While most people looking to buy or sell real estate know that using the internet in their search can help them find the right fit, few realize how powerful and effective Search Engine Optimization (SEO) can be in increasing their sales. By adding keywords relevant to your business in your URL and throughout your site, you’ll increase your page ranking on Google searches, ultimately increasing traffic and potential customers who might not have found you otherwise.
We live in the digital era where most home buyers start their search online, considering real estate websites as the primary source of information. Moreover, 75% of sellers sell their homes with the first agent they interview, rather than vet a number of agents and picking the one that best fits their needs and situation. The pandemic has drastically changed people’s expectations, making traditional marketing efforts and other key acquisition channels no longer a viable option. For realtors today, SEO is more crucial than ever.
The Importance of SEO for real estate agents, teams, and brokerages
Real estate is one of those industries that gets very little attention from search engine optimization experts as a whole, but that’s also one of its biggest strengths. If you want to increase your sales, it is crucial to ensure that your real estate website is optimized for search engines. After all, if potential buyers cannot find your site, how can they buy with you? Web pages and content are designed in such a way that not only should Google be able to understand them, but also users should have no problem interacting with them. This can be done by placing keywords in strategic places on your web page to be easily found when people are searching for specific information about an area or topic.
- When done correctly, SEO can produce an abundance of targeted visitors from search engines and social media.
- An investment in real estate SEO can be far more cost-effective than traditional methods of drumming up business.
- It guarantees successful business growth because more people will find your agency.
Too many individual agents, teams, and even large national brokerages miss out on the huge opportunity of millions of organic visitors from search engines because they fail to understand the investment needs and timing of real estate SEO compared to the short-term, highly trackable benefits of ads (pay-per-click). While it the decision to use PPC versus focus on SEO does not have to be a one versus the other, the investment, traceability, timing, and ROI of the two are vastly different and should be considered differently.
I always recommend agents consider SEO versus paid media separately and that they allocate some amount of the marketing plan to each.
In the medium to long-term, SEO will almost always result in drastically lower cost-per-lead and higher-quality leads (e.g. leads more likely to work with you, your team, or your brokerage).
Techniques for Real Estate SEO
SEO techniques vary from business to business, but real estate SEO is relatively straightforward. A successful real estate agent will have a strong web presence and include their address and contact information on every website page.
- On-page optimization. On-page optimization begins with the smart use of keywords and descriptive phrases that relate directly to your business. As with any type of SEO, you want to make sure your keyword density (which is the number of times a keyword appears on a given page compared to other words) is high enough. And remember that certain words and phrases are more popular in some regions than others.
- Off-page optimization. The term off-page means that you’re making changes to pages other than your own to increase your ranking on search engines. They typically include building quality backlinks and engaging with social media communities to develop a strong online presence.
- IDX plugin. Of course, when you’re selling a house, you need to get your listing into as many places as possible. The agent’s MLS takes your listing information and injects it into any website authorized to see listings from that MLS. An IDX plugin is the technology on individual agent/team/brokerage websites that takes this MLS feed displays the listings to visitors, provides the search tools for buyers, etc. Older IDX plugins will use subdomains and iframes, and more modern ones will not only keep visitors on your site long but will also help you rank your community pages and aid your on-page optimization.
Have questions about SEO for real estate, whether for individual agent sites or large national portals? Leave a comment and I’ll get back to you.