Case: 'warm welcome' text format for

How to create a SEO-text that people actually (like to) read: the 'warm welcome' texts of is a major Dutch real estate listing website, and it grew significantly since the beginning of 2017. This despite the fact that the real estate market in the Netherlands has been quite bad.

This growth is credited to a solid SEO-implementation, in which so-called 'warm welcome' texts played a significant part. The idea is that for the most important listing pages (e.g. 'buy a house in Amsterdam', 'rent a house in Groningen', etc.), a 'warm welcome' text is placed at the very top of the page:

Huizen te koop in Nijmegen Koopwoningen Nijmegen JAAP NL

Traditionally, such texts are seen as potentially harmful for conversions, since conversion buttons / links are pushed down a bit on the page. They would also usually be stupid 'encyclopedia-like' texts, stuffed with excess keywords:

These are Amsterdam houses. In a house or an apartment or a single family residence, or a farm you can live. A house has rooms, and doors, and windows. And maybe a cat. In Amsterdam there are also houses. Many people live in these houses. You can buy an Amsterdam house, single family residence too.

You've probably seen such texts too. They suck.

The challenge

What are 'warm welcome' texts?

They are meant to give people a 'warm welcome' when they first land on a page, e.g. from Google. It tells people where they landed, what they can do on a page, and why they should do that here.

But the challenge here was that we wanted to create a format for 'warm welcome' texts that people actually would find useful in their consumer journey. And yes, of course these texts would also benefit SEO.

So the big question was: which blueprint is the right one?

How Pretesting helped

So if you need to think of a format for a text, that will be the blueprint for many, many texts on important parts of the website, you'd like to be sure that you're actually doing it right.

But how do you know, or at least, can make an educated guess?

You guessed it: Pretesting!

So what did do? They defined a few types of information that could be conveyed within a text:

  • Should it be informative about the nearby surroundings?
  • Should it have hard statistics about housing prices in the area? Or should it compare these statistics to the market as a whole?
  • Does it need to add more feeling? Or more fact?

They asked themselves several questions like these, and decided to use a maximum of three types of information in a text, because it still needed to be short.

Next, five variants of an example text were made, and about 50 colleagues were invited to come to the Pretest feedback page, and provide feedback about the variants that were randomly presented to them. 26 of them responded.

In the Pretest report the content marketeer of could see the comments and grades in a clear overview. A convincing winner emerged, and it wasn't the one they thought it would be! Case in point being: the experts were wrong, and the wisdom of a (small!) crowd knew better.

The results

The main goal of these texts was to provide people a 'warm welcome' when they landed on a page. The secondary goal was not to hurt existing business.

Both goals were met, quite easily actually.

Now we have to be honest here: implementing these warm welcome texts wasn't the only thing that was done for with regards to SEO. And most of you probably know that it's quite difficult to attribute success in Google to a single action.

However, in this case ...

Jaap nl organic traffic

What we can also say, is that the texts themselves were appreciated by visitors. What we see in analytics:

  • Bounce rates went down
  • Time on page went up, significantly
  • Conversions went up

All in all, it was quite a success :)

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