More Leads with Real Estate SEO
Are you tired of paying for a real estate website but not getting any traffic from Google? Many real estate agents are under the impression that when they launch a new website, it will “magically” be found by search engines. That is simply not the case. Many real estate websites get crawled but not indexed at all.
If you are a REALTOR or a local brokerage or real estate franchise, getting traffic to your website is more crucial today than ever before.
With the internet playing such a crucial role in the real estate transaction in 2020. In addition, the Coronavirus has shown just how important having a strong digital presence is. Not having your website found for commonly searched real estate terms, from people in YOUR area means you are missing out on a ton of business.
Unfortunately, many REALTORS do not know what is needed to organically rank their website. We will cover the basic steps for ranking a real estate website using real estate SEO best practices.
We Will Cover…
Understanding real estate search engine optimization can be daunting, we break it down for you…
- DIY Real Estate SEO
- Step by Step Guide
- Local SEO for REALTORS
- Real Estate Keywords
- Completing a Website Audit
- Meta Title and Description
- Mobile, AMP and Speed
- Leveraging Local SEO Tactics
- SEO for IDX Listings
- Getting Real Estate Backlinks
- Social Media Syndication
- Using Schema and Reviews in Your Marketing
- Hiring a Real Estate SEO Expert
A REALTORS Guide to SEO
Although real estate Search Engine Optimization is more competitive and has some unique challenges, many of the steps involved in ranking real estate websites are the same as traditional website search engine marketing.
DO NOT BELIEVE a Web Developer that claims to “include” SEO in your website build
Below is the step by step process that real estate agents can use to get the search results they require for traffic and lead generation.
Below is not a list of real estate SEO tips but the full process to rank a real estate website.
The First Step is Local SEO
The first step in ranking your real estate website is getting the local SEO nailed down. It has been said a million times…” real estate is local”. That has never been more true than in the world of online real estate marketing.
The first step in establishing your local SEO is creating and claiming your Google My Business listing. This will officially tell Google about your brand, your business name, business address, and business phone number. Real Estate SEO experts call that your NAP (Name, Address, Phone Number). A super important aspect of this process is ensuring that your NAP is consistent with your Google My Business account and your other online mentions such as Facebook, Twitter, and of course, your website.
Verifying your GMB account will usually require a postcard to be mailed to the business address claimed. The postcard will contain a PIN – which you enter into GMB for verification.
Once your Google My Business account is created and verified, you will want to create/update citation accounts. Citation accounts are websites that reference your business online such as Facebook, Yelp, Yellow-pages, and Foursquare. There are literally thousands of potential citation websites that you can create. We can not stress enough how important it is to ensure that all citations have the identical NAP as you Google My Business listing.
The next Step is Keyword Research
Real Estate Keywords
Many of the brokers provided, agent websites act as if adding “real estate keywords” as meta tags to your real estate website will somehow make it magically outrank your local competition and even large real estate aggregates such as Zillow and Realtor.com. This is absolutely silly. Real estate SEO is much more than simply choosing your real estate keywords. As a matter of fact, Google stopped looking at meta keywords as a ranking factor at all years ago.
That doesn’t mean that keyword research isn’t a major part of any SEO campaign and real estate keywords are no different. You need to have an understanding of what you want to rank for. That should be defined as the “main keywords” for any specific page. Do you want to rank for *your city* real estate or *your city* homes for sale? How many searches do the specific subdivisions in your area get?
What Should be Your Real Estate Keywords?
The obvious key-phrases are simply *your city* real estate or *your city* homes for sale. In many instances, these can be the most searched keyword phrases but are not necessarily what keywords you should be going after.
Low Hanging Fruit Keywords
You will need to find specific key phrases that your potential clients are searching for that does not have a ton of competition. These may be unique terminology that your area uses such as “shotgun homes” in New Orleans or “Boston Brownstones”. If you dig deep and understand your client’s intent, you can find some keywords that the big boys have not gone after. Large portals such as Zillow create all of the pages automatically. This gives a definitive advantage to the custom-built page with unique content. Finding some “low hanging fruit” should be your first step in real estate SEO keyword research.
Keyword Research for the Real Estate Industry
True Real Estate SEO experts will look a little deeper than simple “homes for sale” type searches. You will also want to review latent semantic keywords to make sure you properly seed your content.
