REAL ESTATE SEO

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.

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.

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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

SEO Keywords for real estate

 

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.

Website Audit

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.

Link Building

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.

Real Estate SEO Pricing

Every SEO project is different. How much you spend on SEO is going to be based on the level of competition for your specific keywords as well as the level of aggressiveness you wish to move forward with.  Although each project is unique, we do have some baseline pricing to provide some insight on what it will cost to have your website at the top of the search engines.

 


 

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Real Estate SEO Services

Below is a list of real estate SEO tactics that are only the beginning.  These are the factors that MUST be in place if you have any chance of ranking well in search engine results.

Original Real Estate Content

I’m sure you have heard it over and over – Content Is King.  The gas for the engine that drives traffic and Google rankings to your website is quality, original content.  We produce hundreds of real estate related blog posts every month for our clients.  This content is written specifically by professional copywriters to deliver fresh, new information to the internet.  When search engines see that your website is consistently generating new information, that users want to read, it provides authority.  That authority not only drives traffic, but ranks your real estate website when properly implemented.

Social Syndication

The power of Social Media to drive traffic and leads to your real estate website is undeniable.  DEAN Knows utilizes a proprietary system for socially syndicating our real estate blog posts on hundreds of social media accounts.  Each blog post that gets written gets chopped up into multiple pieces and scheduled to be sent to real social media accounts over 45 days.  This creates hundreds of posts, from mulitple accounts and social media channels per blog post.  Delivering content in this way not only provides the social signals to Google, but creates thousands of entry points to your real estate website.

A Sticky Website

The first thing you need is a strong website that when consumers find it, they stay on it for a long period of time navigating through multiple pages. Google sees what we call “quality stats” and give a higher priority to sites that people stay on.  If someone finds your site by using a search engine, and they stay on your site longer and click through more pages than other sites found by the same search terms, Google will advance your rankings for those search terms.  Having IDX on your site greatly helps as consumers will click through listings thus spending more time on your site.

Mobile Friendly

With more internet traffic coming from mobile devices than from desktop computers, your site must display properly on all mobile devices.  Google even announced that if your site is NOT mobile friendly, they will make it very challenging for you to be found on mobile searches.  Although there are multiple ways to achieve a mobile friendly website, we strongly recommend having a fully responsive site.  That means that the same content will render differently for mobile devices than they do on full desktop computers.

Backlinks

You need links that go to your site from popular websites that have a strong web presence.  For instance, if USA Today runs an article on real estate and links to your site when it references “New Orleans Real Estate” Google looks at that as you are an authority for that term.  Needless to say, it’s not easy to have USA Today link to your site, but it is very possible to get other quality sites to link to you.

Optimizing Your Website

Your real estate website needs to be optimized for search engines.  In its most basic terms, that means having the correct Meta Titles, Meta Descriptions, H1, H2 and H3 Headers, the correct amount of text (using the correct words) and labeling your pictures correctly.  This is SEO at it most basic form.  These basic things need to be in place, but by themselves will not put you above other well optimized real estate websites.

Social Media Signals

With the explosion of social media, the major search engines like Google look closely at websites that are prominent on all of the major Social Media Platforms.  They also give quite a bit of credit if you have multiple posts (that lead back to your site) from those large Social Media Platforms that generate traffic.  Social Signals, as they are called, are quickly becoming a powerful aspect of real estate search engine optimization.

Site Speed

Google like sites that are fast.  Your web visitors will greatly appreciate it too!  Many SEO Consultants overlook the need for the site to load quickly.  Not only does website speed provide a great user experience, search engines love it too.  We use the most cutting edge caching tools and CDNs available to make sure your site runs like lighting.

AMP Pages

AMP stands for Mobile Accelerated Pages. This is an initiative taken on by Google to speed up the mobile web. With this being very new and cutting edge, very few real estate brokers are taking advantage of AMP on their website.  You may have seen the little lightning bolt by some articles when searching the web on your mobile phone.  If you build out your real estate pages on your website, properly set up for AMP, Google will actually store a copy of your webpage on their servers.  This AMP version of your real estate blog may not have all of the bells and whistles as your main page, but will rank high in mobile searches on Google as well as load instantly. For real estate SEO purposes, we implement AMP pages for your blog posts and in some instances your other money pages.

