Successful real estate marketing focuses on bringing in targeted traffic and turning that traffic into leads. One of the strongest digital marketing tools a real estate agent can master for this is search engine optimization, also known as SEO.
Today, most clients begin any kind of real estate inquiry with an online search.
Ultimately, you want your business to be the one they find when they do this search.
Some people may believe that ranking on the search engines is more magic than something they can actually figure out and attain. This is a common belief that holds many back from a steady stream of targeted traffic that could greatly benefit their business.
This real estate SEO guide is going to give you a better understanding of how search engine traffic really works, why it’s such a great tool, and get you ready to start bringing the traffic to your website that will get you new leads.
What is SEO?
Search engine optimization is when you enhance your website to be more attractive to the search engines. Search engines, like Google, evaluate a number of factors on your website and off your website to determine where they should rank your website on their results pages.
The first thing to understand about this is that the search engines are trying to please their users. They want the best quality content to show up at the top of their results, so that their users get what they’re looking for, and continue to use the search engines as the primary way they seek out information.
If the search engines weren’t giving users the results they wanted, users would find another way to get this information. The search engines are a business like anything else.
What we can learn from this is that when it comes to search engine optimization, we’re not just trying to please the search engine. We’re trying to please the people using the search engines. That’s what Google wants in return for ranking your website and bringing free traffic to your pages.
So, search engine optimization is the act of enhancing your website so that search engines will look at it and decide to send its users to your site.
The kinds of optimizations smart website owners have to make will be both on site, and off site, if they want their pages to show up in the results.
Why is SEO Important for Realtors?
Your future clients are beginning their real estate decisions with an online search.
Successful realtors are going to be present and useful right at the beginning of their clients’ journeys.
If you want to be the first realtor at your client’s side, proving yourself useful and responsive to their needs, then you want your website to rank highly for keywords that connect with your customers.
When users search online for something specific, they have a need. If your website content fulfills that need, you are making a small, early step toward building trust and confidence with a lead.
Unraveling Keywords: What They Are, How to Choose Them, Why They Matter
Whenever you type something into a search engine, they are looking at the keywords and finding the websites they think will be most useful for someone using those keywords.
Keywords are what your web page is about. Ideally, you want to create a client avatar in your mind. This ideal client is going to be looking for things online. What would they be most likely to type into Google?
You need to come up with a list of topics your ideal client avatar would be looking for, and then from there come up with keywords. Take the time to properly do keyword research and come up with a long list. You can use keyword research tools, like Google Keyword Planner, to make this more efficient.
Then, you’re going to need to create content that uses these keywords.
Let’s talk about some tips about how and when to use keywords for the best realtor SEO practices.
Use Long-Tail Keywords
Understandably, you want to show up for something like “Real Estate San Francisco”, but so does every other realtor in San Francisco. That’s going to be a very popular keyword and a difficult one to rank for.
Instead, you look at long-tail keywords, like “Home Real Estate Prices North San Francisco”. Notice how many more words there are? Fewer people will be searching this, but if there is still a fair amount of traffic coming through this search, and you rank highly for it and a list of other long-tail keywords, you can build up a steady and diverse flow of traffic to your website using long-tail keywords targeted to your ideal customer avatar.
Do Not Stuff Your Page Full of Keywords
Ten years ago, it used to be a common practice to simply stuff the keyword you wanted to rank for all over a page. This is no longer a healthy practice.
In fact, search engines like Google will view it unfavorably and rank you lower for it.
Why? Because it doesn’t read well, and users don’t like it. Remember that search engines want their users to be happy.
Use Your Keywords In Strategic Places
Use your keywords two or three times throughout your content, possibly in a heading. Also place your keyword in the URL for your web page, the page title, and in any image tags you have used on your page.
Your content will still be talking about the subject used in your keywords, so use similar words. This is known as LSI, or Latent Semantic Indexing. Basically, search engines look at the surrounding words on the page to decide if you’re actually discussing the topic at hand in the keyword, so using similar terms is to your advantage.
The Internet Is a Web – Links Matter
If we think of the internet as a web, then links are what connects all the pages.
Search engines look at links from other sites to your site. What kinds of pages link to your website? When websites that are viewed favorably with Google, and are on a relevant topic to your website, link to you, it reads to the search engines like a vote for your web page from a trusted source. This does a lot to help the credibility of your webpage.
Search engines look at where you link to. Do not post links on your website to just anywhere. Make sure the sites you link to are in good standing, have quality content, and will actually be useful and relevant to your readers.
Search engines look at your internal linking structure. From within your own website, you want your most important pages to be linked to from your other pages most often.
How You Get Other Sites to Link To Your Content
One way is to write up guest posts that can be posted on other relevant websites. You’ll have to talk to the site owners to make this happen. Offer them quality content that would be of interest to their site visitors in exchange for a link to your website within the content.
You can also network with other local businesses and ask them to link to your website.
The most important strategy for gaining links is to create quality content that other websites and social media users will want to link to. People want to link to useful content.
More Tips and Tricks for SEO for Realtors
Think Local Content That Matters To Your Audience
Do your clients frequently ask you about the schools in your neighborhood? Write content that covers this. Do they ask about things to do, like local gyms or hot brunch spots? Create content that highlights the top choices in a neighborhood.
When you write local content, you are going to come up in the results for searches relevant to your location. You’re also going to establish yourself as an expert on your area and a part of your community.
Long Form Content Is Best
While short posts are easy, long form content is often the most helpful and the most likely to rank successfully. Ideally, content over 1,000 words is what you want to aim for.
Make Your Pages Easy to Read
When first loading a web page, most users scan the page. You can make your content easy to scan by using headings, bolding keywords, using images and video, and adding lists to your content.
After a user scans the page and a number of interesting things pop out to them, they’ll decide to go back to the top and actually dive into reading the content.
Have a Technically Sound Site That Loads Fast
If a web site takes too long to load, most people go back to the search results and click on the next result down. If this happens often, Google will notice it and lower your site in the rankings, since their users aren’t liking it.
Make sure your website loads fast and efficiently for the best results.
Don’t Forget About Mobile Users
Does your website load just as well on mobile as it does on a desktop? More people are relying on their mobile searches every day. Make sure your site is easy to navigate on mobile as well as desktop, or they’ll go back to the results and look for something else. Again, telling the search engines that your website isn’t a popular choice.
Always Remember This About Real Estate SEO Success
Great search engine optimization is a lot of small things adding up to a bigger picture. There’s never going to be a day when you are simply done with practicing SEO for your website and never have to think about it again. There will always be new keywords to find. The algorithms in the search engines will change and you’ll need to employ some new strategies to keep your website up to date.
This doesn’t mean realtor SEO has to be overwhelming. Instead, make these practices part of your marketing routine. Continue doing small things to make your website even better–meaning, even more useful to your ideal clients–and you’ll see greater and greater success on the search results pages as time goes on.