With more than two million active realtors vying for competition in real estate sales, valuable leads seem to come far and few between. The digital revolution is evolving the way realtors do business, and thankfully it is not too difficult to position yourself competitively with a bit of search engine optimization handiwork.
The power of digital marketing is both cost-effective and accessible for realtors. And, the rise of local search popularity has opened doors in the industry. The only thing better than laying your eyes on your dream home is browsing properties with immersive digital tours from the comfort of your sofa.
A savvy realtor recognizes the opportunity available online. But where opportunity abounds, so does a deep-sea of competition. It is easy to spin your wheels and spend time and money on fruitless activities. Luckily we have rounded up ten effective strategies to help you leverage realtor SEO to get more leads.
Search engine optimization (SEO) refers to strategic activities designed to position your real estate website in top search results where potential leads can find you. SEO includes many different factors, and the target can feel like it is always moving simply because technology advances at a fast pace.
The pillars of real estate SEO that you need to be concerned with include web design basics like building a website that loads quickly and looks professional. It also includes building out your web page content to contain specific keywords, alt text, images, and descriptions that help search engines categorize your website. And it includes specific local SEO activities like regional keywords and listings on appropriate local directories. Your real estate agency can rank in the top local results alongside Zillow and other big names in the real estate industry with a little bit of work on search engine optimization.
Most misguided digital marketing attempts fail because the user assumes obvious keywords will produce results. The first rule in leveraging realtor SEO to increase quality lead generation is to do your homework on your keywords.
If you and every other realtor in the Tampa Bay area rely on “Tampa Bay Realtor” as your primary keyword, your pool might be a little smaller, but you are still getting lost in a sea of fish. A quick search turns up a shocking 13,000-ish active realtors in the Tampa Bay area.
So what alternatives can you use for keywords that will bring traffic?
Brainstorm a list of short- and long-tail keywords that are descriptive of your business and locale. There isn’t a target number per se, but you will want to rank organically for as many keywords as possible. A list of 20 keywords with three to five being the main keywords and the remainder being secondary keywords is an appropriate starting point.
Instead of obvious keywords like “Tampa Bay Realtor” or “Houses for Sale in Tampa Bay,” think about other phrases that users might be searching for like “snowbird rental Tampa Bay” or “3-bed condo FL beach”.
Check each possibility for keywords and long-tail keyword phrases in a keyword tool and look for sufficient searches with low competition. A high search keyword with high competition will be impossible to rank for. And a low search keyword with low competition is not worth ranking for.
There are dozens of tools available online to help with keyword research. Google provides some of the best ones through their Adsense network, and since they are the largest search engine, we like to think they know a thing or two about it. But there are some other free and paid keyword planner tools that work well.
Local SEO strategy is slightly different from traditional SEO in that you are working both on-page with your website and off-page with dozens of local directories like Google My Business or Angie’s List.
Regardless of where a potential lead comes across your name, you want to be recognizable and consistent. Before you run your first digital ad, put up a website, or optimize your Google page; choose a standardized business name, address, and phone number format (NAP).
Don’t be one of those businesses that hide their contact information deep in their website. Most people are simply not going to try that hard. Plus, the best way to let the search engines know what local searches you belong in is to provide your NAP data on every page of your website.
Every page on your website has title tags and meta descriptions meant to provide key information to search engines. Use this space wisely to include your city/town and state on every page of your website.
This one might be a little more technical in the jargon, but showing up in local search results starts on the developer end with tools like Schema Local Markup that let search engines know exactly where you are. Make sure that your web designer or service has its bases covered here.
Make sure to use your researched keywords in the titles, permalinks, and meta descriptions on all of your real estate listings so that each listing acts as an SEO beacon for your realtor page.
Make your realtor page more than a business profile and gallery of listings. Make a connection with prospective leads by offering them quality information that is genuinely helpful during the home search and buying process with content marketing.
Content marketing is any type of content like blog posts or videos designed to be informational and supplemental to the process of buying a home. The key to content marketing is to provide value without expecting reciprocity. Buyers will appreciate the resources as long as the content is high-quality and not spammy. Many will reward that value with their loyalty and business, which means more invested, better quality leads for you.
So what types of content are valuable to home buyers and sellers? I will give you a hint – it is not an endless showing of available houses for sale or a snazzy bait and switch offer of a guaranteed sale in 72 hours. If your content has any sales pitch to it at all, you are doing it wrong.
Instead, think sales-adjacent.
Is the process of selling a home after a relative dies differently than a regular home sale? How many people find themselves in this unfamiliar situation and are unprepared? Providing a thorough resource that guides them through the process can earn a lot of trusts.
Or, if you are looking to off-load some fixer-upper properties, you might create some content on DIY home renovations that can inspire modestly handy couples to look a little further.
In case you slept through your marketing classes, there is a bit of a formula for writing good sales copy that attracts readers and converts clicks. All static copy on your web pages needs to be fine-tuned professional copy. Consider hiring a copywriter if you don’t feel up to the task.
Write headlines first. There is a reason that headlines are in larger text, often bolded and prominently displayed at the top of the page. They get top billing when it comes to text space and reader attention. Don’t write your headlines for blog posts or page content as an afterthought. Write the headline first using a formula for good copy, and the rest will follow.
All of the SEO efforts in the world will fall flat if you skimp on the copy. Potential clients have plenty to choose from online and they are mostly looking for a quick way to rule your service out and move on.
A good headline has four components: (1) a word or phrase that inspires action, (2) a word or phrase adds description, (3) a keyword, and (4) a value-add promise.
If you are writing an article on how to sell a home, the last thing that you want to do is to title that article “How to Sell a Home.” While that might be an accurate title, it will do nothing for your SEO and will likely be a total snooze-fest with your visitors.
