Are you tired of paying for a real estate website but not getting any traffic from Google? If you are a REALTOR or a local brokerage, getting traffic to your website from is more crucial today than ever before. With the internet playing such a crucial role in the real estate transaction in 2018, not having your website found for commonly searched real estate terms means you are missing out on a ton of traffic, which converts to leads, which convert to sales. Unfortunately, many REALTORS do not know what is needed to organically rank their website.
We will cover the basic steps for ranking a real estate website using real estate SEO best practices.
A REALTORS Guide to SEO
Although real estate SEO is more competitive and has some unique challenges, many of the steps involved in ranking a real estate website are the same as traditional website marketing. Read below for the unique processes needed for real estate search engine optimization.
- Local SEO for REALTORS
- Keyword Research For Real Estate
- Completing a Website Audit
- Maximizing Meta Titles and Headers
- Make Your Site Mobile Friendly
- Maximizing IDX
- Link Building
- and On Page SEO
The First Step is Local SEO
The first step in ranking your real estate website is getting the local SEO nailed down. It has been said a million times…”real estate is local”. That has never been more true then in the word of online real estate marketing. The first step in establishing your local SEO is creating and claiming your Google My Business listing. This will officially tell Google about your brand, your business name, business address and business phone number. Real Estate SEO experts call that your NAP (Name, Address, Phone Number). A super important aspect of this process is insuring that your NAP is consistent with your Google My Business account and your other online mentions such as Facebook, Twitter and of course, your website.
Verifying your GMB account will usually require a postcard being mailed to the business address claimed. The postcard will contain a PIN – which you enter into GMB for verification. Once your Google My Business account is created and verified, you will want to create/update citation accounts. Citation accounts are websites that reference your business online such as Facebook, Yelp, Yellow-pages and Foursquare. There are literally thousands of potential citation websites that you can create. We can not stress enough how important it is to insure that all citations have the identical NAP as you Google My Business listing.
Keyword Research for Real Estate
For many SEO companies, real estate keywords are very easy. Its simply *your city* real estate or *your city* homes for sale. In many instances, these can be the most searched key phrases, but are not necessarily what keywords you should be going after. Real Estate SEO experts will look for the best keywords to convert and even use latent semantic keywords. Keyword research for real estate should include not only the obvious, but every deviation of those keywords included. For instance, *your city* homes for sale should also include:
- *your city + state abr* homes for sale
- homes for sale in *your city*
- homes for sale in *your city + state abr*
- *your city* real estate
- *your city + state abr* real estate
- *your city* real estate for sale
- *your city + state abr* for sale
- real estate *your city*
- real estate in *your city*
- real estate for sale *your city*
- all of the above with the state abbreviation
- similar search phrases with subdivisions
- similar search phrases with counties
Each of these search phrases will have a different number of monthly searches. Each of the above keywords will have a different set of competition. Coming up with your specific set of real estate keywords takes time and a methodical approach. For more details, read our article on real estate keywords.
Now that your local SEO is in place and you have a good idea of what keywords you would like to be found for, the next step is completing a website audit. For may REALTORS that did not build your own website, this may seem like a daunting task. For most of you, your best best in the website audit process is to either use a free, website audit tool like the one DEAN Knows provides, you could also use a tool like Screaming Frog or you could hire a professional to manually go through your site.
Once you have the audit results, you now at least know where your website stands from the technical perspective. Its important to remember, there is no silver bullet for SEO – to effectively rank any website, there are many parts that must all work in concert.
Meta Titles and Headers
Notwithstanding the structure of your real estate website, the meta titles and headers are the most important aspect of the on-page SEO. Your meta title for each page shouls be the main keywords your would like to rank. When you boil all of the content on the page down – you should end up with your meta title.
Your “Meta Title” can be looked at as the question that the individual web page answers.
Your meta title should stay somewhere between 10 and 70 characters long. The next step is reviewing your meta headers on each page. Headers are looked at as the structure of the web page. Similar to how you would structure an outline when writing in school. Your H1 header should be the same (or very close to) your meta title. As a general rule, you should only have one H1 Header. You should also try to have a couple H2 headers in each page also. These would be the second most important. Under each header would be a paragraph or two that defines what the header stated.
