If you’ve been in the industry for a while, you may already know a bit about SEO. Perhaps some of your competitors rising above you in Google rankings has pressured you into working with an agency, or maybe you’ve always been ahead of your time when it comes to optimising your real estate website. Either way, SEO has an abundance of benefits that can contribute to the success of your business.

 

via GIPHY

 

So, what is Local SEO? Well, it’s as it sounds – SEO targeting a more local demographic.

As a real estate agency, Local SEO can perhaps be one of the most powerful tools when it comes to building your business’s online presence.

Want to know more? Check out this how-to guide:

Your Google My Business Profile

Making a Google My Business profile is like stage one of Local SEO.

If you’ve ever typed the name of a business into Google and seen an informative mini overview of the company appear on the right-hand side of the screen, then you’ll have seen a Google My Business profile in action. Essentially, it provides a snippet of information about your company for the user. It should include your name, address and phone number as a minimum requirement.

A Google My Business profile for real estate also gives you the chance of appearing in map results. This means that if a user local to your business searches for a real estate business in your area you have a chance of appearing in the map result. Like this:

google local seo real estate map pack

Appearing on the map is all well and good. But, as you can see, it is important to appear in the first three searches just below the map.

This way, your name also appears next to your red dot on the map and more people are likely to click through to your website straight away. Having a good number of positive reviews can help you achieve this (as you can see above).

Also, it’s important to note that map results can be independent of results below this point. So, even if you don’t rank first in Google results overall, if you rank in the top three for maps you can appear first on the results page anyway.

Common Questions About Creating A Google My Business Account

  1.  Can I use my brokerage address?
    • Yes.  But there can be side effects.  If your brokerage has a strong presence they may overshadow you.  Because of the Google Possum update, sometimes Google will only show 1 business in the Map Pack from the same address or building.
  2. What should my business name be?
    • Keep this short and sweet like your name and a real estate term… Bob Smith Homes. If you have a brand name use that.  What is important here is to pick a name and stick with it.  Use it on your website and all business profiles.  Also, be careful here there are some words that you can not use, such as misrepresenting your self as a brokerage if you are not.
  3. Know, Save and Use NAP+W
    • Name
    • Address
    • Phone
    • Website
    • Think of this combination as a Social Security number for your business on Google.  Everytime Google sees that combination they know it is your business.

Bing Places for Business

Don’t just limit your business to Google!

Not everyone in the world uses Google – shocking as that may seem. So, it’s important to cover all of your bases in this respect. And the most obvious way to do so is via Bing Places for Business.

The setup of Bing is just as simple as Google My Business, so it’s not a hardship to create. If you have issues there is a how-to guide to help you along the way.

Of course, you may question the usefulness of Bing vs. Google. Yet, even if you only get one conversion on Bing for every ten on Google… well, it’s still one conversion.

It is better to have the account and see some benefit from it, rather than having no benefit at all. And unless you create the account it will be impossible to know which it will be.

Keyword Optimisation

This seems fairly simple and almost goes without saying, but, it is important to ensure your site is optimised for local-based keywords.

What this means is that alongside your normal SEO optimisation–finding keywords which have high volume searches for your services–you also need to find relevant keywords in your area, city or neighborhood.

For example, if your page is CPO you might have a keyword like “Compulsory Purchase Order Manchester”. The location-based keywords are likely to have lower search volume but, obviously, the traffic you get through the keyword, if you rank well, will be well qualified.

The more specific a keyword, the likelier you are to experience better conversions on your site as a result of that search.

Localised to Your Area

Due to the localised nature of the business, real estate agents get a lot of traffic from local directories listing the site.

It’s worth taking your time to fill out a few well-known directories such as:

Citation SiteD.A.CountryFree / PaidListing URL
zillow.com91USAPaidClick here
commercialsearch.realtor.com91USAFreeClick here
trulia.com88USAPaidClick here
realestate.com.au80AUSFreeClick here
connect.homes.com79USAPaidClick here
loopnet.com71ALLFreeClick here
rentals.com65USAPaidClick here
realestateabc.com65USA / CANPaidClick here
luxuryrealestate.com61ALLPaidClick here
homefinder.com61USAFreeClick here
directorycritic.com56ALLFreeClick here
estatesales.org51USAPaidClick here
valuecom.com48USAReciprocalClick here
fizber.com48USAFreeClick here
onthehouse.com.au47AUSFreeClick here
reals.com46USA / CANPaidClick here
homeownerscircle.com45ALLFreeClick here
rentlist.com45USAPaidClick here
lakehomesusa.com44CAN / USAPaidClick here
rentalads.com42USAFreeClick here
internationalrealestatedirectory.com42ALLPaidClick here
ibsteam.net41USAFreeClick here
relibrary.com41USAPaidClick here
iqrealestate.com39USAFreeClick here
abcrealestatedirectory.com37USAReciprocalClick here
realestateyellow.com37USAPaidClick here
realestate4.com37USAPaidClick here
epoweredprofessionals.com36USA / CANReciprocalClick here
submit2ukdirectory.com36UKFreeClick here
a1webdirectory.org31ALLFreeClick here
realestatepros.org31USAFreeClick here
cutaboverealtyagents.com29USAFreeClick here
us-realestatedirectory.com28USAFreeClick here
realestatehomesale.com28ALLPaidClick here
directoryrealestateagent.com27ALLFreeClick here
estateagents123.com26ALLPaidClick here
estatepropertyagents.co.uk26UKPaidClick here
rosepetalestate.com26ALLFreeClick here
agentpreview.com25CAN / USAFreeClick here
realestateabc2.com24USAPaidClick here
realproguide.com22USAReciprocalClick here
estateagentsfinder.co.uk22UKFreeClick here
estatedir.com19USAFreeClick here
homesalesonline.net19USAFreeClick here
estateagents.co.uk19UKFreeClick here
bestrealestatelink.com18USAPaidClick here
realestateagent-listings.com17USAPaidClick here
abireal.com14ALLFreeClick here
realestatehall.com14ALLPaidClick here
estateagentslocally.co.uk13UKReciprocalClick here
superrealestatedirectory.com10ALLPaidClick here

List Courtesy of BrightLocal

Even if your potential clients aren’t finding your business directly through the directory listings, it will still add to your online presence as you’re building strong links to your website. Specialist real estate directories also get a lot of traffic, so do further research to find out the biggest ones in your area.