Your keyword research should include not only the obvious but every deviation of those keywords. For instance, *your city* + homes for sale should also include:
- *your city + state abr* homes for sale
- homes for sale in *your city*
- homes for sale in *your city + state abr*
- *your city* real estate
- *your city + state abr* real estate
- *your city* real estate for sale
- *your city + state abr* for sale
- real estate *your city*
- real estate in *your city*
- real estate for sale *your city*
- all of the above with the state abbreviation
- similar search phrases with subdivisions
- similar search phrases with counties
Each of these search phrases will have a different number of monthly searches, different levels of competition and ultimately the user (the person doing the search) will have a different intent.
With Google’s algorithm learning at lightning speed, today the correlation between keyword research and user intent is more important than ever.
Is there a different user intent if the search is *city* real estate vs waterfront condos for sale in *subdivision*?
Of course, there is. The “real estate” search may be wanting statistics on the local market, or other general information on the real estate in the respective city. Where the “condos for sale” search is expecting to see active listings in the respective condominium complex.
Coming up with your specific set of real estate keywords takes time and a methodical approach.
Complete a Website Audit
Now that your local SEO is in place and you have a good idea of what keywords you would like to be found for, the next step is completing an SEO website audit.
For most of you, your best bet in the website audit process is to either use a free, website audit tool like the one JustBaazaar SEO provides, you could also use specialty SEO tools like Screaming Frog, SEMrush, or SERPed.
A more expensive, but more thorough option is hiring an SEO agency to do a manual audit. Depending on the size of your site, a manual SEO audit should start around $500 and go up from there.
Once you have the audit results, you now at least know where your website stands from the technical perspective. It is important to remember, there is no silver bullet for SEO – to effectively rank any website, there are many parts that must all work in concert.
Meta Titles and Descriptions
The next step is reviewing your meta headers on each page. Meta titles and meta descriptions are very easy to update and important aspect of your on-page SEO.
The meta title for each page should include the main keywords you would like to rank. When you boil all of the content on the page down – you should end up with your meta title. The meta title for each page should be somewhere between 10 and 70 characters long.
Your Meta Title and Description is what people will see in their search engine results page on Google and other search engines.
Your meta description is slightly longer at 160-300 characters. The meta description for each page provides a quick description of what the page itself is about. The meta title plays an important part in the ranking of the page while a well-written meta description will entice users to click on your site as opposed to the others in the search results.
Mobile Responsiveness and Site Speed
It is 2020 – by this time anyone who is even remotely serious about their website has already made it mobile-friendly. In addition, this should be caught in your website audit too — but it is so important, we felt it still deserved its own section.
With more than half of the internet traffic in the world being from mobile devices, we even recommend building your real estate website Mobile First. A mobile-first website is one that is built to be displayed on a mobile device and then adapted afterward to display on a desktop computer. This may seem like a minor difference, but from the web design perspective, it changes the entire process.
Another no-brainer is assuring that your website is as fast as possible. These two factors somewhat go together as the speed in which your website loads is even more critical for mobile devices. In addition to how the site is built, the hosting that is utilized for your website will play a large role in its speed. We have done extensive work to come up with the best WordPress hosting for SEO purposes.
AMP Pages for Real Estate
Another new technology that can be leveraged to speed up your real estate website is AMP. Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP for short) is a process in which you create a stripped-down version of your web page or blog to make it AMP compatible. AMP pages are then delivered straight from Google’s servers for lightning-fast results.
Having AMP pages on your real estate website for your blogs can provide a super-fast experience for your readers.
SEO for IDX Listings
Anyone in real estate understands one of the main reasons that home buyers and sellers use the internet in the real estate sales process is to search for listings. The process of having real estate listings, from other brokers displayed on an agent’s site is through the implementation of IDX or a VOW, with IDX being the dominant option.
Most REALTORS working on their digital marketing will already have IDX in place, but is it implemented best for SEO purposes?
When you display an IDX listing on your website you are pushing out the same information as every other local real estate site with a RETS feed from the local MLS. Ultimately, that has everyone displaying IDX on their site is displaying duplicate content. Google looks at MLS listings as very low-quality content because it is not unique and is duplicated across the internet.
For the last 5 years, Google has been moving from a quantity of content to quality of content algorithm for ranking. Throwing out thousands of mostly duplicate content pages dilutes your QUALITY CONTENT that you should be pushing out of your site.
