Welcome to the non-techy, jargon-free guide to improving the way your website helps you generate leads.

Real estate SEO can be complex. But it doesn’t have to be. It wouldn’t be surprising if you quickly saw positive results after simply covering the basics.

Here’s what you’ll get from this article:

A working knowledge of SEO and why it matters
A checklist for beginners: 9 ways to improve your website’s SEO
The ability to get started right away
A list of tools required to do real estate SEO the right way (with links!)
Pro tips for maximizing return on investment

Let’s get started!

Quick Overview: SEO for Real Estate Agents

SEO stands for “search engine optimization.”

  • Search engines are online platforms (like Google and Bing, for example) that help users find information on the internet. They quickly index and organize vast amounts of web content to deliver relevant results based on the words a user types into the search bar.
  • “Optimizing” is just another way of saying “improving” or “making something as effective or advantageous as it can be.”

Here Are the Benefits of SEO for Real Estate Agents

Basically, it all comes down to this:

Drive More Traffic To Your Site ➡️ Capture More Leads ➡️ Convert More Leads Into Clients

To be more specific, here are the four main reasons why SEO is a worthwhile endeavor for real estate agents.

✅ More potential clients from your farm area end up on your site.

SEO helps your website rank higher in search engine results for relevant keywords. This means more people searching for real estate services are more likely to find your website. And that could result in a steady stream of “organic” visitors (visitors who come to your website on their own instead of through a paid ad).

And if you do it the right way, you won’t attract just any traffic from anywhere—you’ll attract traffic from those in your specific farm area. That both sets you up to be the go-to agent for your area and increases the opportunities you get to engage with the right kinds of leads who actually have the potential to become clients.

✅ Visitors stay longer on your site.

If your website meets all of the SEO standards, then your visitors will find what they’re looking for—valuable information and solutions that are directly related to their queries. In other words, they’ll be less likely to “bounce” to another site after finding yours.

✅ You can increase visitor-to-lead conversion rates.

As visitors spend more time on your site as a result of your SEO efforts, not only will they become more familiar with your brand, but they’ll also have opportunities to interact with your lead-capture tools (such as an appointment sign-up form or calls to action to download a resource in exchange for their contact information, for example).

✅ SEO has a long-term impact.

Unlike some marketing strategies, the effects of your SEO work can have a lasting effect. As you establish a strong foundation and continue to improve your SEO practices on a regular basis, the wins begin to mount and grow exponentially over time. Ranking higher and more often will make your website a better and better lead generation source.

The bottom line here is that real estate SEO belongs among the best ways to generate more buyer and seller leads. Sure, it can be somewhat of a demanding and time-consuming task, but the benefits always far outweigh the costs.

Speaking of the cost…

How Much Does SEO Cost?

It could cost you nothing. Or it could cost you $500 per month or more. It all depends on your goals and needs.

As you’ll notice in the next section of this guide, you can implement several basic-but-highly-effective real estate SEO strategies on your own. It’s entirely possible to see positive results without having to spend anything more than time and energy.

But SEO is a specialized field and has become an entire industry of its own. If you want (or need) to take your website’s SEO power to the highest heights, it may incur a monetary cost.

For example, these expenses might include investing in tools for keyword research, website optimization, content creation, and potentially hiring professionals for more advanced strategies.

So, while it’s possible to start with minimal or no costs whatsoever, achieving significant and sustainable results in more competitive real estate markets often involves some level of financial investment. One study found that, on averages, small businesses that invest in SEO services spend about $500 per month.

Real Estate SEO: The Checklist for Beginners

1. Understand the Criteria Google (& Other Search Engines) Are Looking For

To improve your site’s SEO, you need to make your online content (words, images, videos, layouts, etc.) meet a search engine’s standards. There are four of them:


This refers to the overall value and relevance of your content. High-quality content is informative and accurate and meets the needs of your audience. It provides valuable information or solutions to their queries.


Uniqueness involves creating content that is original and distinct from what’s already available online. Duplicating content can harm your SEO efforts.


Readability focuses on how easily visitors can understand and engage with your content. Use clear language, proper formatting, headings, and paragraphs to make your content easy to read and digest.


