It’s no mystery that the real estate industry has been going through a rough patch lately. Property values have decreased and the number of homes for sale has skyrocketed, making the housing market an uncertain place to do business. For agents and brokers, this is a troubling time to be in the industry.
Many companies have seen layoffs as a result of lower demand for their services, but some clever marketers have figured out how to use SEO to their advantage by taking advantage of Google’s algorithm changes. These savvy professionals will start at the beginning: creating quality content that will rank well in Google search results pages. They’ll also make sure that their sites are compliant with Google webmaster guidelines, which includes things like being mobile-friendly and using HTTPS for secure browsing. But creating content isn’t enough; agents should also have a quality link profile and consider building an engaging social media presence.
For any company that wants to stay ahead of the curve, here is the ultimate SEO recipe for real estate companies.
What is Real Estate SEO?
Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of increasing your company’s visibility on search engines, particularly Google. This is done typically by creating high-quality content and using link building techniques to increase the page rank of your website or blog.
Real estate SEO is a subset of internet marketing that focuses specifically on real estate websites and blogs. These sites are meant to help consumers find the real estate agents and brokers that will best serve their needs.
How is Real Estate SEO Different?
If you’ve ever visited a real estate agent or broker’s website before, you’ll know that they’re typically designed like landing pages for a specific property. They each focus heavily on a particular house or neighborhood, and usually contain only basic information about the agent or broker behind it all.
How does SEO fit in? Real estate SEO is designed to help agents and brokers stand out from their competitors on search engines like Google, Yahoo! or Bing. This can be tricky because realtors and brokers are dealing with a huge number of properties that have to be constantly updated to show the most recent information.
Real estate SEO is also different from regular SEO in that it targets a highly-specialized audience. Users who are searching for real estate agents and brokers already have a specific need (buying/selling) and they’ll want to find someone nearby who can best meet those needs.
For this reason, real estate SEO has to focus on holistic strategies that aim for quality over quantity. For example, although it might be tempting to spam the internet with low-quality backlinks from sketchy websites (a tactic known as “black hat” SEO), this could actually decrease your Google rankings because of the bad press you’d get in the news if a reporter decides to investigate.
Avoiding SEO: The Costly Mistake That Real Estate Agents Make
Many real estate agents and brokers are not aware that they need an SEO strategy in addition to their regular marketing efforts. This may be because the popularity of real estate leads has declined over the past decade, which made it more difficult for agents to justify hiring a professional SEO consultant.
Moreover, the cost-effectiveness of online advertising compared to traditional print and radio adds has made it more difficult to justify a budget for SEO. With so many other ways to get leads, why bother with SEO?
The answer is simple: search engines like Google have changed the way we access information. They’re now the primary source from which most people will find homes, schools, businesses and anything else they need to know. If you’re not showing up as a top search result, you could be losing out on hundreds of leads every month.
10 Useful Tips for Real Estate SEO
1) Focus on Mobile
Sites like Google, Bing and Yahoo! now all pull in search results from a variety of different sources. This means that people will be able to find your real estate website through a Google search or a search on their smartphone – which makes up 60% of the market share for online browsing.
Marketers all over the world are creating mobile-friendly websites because it’s critical to have good visibility on small screens. If you haven’t done this yet, get started!
2) Optimize Your Title Tag
The title tag of your page is what will show up in search results next to your URL. You should write a few different versions and use them to see how they perform. You’ll be able to tell the difference between which tags are being used most frequently by looking under “search impressions” within your Google Webmaster Tools account.
While you should think carefully about what you want people to type into their browsers when searching for real estate, you should also consider what’s important to them specifically in the context of real estate. For example, the keyword “real estate” is broad and could lead to thousands of unrelated search results, whereas a user searching for “homes in Los Angeles” has more clearly defined needs that you can specialize your content around.
3) Use Relevant Keywords
Another important thing to consider when optimizing your title tag is what keywords you should include in it. This is a tricky balance because you want to contain a number of these keywords that’s neither too high nor too low. The best approach here is to use Google’s keyword planning tool, which you can find by typing “keyword planner” into your browser and clicking the result that appears underneath.
The tool basically shows you Google’s top suggested keywords for any given phrase, but it also groups them together in an organized way to help you think about other relevant concepts.
For example, when I plugged in the words “Los Angeles real estate,” I was shown that people searching for this have also been using the phrases “homes Los Angeles” and “Los Angeles homes.”
