For most Americans, the home search starts online. They hit the web, pull out their smartphone, and start looking for an agent to help in their quest. In some cases, they might even start searching for properties without an agent in tow.
Either way, it begins online — and if you want to ensure your business (and your listings) crop up in those searches, then honing your Search Engine Optimization (SEO) skills is a must.
Not sure where to start with your real estate SEO efforts? Here are six tips to get you going:
Choose the right keywords.
Trying to rank on page 1 for “Realtor” or “real estate agent” probably won’t do you much good. For one, these terms come with massive competition, making it extremely difficult (and probably expensive) to rank for. More than this, though, they don’t really deliver qualified leads.
As an agent, your best bets are more specific keywords — particularly ones that are geographically-focused. Consider targeting terms that incorporate your city or community, like “Hartford Realtor,” “Houston real estate agent,” or “Manhattan real estate broker.” You want not only to be found, but to be found by people who might actually use your services.
Pro tip: If you focus on a niche, you can work those terms into your keywords as well (i.e., “Houston luxury Realtor,” “NYC condo agent,” etc.)
Provide valuable content related to those keywords.
You next need to provide content around those keywords that searchers would find valuable. These can be blog posts about neighborhoods or listings, guides on the home buying process, or anything else you can work those phrases and keywords into.
If you have a lot of localized, geo-centric keywords, you might also want to provide content around community happenings, events, market trends, etc., as these will help you rank for those geographical terms as well.
Pro tip: Adding high-value features like bulleted lists, maps, videos, calculators, photos, and more will also give you more clout with search engines. Just be sure to add a keyword or two to the alt and meta tags of these items whenever possible.
Claim your pages.
A smart SEO strategy is one that incorporates both on-page and off-page efforts. To up your off-page game, make sure to claim your page on Google My Business, Yelp, Zillow, Trulia, Homes.com, and other directory sites. If you have a physical office, add it to Google Maps, too. Search engines see these profiles as a sign of credibility, and they can help your website and listings rank higher as a result.
Pro tip: Once you have a presence on these sites, start asking your clients to review you on them. Reviews on Google (especially five-star ones) can be extremely beneficial in helping you rank higher in search results.
Creating great, keyword-optimized sites and content isn’t enough. If you want those sites to get recognized, you have to promote them, too. Share your blogs, videos, and other content on social media, and connect with industry influencers who can share your content with their audiences as well. Search engines factor social shares and mentions into page rankings as well, so the more work you put in here, the better.
Pro tip: Be sure to use some of your keywords when promoting your content on social. On Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn, you might even want to use your keywords as hashtags to drum up more views.
Track and monitor.
Be sure and set up Google Analytics for your website, and check in on your performance on at least a monthly basis. What’s working? What’s not? Where are your visits coming from, and what keywords are bringing in leads? Use this info to course-correct and guide future strategy.
Pro tip: Make sure to leverage the analytics tools that come with your social accounts, too. Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter all have built-in data features that let you monitor your posts’ performance. Let these analytics guide your SEO efforts as well.
Optimize your site’s performance.
The technical aspects of your site matter to SEO performance, too. Specifically, search engines value fast, mobile-friendly, and secure sites over those who lack in these areas. To align with these preferences, make sure your site has an SSL certificate, optimize its loading speed (3 seconds or less is ideal), and double-check that it displays properly across all types of devices and screens.
Pro tip: You may want to bring in a developer or IT expert to make sure your website is on strong footing. If you don’t have one in-house, you can look to sites like Upwork or Freelancer to find options for outsourcing.
More Ways to Grow
Do you want more help growing your business? Partnering with a trusted mortgage lender can help. Get in touch with us today to learn more about Embrace Home Loans.