This refers to the frequency of target keywords (i.e., specific search terms, which includes words and phrases) within your content. It’s important to include relevant keywords naturally. “Keyword stuffing”—using them too often or awkwardly forcing them into your content—can lead to poor readability and may mean the page won’t rank as high as it could.

For an in-depth (yet accessible!) walkthrough, we highly recommend checking out Backlinko’s Definitive Guide to SEO.

2. Find Real Estate SEO Keywords To Target

Think about which words and phrases people might type into search engines when they’re looking for real estate services in your area. These will likely be your keywords.

It might be best to start with a list of about 10 to 20. You could break them up into categories like “core” (the main keywords you want to rank for) and “secondary” (the longer keywords that relate to a more specific topic). Or you could put them in categories related to what’s referred to as search intent—“transaction-related” and “informational,” for example.

Your list should include keywords that are used frequently (referred to as “high search volume”) and aren’t being targeted by too many of your competitors (“low difficulty” is preferable to “high difficulty”).

You’ll have to do your own keyword research to figure out which terms will work best for you. (We’ll link to some helpful tools for that in the next section!) For now, here are some local-specific examples of real estate SEO keywords…

  • [your area] homes for sale
  • [your area] home listings
  • best [your area] real estate agent
  • affordable homes in [your area]
  • [your area] real estate market trends
  • [your area] neighborhood guides
  • first-time homebuyer tips in [your city]
  • homes with [amenity] in [your area]
  • buy a home in [your city]
  • [your area] real estate agency

3. Conduct a Site Audit

Assuming you already have a website that you’ve been using for some time, it’s always a good idea to see where you’re starting from in terms of its SEO effectiveness. Doing so allows you to set benchmarks so you can track your progress. Plus, it’ll give you a quantifiable way to prioritize your real estate SEO work, measure success, to identify what’s working well versus what needs improvement.

There are many easy-to-use tools you can use to conduct an audit of your site. (See the list of recommendations below.) Once you get the results, be sure to plan out action steps for making the suggested improvements.

4. Make Sure the Pages on Your Website Include Your Keywords

  • Incorporate your main keyword into the title of your page. This is an important signal to search engines about the content of your page.
  • Use your chosen keywords in the headers (H1, H2, H3) of your content. This not only helps with SEO but also makes your content easier to read for visitors.
  • Use your keywords naturally within the body of your content. Aim for a balanced and natural use of keywords, without overloading or repeating them too frequently. Your content should still be readable and engaging for humans.
  • Whenever possible, include your keywords in the URL structure of your pages. For instance, if your keyword is “Miami Beach Condos,” a good URL would be something like “yourwebsite.com/miami-beach-condos.”

✏️ But above all, remember that your content should read naturally to your visitors. The primary goal is to provide valuable and engaging information.

While keywords are important, they should be seamlessly integrated into your content. Don’t “keyword stuff” and don’t awkwardly force them in where they don’t belong.

Get more online leads with these real estate website content best practices.

5. Optional Advanced Strategy: Build a “Backlink Profile”

Think of a backlink profile like your reputation with Google, where it finds which sites linked back to you and assigns you a benchmark known as “domain authority.”

✏️Domain authority refers to a site’s relevance for a specific industry or subject area. It’s expressed as a search engine ranking score that predicts a site’s ability to rank on search engine result pages.

Step 1: Take Inventory

Similar to what we covered in number three above, the first step to improving your backlink profile is understanding where your website stands at the moment. Do you have hundreds of links to your site? What quality of websites link back to you – spammy microsites or respectable directories?

It’s important to know because links from trusted sites boost your search ranking, while links from spammy microsites will drag you down.

This assessment process is what’s known as a backlink audit and usually requires tools like Google Analytics, SEMRush, or Ahrefs, but it can be done manually. Some tools simply present you with a list of sites and you need to evaluate the quality yourself, while others provide information on their domain health. You’ll want to find the tool that best fits your specific needs and budget.

Next, address the sites that are dragging down your domain authority, contact these harmful sites and ask them to remove their links to your site. (Otherwise, you’ll need to put together a “disavow report” with those links included and request that Google have them removed.)

