“The next logical question is, “What exactly does SEO get me?” In a word, leads. And not just any leads, but qualified leads.” ~ Realtor Mag
SEO (search engine optimization) is the most misunderstood form of internet marketing. Given the fact that over 90% of all internet users use search engines to search for information online, it is also an important one.
We recently had a client call in and ask to see some websites we had built that were performing well on the search engines, or had good SEO. We sent him a couple of the websites that the owners were blogging consistently and getting good results.
He called back and said that they were not ranking for searches. However, I had done an analysis earlier and knew that they were ranking on the first page for many search topics, or keywords.
SEO novices assume that everyone types the same keywords into Google, a common mistake. In fact a well-optimized Real Estate website will get traffic from people who type in variations of thousands of different keywords.
When we asked our client what keywords he was checking he stated: Major City + Real Estate.
While it is true that most often the city name + the word real estate is the most searched keyword… it is just one keyword variation. And it happens to be the most competitive, by a large margin.
The average major city + real estate search result is only going to have room for 1 or 2 local agent’s websites. This is because you are competing with Zillow, Trulia, Redfin, Realtor.com, Homes.com, Craigslist, and the big brokerage firms.
If I use the Google Keyword Planner Tool I can see how much keywords cost per click. The more they cost per click the higher the competition.
Seattle Real Estate = $.98 per click
Seattle Condos = $.64 per click
This tool is used to price Ads and not organic traffic, but is still a good indicator. What that tells me is it will be easier to rank for Seattle Condos than Seattle Real Estate.
An easier way to simply gauge the popularity of a group of keywords is to search for them on Google and you will notice that they show you how many results were populated.
Seattle Real Estate = 98,100,000 results
Seattle Condos = 12,800,000 results
You can see that Seattle Real Estate gets 85,300, 000 more results than Seattle Condos.
Learning to understand SEO is not a task that most real estate agents want to take on… and we understand that. Before you dig in to deep… you don’t need SEO. There are other ways to generate traffic and leads. This is just one way.
SEO is cheaper than all other forms of internet marketing especially pay-per-click campaigns and more effective. It does however, take time, and time is money. And it is not easy. And there is not an exact formula that you can replicate to get the exact results you want.
Why Real Estate SEO
Before search engines like Google came into being, internet users had to memorize URLs of the website they wanted to visit. This was a daunting and time-consuming task not to mention the limiting nature of the method. Search engines came into being, led by Google, making it extremely easy to find information online.
When using search engines, all you need to do is enter a search term to find countless search results on that search term.
Given the popularity of search engines today, any website owner that plans on getting search traffic must make sure their site is friendly to search engines. In simple terms, they must optimize their site for search engines or simply, carry out search engine optimization.
SEO is very important because it helps website owners rank their sites high on search engines. It’s important to note that search engine users rarely go past the first page results. SEO therefore can be a huge advantage to the success of any real estate agent.
43% of Home Buyers polled said the First Step They Took in the Home Buying Process was, looked online for properties for sale. (source: Real Estate in the Digital Age by NAR)
For a long time, traditional industries like real estate have relied heavily on offline marketing. The tide has however shifted as more people embrace the internet to look for real estate experts, listings, tips etc.
Many real estate agents have been left behind in regards to embracing the power of search engines. Others have trouble embracing SEO because of the misinformation surrounding the subject as well as the countless ineffective and potentially dangerous SEO shortcuts out there.
I don’t know what to tell you about sifting through the garbage online, or even at workshops, other than to look at the source… oh and if someone is telling you it is easy, run.
This leads us to a very important question; what’s the best way for real estate agents to start an SEO campaign?
If you are interested in the answer to this crucial question, look no further. Below is everything you need to know about SEO best practices for real estate agents who are beginners in SEO i.e. how to SEO for real estate.
Conduct Thorough Research
The first and most important step in any SEO campaign (let alone real estate campaigns) is research.
Know Your Audience
The best real estate SEO practices all begin with thorough research to find the best audience for your site. This step is crucial because your site is most likely to convert when you choose the right audience.
What’s the point of talking to people who aren’t likely to transact business with you? Most real estate agent fail in SEO because of choosing the wrong target audience right from the start.
Because the internet is a huge place, you need to research and find the perfect audience for your website if you plan on getting the best leads possible. The beauty of internet marketing is that you have control over who you want to find you.
You can start researching by writing down the characteristics of the most successful real estate clients you have dealt with.
- Where were they from
- What was their age
- What problems did they face
- What information captured their interests
- What questions were they asking?
The answers to the above questions will help you to figure out how to attract similar clientele to your website.
This is called creating a Buyer Persona.