There are many ways to drive traffic to a real estate website. You can run Pay Per Click Ads, you can run Facebook Ads, you can blog and syndicate and almost an infinite number of other methods. One of the most challenging (but cost effective) methods for driving traffic to a website is real estate SEO. Why is SEO for real estate so challenging? How long does it take to rank on page one of Google for a major real estate keyword? Is it worth the money?
Real Estate SEO Takes Work
Many real estate agents think that they can get a free website or throw something together “close to free” and it will simply just rank well. That is just not the case. In thousands of instances, REALTORS leave the initial copy on their site, the same copy that is on hundreds of other real estate websites that the same web provider gives everyone. Real Estate Search Engine Optimization is ultra competitive. Anyone who is ranking has had time and effort put into the process.
I have heard people say when they start going to a gym “I don’t want to get all those muscles and be huge”. Well, don’t worry. You won’t accidentally wake up with a body builders physique. It takes work and dedication. Its the same with Real Estate SEO. It doesn’t “just happen”
If you anticipate ranking well for any real estate search, be prepared to either:
- A. Work For It
- B. Pay Someone To Do It For You
Many Real Estate Websites Don’t Have The Flexibility
There are hundreds of web developers out there selling real estate websites. Some of them are cheap, some expensive. Some of them are good, some terrible. The vast majority of them simply do not provide the flexibility on the back-end of their systems needed to rank well. Every real estate website company claims that there website is “SEO Friendly” or “Includes SEO”. Truth is, SEO isn’t a button you press or a feature you work into a site. We have written about this extensively in our article: Does your real estate website include SEO
What is needed from the website is the flexibility to properly implement On-Page SEO, Schema, control the URL structure, control internal links and much more. This is called On-Page SEO.
Not Enough Original Copy
It has been repeated at nausea…Content is King. And it really is…or at least Queen (Back-links are King). You do need a good bit of ORIGINAL copy on any real estate website you anticipate ranking for. In working with hundreds of real estate agents over the years, almost every single one says they will write the copy for their website as opposed to paying professional copywriters. Almost every one of them has delivered 75-150 words to be on a page. If you want a page to rank in Google, it need to provide value. If the page you are anticipate ranking only has IDX listings — there is very little value there.
You need On-Page SEO and at least 750 words of original copy if you want a page to rank well on Google. That is the bare minimum, that is the SEO Basics. That means that you are at least in the race. The single largest factor in if a real estate website ranks on page one of Google is back-links. Back links are one of the most established ways that Google knows if you are an authority in your field. Those links should come from other websites that logically should be linking to your site. Think about it — if other REALTORS, real estate brokers, state real estate commissions, MLS and REALTOR boards are all linking to you —- Google recognizes that you may have your shit together.
Real Estate SEO Takes Time
This is not unique to real estate. ALL true SEO takes time. Many REALTORS give up too early. I try to tell people that it will take a minimum of eight months to start to rank well. If the competition is extremely strong (and it usually is) — even longer. If you shoot up the rankings overnight — something is wrong. There are a few exceptions to that rule — but not many.
Is Real Estate SEO Harder Than Other Types of SEO?
The point here is that there is a ton of competition for any real estate search. In many instances, the best you can hope for is to be right behind Zillow and Trulia — but let me tell you…THAT IS NOT A BAD PLACE TO BE.
Ranking For A Major Real Estate Term is Branding
If you have been in real estate for any period of time, you have heard “Build your own brand” a million times. Think about what it does for “your brand” to be sitting right behind Zillow and Trulia for a major search term. Most of those major key-phrases are searched on Google thousands of times per month. Every time they get searched, your brand is on display. Even if the user doesn’t click on your site – they see your brand. If they do click on your site…that’s even better.
Real Estate SEO Is a Marathon Not a Race
The benefits of SEO can be super powerful. If it were not for real estate SEO, Zillow would just be a funny name of a failed startup. But they outranked everyone. Although it may sound like we have beaten up on SEO for real estate pretty hard; told you all the reasons its hard.
Truth is, we believe Real Estate SEO to be the single most effective real estate marketing for providing a long term ROI
Regardless of what other types of marketing you are doing to generate leads and new business for real estate, SEO should be on the map. It is doable by anyone that is willing to invest the time, money and patience. It takes dedication. Once your real estate website is ranking for some major keywords, it is a career changing event.
Want to check YOUR Real Estate Website’s SEO? Use our FREE SEO Website Audit on the side of the page 🙂
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