If you’ve recently changed your site domain or navigation format, for instance, if your ‘About’ page used to be at “yoursite.com/about-us” and now it’s at “yoursite.com/about,” check for outdated links out there, contact the referring sites and kindly ask them update the links with the new versions. (Otherwise, visitors will get 404 error, which will drag you down in search results.)

Step 2: Break Ground

After cleaning house and ridding yourself of toxic links, it’s time to get proactive. Search algorithms will reward you for links that not only come from sites with high domain authority, but also links on pages that are relevant to your business. This includes factors like location, your specialty (luxury, vacation, commercial), and the anchor text which is the literal text the link is embedded on.

Collect a list of websites that you think would offer valuable links to your site, ideally focusing on professional & general directories, news & industry media, and associations. You can use tools like Ahrefs or Moz’s Open Site Explorer to assess the domain health of your list and rank them accordingly.

Building a strong backlink profile is a more advanced strategy in real estate SEO, but it can seriously boost your ability to rank higher.

Source: Semrush

Start by getting listed on sites like Zillow, the Chamber of Commerce, and the Yellow Pages. These should be easy wins on sites with incredibly high domain authority and visibility, which would mean very good things your site.

Another avenue is to share any news related to your business, like listing announcements, moving offices, or doing good in your community, via media pitches and press releases. News sites are visited very frequently, which gives them strong domain health, and online press releases function like permanent webpages that host the links you put in and reside on sites with high domain authority.

Some drawbacks to this approach are distribution sites for publishing press releases often charge per release and you won’t always have newsworthy updates to promote, so take advantage when you can – forcing matters to be newsworthy won’t serve your business.

Step 3: Deliver on Quality

The last step you can take to build a strong backlink profile is to produce good content on your site that others will want to refer to. This can be content that’s designed to be evergreen in its usefulness or so compelling that it gets shared and referenced on other sites.

Here are some examples of valuable, share-worthy content:

  • A to-do list for first-time homebuyers
  • Guide to getting the highest price for your home
  • Renovation ROI on sale price
  • Community resources

Building a strong backlink profile requires ongoing effort – it can’t be done overnight. It may seem taxing and not worth the effort at first, but over time you’ll find more leads on your website, organically, as you rise in the search rankings.

There’s no need to splurge on expensive billboards or get your face on every bench in town. Landing at the top of prospective clients’ searches is sure to drive much more business your way in the long run.

6. Increase the Chances That Potential Clients Will Click on Your Page Listing

✏️The page that appears after you submit a query into a search engine is called a “search engine results page,” or SERP for short. The list on that page contains links, and the linked titles and descriptions you see there are called metadata (meta titles and meta descriptions).

To have an entry of yours appear in the top 10 results on the SERP means it has a good chance of getting clicked. (If you’re not on the first page, the odds are definitely not in your favor yet.)

But keep in mind—the first SERP is highly competitive territory. Just because your entry is there doesn’t mean it will generate the kind of traffic you need.

The key is to write concise, engaging, and compelling meta data (page titles and descriptions) that influence your ideal website visitors to click on your link instead of your competitor’s.

7. Make Sure Your Site Is Mobile-Friendly

Many (if not most) of your potential website visitors will be browsing on a mobile device. A “mobile-friendly” website ensures a broader audience reach, better user experience, and higher search engine ranking. It also reduces bounce rates (the rate at which people leave your site) and boosts conversion rates.

Being mobile-friendly demonstrates competitiveness, improves brand perception, and aligns with evolving technology trends. In the real estate industry, where online presence is essential, a mobile-friendly site is crucial for engaging potential clients effectively and staying ahead of the competition.

There are many ways you can make your website more mobile-friendly, and some of them can get a bit technical. But here are the basics:

✔️Choose a Responsive Design

A “responsive design” refers to a web design approach that adapts and responds to different screen sizes and devices. In other words, a responsive website design ensures that your site looks and functions well on a variety of devices, including desktop computers, laptops, tablets, and smartphones.

Instead of creating separate versions of a website for each device, a responsive design uses flexible layouts, fluid images, and adaptable coding to automatically adjust the content’s presentation to fit the screen it’s being viewed on. This provides a consistent and user-friendly experience, regardless of the device used to access the website.

