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Selling real estate is a busy and competitive process. You need to take every advantage you can get so that you can be first to reach buyers.
One resource that you can’t afford to overlook is search engines. Millions of people start their property buying journey by performing a search on a major engine such as Google. The best way to reach them is by perfecting local SEO so that your results are the first to reach them.
In this guide, you’re going to be introduced to some of the most effective Local SEO practices for people who sell real estate. Before that, though, let’s go through what Local SEO is and what role it plays in real estate.
What is Local SEO and Why is it Needed for Real Estate?
Local SEO is a form of search engine optimization that emphasizes performance in specific geographic regions, such as a state, city, or even neighborhood. This practice goes back several years to when Google first introduced local results for any search that included any local terms or was interpreted as having a local intent.
When Google detects local intent from searches, it responds by delivering a series of available results in the local area. These searches typically feature a large map that allows searchers to easily select a business or address by clicking on its location on the map.
Why does it matter for real estate sales?
Local SEO is essential for real estate investing because nearly all buyers looking for properties are doing it locally. Unless the buyers are investors themselves, they’re looking for homes in certain cities or near specific school districts, trendy areas, or jobs.
If you can rank locally, you can capture this vital traffic. Now, let’s jump right into some of the ways that you can do that.
Tips to Boost Your Local SEO
Local SEO depends on a number of different practices that work together to increase your results’ visibility. The seven tips that follow are the ones that are likely to make the biggest difference over the short and long-term.
- Start with an audit of your current local performance.
- Optimize your site and listings for local areas.
- Build your Google My Business profile.
- Create a blog and populate it with local content.
- Expand to social media.
Let’s look at each of these tips in more detail.
Start with an audit of your site and search performance.
Before you do anything else, you should assess your current site and visibility in local results through an audit. While a professional SEO audit will give you a lot more information, you can perform a basic audit on yourself by using these assets in the way your preferred buyers might.
Let’s start with your site.
The first thing you want to understand is what kind of experience someone has when they land. Starting from your homepage, you need to ask:
- Is the website pleasant to look at?
- Do the pages load quickly?
- Are there any glaring errors, such as broken images or broken links?
- Is it easy to find and navigate to the available listings?
You should be able to answer “yes” to all of these questions.
If you’ve noticed any severe problems, you need to resolve them before you go any further. If your website creates a bad experience for visitors, it doesn’t matter how much other work you do to improve your local SEO. All your work will be wasted if someone lands on your site and then leaves immediately.
Crucially Google is capable of tracking when your website isn’t liked. If enough people quickly leave after arriving, Google will mark your site as one that doesn’t serve the needs of people performing real estate services. When that happens, it can take a long time to start ranking your site again.
Once you’ve audited your site, you want to do the same for your current performance in local searches. Once again, you only need to behave like you’re a searcher looking for similar results.
Perform a set of searches to determine how easily someone searching for the same terms will take to find your listings. If you need to click on the second, third, or fourth page of search results to find your listings, it’s a sign that you need to do a lot of work.
The best way to start recovering from this problem is to optimize your site and listings.
Optimize your site and MLS listings for local areas.
Optimization is the process of making adjustments to your site to attract the attention of search engines. You have to design your content so that search engines don’t have to work hard to figure out what your website is about and what it offers.
One vital element of designing your content to be found is making sure that it includes enough references to the local areas where you’re buying or selling homes. These references help search engines determine whether your site should appear for local results at all.
Here are some ways that you can seed local references into your content naturally:
- Include your local area in your domain name or page titles
- Provide addresses for listings
- Reference nearby features by name. Include parks, entertainment districts, and landmarks
Any references that clarify the area that you’re in can help you.
After you’ve optimized your site, you want to do the same for your listings.
In most cases, your site isn’t going to outrank the giant listing sites that are out there unless the home you’re selling has some highly-specific features. That’s why it’s necessary to optimize any listings that you’re distributing on an MLS service to sites like Zillow and Redfin.
If you want to make sure that you have an even better shot of appearing for local searches, you have to build out a Google My Business profile.
Build your Google My Business profile.
Google My Business (GMB) is a service offered by Google that allows your business to appear on map results. It’s essential to have a GMB profile if you want your business to appear as a general home buyer or seller in your area.
Signing up is an easy and straightforward process. You can create an account here. You’ll have to go through a verification process, but that’s just a matter of waiting for a postcard.
Once your profile is created, you should fill it out as fully as possible to maximize your chances of showing up in search results. That includes adding all the information you can, including your business address, hours, and a full description of your services.
Once you can appear in local map results, all of your listings have a better chance of being seen from your site.
Create a blog and populate it with local content.
Optimizing your existing content is a great start. Still, if you really want to reinforce your presence in a local area, you need to find new and regular ways of including local references on your website.
One of the best ways to do that is to start a blog and start building out local content for it. Here are some examples of titles that you could use to insert local areas into your content while still providing value for the people who are visiting your site:
- The challenges of buying homes in (local area)
- Popular home styles in (local area)
- Notable historic homes in (local area)
You should build out this content on a regular schedule. One or two posts a month should be enough for your site to start ranking at a respectable rate.
Expand to social media.
Social media is another tool that you can use to tie your business and listings to a specific location.
While social media has no direct relationship with your website’s rank, your profiles on social media may be more likely to appear for some results than even the most successful website. In that way, social media can be a major driver of local traffic.
Build profiles on all of the biggest social media sites, including Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Create small amounts of content for them every week—such as pictures of homes that you’ve renovated for sale—and post them.
Rule the local results
Now, you understand what you need to know to boost your local presence.
All you need to remember is to start with an audit and use what you learn to start developing your site and listings around your local content. Then, expand the ways that you can appear by building out a GMB profile and some social media profiles to go with it.
By following these five tips, you can start to rule the local results. You can put your listings in front of the people who are most likely to want to buy.