According to a 2016 study by the National Association of Realtors, 44 percent of buyers begin their real estate search online. They also said that 86 percent of homebuyers say real estate websites are their most useful source of information for home shopping. 78 percent of new home shoppers will visit three or more sites before taking action.
In other words, you not only have to be online but you have to be front and center when potential clients are making their initial searches and deciding how to proceed. That’s where search engine optimization (SEO) comes in. Let’s talk more about SEO, and why it’s so crucial for your real estate website.
What Is SEO?
Over 3.7 billion Google searches are made every day and the volume of Google searches grow by roughly 10 percent each year. Along with other search engines, such as Bing and Yahoo!, this is how a lot of people find the information they need on a daily basis. From the mundane to the hyper-specific, search engines scour the internet in search of the most expert answers to just about every question someone could ask.
SEO is the way that you can increase the quantity and quality of your web traffic through organic search results from Google and other search engines. You improve the quality of your traffic by fine-tuning your message to a specific audience in order to attract people actually interested in your product. You improve the quantity of traffic by ranking higher in search engine results, which has a significant impact on how often you get clicked. And you get more organic results because search engines want to share your content in order to answer the questions their users have.
Why Is Real Estate SEO Important?
Think about how people begin their real estate search. They might log onto Google and do a search for “homes for sale in Memphis.” That brings up a bunch of different websites and directories for them to choose from. They’re pretty likely to click on the links right in front of them (75 to 90 percent of users never click past the first page of search results) and they’re pretty likely to click on one of the links near the top (55 to 60 percent of all search clicks come from one of the top three results). They may or may not decide to stick with one of the websites they click, but they’re already starting down a path to becoming a lead for someone else.
So while it might be exciting to see the website for your new real estate business on the third page of search results, very few people will ever make it that far. And you might be excited to be the 9th overall result on the first page, but most people will still click on the results before they even get to you.
This is what makes real estate SEO so important. You’re working in a demanding business where every lead matters and every point of contact is critical. Just moving up a few spots in search results can have a huge impact on your bottom line. So whether you want to improve SEO for real estate investors or SEO for real estate agents, it’s all really the same thing.
Creating a website for your local real estate business won’t just magically make you appear at the top of the search results on Google. You need to be mindful, proactive, and forward-thinking. You need to remember certain critical steps when building your site and creating fresh content.
One of the easiest and best ways to focus your efforts on lead generation and awareness is to target local and granular SEO keywords. As a real estate professional, you are likely going to end up working mostly with people who live in your region or are looking to own property in your region. So it only makes sense to target them as your audience base.
We’d all love to rank for the big search terms, but it’s a longshot to make that happen. Let’s say you’re starting a real estate company in Memphis, Tennessee. Ideally, you’d love to be the No. 1 result for “homes for sale in Tennessee.” Then you’d be drowning in web traffic and leads. But…that’s not going to happen. There are a lot of national and state-wide companies that are focusing their efforts on that search term. Plus, they can supply a wider selection of users with relevant results than you can.
What’s way more doable and likely is that you can rank highly for “Memphis homes for sale” or “new homes for sale in Memphis.” These keywords have less competition and offer a glimpse into what else people are looking for specifically. So it’s important to build those kinds of keywords into your content. Understand what the local user is looking for and then incorporate that into what you have to say about yourself. Google loves to provide users with expert information that ideally answers the question at the center of each search, so make yourself the expert they’re looking for. That’s going to have a huge impact on your real estate SEO.
In this day and age, it’s not uncommon to find out that you get more traffic from mobile users than desktop users. People are busy and they don’t have time to sit there and scroll their phones to find what they need. So a big part of SEO and website construction is making sure it’s mobile-friendly and easy to read.
Some of the ways you can do that include keeping content simple, prioritizing important content up top, keeping font sizes large enough to read on a phone or tablet, offering a clean design without too many bells and whistles, and providing a clear path to your contact information.
Blogging Still Matters
Whoever told you blogs are dead didn’t know what they’re talking about. Yes, there are all-new ways for businesses to communicate with users, from social media to video. But blogs still perform a great service, especially for real estate professionals looking to improve their SEO. Blog posts are the way you can create granular, finely tuned content that is geared toward answering hyper-specific search queries. According to HubSpot, businesses that blog see their monthly leads rise by 126 percent more than those who don’t.
Take a look around Google to see what your visitors are searching for. Check out Google’s “People Also Ask” feature on the search results and visit sites like Answer the Public in order to find out the questions that need to be answered. Then, answer them in blog posts. Make sure your posts are robust (750+ words) and contain relevant keywords (without keyword stuffing).
Quality blog content will boost your real estate SEO because you’re providing good information that is useful to the user and can establish you as an expert on the topic. It helps you to build a good relationship with the person before they’ve even potentially become a lead. It’s also an effective way to educate potential clients about topics that are relevant to real estate but they might not have considered before now.
Optimize Your Content
There are a lot of terms and expert tools that you can get into when it comes to SEO. It’s very easy to go down a rabbit hole about best practices and all of the little things you need to do to improve your chances. You can follow that road if you want to, but in the interest of time and you need to focus on many other things, let’s just present you with some of the other important SEO tips you’ll want to incorporate into your website.
The platform that you’re building your website and blog on should have a backend with options for meta-descriptions and other data that the end-user might not be aware of. A lot of this is more for the sake of Google and search engines than it is for clients or leads. But by doing these things correctly, you will improve your chances of ranking higher and seeing your site come up the way you want it to in searches.
The most important things to provide with each new piece of content are the meta title (the title of the page that will appear in search results and should contain relevant keywords), the meta description (a brief description of the content on the page that should contain all relevant keywords), and the page URL (which you can fine-tune to make it more keyword-friendly).
Some other tips and tricks that will help you in the SEO game are to add headers and subheaders to your content, especially blog posts. This makes the content more easily digestible and gives search engines an easy way to catalog your site. And also make sure your NAP (name, address, and phone) information is included in the header or footer of your website and consistent across the entire site. Not much good in providing all this great content if people don’t know how to contact you after reading it.