✔️Simplify Navigation

Create a clear and compact navigation menu for mobile users. Consider using a “hamburger” menu (the three horizontal lines) that expands when tapped to show navigation options.

Don’t have too many pages. Do your best to categorize your pages appropriately so that users can keep clicking and scrolling to a minimum.

✔️Use Readable Fonts

Select legible fonts that are easy to read on smaller screens. Aim for a font size that doesn’t require zooming in for comfortable reading.

Generally, font sizes of 12-16pt are suitable for mobile screens, 15-19pt for tablets, and 16-20pt for desktop computer screens.

✔️Optimize Images

Resize and compress images so they load quickly on mobile devices. Use smaller file sizes (without sacrificing quality, of course) to avoid slow page loading.

✔️Test Across Devices

View your website on various mobile devices to check for readability, navigation, and functionality. Make adjustments as needed to ensure it’ll make for a sleek, smooth user experience.

8. Start (or Improve) Your Blog

Blogging is a vital part of real estate SEO. It’s a win-win because it gives your potential clients the valuable information they’re looking for and it helps you boost your SEO power.

  • By incorporating keywords, you can improve your site’s search engine visibility.
  • It gives you a chance to showcase your expertise
  • It can keep potential clients engaged and encourages them to explore more pages on your site.
  • If you post fresh content regularly, it’ll also signal search engines that your site is active and credible.

If you’re looking for a little help turning your blog into a valuable marketing and lead generation tool, check out this real estate blog guide.

9. Drive Traffic to Your Site

Drawing more traffic to your website means you’ll get more opportunities to convert consumers into leads. With each new lead comes additional opportunities to convert them into clients. And of course, the more clients you get the higher your income will be and the more likely it is you’ll generate more referrals, keeping the growth cycle in motion.

So the big question is: How can you put the odds in your favor by increasing the number of visitors your website gets each month?

Here are some examples of ways you can generate more traffic:

  • Improving your SEO in all of the ways we’ve mentioned above, of course!
  • Use paid ads (search engine marketing or “SEM”) on platforms like Google. Learn all about how SEM works.
  • Promote your blog posts on social media. Summarize and share snippets with a link to read the full post on your website where you’ll have more chances to increase engagement and turn them into clients.
  • Use paid social media ads. Check out the beginner’s guide to real estate social media marketing.
  • Set up automated drip campaigns that deliver a series of emails over time. These can nurture leads and guide them through the buying or selling process, leading them to visit your website for more information.
  • Influencers, friends, and business partners are also valuable resources for driving traffic to your website. Since the traffic from these sources come from a reliable source, these consumers have built some trust with you and should be easier to convert into a lead.

To get started with real estate SEO, you don't need every tool available. You just need these four.

️ The Must-Have Tools for Real Estate SEO

Thinking through all of the software, plugins, and websites you could use to beef up your SEO can be daunting. There are many.

To keep things simple for the beginning stages, you really only need these four basic tools.

1. A Robust Website Built for Real Estate Agents

Not just any website will do. Make sure your website is set up to be a lead-generating machine tailored to accommodate buyers and sellers in your area.

Pack it with valuable content, resources, information about the local market, and testimonials. Here are the six traits that many top-performing real estate websites have in common:

  • A homepage that makes it immediately clear who you are and where you serve
  • MLS listings (kept up-to-date through an IDX integration)
  • News and information about the local community
  • Neighborhood-specific market trends
  • Useful resources (such as a “home buyer’s guide,” for example, or a “seller’s checklist”)
  • A blog that’s SEO-friendly
  • Lead capture tools (e.g., forms on listings for scheduling showings with agents; forms for requesting a CMA; forms for registration, allowing for saving searches and listings)

For example, learn how Market Leader’s pre-built, customizable websites can become your new “It” factor.

