on our site, so people can verify that you’re a real Yoast SEO for WordPress expert.

Course will be updated regularly

As our plugin changes regularly, in order to keep up with the latest changes in SEO, the Yoast SEO for WordPress training will change accordingly. In order to keep your knowledge about our Yoast SEO plugin entirely up to date, we’ll renew all of the modules in the training that will need updating. That way, you’ll stay on top of everything new in Yoast SEO. In order to keep your certificate valid, you’ll need to retake the quizes of the updated modules within a month. That way, your certificate will really prove (and it will keep on proving) that you’re a Yoast SEO for WordPress expert!

Video tutorials will become available for free!

The screencasts we made for all the features of Yoast SEO will become available for free on our YouTube channel. We’re releasing them this Thursday, March 24th. The Yoast SEO for WordPress training will cost $129 for the first year – or get it for $99 the first week! – and $69 in the following years. We understand that not everyone has the budget to take our plugin training. Perhaps you’re only interested in a few settings. That’s why the screencasts that we made will be available for free.

Check out the very first screencast of this large series:


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Ask Yoast: Google PageSpeed score

In Ask Yoast we handle your SEO question! This time we received a question from Stefan Wohlert from Venlo, just around the corner here in the Netherlands. He asks:

“How important is the Google PageSpeed score for SEO?”

In this video we explain what this score means for your site’s SEO:

Focus on a fast website

Can’t watch the video? Here’s the transcript:

The Google PageSpeed score itself is not important for SEO at all, because Google doesn’t – as far as we know – factor that score into the ranking. What they check is how fast your website loads for people across the planet. They just look how fast your website loads for users, so you don’t have to obsess over that specific score. You have to make sure your website is as fast as you can get it. So, if the difference in speed, between doing the fix to get the perfect score or not, is negligible, by all means don’t do it!

What you have to focus on is making the fastest website possible. Not only for Google, but just because every other metric on your site will do better when your site is fast as well. So don’t obsess over getting 99% or 100% in Google PageSpeed, but obsess over making your website as fast as you can. And if the changes you have to do just for the Google PageSpeed score are too hard, don’t do them, focus on something else. Good luck!

Read more: ‘Site speed: tools and suggestions’ »

Let us help you out with your SEO question! In the series Ask Yoast we take questions from YOU! So don’t hesitate and send your question to

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Social Media Strategy: where to begin?

Social media are a necessary part of any marketing strategy, but they should also be a part of your SEO strategy. As social media become more popular, Google and other search engines can’t ignore them any longer. Tweets and Facebook posts don’t get the highest rankings in Google, but Facebook pages and profiles for sure do. But how do you know which social media to use? In this post, I’ll walk you through the first steps of determining a social media strategy: finding the social media that suits both your business and your audience best.

how to determine a social media strategy

Which social media suit your business?

The first step in determining a social media strategy is whether that social medium is one that you’d want to be found on. In other words, does the social medium suit the message and branding of your company? And on top of that: does this social medium offer the options and reach you’re looking for?

Social media like Facebook and Twitter offer a lot of ways to advertise and make your brand and company known beyond the scope of your followers. With other social media, this can be more difficult and would require a lot of hard work to get the same results. Make sure to think about what presence on the considered social media would mean for your company. Make sure that this aligns with how you want your business to be branded.

Which social media does your (desired) audience use?

Different kinds of people use different kinds of social media. So you have to know what social media your audience uses. And for you to know that, you’ll have to get to know your audience. This requires some effort and research, but it will definitely be worth it. For instance, if your company mainly works in the business-to-business area, you should definitely be active on LinkedIn. And if you have a young audience, your business is best off using social media such as Snapchat, Vine, Tumblr and Instagram:


Social media you can’t ignore

At the moment there’s basically only one social medium you really can’t ignore and that’s Facebook. Why? Let me show you:


Facebook currently has nearly 1.5 billion active users every month. That’s over 20% of the entire world population being on Facebook at least once a month. So you can see why this is one bandwagon you’ll want to get on.

A blog or website should thus definitely have its own Facebook page. And your posts should all be shared on Facebook. That way, all the people who follow your page see new posts in their timeline. WordPress can do this automatically for you when you publish an article. Some people will like, share or comment on the Facebook posts, giving them even more exposure.

Think about your social media strategy!

The main thing you should take away from this post is that you should determine your social media strategy, before your start. It’s easy to waste time, effort and money on the wrong media and/or the wrong goals. So bear in mind these 3 key questions :

  • Who do I want to reach with social media?
  • Which social media suits my business?
  • On which social media do I find my target group?

Read more: ‘Instagram for Business?’ »

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How to optimize your real estate site

There is a significant difference between a real estate site and a ‘regular’ website. Real estate sites have temporary content: when an estate is up for sale, there is a page for it online. But when it’s sold, it tends to leave the internet. In this post, I’ll tell you how to deal with that.

how to optimize your real estate site

First things first

Next to the ever changing real estate pages, your website needs more static content as well.


Even though you’re basically selling bricks, your bricks are quite expensive. It helps when you make your website a bit more personal. Add your team and images of your team. Add a short story about how selling real estate became a passion of yours. A bit of history. All these things together make your website a lot more personal. A real estate agency that understands how to do this is Gottesman Residential.


