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The 3 Most Important Aspects of Real Estate SEO

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This article assumes you’ve been around the block. You understand the value in good keyword research. You’ve heard buzz like “content is king” enough times to actually question for yourself the royal hierarchy of important things in digital marketing.

You know enough to want to know more.

If you are in real estate business and you’re serious about search results, you need to understand the following aspects of real estate SEO.

1.Get Hyper-Local   

Consider what it would be like, to be the top business in your local market.  Being #1 is a very powerful position! It signals trust amongst your audience and superiority over the competition. It sounds ambitious because it is. But here’s the thing: you can be #1 in a marketplace by defining your position therein, as narrowly as possible.

This means zooming in and getting hyper-local. Create pages that target small communities instead of zip codes or cities. Getting granular with your content means optimizing for long-tail keyword searches around home buying and using the names of the smallest neighborhoods in your area.

Thanks to big guys like Zillow and Trulia, smaller real estate entities get squeezed out of broad keyword searches. Don’t bother going after terms like “best real estate agent” or “houses for sale.” Remember: SEO is a marathon, not a sprint. Competing against bigger platforms, however, is more like a race without a finish line.

The trick is to go where the big guys won’t go. Redfin provides an unprecedented database but it’s not the undisputed authority on every big, small or practically invisible real estate market. If you can tap into that “practically invisible” niche and deliver interesting, relevant and detailed content about it- you’ll set yourself apart from the giants. More importantly, you’ll be providing value to users searching within that space, small as it may be. And Google rewards that.

Let’s say you’re a real estate agent based in San Diego. More specifically, you are an agent in Point Loma, a small community just west of downtown.  You plan to create a blog post about things to do around the city. You figure it’s better to generalize in order to appeal to more homebuyers, so you plan to write about the region’s best beaches, professional sports teams, and the top-ten trendiest restaurants.

A far better plan would be to write about Point Loma’s monthly beach cleanup and the efforts of residents working to preserve their coastline. An article about public schools and their athletic traditions is better than one about the major leagues. And let’s face it, the world wide web doesn’t need another 500 words about the best San Diego restaurants. (Google already fetches over 6.5 million results for that query at the time and location of this writing.)

Local SEO for real estate is all about local expertise demonstrated through local content. Resist the temptation to optimize your online assets to “everyone.” At least a third of all Google searches have a local intent. Cut down two thirds of the noise and promote as a specialist, not a generalist. Become the hyper-local source and you will attract more qualified users (potential buyers) to visit your site and click around.

Pursuing a local SEO campaign is often cheaper than larger-scale efforts. A hyper-local strategy is automatically more cost-effective because you’ve eliminated so much competition. Even in the short-run, it’s possible to gain some traffic, generate leads and improve your conversion rate. If long-term local SEO isn’t in the budget, you can at least claim your Yelp and Google My Business pages and other local profiles to establish a context for your website.

2.Create Consistent Calls To Action

Assuming your website about what you’re offering, the next step is to encourage users to take action.

Case studies prove that visitors are less responsive to multiple calls-to-action on any one page. Have you ever subscribed to the newsletter, AND requested a quote AND filled out the contact form- all in one visit? Probably not. Similarly, it is unlikely that visitors to your page will click on every call-to-action (CTA) and more likely they’ll feel inundated by too many pushy messages.

Real estate professionals usually want phone calls, so a phone number should be the one (if not only) stand-out call-to-action on the site. Whether it’s making ten-digits big and bold across the header, or, creating a colorful click-to-call button – the design of your CTA matter a lot. Test out different fonts, sizes, and shapes. You may be surprised which formats generate the most action or boost conversion rates.

Pop-up CTAs have become popular, especially as modular websites, apps, and templates have made it super easy to get creative. It’s also easy to go overboard. If you’re tempted to create a unique pop-up CTA, be certain of its value.  Will it resonate with users at the specific point in their journey? Or, is it an interruption that causes users to bounce or exit, without taking any action at all?

