Many industries that used to be driven by traditional marketing methods like print ads, direct mail, and broadcast are now seeing a gradual shift towards digital marketing, and one of those industries is real estate. An increasing number of consumers use the Internet as their primary source of information before making any serious investment, and with a solid strategy, you can use this to your advantage.
If you're unfamiliar with online marketing, search engine optimization, or SEO, is a crucial part of any digital strategy for real estate agents. If you are serious about attracting leads and business online but don't actively do SEO on your site, it's time to get started.
In simple terms, SEO is how you get found online. It's using the right search terms and strategies on your site to gain more web traffic. Considering that most Internet users rely on search engines to direct them to websites, it's important that search engines like Google not only list your site, but rank it highly in the results. With effective SEO, this is possible.
What makes SEO challenging, however, is that search engine algorithms, or the way that they determine how to deliver results, are constantly changing. Your site should be nurtured and maintained as a constant work in progress. It takes patience, but the results are well worth the effort.
The following strategies will help you make sure that search engine users looking for real estate agents in your area can find you. And once you've taken these steps on your website, you may want to check out our page on SEO for individual listings.
In general, you can follow the next four tips to start your SEO campaign yourself.
Before you implement an effective SEO strategy for your real estate site, it's crucial to do your research. Specifically, keyword research. You need to know which keywords will attract the right people to your website. Local keywords are crucial for realtors, and using the right ones is the backbone to any successful SEO strategy.
One of the best tools for this is Google's Keyword Planner. By making an account with Adwords (Google's paid advertising service), you can see which keywords are frequently searched and how many other businesses are attempting to rank for them.
You can also get ideas from Google's auto-complete feature in the search bar. You've probably noticed while doing your own searches that as soon as you start typing, Google attempts to finish your search with suggested phrases. These suggestions are based on what other users frequently search for, so they can be a helpful tool when identifying what your target audience might be looking for.
Now that you know what your target audience is searching for, you need to include those words and phrases on your site. This doesn't mean just throwing pasting them into random places and hoping for the best, though. Putting too many keywords, or even just irrelevant keywords, is a tactic called keyword stuffing, and can actually hurt your rankings if Google takes notice.
Instead, focus on putting your keywords in places like your title tags, headers, and body copy. By including them where users would logically look to find out what a page is about, you can be confident that Google will associate those words with your page.
In addition to using keywords on existing pages, you should also make an effort to consistently create new content for your site. Content that is interesting to your target audience is a great way to generate organic traffic, and one of the best ways to keep your site updated is by blogging. If your company doesn't already have a blog, you should consider starting one.
When coming up with blog content, keep in mind that the best posts are informative. People in the market to buy homes are typically interested in learning about more than the current state of the real estate market. Yes, offer them information about the market, such as statistics and useful tips. But above and beyond that, consider offering home repair tips, design information, and other tidbits about home upkeep and maintenance.
Alternatively, you can also create posts that are purely entertaining. Consider posting about the most expensive homes sold in the last month, and include pictures, or write about something engaging, heartfelt, or sincere. Even though these posts won't necessarily lead directly to new clients and sales, they will attract visitors to your site and increase awareness of your business.
In addition to blogging, there are other ways to provide your audience with engaging content. Consider creating informational guides, such as "How to Sell Your Home in Less Than 30 Days" or "A Guide to Home Buying for Beginners." Put together useful guides and offer them to potential clients via your website. As an added bonus, you can use this type of longform content to get leads by requiring users to enter an email address before downloading.
Selling properties is highly dependent on potential buyers' perceptions of your offerings, so images and video are especially important in real estate. People in the market to buy a home have come to expect pictures of properties online. Not having any images or showcasing less-than-helpful images will likely drive traffic away from your site, which can have a negative effect on your rankings.
Aim to present high-quality images and virtual tours of properties. Doing so will entice potential clients to contact you and learn more. Providing pictures and video helps ensure that potential clients only see properties they're truly interested in, which saves you and them time.
When including images on your site, the most important thing to consider from an SEO perspective is image descriptions and alt tags. Keep in mind that your site is indexed by bots than can't process visual information, so Google has no idea if your photo is of a property or something entirely irrelevant to your site. In order to help them understand your images, give them appropriate file names and include alt descriptions that tell exactly what is in the photo.
As you consider the many real estate SEO tips out there, be sure to keep one thing in mind: effective SEO takes time. You won't see success overnight, but you can get started right away. Be patient, and your efforts will pay off. Provide potential clients with useful information before anything else, and in turn they will turn to you when they're ready to buy.
Need help getting started with an SEO strategy for your site? Our dedicated team of Internet marketing professionals is more than happy to help, so don't hesitate to contact us!
Find out how WebFX can create an effective Internet marketing strategy for your website. Call 888.449.3239 or contact us online today for a free evaluation.