SEO for Real Estate: 8 Ways to Earn Traffic and Generate Leads
When house hunting, according to “The Digital House Hunt,” an extensive report on real estate consumer trends conducted by Google and the National Association of Realtors, 90% of buyers use the internet. In fact, 53% of buyers start their search online.
More than ever, people head online when it comes to looking for homes and finding consultants. According to the 2016 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, 86% of home buyers consider real estate websites the most useful source of information when buying a home.
Between 2008 and 2012, real estate-related searches increased by 253%. With so much opportunity online, realtors can’t afford to miss out on this valuable traffic; for professionals in real estate, SEO is more important than ever.
When it comes to capturing traffic for terms related to real estate, SEO efforts begin with local keyword targets on a personal website. You have to carve out a niche for yourself — think locally, and then expand.
Here’s how to optimize your real estate website:
1. Target local keywords.
2. Write blog entries.
3. Take advantage of photos and videos.
4. Make your Site Mobile with responsive design.
5. Get listed in Directories.
6. Optimize your bio on your broker’s website.
7. Incorporate social media.
8. Get your business into Google
1. Target Local Keyword Phrases
69% of home shoppers begin their research with a local keyword phrase, like “Lekki realtor.”
Most realtors service multiple cities and regions. However, when you start your website, focus on the main city you do business in first. From there, build out silos that target other areas.
Optimize your website for search terms such as:
[City] real estate[City] homes for sale[City] real estate listings[City] realtor[City] real estate agent
These words can appear on pages throughout your site. For example, a site focusing on just Lekki realty might be organized like this:
Lekki Homes for Sale
Living in Lekki
Lekki Real Estate Testimonials
About Your Lekki Realtor
Throughout these pages, incorporate the local keyword targets, working them into content that is useful to a prospective home buyer.
You should make your website a resource. On a page like “Living in Lekki,” provide information on school districts, crime rates, median income, public transportation, and statistics on the average homeowner.
The more targeted a real estate website can be, the better.
Focus on capturing local traffic. You have a much better chance to rank for, let’s say, “Lekki realtor” than “Lagos realtor” — as you build your site and traffic, you can eventually target more competitive terms like “Lagos realtor,” but not right out of the gate. You’ll have more success if you take a more targeted approach.
A Note on Using IDX/MLS
It’s common practice for realtors and brokers to use IDX (Internet Data Exchange) to render real estate listings.
While this is great for users, it usually does little to influence rankings on search engines because these MLS listings are usually rendered with jQuery, in an iFrame or on a subdomain that appears off of the main site — meaning Google won’t index the content as part of the site.
That’s why it’s important to add additional unique content to the listings page, such as extra facts and features of property excerpts from your testimonials page videos photos
2. Write Blog Post on Homes You’re Especially Keen to Sell
You need a blog. Properly optimized content that speaks to the needs of your targeted audience is your path to dominating local search results.
Write informative articles, interview small business owners, neighbours and as well use visual contents.
You can write to sell. Yes.
A real estate agent can represent hundreds of listings at a time, there are no doubt a few key properties that the realtor is particularly motivated to sell. One way to secure traffic to your site for those specific properties is to write blog posts.
Each blog post should target a specific property’s address, which prospective home buyers will be searching for using Google. The address becomes the keyword — follow all SEO best practices such as using the keyword in:
- Meta description
- Title tag
- Alt tag on photos
- Filename on photos
- The content
As for the content itself, come up with about 205 words of unique content describing the home’s features in addition to the standard description — and in this case, you don’t have to worry about duplicate content.
Google expects to see those descriptions of homes appear across the web. You won’t be penalized for including standard listing information. However, if you want to rank for the address as a keyword, you’ll have to include unique content, as well.
3. Take Advantage of Photos and Videos
Videos can truly distinguish your business from your competition. This is why you should:
Launch and optimize a YouTube channel
- Upload videos to your channel on a regular basis
- Share (or upload) videos to your site and social pages
- Run live-streams on YouTube and Facebook to attract a larger audience
Photos and videos are key engagement objects on all websites, but this is especially true of a real estate site. Home buyers love seeing a video tour of the inside of their prospective new homes. In addition to video tours, consider capturing testimonials on video, Questions and Answers, Neighbourhood videos, Listings videos like Top Ten Houses, Open Houses, etc.
Whenever you sell a home, get a testimonial. If you have a video camera, a steady hand and good lighting, try to get that testimonial recorded on the spot. A home buyer is ecstatic right after getting their keys. That’s a great time to ask for a review.
A home buyer is ecstatic right after getting their keys. That’s the time to ask for a review…
An Australian real estate group reported seeing 403% more inquiries for listings with video than those without video, and studies have shown adding a video to a page triples the amount of inbound link.
4. Make Your Site Mobile or User-Friendly
The statistics are in and they show that home buyers are searching for real estate on mobile devices. “The Digital House Hunt” report referenced earlier also found:
89% of new home shoppers search using a mobile device during the home buying process.
A 300% growth of real estate broker-related searches on tablets year over year. Foreclosure searches have risen 180% year over year on mobile devices.
The report found that home buyers are apt to use mobile real estate sites while at home, at work, while waiting in line, at restaurants and in other people’s homes. Home buyers visit real estate websites to:
- Read general home information
- Get directions to visit a home
- Compare prices
- Compare features
- Search a listing company’s inventory
- Call a broker
- Locate a listing agent
- Read reviews
- Research mortgage financing
- Email/contact a broker
- Watch an online video about a property
With these statistics in mind, it’s clear that making your website mobile is an important factor in real estate SEO. We recommend these nine key areas to bear in mind when approaching mobile optimization:
- Responsive design
- Page speed
- Hosting speed
- Site navigation
- Site search
All of these are pretty important to your rankings and conversions. Visitors expect your site to load in less than two seconds and will immediately leave unless you provide the impeccable user experience.
If your site loads too slowly, users will leave and look for a more user-friendly site.
Also, if your entry forms are confusing, users will also bounce back to the search results and check out one of your competitors.
When this happens, Google will notice. Your rankings will drop if this happens too often.
Some mobile optimization tips:
- Run a Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test to learn if your page is mobile-friendly, and access the list of page loading issues that need fixing.
- Fire up a Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool to get access to even more errors related to mobile optimization and load speed. Fix them until you score 100 points.
- Optimize your site’s code to delete all Flash and script elements that can increase your pages’ load time.
- Get rid of ads and interstitials that block users from accessing content. Both Google and users hate websites, especially mobile sites, that are a pain to navigate.
- Make sure that your site’s homepage is easy to use. It needs to feature visually appealing but not intrusive CTAs, short menus with large, easy-to-click tabs, a distinctive search field with selectable filters, user-friendly contact form, and a logo button that allows users to get back to your homepage.
- Optimize images. Reduce the size of large images and make sure that each image features an ALT text.
- Check if your site search displays relevant results. Ensure that filters work properly and do not make users zoom.
- Adjust your blog to AMP. This will drastically improve a site’s load time.
- Address caching issues of your site. In some cases, a site can suffer from poor performance in mobile search due to problems with hosting and caching. Make sure that all of your HTTP requests are handled in a flash.
- Use emulator to check how your site is displayed on different devices. A bit of testing never hurts.
5. Get Listed in Directories
To verify your business and drive backlinks, you need to register your company with business- and real estate-related directories and listings:
Prepare info for new accounts: business name, physical address, telephone number, email, work hours, logo, visuals, unique descriptions, etc. Some directories allow you to post content, too.
Fill out the accounts and check them regularly. If users leave comments or rate your business, always reply or send a thank you message.
Now that you have covered all the coveted spots, research new opportunities. Directories and listings are not that popular nowadays, and yet new players appear once in a while.
Place logos of registered directories and listings on your site. Show your website visitors that you are a trusted and respected business
Real estate agent directories get a lot of traffic, so it’s worth your while to get listed in them. Each of the following highly trafficked real estate sites has directories available to realtors:
- Yellow Pages
- Better Business Bureau
- Angie’s List
- Merchant Circle
Claiming your business at the following listings is also a must:
- Yahoo! Homes
Zillow alone had 498 million page views in a single month and Trulia had 277 million. There’s a lot of potential traffic to be captured by getting listed in the right real estate directory.
6. Optimize Your Bio on Your Broker’s Website
If you’re a realtor working with an agency, your brokerage house more than likely hosts a web page for each realtor. While it is unlikely that this sub-domain can rank for a local keyword target, this is a great page to optimize for your name. People will Google your name, so it’s something you should optimize for.
Include your full name in the title tag and meta description. This might be challenging, however, because, on the broker site, you’re operating on a domain that you don’t have full control over. Find out what you can and cannot change — if you can alter the meta-data, optimize those fields for your name.
In addition to ranking for your name, you can also use the bio page to provide contact information and link to your personal website. For additional tips on ranking for your name, check out “Rank for Your Name,” which has more insights on why and how to use your name as a keyword.
7. Incorporate Social Media
Social media can help your SEO efforts, though it may not necessarily improve your organic rankings. However, social media is important because it helps you:
- Connect with your targeted audience.
- Build awareness, authority, and trust.
- Increase exposure.
- Drive more traffic.
- Convert this traffic into customers – and sales.
When it comes to client relations, social media is a great way to start relationships or strengthen existing ones. A realtor with an active social media presence is able to interact with clients where they are every day: Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest and/or Instagram. Do your research and find out where your target clients are most active socially.
Real estate is all about relationships — any record you can build on social media that shows your expertise is important. When people vet you and discover a healthy, professional social media presence, it’s going to signal trust.
Because photos and videos are key components in real estate sales, Pinterest and Instagram are particularly useful platforms for realtors. On Facebook, consider joining location-based groups and on Google+, get active in local communities. Across all platforms, use social media strategically, employing hashtags like #realestate or #listing.
8. Get Your Business into Google
To build a continuous stream of clients from organic search, get your business listed in the Google 3-pack.
The Google 3-pack is an umbrella term for Google My Business, Google Maps, and Google+. If you list your business there, its visibility in search will dramatically increase.
If your site’s age, authority, and content meet a high standard, it will definitely secure one of the top three non-paid positions on Google.