You may be the best real estate agent in the world, but if prospective buyers and sellers can’t find you online, you don’t exist. According to a recent NAR report, 93 percent of real estate agents have a website, which means virtually all of your competitors are online. Real estate SEO (search engine optimization) is a huge, and often neglected, opportunity to rise above the competition.
3 real estate SEO strategies to bring in more buyers and sellers
Share useful information.
Use social media to build relationships.
Make sure your website Is mobile-friendly.
Before I jump into the tips, let’s talk briefly about why SEO matters to you.
Why should I care about real estate SEO?
Since 2008, real estate-related web searches have continued to climb. According to the 2016 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, 86 percent of home buyers consider real estate websites the most useful source of information when buying a home. Moreover, 70 percent of clients said they would definitely recommend their agent for future services.
Simply put, if these prospects can find you online (due in large part to your real estate SEO efforts) then you will experience more site traffic, more leads, more referrals and more sales.
Top 3 real estate SEO tips
With so much advancement in web design and search engine optimization, it can be hard to keep up and differentiate yourself from the competition. Fortunately, we have some expert real estate SEO tips to help you get found by prospective buyers and sellers.
1. Share useful information
Engaging charts, graphs and articles that educate and inform prospects through the entire buying or selling life cycle is a requirement in today’s digital world. Your prospects expect you to be an expert and they determine your level of expertise by the quality of the content you create and share. Read this post for more details.
Quality content improves your website’s search engine ranking. You want to be on the first page of results when anyone looks for a home in your area.
According to Andrey Lipattsev, Search Quality Senior Strategist at Google, high-quality content is one of the most important signals used by Google to rank your website for search. Fortunately for you, the real estate industry has historically produced “weak” content with no regard to real estate SEO. Which means you have an opportunity to draw more home buyers to your website.
The lowest hanging fruit on the content tree is to write blog posts for each of your current listings. In each post, you want to make several mentions of the listing’s address to increase the likelihood of your post showing up when home buyers search. In essence, the listing address becomes the keyword, and you fill in the gaps with a 200-400 word description of the property, neighborhood and even the school system.
Keep in mind that your prospects don’t just want to see blog posts or social shares about your new listings or recent closings. They also want to see that you know and are invested in your community. So write posts about local news, updates, event information and referrals to trusted businesses and service providers. They’ll also want to see how you keep up with trends in the market and adapt with the changes in the industry.
2. Use social media to build relationships
As you know, real estate is built on relationships. Social media makes it easy for you to connect, engage, inform and impress with your expertise. If you have an active social media presence, you multiply your opportunities to interact with your clients where they are every day.
Your first step is to create consistently-branded and optimized Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn and Instagram business accounts, so that when people search for you, they discover an active, professional social media presence.
The beauty of these social profiles is that they all link back to your website, which strengthens your credibility with Google (and further improves your search ranking).
In order to maintain your Google ranking, you’ll need skillfully crafted social media posts that bolster your credibility, showcase your listings and position you as an industry leader. You’ll also want to join location-based groups on Facebook (most likely your town/city has a dedicated group), and become active in local communities on Google+.
A word to the wise: Make sure you’re informing and entertaining your audience 80 percent of the time and only promoting your business or listings 20 percent of the time to avoid alienating and annoying your friends, fans and followers.
Also, be sure to use photos and videos in your social posts, as they increase the likelihood that a viewer will click through to your website. The more web traffic you have, the higher your credibility with Google and ultimately, the better you rank in search listings.
3. Make sure your website is mobile-friendly
Mobile should be a top priority for you. According to the NAR Digital House Hunt Report, 89 percent of prospective home buyers use a smartphone or tablet during the home buying process, and foreclosure searches on mobile devices have risen 180 percent year-over-year. Virtually your entire target market is locked in to mobile, so it’s important that your website is mobile-responsive.
Responsive website design is a way of designing websites to look good on desktop, tablet and smartphone. Ideally, you want your prospects and clients to have a pleasurable experience on your website no matter which device they’re using. For search engines like Google, it’s of the utmost importance that users have a satisfying (aka mobile-friendly) experience. With smartphone users making up the majority of web traffic, Google is going to grade your site based on how easy it is to view on mobile.
If you’d like to test specific pages of your website for mobile-friendliness, try Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test. After submitting your page URL, you’ll see a list of issues you may need to fix to be considered a mobile-friendly site. If you go through the process and need a pair of expert eyes, consider scheduling a free website review.
Putting it all together
These tactics are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to best practices in real estate SEO. When used together, a well-planned content strategy, active social media presence and a mobile-friendly website will help increase both buyer and seller leads. My advice is to crawl before you walk with these three tips.