With ever-increasing competition, real estate agents need to use whatever tools available to increase the chances of a successful sale. Search engine optimization is part of this arsenal of tools and can dramatically increase the number of qualified leads you acquire through your website. However, search engine optimization is a tempestuous sea of information and can be a minefield for the inexperienced. This post will explore what this field is and why it is essential for real estate agents’ success. You will also discover a few tips to maximize your success at the local level.
What Is SEO?
Before going into detail about the differences, it is wise to understand what SEO is as a whole. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a process that helps websites rank higher on search engine results pages. It entails a wide range of disciplines and is constantly moving. When talking about SEO, the common perception is getting organic traffic via the Google search engine. Although other search engines are available, this post will exclusively focus on SEO focused on Google’s search engine. This is because Google is arguably the most used search engine worldwide, especially in the USA. Moreover, most adjustments you make on your website for Google also tend to be reflected in other search engines, such as Microsoft’s Bing.
How Is SEO Important For Real Estate Businesses?
SEO is an integral part of any real estate business. This is because the internet has become the primary way to find properties and connect with potential clients. According to this SEO real estate marketing guide, most buyers begin their property search online. This makes the process of SEO absolutely vital if you want to capture even a fraction of those searches. SEO can help a company rank higher in search engine results pages and get more traffic from people browsing online. This can lead to more visitors, eventually converting into leads, appointments, and sales. A good SEO campaign for a real estate business should have three main goals:
- Drive traffic to the site: This could be from organic search results to map listings and anything in between. This is the primary part of the SEO process and involves many of the tips mentioned later in the post.
- Generate leads: No matter how many visitors you get to your site, you will have difficulty converting leads if it isn’t set up correctly.
- Convert those leads into sales: This part is where your expertise as a real estate agent comes into play. Once you have qualified leads, it’s your job to turn them into customers.
While SEO is only one aspect of real estate marketing, it is arguably one of the most important. Once you have got everything right, you should gain enormously from organic traffic. This type of traffic is the most sought-after as it is considered free (although it still costs money to get to this point) and highly targeted.
What Is The Difference Between National And Local SEO?
Broadly speaking, national SEO involves marketing to a national or international audience. In contrast, local SEO is the process of ranking higher for a specific geographic area. While many of the methods are similar, there are some differences.
If your products or services are not locally-based and you want to capture the entire national market, you will need a far more broad-based approach. For example, if you sell products and services all across the nation, you will need to use an approach that shows this. This might include creating lots of general content that relates to your services.
In contrast to national SEO, local SEO is a strategy that helps businesses to rank better in search engines for their specific location. Companies with a physical storefront or operate in a particular area (like real estate) are especially well-suited to benefit from Local SEO because they have the potential to appear before people who need and will use your services.
Local SEO Tips And Tricks
Now that you understand the differences between national and local SEO and why it is essential for your real estate business to thrive, you might wonder what techniques you must implement for the highest chances of success.
You Need An Optimized Site
Without a website optimized for success, no amount of SEO will help you to reach your goals. An optimized website has been designed with the user in mind. The design should be intuitive, easy to navigate, and aesthetically pleasing. The content should be clear and concise so that the user can quickly find the information they are looking for. It should also be written in a way that is engaging to read and appeals to your specific audience. Many websites are optimized to ensure they load quickly (discussed in the post), but not all websites are designed to convert visitors into customers. Optimizing your website for conversion means making it easy for your visitors to take the desired action. As a real estate website, you will obviously require an inventory pertaining to the area that you serve. You can achieve this by using what is known as an IDX feed.
An IDX feed is a web page that lists real estate properties and their associated data. IDX feeds are generally updated by the listing agent and are used by real estate websites to display information about properties. This feed keeps your inventory up to date, saving you time and providing your users with the correct information. IF you use a CMS like WordPress for your website, you can even use an IDX plugin, reducing the need to hire expensive developers to integrate the data.
Your website should also include a plethora of contact information so that anyone who ends up on your website can contact you with ease. This includes phone numbers, emails, and your company address. Apart from making it easier to contact you, it also builds trust for search engines such as Google and Bing that you are a legitimate business.
Website speed is one of the most critical factors for a website, and it has been found that a slow loading website can lead to a decrease in conversion rates. Slow websites can make visitors feel frustrated, cause them to abandon your site, and cost you future referrals.
