Tuesday, August 2, 2011

How to Write for People and Places You Don't Know

As a writer I write for various people all over the country. While I can't obviously write about them personally, I can write about where they live. I write specifically for real estate agents but have written a variety of posts on cleaning supplies, transmissions, marketing, hotels among others. But I love real estate and while I know real estate well I don't always know the area I am writing in.

Google likes localized posts as it consistently tells Google where the site is and what it's about. If you only wrote about real estate and there was never any mention of the area you service, Google will probably not rank your site very high for your area. You must do both. I do both when I write but it can be a challenge to write about a place I have never been. There are loop holes to this.

Because there are already so many sites about certain areas you can learn, gain insight and information and be knowledgable about a place you have never been. Although I have never been to Washington DC (yet) I can still write about Washington DC Property and communities by the existing information already published. Granted, you would never want to copy and paste any information not only for plagerism reasons but because Google doesn't like duplicate content.

You can however copy from WIkipedia since it's a free, open source program but you will still run into that duplicate content penalization from Google and perhaps other search engines. I have seen similar sites come up on the SERPS with the exact information from Wikipedia. Literally all the site had the same information but the main reason for this is because it was a smaller community and there just wasn't that much information out there. When you come across this as a writer, its great news. It means that I am writing solid, original content about an area it should certainly show up in that list, and perhaps above all the other copycatters.

When I'm research a community, say Vancouver Washington, I typically research the smaller communities and areas such as Battle Ground or Tigard Oregon. I can also write a specific page about search features such as Homes with Land in Vancouver Washington. This is more specific and will get noticed as being only about that topic.

When looking for information I often visit Chamber of Commerce sites, city profile sites, information from the mayor of the town and other real estate sites. I collect as much information about the topography, local events, activities, features of the town, layout and demographics and put it all into my words in an original page on that topic. It's often like visiting another place for the day where I can learn the history or culture of another place in the country.

Depending on what I am writing about it can be a challenge though. Some smaller communities and villages may not even have a Wikipedia page and if so it may only tell me statistics instead of the real emotion of the area.

One challenge is writing for two sites in the same area. I have two sites for Lake Havasu City real estate and finding different content for them can be difficult. I want the sites to be ranked for their area without directly competing for each other. In this way I sometimes will tag one with the keyword "real estate" and another with the keyword of "Lake Havasu City Realtors".  Each will get their town in the keywords but will have different endings to direct traffic to their site no matter what they are typing in.

So it can be a challenge to write about a place you have never been. It's not easy and not fast by any means but it can be done when you take the time to learn the culture, the area, the town and the people.

Personal SEO writes content for real estate agents and professionals all over the country.

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