This can be avoided by creating a custom IDX display or augmenting the IDX data with other 3rd party information. This will have your IDX listings be somewhat different than other real estate brokers in your area. Another option for reducing the duplicate content issue when using IDX is to place the IDX property listings on a subdomain of the main website.
The schema for Real Estate Websites
Schema structured data is what tells Google and other web giants what your business is about. The schema on your real estate website should reflect if you are a real estate agency, real estate broker, real estate agent, and so on.
The schema on your site should also contain your exact Name, Address, and Phone Number also known as NAP. Other tags schema include your hours of operation, latitude, and longitude of your office, and what real estate markets you serve.
Implementing schema markup can be a little overwhelming for the novice webmaster. Most of the basic schema apps or plugins only implement the bare minimum (which of course is better than nothing). To get all of the appropriate tags set on your real estate website requires some programming knowledge.
Aggregate Online Reviews from Past Clients
Most REALTORS, brokers, and real estate teams are well aware of the power of the online review. Whether you get your reviews on Zillow, Yelp, Google, or your own real estate website, you should maximize every testimonial.
For Google to recognize the copy as a review, all of your reviews should have the proper schema and an aggregate rating. Be careful, if you tag the reviews on your site incorrectly, it may look to Google as if you are copying an existing review and trying to get credit for two.
Hiring a Real Estate SEO Expert
It is possible to rank your website yourself, but because of the complexity and the unique challenges to real estate SEO – many choose to pay a real estate expert. Because of the intense level of competition, you may find that the SEO pricing, when referring to the real estate vertical is higher than others.
Any SEO agency may not be up to the task either. Just because they may have the SEO tools, they most likely do not have the real estate tech background to understand IDX (which will make up the vast majority of your content) as well as other unique aspects of real estate SEO.
Is Real Estate SEO Hard?
Search engine optimization for real estate is substantially more challenging than in most online vertices. The challenge in good SEO for Real Estate is that it is dominated by the big, nationwide companies such as Zillow, REALTOR.com, Trulia, and Homes.com.
After those authoritative websites, you are fighting the large brokers. You even have to fight with Real Estate Franchises such as Keller Williams, Remax, and Coldwell Banker.
SEO for Real Estate by REALTORS
JustBaazaar SEO just doesn’t pretend to understand real estate marketing, we have been working for Real Estate companies for the last 6 years. Even our content marketing manager has 20 years of running a real estate brokerage under his belt.
We understand real estate marketing from the inside out. With years of experience in all aspects of real estate technology from being one of the leading IDX experts in the country to creating websites for some of the largest real estate brands in the country, we understand real estate marketing.
JustBaazaar SEO understands that having your website show up for a search term that gets thousands of searches per month is the best advertising you can get for growing a brokerage and recruiting agents.
The name recognition for your real estate brand being squeezed between Zillow, Trulia, and Realtor.com is a game-changing experience for a brokerage. The website traffic and leads from your website is just the cherry on the top.
Search Engine Optimization for Real Estate
We have specialized in SEO for Real Estate for over 18 years with powerful results. Working with some of the largest real estate brands in the country, focusing specificity on search engine optimization for real estate.
As Real Estate SEO experts, we look at search rankings as only one part of an overall Digital Marketing Package, all designed to provide an ROI from your web presence. All Search Engine Optimization takes time, because of that, we have devised a way to start delivering new leads immediately while growing your website’s SEO over time.
We utilize Google Ads to generate immediate traffic and leads while leveraging Facebook REmarketing to build your brand. Creating targeted traffic not only helps your SEO over the long term but starts generating new seller leads immediately. The ongoing follow-up marketing on Facebook keeps your real estate brand top of mind for months after potential clients visit your website.
A Digital Marketer Who Understands Real Estate
You need a Digital Marketer that understands real estate. We have a deep history in real estate including sales, brokerage ownership, training as a licensed real estate instructor, Board of Directors for multiple MLS’s including past President of one of the nation’s largest MLS’s and heading technology, strategy, and internet services for some of the nation’s largest real estate brands brokers with over 5,000 agents.
We have assisted dozens of smaller brokers with their digital marketing all across the US, Canada, and Mexico.
JustBaazaar SEO (formally DEAN Knows) just doesn’t pretend to understand real estate marketing, we have been deep in it for almost two decades. We understand that having your real estate website show up for a major real estate search term shows market dominance.
If you are looking for fully managed real estate internet marketing – by true real estate experts, fill out the form below.