Mobile Friendly and Site Speed
It is 2018 – by this time anyone who is even remotely serious about their website has already made it mobile friendly. In addition, this should be caught in your website audit too — but it is so important, we felt it still deserved its own section. With more than half of the internet traffic in the world being from mobile devices, we even recommend building your real estate website Mobile First. Another no-brainier is assuring that your website is as fast as possible. These two factors somewhat go together as the speed in which your website loads is even more critical for mobile devices. Below, we go into some detail on advanced solutions for both mobile and speed by implementing AMP.
Maximizing IDX For Real Estate SEO
Anyone in real estate understands one of the main reasons that home buyers and home sellers use the internet in the real estate sales process is to search for listings. The act of having real estate listings, from other brokers displayed on an agents site is through the implementation of IDX. Most people working on real estate SEO already have IDX in place, but is it implemented best for IDX purposes?
DEAN Knows recommends implementing rel=nofollow rel=no index on all IDX listings to save your crawl equity for your original content.
When you display an IDX listing on your website you are pushing out the same information as every other local real estate site with a RETS feed from the MLS. Ultimately, that has everyone displaying IDX on their site is displaying duplicate content. For the last 5 years, Google has been moving from a quantity of content to a quality of content algorithm for ranking. Throwing out thousands of mostly duplicate content pages, dilutes your QUALITY CONTENT that you should be pushing out of your site. You should be pushing custom blog content from your site and sharing that on social media. All of that work is substantially diluted when you push out hundreds of new “crap” pages (AKA IDX listings) every week.
The quality and quantity of back links that point to your real estate website is what shows Google that you are an authoritative source. Their are different ways to get acquire back links, but it is very important to remember that all back links are not created equal. The more authoritative and relevant the site linking to you the more powerful the back link. If you have many spammy back links pointing to your website, that can actually be detrimental to your SEO.
Here are a couple ways that you can create and sculpt your back link profile.
- Guest Posting
- Study Your Competitors Back Link Profile
- Content Marketing
- Social Media Syndication of Original Content
- Citation Creation
- Finding Broken Back Links From Sites You Want a Link From
- Web 2.0 Sites
Back creation is the single most important, and most challenging task of an SEO Agency or individual. Much of what is done in the content marketing process is done to have other websites link to that content. So not only do you need content worth linking to, you need the process for getting that content in front of enough people to have them link to it.
What is Different About Real Estate SEO?
Search engine optimization for real estate is substantially more challenging than in most online vertices. The challenge in good SEO for Real Estate is that it is dominated by the big, nation-wide companies such as Zillow, REALTOR.com, Trulia and Homes.com. After those authoritative websites, you are fighting the large brokers. You even have to fight with the Real Estate Franchises such as Keller Williams, Remax and Coldwell Banker.
SEO for Real Estate by REALTORS
DEAN Knows just doesn’t to pretend to understand real estate, DEAN was a licensed real estate instructor for 8 years and has been a REALTOR for well over a decade. We understand real estate marketing from the inside out. With years of experience in all aspects of real estate technology from being one of the leading IDX experts in the country to creating websites for some of the largest real estate brands in the country, we understand real estate marketing. We understand that having your real estate website show up for a search term that gets thousands of searches per month is the best advertising you can get for growing a brokerage and recruiting agents. The name recognition for your real estate brand being squeezed between Zillow, Trulia and Realtor.com is a game changing experience for a brokerage. The website traffic and leads from your website is just the cherry on the top.
Search Engine Optimization for Real Estate
We have specialized in SEO for Real Estate for over 14 years with powerful results. Working with some of the largest real estate brands in the country,focusing specificity on search engine optimization for real estate.
As a Real Estate SEO expert, we look at search rankings as only one part of an overall Digital Marketing Package, all designed to provide an ROI from your web presence. All Search Engine Optimization takes time, because of that, we have devised a way to start delivering new leads immediately while growing your websites SEO over time. We utilize social media marketing to deliver hyper-targeted Facebook Ads that bring your exact customer to your website. Creating targeted traffic not only helps your SEO over the long term,but starts generating new seller leads immediately.
A Digital Marketer Who Understands Real Estate
You need a Digital Marketer that understands real estate. We have a deep history in real estate including: sales, brokerage ownership, training as a licensed real estate instructor, Board of Directors for multiple MLS’s including past President of one of the nations largest MLS’s and heading technology, strategy and internet services for some of the nations largest real estate brands.