SEO Success for Real Estate
For Real Estate Professionals
If you want both potential buyers and sellers to find you online, you need to concentrate on the SEO strategy, technology, and content that will boost your search engine optimization efforts.
Search engines are the single biggest source of traffic for most real estate websites. Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, can be simply defined as the process of getting found on search engine sites like Google, Bing, and Yahoo! On the technical level, SEO considers how the search engines work, what people search for, the actual terms typed into a search field, and which searches are preferred by your ideal audience.
Why Is SEO Important for Real Estate?
Well, here are the facts from the 2016 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers produced by the National Association of Realtors. A copy of the detailed – 134-page report – can be downloaded here 2016 PROFILE OF HOME BUYERS AND SELLERS.
Here are some highlights of the report for Buyers of Real Estate.
- The very first step 44 percent of recent buyers took was to look online at properties for sale. This simple fact means that it is essential for a real estate company to be found in search.
- Only 17 percent of buyers first contacted a real estate agent. It should be noted that buyers may still search for contact information online. Therefore, again it is essential for a real estate company to be found in search so that a buyer knows how to contact you.
- Seventy-nine percent of recent buyers found their real estate agent to be a very useful information source. This means that the clear majority of buyers will work with a real estate agent even if they use the internet on their own to expand their knowledge. A real estate agent needs to be found in search so that they are considered when a buyer makes a choice to work with an agent.
- Most buyers (86%) define websites as being useful.
- Among buyers who used the internet during their home search, 89 percent found photos and 85 percent found detailed information about properties for sale very important.
Therefore, to be found online and to compel a buyer to contact you or your business is essential for business success. To be found when a buyer is searching for a real estate company, homes for sale or an agent to support their purchase means that this activity does not just provide a lead but a rather qualified lead.
Searchers are the buyers and renters searching for certain types of properties in specific markets. When they perform online searches, you want to be found at the top of the results on the first page. Home owners are also searchers as they may perform a search to see which websites they can find in search. Why would they want to list their property on a website that cannot be found in search easily.
Consider the following analogy: For most marketing media, consistent investment will get you consistent, flat returns. This is much like renting a home. You pay a fixed rent, and in return, you get a place to live. But when you invest in SEO, (the strategy, technology and content) you’re constantly building on your earlier investments. This is like buying a home instead of renting. Your dollars build equity. A well-implemented SEO campaign sees improving results as time goes on — your website traffic and qualified lead count goes up and up!
A Real Estate SEO Strategy
One of the most common mistakes that SEO novices make is to assume that everyone types the same keywords into Google. That’s just not true! In fact, well-optimized websites see visitors who type in hundreds of different keywords.
You’ll never be able to cover every term that a real estate buyer uses for search, but that’s OK because you don’t have to. A properly optimized website will rank in the results for hundreds of terms. If you have one of these sites, you’ll be found by people who search on all sorts of keywords, not just the ones you think people will use. If you have depth and variety of local content and have built up a strong body of work your site will be considered relevant in your market by the search engines and they will display your site in their search results.
Your site needs to be focused on the markets you serve and the kinds of buyers and sellers you want to work with. Always focus. Be niche-focused which means to have content on specific home types and buyer types and to have in-depth local content.
Here is an example. Consider the New York City real estate marketplace. There are literally thousands of other real estate professionals trying very hard to rank on the first page of Google’s search results for a term like “New York City Real Estate”. Why should you enter that fray? There may be too much competition unless you have the deep pockets to compete. Pick a few smaller areas of specialization and neighborhoods that you know well. Focus your efforts on excellent content on those areas of specialization and neighborhoods. You will start seeing the leads come in for buyers and sellers who want to own or sell in the markets that you know best. This makes everything about your business more comfortable as you will be playing to your strengths and true passion.
Having the Right Technology Matters
I look at many real estate websites and can do an analysis quickly with some specialized tools. There are many times when I see outdated technology.
You must have updated technology and you need to make sure the company you work with can perform. When you’re shopping for a real estate website platform, avoid the common pitfalls by first asking for numbers. Have the site provider explain how they will support your efforts to gain and maintain position in search. Ask how they will monitor performance.
Next, make sure your site includes a blog. The blog should be a part of your site. Your blog should not be hosted at a sub-domain (blog.yoursite.com) or part of some other website altogether like myblog.blogger.com. It should be an integrated blog (e.g., www.yoursite.com/blog).
Finally, on the front end, the navigation of your site should be made up of HTML text links, not images. On the admin-side of your website, you should be able to add and edit unique content on the main pages of your site and of course be able to post to your blog.
These are just a few of the things you need. If your current provider doesn’t offer all the features above, it’s time to start looking for a new one.
Optimize Your Content
With a strategy set and the right technology, it’s time to create some content. Great content not only engages users but also attracts links (i.e. inbound links), referrals, and search engine traffic. When content you create is optimized, it will be picked up by search engines and help people find your site.
I recommend adding new, unique content to your site at least twice each week. There is a direct correlation between the frequency with which you post content to how successful that content is in attracting leads.
A great strategy and a great website platform will never be found if it doesn’t include quality content which is updated regularly. Blogging is a great way to publish content, demonstrate your authority and expertise and help your SEO.
For everything you post define ways to promote it using social media marketing platforms such as LinkedIn, Twitter and Pinterest.