Another key factor is the quality and the quantity of Original Content that comes out of your website. We write unique, original content, for your pages and blog posts, so Google recognizes that you have something unique to offer to the internet.  Once we produce your article, we send it in to our proprietary Social Media Syndication system where each article is “chopped up” into multiple pieces and sent to an army of real people to be shared on multiple social media accounts.  With Google and other search engines paying close attention to the number of “social shares” from your website, this is a powerful tool for ranking your real estate website. As with any search engine optimization, we start with detailed real estate keyword research.  The results from our keyword research provides critical information on how we structure your site as well as what keyword phrases we rank for.

Ninja SEO

Ninja SEO is a term that I use to describe Search Engine Optimization that goes well outside of the SEO basics.  Ninja SEO gets very technical and sometime requires proprietary programs to be efficient.  These are the things that make new sites rank very high, even for competitive keywords, very quickly.  My best example of Ninja SEO was when Movoto hit the market, within only a couple of months, they were on the first page of Google for all major Real Estate search terms.  The same thing was done with other (Now) national brands such as Travelocity, Orbitz and Expedia.  In a very short period of time, they were winning for Search Engine results such as “book a flight” or “find a hotel”. Nina SEO can get expensive because of the massive amount of work involved, but if your business plan is to continuously obtain new business from your website, it can be worth every penny.  It’s important to remember that any advertising (including SEO) needs to have a good return on investment. Even if you are spending an enormous amount of money on real estate SEO, if the new traffic and recognition is flooding you with new clients you will find that you are happy to pay.

Free Real Estate SEO Website Audit

We offer a Free SEO Audit of your real estate website.  This full featured report will give you very valuable information on how Google and other search engines see your website.  It only takes a minute and you will see some of the reasons that your site doesn’t rank where you want it to.  Please visit our Free SEO Website Audit page to run your report now. As with any automated report, it is a starting place for the review of your website.  If you would like a more en-depth, manual SEO Review, simply contact us.

Need SEO Consulting for Your Real Estate Website?

We offer a full variety of Search Engine Optimization options ranging from basic SEO setup, Website Siloing, Link Building, Social Media Presence and Search Engine Marketing via Google Pay Per Click (Adwords).

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Use a Real Estate Marketing Expert

Many people and companies claim to be experts in real estate Search Engine Optimization.  Truth is most website designers, regardless of real estate or not, do not truly do any SEO Services. Many people are under the impression that when they pay to have a website created for them, that somehow that includes having that site rank and produce.  Truth is, website design and SEO are two totally different skill-sets, very seldom done well by the same person or company.  There are many great real estate website developers out there as well as real estate SEO experts…they just very seldom are the same people. Read our story “Does your real estate website include SEO”.  In addition to most web developers NOT being very strong in the marketing side, most SEO experts generally don’t do that well with real estate SEO and in many instances, stay away from it.  Real Estate SEO is different.  Why not use a true Real Estate SEO Expert?

What Is Different About SEO for Real Estate?

Search Engine Optimization for real estate websites is substantially more challenging than many other internet marketing verticals. We have written extensively on real estate SEO best practices and touched on multiple real estate marketing ideas. for further reading, but Real Estate SEO is different for a series of reasons:

  • High Level Of Competition Locally and Nationally
  • Domination of Major Realty Based Search Portals for SEO
  • Keywords Almost Identical For Every Market
  • Duplicate Content of IDX Listings

Just to state a few.  With any major search term having the top 5 on page 1 of Google dominated by Zillow, Trulia, Realtor.com, Movoto and at least one major realty franchise site, that only leaves room for 5 spots on page one of Google.  That creates an entirely different level of complexity when your target shrinks from 10 spots on page one to 5.  This requires the specialty of a true real estate SEO expert.

Maximize the SEO from IDX Property Listings

IDX ConsultingOne major differentiation between standard SEO experts and someone who specializes in real estate Search Engine Optimization is the understanding of how to maximize the SEO of your IDX listings. In real estate uniquely, its good to know that the person handling your website is an IDX consultant.   IDX (Internet Data Exchange) is a RETS data feed from the local MLS containing all of the active property listings.  In some instances, IDX feeds will include more than just Active listings, but for the sake of this article, lets stick with Active Only.  These property listings are usually displayed by an IDX vendor such as IDX Broker or Diverse Solutions.  As a general rule, it is too complex and too expensive to attempt to download the raw listing data and format it for display on a one off basis.  The SEO aspect of the implementation of IDX listings on a real estate website come into play since all real estate brokers and agents with direct access to the local MLS listing database are displaying the same information. Even a novice at Search Engine Marketing will tell you that duplicate content is not a good thing for search engine results.  A true real estate SEO expert will understand the intricacies of how each platform delivers IDX listings and understand how to format those listings so they maximize the ranking efforts of the real estate website.

