Today’s home buyers are turning to the internet. According to the National Association of Realtors, 95% of buyers go online to look for homes. Mobile has replaced yard signs as the third-most utilized source of information about homes on the market, behind only search engines and agents. Though half of home buyers now find their homes independently, 87% are still retaining agents.
What is real estate SEO? In short, real estate SEO comprises of strategies that ensure renters and home buyers will find you when searching online. With so many customers going online to find new homes, the agents who master real estate SEO will rise above the competition. Digital marketing for realtors has become incredibly important. Below we’ll tackle 10 useful tips of successful real estate SEO.
Identify Targeted Keywords
Search engines are in the match-making business. In order to reach and convert new customers, a wide selection of in-depth quality content on your website and mobile applications is key. Keywords match online users with the best resources. In order for search engines to include you in keyword searches, those keywords need to present throughout your online products. Search engines also index keywords in URLs, page titles and metadata. It’s important to pay attention to these additional opportunities to target keywords. However, it’s critical that you don’t use your keywords too much. Google will punish you for “keyword stuffing,” a term describing an overabundance of the same keywords throughout your site.
Identifying which keywords to target is an essential part of your real estate SEO strategy. You’re unlikely to compete with broad keywords such as “real estate” and “realtor.” The nation-wide competition for broad keywords is fierce. You are more likely to rank in searches for long-tail keywords, such as “sustainable homes using solar energy,” and local keywords, such as “townhouses in northwest Phoenix.” To ensure you’re matched with local and long-tail searches, these phrases and local identifiers need to be on your sites.
Focus on Quality
Quality content is as important as quantity. The internet is full of 500-word blog posts packed with keywords but saying very little. Quality content, blogs and articles your customers will find valuable is rewarded by Google with higher rankings. Google notices when users visit a page but then have to return to the search results to try again, a practice called “pogo-sticking.” Google wants to succeed in match-making on the first try. So, in short, your content needs to be good.
Embed Maps and Calculators
Also, valuable content isn’t limited to articles and blog posts. Tools, such as maps and home loan calculators, are popular and among the most widely searched real estate topics. There are numerous sites that offer calculators you can embed for free. Maps, quizzes and calculators are available as widgets if you’re using WordPress to manage your website.
Your valuable media doesn’t need to be limited to plain text. Google Image Search and YouTube serve as additional gateways to your web products. Consider publishing video walk-throughs and investing in virtual reality, both popular with millennials. In order for these resources to show up in Google Search, be sure to include keywords in their image alt tags and metadata.
Be Mobile Friendly
Mobile is transforming how buyers and renters are finding their homes. 72% of buyers have searched for homes on mobile and more than half of millennials found their home on a mobile device. More than half of rental searches are also happening on mobile devices. With Mobile-First, Google is now privileging content tailored for mobile. Be sure to optimize your content and your design for tablets and smart phones. Create mobile apps for Android and iOS. Use mobile-friendly templates and mobile-testing tools to ensure your products work well on multiple devices.
Build Backlinks and Build Relationships
Google will reward you with more traffic if you’re attracting visitors from other sources. Backlinks, or links to your site from other websites, is an important factor in boosting your rankings. To build backlinks, contribute to or advertise on reputable sites in your field and community. Use your broker websites and reach out to local media and neighborhood partners. Relationship building is as important online as it is off-line.
Use Social Media and Use it Often
Maintain a Facebook page, Twitter account, LinkedIn and Pinterest profile. Be everywhere and post often. Simply having social media accounts isn’t enough. Your social media accounts are only useful if they’re frequently updated. There are simple tools, such as Buffer, that enable you to schedule posts to multiple social media platforms simultaneously. Don’t have the time or the staff to create and manage multiple social media accounts with regular content? You can also hire an experienced social media marketing agency to handle such tasks.
Encourage Online Reviews
91 percent of people are reading online reviews, and 84 percent trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. Reviews can make or break your business. Implement a system for following-up with your clients, and encourage client reviews on Yelp and Google, as well as realtor-specific resources, such as Zillow. Also, there are online reputation management (ORM) companies that realtors can use to increase the quantity and quality of their reviews, such as Rize Reviews.
Especially with mobile, Google focuses on local content, so there is a huge opportunity in real estate to draw local traffic. Search engines seek to provide customers with useful information, and local is key to accomplishing that. Be sure to include content that highlights resources in the states, cities and neighborhoods you’re serving. Provide information about landmarks, attractions, sports teams, restaurants, shopping, schools, festivals, events and community resources. Great real estate SEO succeeds at providing valuable local resources to potential home buyers. Local SEO is vital for real estate agents. Be sure to embed a Google Map and use schema to promote your location. It should go without saying, but check that your contact and company information is accurate and easily found.
Keep it Simple
Don’t overthink your design and web products. Customers are seeking an easy and pain-free online experience. Carefully consider your web design and navigation. Ask yourself these questions:
- Is your design overwhelming?
- Is your website slow?
- Is it difficult to find content on your site?
- Do you make it difficult for customers to contact you?
- Is your website having technical issues?
Set time aside to regularly check your website, particularly if you frequently add to your site, for any issues that will hinder the customer experience. For example, slow websites have a negative impact on conversions. Google has found that pages taking longer than 3 seconds to load lose 53% of its visitors. Also, broken images and missing pages don’t reflect well on your business. There are numerous tools available for checking load speed and identifying technical issues.
Navigation also plays a critical role in your customer’s experience. Keep your navigation structure simple and strategically provide internal links on every page of your website. Encourage your audience to explore your site further with links related to the content that attracted them. Include calls to action and link to related resources on your blogs, listings and company information.
Lastly, if you don’t already have a Google Analytics account to monitor your marketing campaigns, set one up. SEO is a long-term process. Schedule time to review analytics to measure the success of your SEO strategies and recalibrate when necessary. SEO, like the internet, is always changing but the fundamentals remain the same.
Ultimately, successful SEO depends on common-sense practices. Put yourself in the shoes of your customers. Be a valuable resource, allow customers to find you through multiple sources on multiple devices, highlight and build relationships in the communities you serve and ensure the customer experience is a pleasant one. Be the resource your customers need and want.
For more information about hiring the right real estate SEO agency to generate more revenue, contact Thrive Internet Marketing Agency at 866-434-4748 or online.