Real estate can be one of the most competitive industries to work in. There are thousands of small, mid-sized, and large companies, all trying to capture their own market share and all equally active in marketing their businesses. Finding new clients can be significantly challenging.
There is one positive aspect to the intensely competitive nature of real estate. If you’re able to properly optimize your site for local search, small businesses can vastly improve their chances of capturing the local market.
Beginner Tips For Real Estate SEO
There are certain steps that you need to take to ensure you can capitalize on the hyper local nature of real estate:
1. Setup Your Google My Business
If you want to generate a continuous stream of clients from organic search, you have to get your business listed in Google My Business. Once your business is on this platform, you can increase your visibility quite dramatically. You also have to ensure your website’s authority and content is up to the required standard so that your site can secure the top three non-paid positions on Google maps.
Also, try to improve your presence on Google – increase your reviews, feature snapshots, and offer Google Map directions to potential clients.
Some tips on achieving this:
· Make sure all the information you provide on your Google My Business profile is accurate. This includes your business name, address, website, telephone numbers, email, etc.
· Ensure that your address is correct because Google will be mailing your authorization code to this address.
· Customize your Google My Business page. Customize it as per your needs. Include your business hours and contact information and make it visually appealing by using photos (Tip: Put as many photos as possible). Link it to your homepage. Use catchy and informative text to appeal to the visitors.
By getting yourself listed on Google, you multiply your chances of showing up in localized search results and improving your rankings. Your goal is to utilize your physical proximity and to gain a competitive advantage.
2. Register with Business Listings & Directories
Another effective way of driving backlinks is to register your company with business and real-estate directories. You can do this effectively by:
· identifying all directories and lists where you could register your website.
· creating a basic business profile, including your business name, address, telephone number, email, business hours, business logo, business description and relevant images. Post this content on all relevant directories according to their requirements.
· checking your accounts regularly so that you don’t miss out on any prospective queries. Also, you can be up-to-date with any customer comments or feedback and you can respond accordingly.
Although most people don’t consider directories and listings as a huge source of potential clients, you can get lucky once in a while so make sure you have this area covered. You should also place logos of all major directories where you’re listed on your website. This will help convey to potential clients that you’re a trusted and reputable operation.
Some popular directories where you should be registered include:
· Yellow Pages
· Better Business Bureau
· City Search
· Angie’s List
· Merchant Circle
Some relevant listings to be on:
· Yahoo! Homes
You can check out this list for additional real estate directories. Keep in mind that consumers today are much more informed and your prospects will be conducting significant research both online and offline. By improving your local presence, you will improve both your organic SEO performance and also be able to create additional sales channels.
3. Maintain a Blog
Today, every business needs a blog if they want to have an online presence. This does not mean a blog with copy-paste content, but a blog that contains unique-optimized content that will be interesting and informative for your target audience and that has the potential to dominate the local search results.
We realize that small businesses have to work with limited resources, but you can still make your mark by focusing on the following:
· Provide informative articles: Your blog posts should provide your target audience with the information they seek. This means that you should offer them articles that talk about the neighborhood, the schools, the crime rates, the median income, the property prices in that area, social life, night-life and entertainment, restaurants, walkability etc. Help them learn about the neighborhood by outlining the pros and cons, but do it from a unique perspective so they learn something new.
· Build relationships with Local Business Owners – You can do this by interviewing them and posting these interviews on your blog. Not only will this provide you with a greater feel for the neighborhood, but also provide you more exposure as these business owners are very likely to share these interviews on their social media pages and websites. The more buzz you’re able to create, the more visibility you’ll get for your business.
· Use Visual Content: Maximize the visual appeal of your blog and your website by using visual content such as photos, infographics, videos, virtual tours, etc (Hint: Google loves rich media/content).
· Optimize your content: Use keywords and meta descriptions and make sure your content is optimized for search engines before you share them on social media.
4. Structured Data Markup
This will help you display rich snippets in search results. To be able to do so, you can implement the following schema:
• Postal Address
Which schema you choose depends on the structure of your site. If you are unsure on how to implement a structured data mark-up, you can seek the services of an SEO professional.
You can also check how effective your schema is by using Google’s Structured Data Testing tool.