User experience is one of the most important aspects of website design and is what makes a website enjoyable to use and can affect conversion rates. Regarding a real estate website, this could mean gaining visitors from content marketing efforts and making it easy for them to navigate to your listing or contact pages.
Set Up A “Google My Business” Account
Google My Business is a free platform that Google provides to manage your business online. You can edit your business information, add photos or listings, and answer questions about your business. Google My Business (GMB) can help you attract more customers by showing up in search results on Google Maps and Google Search. You can also create an enhanced listing that shows up on Google Search, including lots of valuable data that prospects can use to contact you directly from the search results. This is considered a low-hanging fruit due to the ease you can set one up, but the results it can deliver. Moreover, you will need a GMB to gain additional traffic from Google Maps.
Fortunately, setting up a GMB account is a relatively pain-free process. You log into the google account you want to use (or set up a new one dedicated to your real estate business) and navigate to the GMB page. Once there, you enter all details related to you and your business. Once you have applied, you will have to wait for a couple of weeks for Google to send a postcard with the verification code you need to activate your GMB profile. Nevertheless, while you are waiting for the code, you can continue updating the profile and making it look appealing to potential visitors.
Develop A Consistent Brand
While branding isn’t strictly an SEO factor, it will enable website visitors to connect your business to each profile and account you have set up. This adds a layer of professionalism and consistency, making it more likely that a potential lead will contact you. Furthermore, when your branding is constant across channels, you might discover that people begin searching for you directly via Google rather than something more generic. This will ultimately result in very high-quality leads that you should have no trouble converting.
Build Local Citations
Local citations are references to your company’s website on other websites. They can be found in the form of links, mentions, or reviews. Local citations are often seen as a way to build credibility with potential customers because they show that people are talking about you and linking to you. However, the most important way they help with SEO is by helping you rank higher and get more traffic. This happens because they build trust around your business. Trust is a huge factor for ranking on Google, and local citations on relevant websites go a long way. Among the sources of information that Google uses are real estate directories. Providing Google with your correct contact information and a list of your services helps Google understand you better. You gain more authority in search engine results, allowing your business to rank higher. Just ensure that you enter your contact details correctly and precisely the same across every citation you build.
Perform An SEO Audit
An SEO audit is a detailed analysis of the on-page and off-page optimization practices currently in place. The audit aims to identify opportunities for improvement and help ensure that your website meets the requirements for search engine algorithms. There are two main types of SEO audits:
- Technical audit
- Content audit
A technical audit mainly focuses on evaluating technical aspects like site speed, crawlability, and indexing status, while a content audit evaluates the quality and quantity of content on the website. By performing an audit (or hiring an SEO expert to complete it), you will better understand what you lack compared to your competitors.
Create Content And Become An Authority
Content marketing is a fantastic method of scooping up more keywords and building yourself as an authority in your industry. As well as being used for national SEO, this technique can also be effectively utilized for local SEO. Content marketing is the most powerful way to reach prospects and customers with relevant, valuable content. When it comes to local real estate, there are several steps involved:
- Find relevant keywords: Keywords are what prost[cts type into a search engine. It could be “best realtor in New York,” or it could be “house prices in New York.” You should avoid the former and focus on the latter as this will gain you more traction and provide valuable information to possible future clients.
- Write your content: This step is arguably the most straightforward, but it should be high-quality and answer the questions a visitor is looking for.
- Market your content: Content alone won’t do much unless you market it. You can post it to your social media channels, share it with partners, and even turn it into more engaging content like videos.
- Build links: A significant part of local SEO is link building which will be in the next section. But when it comes to content marketing, you can build links to interesting posts that should result in business.
There is no denying that backlinks are still an essential aspect of local SEO. Although they have lost some of their importance compared to several years ago, they still play a role in ranking your site for relevant keywords. Nonetheless, local SEO link building can be a bit trickier than general link building. If you over-optimize your anchor texts, you can easily find yourself on the wrong side of Google and hit with an algorithmic or manual penalty. This can destroy your business as your profile will essentially disappear from the search results overnight. Most real estate agents outsource this point entirely due to its complexity and leave it to the professionals who understand SEO and what search engines want.
As you can see from this post, local SEO is quite different from other types of SEO. When it comes to an industry like real estate, it is essential to get your local SEO on point if you want to compete with others and gain quality leads. By following eth tips in this post, you should be well on your way to setting up a website that presents you as an authority in the field and will help you convert visitors into clients.