4) Use Local SEO Strategies
In addition to having a website domain that matches the name of your business, it’s also important for you to have all of the other information on your site match. This includes your business address, phone number, service area and office hours.
By localizing the information on your site and making it consistent with what’s in a Google search, you’ll be able to appear higher in local results. It’s an easy way to capture more leads!
5) Use Keyword-Focused Content
For most websites, it’s critical that you include your target keywords in the content of your site. While this is widely accepted as a best practice, new studies have shown that people don’t really read much anymore.
There are two ways to approach this: one is by writing keyword-focused content but emphasizing readability over keyword density; the other is by following SEO best practices for writing content in general. Either way, you’ll get more visibility from search engines and your target audience will have an easier time finding what they’re looking for.
6) Use Local Citations
So far we’ve considered strategies to help people find you online, but you should complement this strategy with local citations as well. These are listings on sites like Yelp, Google+ Local and Yahoo! that typically include a business’ name, address and phone number.
It’s important to get these onto your website so that people can find you when they search for your business in their browser. However, you should also reach out to local newspapers and magazines to ensure that they are aware of your services.
7) Use Video Marketing
As more people start using the internet to find a real estate agent or home for sale, you should capitalize on this by posting videos that could help them out. You can do this in a number of ways: record yourself telling viewers about your work and post it to YouTube; shoot short videos of homes for sale in your area, and so on.
When you post video content related to the keywords that you use on your site, your visibility will rise among people who search for these words. This can be especially helpful if you’re trying to attract leads from areas outside of your service area!
8) Use Social Media Optimization
It’s common to forget that you can use social media for SEO purposes. As long as your social media accounts are all set up correctly (which is very easy to do), there’s no reason why you can’t take advantage of this by posting the same content across all of them, and when I say “content” here I mean videos, photos, infographics and more.
You might not see a big rise in visibility if you only post once, but posting on these different accounts will help your website rank higher among people who are searching for keywords across multiple social media platforms. This is especially true given how much time people spend browsing Facebook every day!
9) Choose an SEO-Friendly CMS
One of the best strategies for learning how to optimize your website for SEO is by choosing a content management system that’s SEO-friendly. A few examples are WordPress, Drupal and Joomla—these are all free and very easy to set up, provided you choose one from this list.
10) Use SEO Plugins
There are a few different plugins that can help you optimize your site for search engines. Yoast’s WordPress plugin is one of the best, as it analyzes your website and offers suggestions to improve its ranking in SERPs. By using this plugin, you’ll be able to find all of the important information about your website and make it more search engine-friendly!
11) Internal Linking for Real Estate Websites
It’s important to link your website internally. This increases the credibility of your site and makes it easier for visitors to find what they’re looking for. There are several strategies that you can use here: interlink between posts on your blog, and also with other pages on the site; link out to non-affiliated sites that will help increase your reach; create a few pages that link to your most popular posts, and so on.
12) Client Reviews for Real Estate Businesses
It might sound obvious, but you should encourage people who are buying homes in your area to leave reviews on your website. This will help their friends and families find out how much they enjoyed working with you. You can do this in a few different ways: ask them when they’re closing so that you can include the review on the site; ask them for the review while they’re still working with you; and so on.
13) Use Backlinks to make your real estate SEO strong and improve domain authority.
Getting backlinks is a very good way to improve your domain authority and increase real estate business web traffic. Backlinks are crucial for anyone trying to improve their SEO offer, especially those who real estate services.
14) Local Listings & Citations for Realtors
Checking your citations is a great idea for local businesses. You want to check and see whether you have any missing or outdated listings, as well as update information when necessary. Your goal should be to increase the number of citations that point back at your website!
6 common SEO tactics agents should avoid.
While there are quite a few great strategies for optimizing your site for search engines, some are best left alone. Here’s a list of things you should avoid when trying to rank highly in SERPs:
1) Avoid Link Schemes
There are many different link schemes that you must stay away from if you want to achieve SEO success with your website. One of the most popular is called a ” blogroll ,” where you’ll get links by linking to other websites and asking them in return to link back to yours.
One way that this scheme can be abused is by having your site’s URL appear in many different places so that it gets a lot of mentions across the internet. However, this is completely against Google’s rules.
You should also avoid reciprocal links, which are links that you swap with other websites that have similar content to yours but might not be as high-quality. If you’re linking to them, they should link to you too! However, if they don’t, it will make your site look less valuable than it is and reduce your SEO rankings.