 

 

REALTOR Reviews & Testimonials

Every REALTOR wants to show potential clients the positive reviews provided by their past clients.  There are many places that reviews and testimonials exist such as:

 

  • Zillow
  • Trulia
  • Realtor.com
  • Yelp
  • Google My Business
  • Personal Website

Although its great to have agent reviews all over the internet, its critical to know how to maximize these reviews to gain search engine traffic to your website.  Most SEO gurus are familiar with citations for local SEO and reviews, but just as you would have thought….real estate is a little different.  Each review scenario has a set of real estate SEO best practices that should be implemented.

 

Lead Generation For Agents, Brokers and Teams

lead generationFor many REALTORS, lead generation is the entire purpose for having a web presence at all.  A real estate search engine optimization expert would say that although its a major part, it shouldn’t be the entire purpose.  True SEO has many monetary benefits such as branding, exposure and the ability to get your value proposition in front of a larger audience. Maximizing a website for conversion is standard for most SEO companies.  Real estate is a little different.  For a real estate site, capture is simply acquiring the users personal information:  name, phone number, e-mail address.  Conversion on the other hand, is turning that lead into a buyer or seller.  This is because real estate is a long sales cycle.  It takes an average seller 18 months from the “thinking about selling” to actually signing a listing agreement.  That is substantially longer than in most industries.  For that reason, leads must be incubated over a long period of time if you intend on turning those “captured” leads into sales.  Although we will provide some basics on lead generation below, we have a full article The real estate sales cycle — there is no shortage of leads, just a shortage of conversion.

 

Buyer Leads

Buyer leads make up the vast majority on online leads for brokerages and agents.  Most IDX platforms are pretty good at creating “calls to action” that entice the user to:

Request an appointment

Get more information

Talk to a REALTOR

Be notified of a price change

Get daily new listing alerts

All of these are designed to have the home buyer put in their information.  The challenge is with buyer leads for real estate is most buyers become leads from MANY websites.  This means you better do something special to stand out.  In addition, many people who end up being a buyer lead, ultimately may not be able to purchase a home.  Lastly, some REALTORS would rather have a seller than a buyer.  If that is the case, why focus your marketing and resources on generating buyer leads?

 

Seller Leads

real estate lead generationSeller leads have always been the holy grail of real estate marketing.  Although in the past, they were harder to get.  Today, we have new and innovative ways to get seller leads.  The current process for getting seller leads is to offer a FREE home valuation.  This has been done for decades but today, has new levels of success.  With AVMs (automated valuation models) coupled with targeted Facebook marketing, you can easily generate hundreds of seller leads each month.  All of these potential clients are first qualified by the fact that they saw the Facebook Ad.  That means that you created a custom audience on Facebook, most likely targeting home owners in a particular area.  Second, they clicked on the ad, which means they have some interest in getting their home’s current value.  This leads us to believe that they have already started down that sales cycle for selling a home.  Then is the critical follow up.  Keep in mind, with the real estate sales cycle being 18 months, you are building a pipeline.  You may get a potential home seller 4 months into their process, which statistically saying they will convert to a seller in one year.  At the end of 12-18 months of generating hundreds of potential seller leads, you should start reaping major benefits with those sellers starting to contact you to list their house.

 

Real Estate Search Engine Optimization

Real Estate Search Engine Optimization is much more than ranking on a page.  Today, in addition to standard SEO best practices, to become a real estate SEO expert you need to be fluent in:

  • Branding of a brokerage or agent
  • Website design or redesign
  • IDX implementation and maximization
  • Usability
  • Social media targeted marketing
  • Capturing buyer and seller leads
  • Lead incubation which turns into lead conversion
  • Unique places to get high-quality realty related backlinks
  • Quality and unique real estate content
  • Working your digital persona into your other real estate marketing

To be a real estate SEO guru takes a full understanding of not only a high level SEO, but the real estate industry as a whole. The practice of real estate is unique and has unique aspects to the success of any marketing campaign.  Although there are many great SEO companies out there, we strongly recommend using a true SEO expert for the best results.

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