We have seen our share of real estate sites in our website audits. And I have to say that especially US based real estate agencies know how to promote their specific area. Try to create levels in this. First address your entire service area. If you’re serving the entire state, add content about what’s great about that state. Why should people move there? Why is buying a house there so very interesting for your visitor? Second, see if you can find districts of that main area, like Central Texas and Northeast Texas. Find the metropolitan areas and create pages for specific cities. Obviously, the number of levels will vary per agency.

Update this area based page regularly, for instance with an event calendar and things like that. Your real estate site should become the Wikipedia of local things. RealtyAustin doesn’t only tell you why Austin is nice, it also provides things like a list of schools, a relocation guide, and neighborhood videos.

Contact and location

Personal contact is important for a lot of real estate buyers and sellers. That means that you’ll have to list your contact details in a prominent spot on your website. Make sure your telephone number is listed in a sidebar or header and add a contact page with contact details, a contact form and a map with the location of your office. Our Local SEO plugin will help you a lot in optimizing these details by adding markup to your address details. It also provides an easy option to add that map and even an option for directions.

One more thing about contact forms: if you’re looking at a certain house, and like what you see, you simply want to contact the realtor. If the website has a contact form in the sidebar next to the estate details, that will make things easier.


IDX and MLS are ways of integrating estates, from yourself or other brokers, in your own website. WordPress offers plugins for that. An Internet Data Exchange (IDX) listing tends to be less detailed compared to a realtors Multiple Listing Service (MLS) listing. Both are based upon the same principle: add your listing to a central website and allow other realtors to share your listings via their websites. Both buyers and realtors benefit: every house that’s on sale is served to the potential buyer and the potential buyer will be able to make a better selection before contacting the real estate agent.

I have seen a lot of real estate sites adding an iframe with IDX listings to their website. Let me emphasize again that content in an iframe isn’t on your website and won’t help your website rank as such. If you’re using IDX/MLS, please make sure to import the content to your own website, and serve the listings in your own design. But this does mean duplicate content, as the listing are available on multiple websites. The best SEO practice for your real estate site is to create unique listings for your own website. Note that this might interfere with creating the largest reach for the property you’re selling if your website doesn’t have that many visitors (yet). A way to use both could be to serve unique content on your site and link ‘similar properties’ via IDX/MLS services below that.

The ever changing content of your real estate site

All real estate sites have one thing in common: your real estate listings come and go. Of course, you’ve added a great description to your unique listing of the property. This description, your images and the address of your property will help you rank. If your listing appears in the search result pages, it should feel like a waste to delete it from your website right after the sale. So simply don’t.

First of all, if your real estate is sold, it will pay off to keep that listing online for say three months. Clearly list that the property is sold (perhaps even add ‘within 16 days’ to show your agency gets the job done for sellers as well). Clearly list similar properties on that page to redirect people that searched for a property in that street or district.

Step two is an actual redirect. To optimize this properly, we first need to divide the location into a number of levels. In almost every case, it will pay off to create a hierarchical custom taxonomy for that location, going from state > city > district and as many more levels as your service area has. Doing so will make sure you’ll always have some kind of category to link to.

301 or 302 Redirect

If you redirect a listing and are confident that you can reuse the URL soon, you might consider using a 302 Redirect. That is a temporary redirect. If you are pretty sure the redirect is permanent, a 301 Redirect is the one to pick. That will also tell Google not to expect that page to return at all.

If after three months that property is still sold, redirect the page to a collection of properties in the same district. Preferably, you’d want these properties to have some similarities to the real estate you’ve just sold, like the same number of rooms, located near schools; you probably know what the majority of your customers values most. The page you are redirecting to could be a taxonomy page or even the search result page for properties in that district. If you can optimize that search page with a proper title and description, that would work perfectly well as a substitute for a category page.
Now if no such page for the same district is available, go up one level and redirect the page to a similar page with results from within the same city. Broaden your location bit by bit. Doing so will keep the temporary URL of the initial property valuable for your website for a longer period of time.

If the property is up for sale again within a few months (which sometimes happens), remove the redirect and reuse the initial URL. After six months to a year, feel free to remove the initial redirect, as Google will understand by now that the property is gone from your catalog.

Should I add my listings to sites like Zillow or

I would add your listings to the larger real estate search platforms as well. Most of the searches for real estate are probably not done on broker’s sites but on sites like Zillow. These sites provide demographics on the neighborhood you want to move to and even things like crime rate. They probably have a larger team than you working on these facts and figures, their information might be a bit more accurate. All of this makes these sites very attractive for people that are looking for a new house. If you’re not on these websites and haven’t added a similar great description and the same number of images to your listing on these websites, you’re missing out on a lot of potential buyers.

Real estate sites like Zillow and should be considered an essential part of your marketing mix, like social media marketing most probably already is. Use them to show off all the great real estate you’re selling to a larger audience.

I trust this article has given you something to think about. If you have something to add to it or want to share your experience (or real estate website), feel free to leave a comment below!

Read more: ‘Local SEO: setting up landing pages’ »

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