Can online home buyers and sellers find you before they find your competitors?

High Google rankings are extremely helpful for generating real estate website traffic, real estate leads, and potential sales. To attract Internet consumers in the hyper-competitive market, it’s important for real estate agents to understand the key factors that affect their real estate website rankings. By using up-to-date search engine optimization (SEO) strategies, you can make a huge difference in boosting your search engine rankings and improve your overall website visibility.

Why is SEO important for real estate websites?

Search Engine Optimization, “SEO,” means enhancing your real estate website to increase your Google ranking in the unpaid section of Google’s search results. Google has over 200 factors it considers when determining how it ranks websites. To give users the search results that best meet their needs, Google uses a complicated formula called an “algorithm” that calculates the value of each website’s content and finds the top sites for each search query. Your goal? Provide content that makes your real estate website more helpful to users.

Real estate SEO tips

1. Design your real estate website with unique content

Quality real estate website content is the most critical factor in achieving a higher Google ranking. The information must be relevant, fresh and unique—providing value for your target audience. That means you’ll have to make frequent updates and make sure your material keeps the reader’s needs in mind. Try to position yourself as the most knowledgeable real estate agent for “hyper local” areas in your market. Include insight about neighborhoods you serve, niche content about your area (restaurants, dog parks, schools, businesses), and address stumbling blocks that people have when buying or selling. Avoid copying any text from other sites, including your own past articles and blog posts. When optimizing your “about” page, remember to customize it. Just reposting the same bio you have on other sites does not count as unique content.

2: Use keywords on your real estate website that target your audience

You can make your real estate website easier to find by using keywords that clients are most likely to type into Google when they start their home search. Provide information on these topics and incorporate these keywords in your text, page titles, and images. Be sure to use hyper local keywords that target your audience. Trying to rank for popular real estate search queries is harder for small agent sites that are competing with Zillow and Trulia. Instead, go for specific long-tail keyword phrases such as “Kirkland waterfront condos,” which is easier to rank for than the broader “Seattle real estate.” You can also use Google’s keyword tool to research effective hyper local phrases in your area.

Be careful not to flood your site with keywords. Three to five phrases per page should be your goal. Stuffing each page with keywords can be harmful to your site, because Google might consider you a spammer. Learn more about expert keyword strategies for real estate agents at one our previously recorded real estate marketing webinars.

3: Build links to your real estate website

In Google’s eyes, links to your real estate website are like votes—they give your site credibility. Inbound links from reputable websites, your social networking sites and blogs, can help your Google ranking and bring more leads straight to your real estate website. When you create your links, be sure to include relevant keywords for a variety of pages you want people to visit, rather than just your home page. The faster you can get your visitors to the exact information they’re looking more, the more useful your site will be. Always remember, content is king—if you provide valuable information, top-tier websites will want to link to you as well. Learn more the best practices for real estate SEO link building.

4: Promote your real estate website with social media

Building your online presence through Facebook and Twitter can also improve your Google ranking. Make sure you share updates, cool information, and new blog posts on your real estate website on your social networks. It’s important that you update your website regularly with unique content that friends will want to share via their social networks. When links to your site are reposted and re-tweeted, the number of visitors multiplies and this can send a signal to search engines that you have high quality content. Be sure to share all of your social media profiles as well, so people visiting your Facebook page can find you on LinkedIn and other social media sites.

Remember: the real estate SEO rules constantly change.

Increasing your natural search traffic is not an exact science. Google continually refines the way it helps consumers find information. The most important strategy for real estate agents is to focus on the audience. What are home buyers and sellers looking for? What makes your real estate website worth visiting? When you provide useful, compelling information that people link to and share, you’ll attract new visitors and keep them coming back.

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