NAP+W

NAP citations should be completely uniform across the internet. This includes your social media profiles, all directories and your Google My Business listings.

  • Name
  • Address
  • Phone
  • Website
  • Think of this combination as a Social Security number for your business on Google.  Everytime Google sees that combination they know it is your business.

Focus on Local SEO Tactics and Keywords

Remember, as a real estate agent, all of your searches will be relevant to the local area.

Capitalise on this by finding the best keywords for each community you cover, whether this be ‘homes for sale in Lynnwood’ or ‘realtor in Seattle’.

Do you want to know how to find the most profitable keywords, for the least amount of time and money invested?

My friend Mathew Woodward wrote a very detailed article explaining how to use free keyword research tools.

Ensure that the content on your website is focused towards the regions in which you operate.

This could mean having separate pages for each location you serve, or community pages. With information on a variety of aspects such as:

  • Schools
  • Median income
  • Public transportation
  • Listings
  • Community Description
  • Restaurants
  • Images and Preferably Video
  • Parks
  • And More

This ensures a pleasant user experience as well as maximising your chances of ranking in local SEO search results.

Taking Down the Competition

Not everyone is ahead of the curve when it comes to local SEO. Take advantage of this by establishing your business as the go-to in your area.

Some other real estate agents may not be aware of how to utilise local SEO. For example, what they may not know is that snippets of content can be marked up with structured data to better their chances of appearing in the search results.

google rich snippet

In order to get a Rich Snippet:

  1. Create an amazing piece of content that is valuable Real Estate Information.
  2. Focus on being specific in topic and to your community.
  3. Add a “Table of Contents” to your post
  4. Use Schema
    1. My friends at WPENGINE have a detailed explanation of Schema and how to add it to your website here:  Schema For WordPress
  5. Get your page to rank on page one of Google!!  (Of course this is a whole other subject)

These rich snippets can be extremely useful for customers wanting to find out more information in a quick, concise way.

Furthermore, the more local SEO you implement on your website, the better your chances are of taking the edge ahead of your competitors in rankings. Don’t just pick one or two tips from this guide, use as many as you can to keep one step ahead of your competitors.

Make Your Site Mobile-Friendly

Believe it or not, consumers are just as likely to view real estate websites on their phones than desktop computers.

In fact, 48% of all website visits are by phone according to Statista.

Though they’re more likely to browse the site on a bigger screen when looking at photos and area information, research shows that on a smartphone, users like to:

  • Compare prices
  • Read reviews
  • Locating a listing agent
  • Call a real estate agent
  • Compare features
  • Email/contact their agent
  • Watch a video about a property

Therefore, making your website as mobile-friendly as possible will directly impact how successful your site is at retaining users.

Most local SEO searches are conducted by people on the move, so naturally, nearly all of them will be from a smartphone.

If your site appears poorly on a mobile screen, if it’s difficult to navigate or if it takes too long to load, users are likely to immediately click away and find a competitor.

In addition Google and Bing will rank your site poorly if you do not offer a strong mobile version of your site… as that is half of their search traffic.

Optimise for Voice Search

As mentioned above, lots of searches are now performed on smartphones, particularly when it comes to local SEO. So, perhaps there’s no better time to embrace the new voice search technology than now.

If you’re not familiar with voice search, then it’ll be because it’s a function you don’t use – not because it’s not there. Every iPhone will have a Siri, every Android phone a Google Assistant and every Microsoft phone a Cortana.

They’re designed to make every day tasks such as surfing the web a lot easier, and hands-free. It’s even been predicted that by 2020, around 30% of web browsing sessions will be done without a screen.  Think Amazon and Alexa.

More local searches are now done via voice. In fact, according to a recent survey, around 71% of smart technology users would prefer to use a voice search assistant than actually type their search.

Optimise your local SEO with voice-search orientated content – such as a question and answer structure on your website.

What kind of questions would you ask Siri or Google about real estate?

Hey Siri what is Title Insurance?

OK Google Where are The Best Schools In Washington?

Local SEO As Your Best Marketing Tool

As we move away from traditional newspapers and head online we are constantly discovering new ways to advertise digitally.

When competing in this arena we have to be acutely aware of our competition:

  • Zillow
  • Trulia
  • Realtor.com
  • iBuyer
  • Redfin

We can not compete with these digital giants head to head.

There is still an untapped goldmine of local SEO.

Start implementing these local SEO techniques to stay ahead of the game when it comes to marketing your business.

Final Thoughts

Local SEO for real estate isn’t necessarily hard. In fact, the only difference from broader tactics is the narrowing of locations and the lazer focus on your specific place in the world.

But, despite its simplicity, the benefit to your conversions and the quality thereof can be staggering. Therefore, it is important that when looking to optimise your real estate business on the internet you look to utilise local SEO first and foremost.