If you’re a realtor, you probably already know that most of your clients are finding out about your properties through online listings.
For most of real estate’s history, people relied on newspaper advertisements for their property needs. The real estate industry, like most other businesses, has had to adapt and digitise according to consumer demands.
The majority of people today use the Internet as their primary tool for virtually everything. To survive in this new age, businesses have to maximise this to their best potential.
With a wealth of information out there, it’s not easy to know where to focus your efforts, and how best to execute them. Every company with a website knows they need to be doing more SEO, but it can be difficult to know where to begin, and how exactly to utilise it for the real estate industry.
The first step to becoming a real estate SEO expert is learning what exactly Search Engine Optimization is, and how it works. SEO is the process of optimizing your website in order to rank more highly on search engines.
Put simply – in the digital world, the higher you rank on search engines, the more accessibility you have to potential clients. As online consumerism continues to boom, industries become more and more digitised in response. This can mean a lot more potential real estate clients, but also a lot more competition. Therefore, it’s crucial that you make sure your real estate SEO strategy is strong and covers all your bases – otherwise you’ll easily get lost in the crowd.
By using a well researched, clear-cut SEO strategy and avoiding some common mistakes, you can target the right clients who need exactly what your real estate company is offering.
The first step to an effective real estate SEO strategy is expert keyword planning. Keyword research will allow you to see what potential customers are searching for on the internet, and you can use this information to draw customers to your website through your online content. Expert use of SEO will give your business a higher chance of being easily visible to customers browsing for real estate properties online.
For example, say you’re an Auckland based real estate company. Every time someone types ‘Auckland real estate’ into a search engine, your business is going to have a much better chance of nabbing that client if you’re one of the top search results via SEO.
This is just the beginning. There’s many variations your potential clients could be typing into Google or any other search engine (Microsoft, Yahoo, etc.). And if you don’t optimise your website effectively, you’ll be losing your customers to real estate businesses that do.
You need to anticipate what your customers are searching for by turning the results of your keyword research into an effective real estate SEO strategy. If your website is well written, informative and using the right keywords, search engines will send more and more clients to you – in effect, sending you the right leads you need to sell or rent property.
Once you have the results of your real estate keyword research, your SEO process can begin.
Location is key to real estate – and this is something that can benefit your company greatly, SEO wise. Using local keywords will send you exactly the right kind of clients – ones who need properties in the areas you have listings for.
For example, you might have a listing for a 2-bedroom apartment in Grey Lynn, Auckland. Using Google Adwords and Keyword Planner, you can find the most commonly typed search phrases that people are using to find this kind of property. So, the most popular searches might be:
‘2 bed Grey Lynn,’
‘2 bedroom apartment Grey Lynn,’
Or ‘Two bed, one bath flat in Grey Lynn, Auckland.’
Without keyword research, you’re relying on your best guess or assumption, instead of using the tools available to you. SEO keyword research will show you what your desired real estate clients are actually searching for. By using locally worded keywords you can target the right clients much more effectively.
Once you identify what keywords are going to give you the best results (giving you access to the most clients who are looking for the real estate you are providing), you can optimize your website with SEO, according to your chosen keywords. For best results, you need to use your keyword(s) in the following places:
· Page title
· Throughout the content, at a 1-2% density.
· Image alt-tags
· Meta description (search result snippet that people read before deciding to click through). This is very important, as you not only have to convince browsers to click, but search engines also use this to analyze what the page content is about. The primary target keyword must always be included in your metadata, so that search engines can pick up what your content is about, and send you the clients you’re looking for.
However choosing keywords is not always as simple as selecting the highest-ranking search results – and there are some things to look out for.
We’ve already identified that keyword planning is going to be the strongest real estate SEO strategy in your company toolbox. With this in mind, it’s important to make sure your keyword research is done as well as possible – that is, it needs to be accurate, and designed to reel in the right clients.
Some common mistakes we see real estate companies making with their SEO strategy:
The highest-ranking keywords are the ones that pull in the most searches, and therefore the most potential clients. Many real estate companies see high search numbers, and focus all their SEO efforts on these high value keywords – but this is a commonly made mistake.
The higher ranking a keyword is, the more competition there is going to be for them. If, for example, you have 5 pages on your website, and choose to target only the 5 highest ranking SEO keywords, you’re going to be facing stiff competition from the biggest real estate companies out there.
A much smarter strategy is to aim your attention towards ‘long-tail keywords.’ These are longer, more specific search phrases, and there is usually much less competition around them. The less competition there is for keywords, the easier it will be to rank highly in Google for them. This means you’ll have a much better chance at pulling these clients towards your business.
Another SEO trap to avoid is only using one real estate keyword phrase at a time. When people are searching for the info you’re providing in your content, it’s likely that there will be some overlap with other topics and searches. Therefore, it’s much better to strategically include some secondary keywords that fit with your content (keywords that don’t have as high of a search result as your primary keyword, but still have a decent amount of traction).
For example, you might choose the top hitting search result: ‘Auckland real estate’ as a primary keyword, and select the next ranking SEO keywords as your secondary ones. Secondary keywords should then be used throughout your content (the text of your website page), but in an organic seeming way. E.g. ‘real estate agency Auckland,’ ‘city center real estate auckland’ and ‘real estate agency cbd’ could be your secondary keywords for this topic.
It might seem tempting to use your keyword as many times as possible in order to get the best results. However this is something to be avoided – or your website could suffer as a result.
In the first phases of SEO, keyword ‘stuffing’ was a pretty common practice – a way of ‘cheating Google.’ However this can actually have a detrimental effect on your ranking – as Google can now recognize keyword stuffing, and can penalize websites.
Therefore, it’s best that you keep to the rules above – using your primary keyword in the places we have recommended, throughout the content at a 1-2% density max, and also incorporating secondary keywords to make your page as effective as it can be.
Whether you’re looking at improving the SEO you already have, or putting an entirely new strategy in place, search engine optimisation can seem daunting – particularly in the oversaturated real estate industry. However there are always tools and info available to you, and a wealth of information online.
If you or your company are looking to get your SEO done quickly and professionally, our team of real estate SEO experts would be happy to help you or provide further advice. With years of SEO experience on our side, KWD specialises in optimising the online presence of real estate companies – for maximum results. Don’t get lost in the crowd.