Capturing people’s interest online can be harder than getting them to put their phone down at a restaurant. To be successful, you need to perform search engine optimization (SEO) on your website(s).
SEO for real estate can be a tricky business with all of the competition out there. Getting on the first page of search results in populous cities will probably mean hiring a professional. It shouldn’t be your only strategy – you want to ideally build a presence in your market with advertising and branding all of the materials you send out with your web site to drive traffic from offline sources.
1. Research Your Market
You need to know what terms potential clients in your market are looking for via a tool like Google AdWords’ Keyword Planner. Go beyond just “Springfield homes for sale” and “how much are Springfield homes selling for?” If you’re seeing mainly young families in your market, factors like the school system, dog parks, and distance from grocery stores will be a factor in their choice. You also want to ideally find key words that that your competitors are highly ranked for so you can plan your strategy – just plug their domain into the keyword tool to find that out.
2. Develop Your Content
Develop content that matches the keywords that you have identified. You also want to build content that will be a resource for potential home buyers and sellers. Ideally, they will find it and then see you as an authority on the process. Make sure to use those keywords in the name of the page and in the content as well.
Part of Google’s matrix for determining your content’s value is frequency of content creation. Therefore, you need to update it regularly if you want to stay on top. Determine how often you are willing to spend time on it, or hand the task off to an assistant, but be consistent if you want a higher rank.
Another factor in determining how highly ranked your content will be is “page authority.” This is sort of like being the cool kid in school, if everyone else seems to want to be your friend, Google thinks you must know your stuff. They look for links coming from other sites to yours and look at the authority those sites have. So if you got 10 buddies from the local chamber to point to your site, it would still not do as well as your competitor’s if they were cited by CNN.com. For instance, a blogger whose page had not been optimized for keywords had been cited by a major news outlet and quickly found themselves at the top of Google search for searches related to that content.
Speaking of authority – don’t forget reviews. You might cringe at the thought, but the impact is sizable. According to Entrepreneur.com, good reviews can “increase your business’s local rankings in search engines…mean you’ll get more clicks once you’re ranked” and provide a “subjective yet reliable credibility score that let other potential customers know whether your business is a good choice.” So mention it at closings to capitalize on that post-sale emotional high.
3. Optimize for Mobile and Video
The number two search engine isn’t Bing – it’s YouTube. Video content tends to show up higher in Google than text-only content, so by having at least a couple of videos on your site, you boost your chance to be found on the top two search engines. People want to experience your personality so they can decide if you are going to be a good fit, so put your best foot forward and show them why they should choose you.
Mobile and mobile voice search have overtaken desktop searches, so Google’s very picky about your site playing well on mobile. Google has released a mobile-friendly test that can help you find any issues that might affect your rank.
If you implement these key opportunites, you’ll be on your way to a successful SEO strategy. If you’re interested in digging a little deeper, here are some good resources to boost your SEO for real estate to the next level: