Why should real estate agents invest in creating an SEO-friendly website?
The answer: To rank higher on the first page of Google search results when potential clients are searching for local real estate services.
If you’ve paid to have a website built but are still failing to show up on the first page of Google, you need to realign your efforts with search engine optimization, or SEO, in mind.
Now, if you are not already familiar with SEO, you can start with our previous article on the importance of search engine optimization in real estate.
The first page of Google has immense power
When a potential client heads to their keyboard and searches for real estate information, you want to be on the first page. In fact, 33% of traffic will typically go to the agent occupying the top position on the FIRST page of Google search results.
When you are searching for a product or a service, how often do you venture to the second, third, and fourth pages? Almost never. A prospect who is in need of representation will likely click on one of the first few links that Google provides.
You can build the most beautiful website in the world but if you don’t focus on SEO, no one will ever be able to find it. Your goal should be to regularly show up on the first page for common local real estate keywords.
Set your sights on real estate keywords
A keyword is a word that is frequently searched in Google. You may have also heard the term “keyphrase” which is a string of words that are often searched together.
When someone enters that keyword or phrase in their query, Google crawls the available web pages on the internet and finds the best match for the user. How does Google determine if your site is a good match or not?
Google’s algorithm is complex and changes almost every day but as a general rule of thumb, if you are trying to rank higher for a keyword, you want to include that word in your:
- Meta titles and descriptions
- Subtly within paragraph text
- Picture file names and alt text
Using keywords in these areas can help you rank higher but Google is smart and will penalize you if you use too many. This is called “keyword stuffing”. Your text needs to contain keywords but it also needs to be interesting and readable. Be conscious of the keywords that you are targeting but don’t overdo it!
ON-Page Vs OFF-Page Real Estate SEO
There are two different ways to optimize your site for SEO. The first area you need to concentrate on is ON-page optimization. This is the process of tailoring the front and backend of your website so it can be found by search engines organically.
How is this done?
- Using keywords
- Creating useful content
- Implementing metadata (i.e. headings, alt text, meta description)
The second way you can boost the SEO ranking of your real estate website is with OFF-page optimization. This is the process of promoting your site on other areas of the internet. Off-page SEO does not require access to your site (it can be potentially be outsourced).
Off-page SEO strategies can include:
- Improving inbound links to your site (guest blog posts)
- Linking to your site on social media
- Submitting your business information to online directories (Yelp, Google My Business, BBB, etc)
The process of creating high-quality links that lead back to your site is known as “backlinking”. You might hear other real estate professionals refer to backlinks as “inbound links”.
Why is important to focus on this SEO strategy? A link that leads from a reputable site to your website is like a vote of confidence for Google. The more valuable backlinks leading to your site, the more likely you will pop up on the first page.
Rich snippets give Google a heads up
What is a rich snippet? Every search result on Google has a small block of text below it, known as a snippet. A rich snippet includes additional data that helps the user make a more educated choice when selecting a link. An example of a rich snippet would be a Google review included in the snippet that shows a real estate agent is rated 4/5 stars.
If you are comfortable with the backend of your website, you can utilize rich snippets to help inform Google as to what type of content exists on your site.
On the other hand, if you’ve hired someone to build and maintain your website, ensure they are implementing rich snippets.
When you are creating social media posts, don’t forget to mention and link back to your website. Social media should have two purposes for a real estate agent:
- Increase your sphere of influence and build an online following.
- Directing users back to your website so they can learn more about your services and contact you in the future.
Some agents have really impactful social media posts but they forget to link back to their website. This not only hurts their SEO ranking but they are also missing out on potential leads.
You can use the power of SEO for your MLS listings too!
SEO isn’t just for your home and service pages. You can use SEO to drive traffic to your new MLS listing as well. There are a few different strategies for this but most agents decide to create blog posts that feature their new listings.
Decide on the keywords you wish to target for the post and use all of your listings information within the article. Don’t forget to include specific references to your geographic location and the neighborhood that the home resides in.
One way to discover keyword phrases common to your prospects is to use Google Trends. This free online tool allows you to view the most trending online topics and terms. Experiment with different phrases, and take pointers from your competitors. Search for listings that rank visibly and take note of the keywords used in their copy.
Optimizing your online marketing efforts for SEO is not something you can complete over a weekend. It’s an ongoing, ever-changing effort. If you give attention to the main points we covered in this article and read our other article on search engine optimization, you will be ahead of 99% of the real estate agents out there.
Are you looking for additional help when it comes to constructing your website or building a local following? We can help with that too!