Search Engine Optimization, also known as SEO, is a method by which you can strategically plan and design your website in order to drive organic (unpaid) traffic. This traffic will drive your site higher in search engine rankings and deliver more qualified leads straight to your door (or landing page in this case), resulting in new business for you and your company.
According to the National Real Estate Association’s generational trends, more than 90% of all new home searches begin online. While this report is already a couple of years old, you can be sure that this number has since increased dramatically.
With a focused SEO strategy, your website will work harder for you. Using a combination of SEO best practices and a solid content marketing plan, some of the benefits you will start to see immediately will include:
- More online leads
- More qualified leads
- Higher search engine ranking
- Improved digital advertising results
- Improved marketing ROI
Why Is SEO So Important For Real Estate
SEO best practices have evolved considerably since the inception of the internet, but one thing that hasn’t changed is what it brings: a well-orchestrated SEO strategy will drive targeted traffic to your site without you having to spend a single dollar in advertising.
Over the years, SEO best practices have changed considerably. Most of the ‘rules’ have evolved in order to penalize those who manipulate the algorithms to support fraudulent online activity. This makes it even more important to keep up with the changes and play by the book, so you can take advantage of all the good SEO can do as much as avoiding the pitfalls.
In order to differentiate spammy sites from legitimate sites, search engines such as Google have what are called ‘site scrapers’ or ‘spiders’: robots, in essence, that scan sites for elements that drive rankings up (or down).
These elements include:
- Keyword density (keywords must be used judiciously and only when it feels natural)
- New, unique and relevant content
- Number of connections to social media and other sites
- Backlinks to other, similar sites or sites that represent an authority within a particular niche
- Mobile friendly (responsive)
- Attention to these details will almost certainly push you up in the search engines, but there are just as many deviations that could completely tank your efforts.
Things to avoid include:
Plagiarism: all your content must be unique.
Keyword stuffing: too many keywords will disqualify your site for being ‘spammy’.
No connections to other sites (such as social media).
Duplicate content: this might include having too many Google business listings that circle back to the same address and phone number. Keep this in mind if you are about to launch a newly designed site as well – your text must be rewritten completely in order to avoid getting flagged for duplicate content.
Broken Links: search engines hate broken links almost as much as your users do. Make sure you update links and remove ones that go nowhere.
Content of poor quality or little relevance to your topic.
This last item is important to note, as once upon a time it was good for your rankings to have more pages on your site. While this is still true, if the content is poorly written or has no relevance to your topic, you might see your listing slip off of page one and into oblivion.
Local SEO Is Gaining Ground For Real Estate Investors
Local SEO involves optimizing for a more localized search area, and this should be of great importance to any real estate investor, broker or agent working within a specific geographical region. According to Google, searches containing the phrase ‘near me’ have increased by more than 35% between 2015 and 2020, and that number more than doubled in 2021.
Local SEO can be maintained through keywords and blog content that directly addresses the local market. Think about the issues that are important to your local audience and deliver some interesting topics to pique their interest. Always include your city, region or locale in your keyword strategy.
Lastly, build a good database of ratings and reviews through Yelp and Google Places. The quality and quantity of these reviews are among the most important aspects of search rankings as it pertains to local discovery.
Why Mobile Is Important To Real Estate
Mobile friendly sites rank higher in the search engines as well. Mobile search overtook desktop search around 2015, giving us yet another reason to focus on responsive site design. You’ll notice when you search a term on your mobile device, the results will state which sites are mobile friendly, and these will be positioned above the rest – right where you want to be!
How-To Tips For Real Estate Investing SEO
Keep your website up to date: pay attention to your analytics and make adjustments when necessary.
Do frequent keyword research: keywords are simply search terms most likely to be used by your potential customers. Google keyword planner is a free online tool to help you determine your ideal keywords and phrases.
Submit your site to directories: don’t wait for the site crawlers to come your way – you can enhance your visibility by manually submitting your site to Zillow, Redfin and com. This will put you in front of more qualified buyers who are already looking for you.
Use your blog to drive traffic: your blog should be an important part of your content marketing strategy. It serves a dual purpose of providing your customers with interesting and informative articles, and gives you something to post on social media to keep your accounts active.
Be responsive: as mentioned before, being mobile friendly is more than just a ‘nice to have’ – it’s an integral point of entry that you can’t afford to ignore.
Create a Google Business listing: it probably goes without saying, but Google favors businesses that have a Google business listing. Go figure. It’s a pretty simple task, though, just go to this Google business support page and create or claim your listing.