Finally, avoid participating in link wheels. These are pages that have links to other sites that then link to yours—this can be a great way of getting more exposure for your website if you do it right; however, Google has put measures in place to stop these from working, as they’re biased towards certain websites.
2) Avoid Cloaking
Have you ever heard of “cloaking” before? The idea behind cloaking is that you’ll show one version of your site to search engines and a different version to users who are browsing organically. This might seem like a good idea, but it’s against Google’s rules and will get your site blacklisted.
3) Avoid Selling Links
Selling links is not only against Google’s rules but also highly unethical. To put it simply, you shouldn’t be selling links to your website; they should be naturally coming from high-quality pages online. If someone wants to link to you and your content deserves this, then by all means let them.
4) Avoid Overusing Keywords
Although keywords are extremely important when it comes to optimizing your site, you should never overuse them. For example, if you’re writing about “the house,” don’t use the word “house” throughout every sentence in an effort to rank for that keyword—it will make your website look unprofessional. If you’re writing about house-buying for the first time, for example, it’s fine to mention “house” once or twice; however, don’t go overboard with it!
5) Avoid Cloaked Pages
A cloaked page is one that is hidden from search engines and can only be viewed by people who have come to your site organically. This is not something that you should be doing, as it will make it difficult for people to find what they’re looking for if they’ve found you through search engines and end up on a page that’s only visible to them.
6) Avoid Hidden Text or Links
Another way that you can get blacklisted by search engines is by having hidden text on your website. Cloaked pages are an example of this, as they’re only visible to certain people; however, you can also have text or links that are hidden using CSS in a way that search engines don’t see them. For example, if I were to write: “I really like red, blue and green; all the colors of the rainbow,” that would be pretty pointless. However, I could make it look more natural by hiding those words, but search engines would still see them: “I really like red, blue and green; all the colors of <u>the</u> rainbow.” This is very bad for SEO!
5 SEO Tools for Real Estate Agents
1) Google Keyword Planner
If you’re looking for a tool that will help you out with getting more traffic to your website—whether from search engines or social media sites—then Google Keyword Planner is the right tool for your job. It’s part of the Google Adwords platform, but it doesn’t matter whether you want to use Adwords or not: this tool will help you find keywords that you can target.
2) Google Trends
If you want to find out what kind of search terms people are using in your area or around the world, then Google Trends will show you that information. Search engines can’t tell you how people search online—they just give you results based on their algorithms; however, Google Trends pulls its information from search engines, so you can find out how people in a certain area (or around the world) are searching. This will give you valuable insight into your audience and what they want to read about—and if you’re struggling to come up with ideas for content, then it should help immensely.
If you want to find out what people are typing into search engines, but don’t want to use Google Keyword Planner for whatever reason (perhaps because it doesn’t give you certain details), then Ubersuggest is a great alternative. This tool pulls in suggestions from real-time searches on Google and will help you find keyword ideas for your website.
SEMrush is a very powerful tool that will help you to find keywords that you can target for your business, based on search engine traffic and trends. The data from this tool comes from its own database—so it’s not pulled into information about the competition or using Google Keyword Planner—but if you want to get a really broad idea of how popular certain keywords are then using this tool would be a great way to do it.
In order to have a successful real estate career, one must use search engine optimization (SEO) to ensure that their property listings will be discoverable.
Here are 3 valuable SEO resources for real estate agents who want to gain more visibility and get ahead of the competition.
1) Search Engine Land
This site is filled with a huge amount of information about SEO, from how search engines work to the latest news stories and updates. If you’re looking for up-to-date information about search engine optimization, then this website will have it—there are also some useful guides on topics such as content marketing and link building, so if you’re just starting out with SEO then this is a great place to go.
If you want to keep up-to-date on the latest in search engine optimization, then Moz’s blog will be very useful for you—it covers all kinds of topics related to search engines and is easy to read. There are also a lot of useful resources available on this website, so it’s worth keeping an eye on if you’re interested in SEO and want to stay up-to-date with the newest developments.
3) Search Engine Roundtable
Search Engine Roundtable is another blog that covers a range of topics relating to search engines—it doesn’t have as much information available on it, but the reviews and posts are a lot more in-depth. I particularly like the content that Matt Cutts writes in this blog—he used to work at Google before he became an independent consultant and he’s well known for giving useful insights into search engines and how they work.
In conclusion, search engine optimization is an essential tool for real estate agents who want to be successful in their career. Whether you’re looking for information about how search engines work or up-to-date SEO tips, there are plenty of resources available online. Contact us to learn how we can help.