5. Choose Keywords by Intent
You should focus on using keyword marketing. This refers to activities that are based on finding keywords that your potential customers use to locate information on search engines.
By understanding the intent of your targeted customers and by identifying keywords that your competitors may not be targeting, you can create a competitive edge.
You can improve your keyword selection process by using a funnel for e.g.
Keyword Funnel for Real Estate
• Best outdoor activities in Orlando -> ATTENTION
• Top schools in Orlando -> DISCOVER
• Buying a home in Orlando -> MONEY
Use money keywords in this e.g. search queries like “real estate in Downtown Orlando”. Queries of this type are usually dominated by larger sites (Zillow, Trulia, Realtor.com, etc.) and it’s extremely difficult for smaller websites to rank for them.
This refers to searches that people use before they look specifically for your services. They could use queries like “best elementary schools in Orlando”. This search query communicates the intent of the person, that they may be considering moving to Orlando, but their area of interest may include whether Orlando has good elementary schools.
These include high-level keywords that reflect more about your audience than the real estate itself. These could include search queries like “best restaurants in Orlando”. They may not drive leads, but they can drive more traffic and awareness to your business.
Some useful tools for keyword research include Google Keyword Planner and Keywords Everywhere.
6. Optimize Your Site Architecture
It’s essential that your website is properly optimized for search engines. One of the most important aspects of on-page optimization is site architecture.
There are basically 3 types of pages you need to focus on when you think about site architecture. These include:
These are the pages on your website that list out all your properties. This is your most important page, but often there can be problems here from an SEO perspective, such as:
• Listings can get old very fast and many of these pages will become irrelevant before they’ve even been ranked. You need to closely monitor them, otherwise this can create bloating issues for your site.
• Make sure you delete old listings as soon as possible because, for Google, these pages will be seen as a reflection of poor quality. Real estate listings are typically fed from MLS feeds, so you’re not the only one who has these pages. Thousands of other websites have the same information, so the least you can do is stay current and up-to-date. You should also try to make your pages more unique and valuable for your target audience.
It may be a good idea to block the crawl of your listing pages in your Robots.txt file. This will not only keep the pages live on your website but will tell Google that these pages should not be considered when being ranked. This can help clean the overall performance of your website. You can take the focus away from low-quality pages to pages that really matter.
These pages can provide the most SEO value to your website. People tend to search for real estate by building name or neighborhood. These pages thus represent a huge opportunity if you’re able to get good rankings for them.
Target bottom funnel keywords. Use a lot of good content, images, and useful information. You want Google to rank these pages as the authoritative page on that particular search for that building or neighborhood.
Use mid-and top funnel keywords on these pages.
The topics don’t have to focus on real estate, but should instead be about things that people search for before they find you.
Image optimization is very important here as it will help improve your ranking. Use unique photographs and name your image file and alt tags with keywords. Upload images to sites like Pinterest to create equity.
Track to see if your images are driving traffic in the Google Search Console platform.
Make sure your pages have optimized titles that contain your main keyword and they have in-depth, unique text of at least 700 words, along with images and other media.
7. Build Effective Links
Links are one of the most important factors when it comes to your rankings on Google. A link is basically an attribution to another site.
For e.g. if an article on Realtor.com is discussing Realtors in Orlando and links to your website, that is an incredibly authoritative link for your SEO.
Your goal should be to land at least 5 high-quality links each month from relevant websites if you are a new website. These could be through local bloggers and interior design bloggers. Reach out to the bloggers within your location; offer them some value in exchange for being featured on their website. It might take some effort but the results are worth it.
By implementing these real estate SEO tips, you can build a strong foundation that can improve your presence in local search results.
There’s no doubt that the real estate industry is very competitive, but you can still find opportunities if you do it the right way.
As long as you optimize your site for local search properly, your website should rank well, even against big competitors.
If you don’t have sufficient knowledge about SEO, consult an SEO professional but make sure you implement proper SEO strategies if you want to increase your customer base and your revenues.
Stephen Fox is the founder and Chief Marketing Officer at Upkeep Media Inc., a digital marketing agency specializing in SEO, content marketing, and social media marketing for local service businesses. If you would like to connect with him add him on LinkedIn.