Think about the last time you were considering buying something. Your journey probably started in the same place as everyone else: a quick Google search.
Buying a house is no different. The National Association of REALTORS reported that 97% of buyers used the internet at least once during their search, with about half ending up buying a home they found online. Just having a website is part of the game for realtors these days.
If you’re in a competitive market, just having a website might not be enough. For realtors looking to maximize the results, you’ve got to invest more energy to attract buyers through search engine optimization (SEO).
Keep reading for a comprehensive overview of how SEO can level up your real estate website.
Table of Contents
- What is real estate SEO?
- Benefits of Real Estate SEO
- Getting Started With Real Estate SEO
- Best Practices for Real Estate SEO
What is real estate SEO?
Search engine optimization is a way of labeling, organizing, and presenting information on the pages of your website so that search engines can better understand what they’re about.
This way, Google becomes more likely to give your web page as a potential answer to the searcher’s question along four key principles known as E-E-A-T (experience, expertise, authority, trust).
For real estate website SEO, the same principles apply but focus on the specific terms home buyers will be searching for. These are considered “keywords” that you would include in your web pages to appear higher, or “rank” better, in the search results.
Improving your SEO strategy involves focusing on more specific, local search queries to ensure more targeted results, updating the backend of your website so that the necessary information is there for search engines to see, and understanding what potential clients are looking for.
Benefits of a Real Estate SEO
SEO is not a quick fix or a one-time strategy but a consistent, ongoing effort.
It may require a bit more effort upfront and long-term commitment, but the rewards will be worth it in the end. The benefits from additional visibility can include the following.
Attracting More Buyers and Listings
Making your website easier to find makes buyers and sellers more likely to see it. That translates to more listings, more buyers, and a thriving real estate business.
Increased Brand Awareness
By focusing on the topics your buyers are searching for, you can boost credibility for your real estate business by showcasing your expertise.
That way, even if the searcher isn’t currently in the market, you will have a better chance to be the one they reach out to when they are.
Reducing Paid Channels
Another huge benefit of SEO is to reduce the amount of money you spend driving traffic through paid search ads or social media networks. In fact, according to one Forrester study, investment in SEO can have an ROI as high as 12X.
The more you put into SEO, the less you have to pay for paid channels, and the results will compound over time.
SEO Is “Always On”
Similarly, by investing in an SEO strategy, you can always drive traffic to your website regardless of whether you’re also investing in digital ads.
That way, your website can always attract your next buyer or seller.
Getting Started With Real Estate SEO
To reiterate, SEO is a long-term investment in your business. The most important step is getting started.
Here are the major things you should tackle immediately as you refine your SEO strategy.
1. Conduct keyword research.
Keyword research is the first, but often most important, step when improving your real estate SEO strategy. It starts with understanding how often buyers search for specific terms, how many other companies are competing for those terms, and other factors.
For instance, the keyword phrase “homes for sale” is likely extremely competitive, with everyone competing for it in the real estate search results.
As you add on more specific search terms or aim for long-tail keywords, such as “homes for sale in Chelmsford, MA,” you might be able to have your website rank higher if Google deems your website to be the best answer to the searcher’s query.
Pro tip: Consider using an SEO tool, like Semrush or Arel="noopener" target="_blank" hrefs, when conducting keyword research. These programs provide information on keyword difficulty and search volume. You can then better target keywords for your website.
2. Optimize your website.
While Google’s algorithm only continues to get smarter, it still needs help understanding exactly what a page is about.
As you update your website, pay close attention to how your pages are organized using header tags, meta descriptions, and other details.
Once you’ve incorporated more of the identified keywords from the first step, consider adding more content to your site. That might include starting a blog, adding video content, or having images and infographics related to home buying in your area.
All of these content types provide a clearer picture for the search engine to understand what your website is about.
Pro tip: Are you new to blog writing? HubSpot’s content assistant leverages the power of AI to make writing easy. You can have the program generate text, create an outline for you to follow, or rephrase your existing writing.
3. Focus on technical SEO.
SEO isn’t just about writing more content and incorporating as many keywords as possible. Technical SEO refers to all the behind-the-scenes elements that search engines crawl and index. This can include your site optimization, page speed, and mobile compatibility.
You’ll want to ensure your images are optimized and your pages are structured so search engines can understand their content.
Pro tip: If you’re new to technical SEO, this course from HubSpot Academy can help you build the right foundation.
4. Monitor progress.
According to clearscope.io, it can take anywhere from one to six months and upwards of 12 to rank within the top 10 Google results. Using your analytics platform, you’ll want to keep track of the changes you’ve made and monitor how your ranking changes over time.
As you refine your SEO strategy, you should align your website additions and updates with the goals you’re trying to reach, whether that’s increased brand awareness, more home buyers contacting you, or increasing the number of available listings in your arsenal.
Best Practices for Real Estate SEO
SEO is a wide-ranging, constantly changing discipline. It can also get very technical the more you dive into it.
Fortunately, you can get most of the benefits out of your real estate SEO strategy by adopting these best practices.
Start a blog.
Most pages online, even those in the top 10 search results, are dated. Nearly 60% of the pages ranking in the top 10 Google results are two years old, if not older.
Having a regularly updated blog can help improve page rankings on SERPs. All other things being equal, search engines will favor newer content over older posts.
Plus, according to Hubspot’s customer data, companies that produce a blog have 434% more search engine-indexed pages and get 55% more visitors than those that don’t.
Keep meta descriptions up to date.
While this isn’t an immediate problem, as search engines will auto-generate one for you, you’re missing a chance to make the copy more enticing for users to click on your site.
Focus on the right keywords.
When using tools like Google Search Console to understand what users are searching for, don’t focus too much on those with the highest volume. Often, these will be the most competitive and hardest to rank for.
Instead, lower volume but less competitive keywords might be a better option, as you’ll likely have an increased chance of getting that coveted #1 ranking.
Get backlinks to your website.
As part of its calculations, search engines look at how many other websites are linking to yours, which is called backlinking. A backlink strategy is an important part of your real estate website SEO, as it helps drive more organic traffic from other websites to yours.
These backlinks boost your website's authority, improving rankings over time. Backlinks are also a valuable source of referral traffic, helping to increase website visitors and ultimately leading to potential buyers or listings.
Start your SEO strategy today.
Investing in a real estate SEO strategy is a great way for realtors to increase website visibility and gain more customers, both on the buyer and listing sides.
Through keyword research and optimizing your website's backend, you can ensure that your pages appear at the top of search engine results.
Investing in SEO can lead to increased sales and reduced costs on paid channels which means that the effort you put in will be well worth the work over time.