CTAs should also be managed across your off-site citations. Do your social media accounts reflect substantial information to attract people to your business site? Does Foursquare display your business in the appropriate categories? For directory submissions, choose as many as are allowed. Always include hours of operation, high-quality photos and complete descriptions of your services on every channel. Instead of using your homepage for every precious backlink afforded, consider diversifying across channels to point users to other, deeper pages within your site.  

Want to show up on Google’s Local Pack? Consistent NAP (Name, Address, Phone) across all your citations will up your odds for ranking. Accuracy is one thing (an incorrect phone number is one less lead) but the nomenclature is another:
800-123-1234

is not exactly the same as

(800) 123-1234

Parentheses, dashes, and abbreviations should reflect a consistent format. Remember, Google is watching!

3.Manage Credibility

When someone begins their search for real estate agents, they’ve already decided they need an agent. They don’t know you, so they rely heavily on social proof factors like reviews and testimonies.

Word of mouth has always had the power to affect small businesses in big ways. People trust reviews more than ever before. According to Bright Local consumer data reports, 84% say they trust reviews as much as personal recommendations.  Source: https://www.brightlocal.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/12-1.png

Stay relevant that large percentage of review readers by going after your own in a systematic way. Since real estate is a service-oriented industry, this should be easy. You’ve formed connections with your clients; why not ask them to write about their experience working with you?

Data shows that quantity of reviews affects SEO ranking. It is better to have 500 reviews and 4 stars than 5 reviews with 5 stars. Another approach in earning more reviews is to place direct links in your email signature that takes correspondents to your most valuable review sites (or the ones that need a boost.)

Remember, SEO is a war, not a battle. As you monitor your website’s analytics data, the following signals can help you gauge how your reviews are impacting your business appearing in the search engine results. They also help you decide which review sites are more valuable in terms of your time.

  • How many (new) sites show reviews for your business?
  • Are the majority of your reviews over 300 words?  
  • How often are you earning (new) reviews?
  • What is the domain authority of third-party review sites?  

A real estate testimonial is the relaying of a story from a current client to a potential client. The briefer is better, especially if you’re creating a vanity page or sidebar menu displaying multiple testimonies.

Using images or videos breaks up the monotony of paragraphs containing phrases like “would highly recommend!” and “had a wonderful experience!” Add life to testimonies with a headshot of the client alongside their statements.

Video captures human emotion and interaction in a way that words cannot. As an experiential asset, a well-done video might show you meeting the client and explaining the home buying journey.

Google loves YouTube embedded content because it gives dimension to nearby, textual content. In other words, testimonial videos offer a different, visual way for viewers to learn on your site. More value to the users means more love from Google. When uploading to YouTube, utilize GeoTag to signal your location. This helps people searching in your area (and terms related to your location) to find your content. Additionally, make sure to optimize video metadata so it is communicating properly with search engines and upping your chance for higher rankings and more traffic.

Courtney Capellan
  • Marie phulco

    Well written article. Loved the infographics part. I think so too but don’t you think infographics take a lot of time to make; you know collecting data, analysis & creation of info-graphic etc.. Though they work very well on social media and other platforms but the time consumed is a lot. Do you think am i right??

  • Kelly Brown

    This is a very useful post! Some very basic yet important tips mentioned in it.I am a novice blogger and I have tried sharing on social media platforms a lot, both with image and without image, but I was not able to generate good amount of traffic. Can you please help me with that. Thanks!

  • Susan Davis

    I am definitely going to use these tips. I liked the part where you talked about content being the king. I personally think content is like a coin with only 2 faces. If you provide good quality content you win or else no one can save you from going down the drain. Thanks.

  • Jason Thomas

    Good article! But I contradict to what you said about hashtags being a complete waste, well I don’t think so.Hashtags play an important role in their own genre. Everything has its own merits and demerits. For example, if you type in a hashtag say #SEO you get know all that is being said about SEO or the content that is related to SEO. Awaiting your reply!Thanks.

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