Instead, try something like “One Ridiculously Simple Trick to Sell Your Home in One Day.”
The above headline works because you offer the key or “trick” to selling a home in one day. A number like “One” trick lets the reader know this will be an easy, low-risk read. The adjectives ‘ridiculously simple’ add interest, and the keyword “sell your home” is prominently featured. The reader has everything they need to know in the title to positively identify your content as a worthy read and click through.
Since 2009, we have helped many realtors grow strategically. Let us do it for you!
If you have not invested in content marketing, you may be missing a big slice of the pie. One way that consumers readily use the internet is to research products or services of interest before committing. Shoppers in the market for a new real estate agent are likely to begin their search online. Leverage content marketing by providing a resource of quality content that helps buyers and sellers navigate the real estate world.
Word of mouth has traditionally been the best way to get new business in real estate, but next to being in the know, the web is the best place to make your case. Only add a blog to your website if you can commit to publishing a trove of genuinely helpful articles. Content marketing only works if it can build trust with the user.
With search engines leaning towards visual searches and voice searches, it is easy to overlook opportunities to optimize for search engine traffic. For example, adding images to your blog posts or site pages is a little more detailed than uploading a photo.
First, only high-resolution images, please. Hire a professional photographer to take pictures of your listings and seek out high-quality stock images. The technology for good photography is widely available, and the internet will be unforgiving if you try to skimp on picture quality.
Next, choose images based on how they perform in visual search matches. The foundation for visual search is the same as other search engine metrics, including web page authority, image location, optimized text, and high-quality images. These things are just the starting point needed to rank in visual searches. But you should take your image selection one-step further and see how different images matchup with visual search results. You may have a great photo to use on your site, but if it tends to match with foodie blogs more than real estate, it isn’t going to do much good on your site, albeit the occasional foodie looking to buy or sell a home.
For help with this, Google search allows you to upload your photos directly into their image search tools. Simply open a web browser and go to Google Images.
Once you have a good image selected, don’t forget about the position on the page, alt text descriptions, and meta tags, all of which are important to SEO and should be applied consistently to every image on your website.
If you have signed up with basic website services, you may have overlooked some major compatibility issues. The use of mobile devices is common, and integration with multiple devices is much more common with many web page themes and services, but it should not be taken for granted.
Make sure to address mobile compatibility when choosing a website provider or web designer. Once your site is up, routinely test its functionality on multiple devices, especially smartphones, and address any issues that arise. Users are also very unforgiving of technological hiccups. A search box that doesn’t display properly on a mobile device can cost you big money in leads.
You can spend hours building out your website with the right keywords in all of the right places and still fail to perform when it comes to organic search engine traffic. This is because – as big of a project as that is – it is only half of the game.
Real estate agents should spend as much time optimizing off-site as they do to leverage local search traffic. This means cultivating reviews on platforms like Yelp and building backlinks from profiles on pages like Google My Business or local media sites.
The biggest thing to remember about off-site SEO is to use the same keywords, link to your site, and be authentic. Do not pay for reviews (or pay to remove bad reviews). If you get a poor review, it is better to respond on the platform where everyone can see and show that you addressed the issue.
No one believes that a business has zero complaints, but they will get the impression that you lack authenticity if it appears that you are removing the bad and highlighting the good. You also do not need to have hundreds of backlinks, but your page rank does build up more authority when other reliable sites link to yours, so good quality backlinks are an important aspect.
Aside from making a sale, what is the best thing a past client can do for you? Leaving good testimonials for you on local directories can help you out a lot. I don’t mean just a five-star ranking. A good review that is helpful to others and also beneficial to your search engine results will have two or three sentences written about their experience to accompany the designated star rating and back it up.
When working on off-site optimization, don’t forget all of the places where potential leads may encounter you. Social media platforms like Facebook pages, LinkedIn profiles, and trade pages are often missed when optimizing.
Remember to be consistent with your contact information, website, and keywords wherever you go. Your Facebook page should have the same message and keywords that your homepage content has.
The thing about the internet is that it is chock-full of a lot of bad advice. Some of it is just outdated or irrelevant for your industry. But some are just plain wrong. The key to effective search engine optimization is to be as consistent as possible while still maintaining authenticity.
Striking the perfect balance between optimizing for a robot to categorize your content and maintaining interesting content with a warm tone for human readers is a bit of a struggle for some.
Stay on topic and use the appropriate keywords in specific areas. In the first sentence, in the title, in the title, at the top of the page, in a subheading, and 1-2 times dispersed throughout the text is appropriate. Adding a keyword to every sentence on the page is not.
Maintaining a user-friendly site is more important than having a ton of links, especially low ranking or inappropriate links. Consider how a person explores content on the website and use relevant anchor text to link out to helpful resources where it feels natural and appropriate.
Creating content is time-consuming, and it can be very tempting to outsource it. Just remember that only a local knows the area like a local. If you outsource local content, it can be painfully obvious to the reader and generally hurts your authority. If you decide to go ahead with it, just be sure to edit on your own before publishing for accuracy and continuity.
While many search engine optimization tactics work well in any industry or niche, real estate marketing is particularly adaptable to local search engine traffic. You should gear every aspect from choosing the right keywords to creating content and advertising on other platforms towards leveraging local search results.
Successful lead generation online is possible, even in smaller local markets, but it takes time and effort. Start by investing in a realtor website that is professional, well-designed, and fast. Then, put some effort into optimizing the content on each page to match well-researched local keywords. Make your profiles on all platforms match the SEO used on your website. And finally, work on generating good reviews and quality backlinks that point back to your site.
Only after you have accomplished all of these tasks should you consider spending money on ad campaigns to generate traffic.
Since 2009, we have helped many realtors grow strategically. Let us do it for you!
We’ve been growing businesses since 2009, let us do it for you!