Using KEYWORDS with your listing.

» Listing Tips

You may or may not have heard about keywords or key phrases. It's a term that crops up on the internet a lot with regard to certain words or short phrases that are relevant to web page content.

In this case the web page content is your property listing and keywords are the words relevant to your property, area and - this is the important bit - what another person, looking for a property to rent, is likely to use in a search engine and/or see in something called a Tag Cloud that we have on this site (look in the right side column, below the Article Block... Lots of words some big some small. They're keywords that have been used in listings, photo galleries or articles like this one on this site.

The more used a keyword is, the larger it appears and so the more it stands out. take the keyword WiFi for example. It stands out and if you click that you'll be taken to a results page showing every listing that has included the keyword "WiFi" in the listing's keywords.

It's not just within this site that keywords are required, someone using Google or Yahoo for example is going to be typing in keywords in their search whether they know it or not.

So what makes a good keyword?

Well...

  • What do you have to offer?
  • What is your property?
  • Where is it?
  • How many bedrooms does it have?
  • Does it have a swimming pool?
  • Does it offer WiFi?
  • Is it a long term let, short term let or either?

The list can seem endless so let's break it down a bit and also get the first MAJOR error people make out of the way.

Your property name is not (generally) a keyword nor is it usually a good title (also a great place to include keywords) as lovely as it might sound.

If your property is called La Jolie Folie Berger the only person ever likely to type that in a search would be someone who has already heard of you or knows you well. In that case, they're not likely going to be searching as they'll already know how to get hold of you. There are many more people who haven't YET heard of you and they're the people you are targetting.

Here's an example.

I own a 3 bedroom stone cottage called Belle Vue in the middle of a very rural area in the Limousin. It has a swimming pool, WiFi and exposed wooden beams in the ceilings.

Is "belle vue" a keyword? (even though it's two words here it can still be referred to as a keyword) No it absolutely isn't, you might argue that someone looking for a property to rent might enter in their search they want a nice view though (as long as they were searching in French) so... maybe they would but most likely they wouldn't or if they did it would be part of refining a previous search for more specific results. You need your listing to show up from the very start and stand up to the refining searches.

So with that in mind, at first you might think it's good to cram as many keywords as possible in but the vital thing is relevance!!!

I offer three bedrooms for example but I might think, "well I'll put 4 bedrooms in my keywords too because at least I'll also show up for searches for that". I don't have a sauna but I'll include the keyword sauna as that's popular and so on. This is bad practice, why?

There is no point in showing up in search results for things you don't offer. It doesn't have the effect of changing the person who is searching's mind, it annoys them because it wastes their time.

The average time spent on a website by people is a few minutes, they want fast, accurate results.

If they want 4 bedrooms, find a nice looking property listing summary and click through to learn more about it to then find it actually only has 3 bedrooms, oh great and also no sauna or garage as implied by being in the search result they're not going to think, "oh well we'll rent this place instead" they're going to think something unprintable here and either look for another listing or abandon the entire site altogether.

At this point I might mention that as admin here if I do spot any keyword spammy, misleading listings I will edit them accordingly (it's for yours and my benefit at the end of the day that site visitors, your potential tenants are well served) and worse case, suspend the listing for review.

So, let's go back to showing up in the first results and standing up to subsequent, refining searches.

Initially someone looking for a 3 bedroom stone cottage with a swimming pool in the Limousin might not type all that lot in one search. They're more likely in the first instance to type in something like "3 bedroom gite limousin"

So, we have 3 keywords now:

  • 3 bedroom
  • gite
  • Limousin

That search is probably going to bring up a LOT of results in fact I have just Googled that exact search and found 135,000 results.

Interestingly enough and totally relevant to this article about keywords the TOP RESULT is a website I designed many moons ago for Marliannes Gites, a splendid barn conversion trio of holiday gites in the Creuse, Limousin.

In this case I might not need to refine my search any further, the top result is what I'm looking for BUT, what if I actually wanted a swimming pool? wifi internet? etc

I'd begin to add other keywords to refine my search so now we get to add:

  • swimming pool
  • pool
  • wifi

So the initial search phrase might become:

"3 bedroom gite" limousin pool wifi

I add the keywords "pool" and "wifi" to my search and we're down to 37,000 results. Results 1 and 2 are just articles and no use but result 3 is... wait a minute... result 3 is for a listing on this very LetsRentPropertyInFrance.com :) for the Moulin de Sansonneche, a detached, stone rental property with 3 bedrooms, swimming pool and wifi in the Limousin - just what I wanted and found all thanks to keywords.

Your listing and each photo in your gallery can have 255 characters worth of keywords. You don't have to use them all and as you can see in this example, you only need a few, relevant words. Include the most important in your descriptions and titles (to a degree, don't go keyword crazy in titles it can become unreadable) and you'll be on to a winning combination that gets found and gets you enquiries.