Millions of people use search engines every year to buy, sell, or research properties. These searches represent fantastic opportunities for real estate investors, and you’re missing out on them if no one can find your business or listings online.
In this guide, you’re going to learn why search engine optimization (SEO) matters to real estate investing. Then, you’re going to get some tips you can use to get started in 2020.
What is SEO, and why does it matter for real estate?
SEO refers to a set of evolving practices used to direct better traffic to your website from search engines. The most common goal of SEO is to appear on the first page for relevant searches.
In recent years, Google has added new features to provide even more rewards for businesses with excellent SEO. Websites can appear in local map results, Q&A sections, and other spots above the rest of the search results.
Why do real estate investors and agents need SEO?
Real estate SEO is necessary because motivated buyers and sellers mainly use the internet to find one another. When using the internet, they most often use search engines like Google to see specific properties in certain areas.
Now that you understand what you’re fighting for when you start optimizing, you’re ready to know how to begin putting SEO to work for you.
Before you do anything else, you need to define your goals.
1. Start by defining your SEO goals.
Whether you’ll be working on your own site, or hiring a team that handles SEO services for real estate investors, you should have goals in place before you begin. SEO campaigns can have wildly different effects depending on how the practices are applied.
Settings goals will help you keep any teams that get involved on the same page. It will also provide you with a starting point you can use to judge success. What follows are some examples of typical goals for real estate investors and the motivations behind them.
To increase traffic to your site: Traffic refers to the number of people that visit your website over a given period. Your traffic will naturally increase if you can improve your place in search results because you’ll be easier to find.
To attract visitors who are more likely to take the action that you prefer, you can develop a certain type of traffic rather than simply increase traffic. You can accomplish this by adjusting your messaging or content to match the intent of the traffic you’re trying to attract.
To claim a place in the map results: If you care most about attracting local traffic, you can choose to focus on being listed in the map results. This can be done by taking steps such as adjusting content to focus on local areas or claiming business profiles tied to a certain area.
Once you have a goal in mind, you’re ready for another step that will also have a significant impact on the rest of your efforts: Choosing your keywords.
2. Develop a list of relevant keywords you can improve.
Keywords are the terms and phrases that searchers use to find what they’re looking for on search engines. Some terms are far more popular than others, even when they describe the same services.
By including relevant keywords (known as targeting) throughout your content, you can help Google, and other search engines, understand your website.
Of course, it’s more complicated than that. Today, filling a site with one keyword has no positive effects. You’ll need to naturally use families of related terms that are organized into a keyword list.
Depending on the services you offer as a real estate investor, you may want to focus on terms that searchers might use to find you, such as:
- Sell my house fast
- Sell a home in (location)
- We buy houses
- Cash home buyers
- Buyer for vacant houses
- Buyer for damaged houses
Finding the keywords for real estate investors can be a long process. Keyword research is a professional job that’s often handled by an SEO expert or even a small team.
However, if you’re just developing your own site, you can easily build a starter list. Perform searches for services like yours, and judge whether the terms you’re using are pulling up results that match what you offer.
You should develop your keywords as soon as you’ve defined your goals. The keywords will be used to make most other parts of the strategy work, so you need to have an idea of what you’ll be targeting.
3. Choose your domain name carefully.
If you haven’t created your site yet, you should know that the domain name you choose can significantly impact the future of your SEO efforts. You need a name that is clear, includes the right terms, and inspires trust.
While the best name will depend on what you’re trying to do, some best practices apply to most domains:
- Keep the name as short as possible
- Include the most relevant keyword from your list
- Include your brand
- Avoid non-letter characters such as numbers and hyphens
After you have the right domain name, you need to focus on your site’s needs.
4. Make your site a well-oiled machine.
The quality of your site has a direct relationship with the success of your real estate investor SEO. Many of your site’s technical factors are tracked by Google and used to determine how high your site can climb in search results. All of the following can play a role:
- How fast your pages load
- How many site errors are detected
- Whether your site is mobile-ready
- Whether you have a clean site structure
While you can pick up some best practices by looking at other top real estate investor websites, the best checklist you can follow to bring any site up to code is the one that was built by Google. The search engine publishes what it calls Google’s Webmaster Guidelines.
This regularly-updated document contains a long list of the rules that you can follow to make sure that your site performs well in searches.
Once you, or a web design team, have applied all these rules, you’ll be ready to move one to one of the most significant SEO factors: content.
5. Build-out site content that defines your services and takes advantage of your keywords.
Nothing will have as much of an effect on your site’s performance in search results as your content. Content refers to all the written words on your website and some that appear only in search engines.
Google scans all of the content on your site regularly. It uses what it learns to analyze what topics you cover, and what relevance your site has to searchers. For that reason, you must create a lot of content on your website that includes your chosen keywords.
You should fill out your site with:
- Page content: You should build a friendly home page, about us page, and other standard informational pages to give search engine crawlers more chances to figure out what kind of searchers you’re targeting.
- Product/Service descriptions: Each of your products or services should be well-described. Each significant service should have it’s own page so that the content for that page can focus exclusively on one topic.
- Blogs: Adding a blog to your website can give you a chance to create more relevant content without bloating your other site content. Blogs can focus on advice, news, guides, or controversies in your industry. You can learn to build great content by exploring other great real estate investor blogs.
- Meta information: This refers to the HTML attributes that you can create for each page. Meta titles and meta descriptions are the summaries of different pages that appear directly in search engine results. Every major page on your website should have its own custom meta title and description.
It can be expensive to build out this amount of content, and if you want to make sure that the content fits your needs, you may need to hire a team that understands real estate investor SEO.
A great way to make sure that a content investment pays off is to develop links to the best content you’ve created.
6. Build a diverse backlink profile.
Backlinks are links to your site that appear on other sites. When they’re placed, they can become an enduring source of incoming traffic for your website. Links are also a part of your SEO.
Google uses complex algorithms to assign value to links, and getting high-value links (based on factors such as the age of the linking domain) can translate directly to a higher rank for some search terms.
If your site attracts a lot of interest, you can build links without even trying. People will link to your site because it provides value to them. However, if you’re just starting, it’s wise to focus on building backlinks from relevant sources. You should consider all of the following:
- Real estate directories: There are many regional directories for property listings, depending on where you live. You can build backlinks on these directories by merely creating profiles on these sites and including links to your site.
- Social media: Social media networks can be a great place to highlight properties you’re selling or your expertise as a buyer or seller. Place your link in your posts or personal description so that people who enjoy your content can quickly travel to your site.
- Google My Business (GMB) profile: You need to create a GMB profile to appear in local map results. Each profile can include a link back to your website.
- Outreach: You can develop backlinks by reaching out to related sites in your field. They may be interested in having you write some blogs for their sites under your own name.
Claim your place in search results
As long as you know how to invest in real estate, you can develop excellent real estate investor SEO to support your efforts. Use these tips to claim some of the opportunities that are currently going to your competition.
If you need help, you can sign up for a call here.