2. A Keyword Research Tool

  • Semrush: This is a very well-known, highly respected tool that’s designed to make keyword research simple and effective. More than that, though, it also provides insights into your backlinks, top-performing keywords, and even your competitors’ strategies. (The Pro plan starts at $129.99 per month.)
  • Ahrefs: This is another powerful tool for finding real estate SEO keywords and backlink analysis. It provides comprehensive data on keywords, search traffic, backlinks, and more. (The Lite plan starts at $99 per month.)
  • Moz: Moz Pro is a suite of SEO tools that include features such as keyword research, site audits, backlink analysis, rank tracking, and on-page optimization recommendations. (The Standard plan is $99 per month.)
  • Keywords Everywhere: Keywords Everywhere is a browser extension that displays keyword-related data directly on search engine results pages. It shows search volume, CPC (cost per click), and competition data for real estate seo keywords. (The Bronze plan is $1.25 per month.)
  • Free options: You can still do keyword research effectively without a paid subscription. You can look at Google’s “Related Searches,” for example (see the image below for an example). Or you could use free tools like Ubersuggest, Keyword.io, or one of Google’s tools listed in #4 below.

One of the free hacks for beefing up your real estate SEO game is to use keywords found in Google's "related searches".

If you want the deep dive into keyword research, the experts at Backlinko wrote the best (free!) guide available.

3. A Website Audit Tool

You may not need a separate tool for assessing the health and performance of your site. If you have one of the paid keyword research tools above (such as Semrush) or if your current website provider has auditing functionality built in, then you’re good to go.

If you do need to look elsewhere, here are some high-quality options to consider:

  • Screaming Frog SEO: It’s free, and it does everything required to improve SEO for real estate agents.
  • Hubspot Website Grader: This is a very useful tool for identifying site speed detractors, in addition to performance, mobile adaptability, and security. And it’s free!
  • My Site Auditor: Starting at $39 per month, this is a great option if you want an in-depth report of more than 50 SEO “signals” which show “how optimized a web page is for a target keyword.”

4. Google Tools

Google does it all. And all of their tools are free.

Google My Business

Google My Business is a free tool that allows businesses to create and manage their online presence across Google, including Google Search and Google Maps. With a Google My Business account, businesses can provide essential information such as their location, contact details, opening hours, photos, and customer reviews. This information is displayed to users when they search for or interact with a business online. It’s particularly valuable for local businesses aiming to connect with their target audience.

Google Analytics

Google Analytics is a powerful web analytics service that helps website owners track and analyze user interactions on their websites. It provides insights into user behavior, traffic sources, demographics, and more. By tracking metrics such as page views, bounce rates, conversion rates, and user paths, businesses can understand how visitors engage with their website, identify strengths and weaknesses, and make data-driven decisions to improve their online performance.

Google Search Console

Google Search Console is a free tool that helps website owners monitor and optimize their website’s presence in Google search results. It provides information about how Google’s search engine indexes and views your site, as well as alerts you to potential issues like indexing errors, security problems, and mobile usability concerns. Search Console also offers data on search queries that led users to your website and allows you to submit sitemaps to help Google crawl your site effectively.

Google Trends

Google Trends is a free tool that provides insights into the popularity and trends of search queries over time. It allows you to explore how frequently specific keywords have been searched for on Google. This tool is useful for understanding the seasonal and geographic variations in search interest for different topics. It can help businesses make informed decisions about content creation, marketing campaigns, and keyword targeting based on current search trends.

Pro Tips for Real Estate SEO

As you can probably imagine, there are plenty of pitfalls to avoid when it comes to SEO for real estate agents. Instead of learning by trial and error, take note of these pro tips.

Have Realistic Expectations

It would be nice if your website could rank higher, capture more leads, and help you close more deals right away. But real estate SEO doesn’t work that way.

SEO is an ongoing process that requires patience. It’s about steady progress rather than instant gratification.

It typically takes time to see substantial results, and the timeline can vary based on factors like your website’s current state, how strong your competition is, the effectiveness of your strategies, and how much time you’re willing to invest in it.

You might start noticing some improvements in a few months, but significant changes can take 6 to 12 months or more. SEO is a long-term investment, and consistent efforts yield better outcomes over time.

Initial progress may involve climbing in search rankings, increasing organic traffic, and improving user engagement. Conversion rates can also improve as your website becomes more authoritative and credible. However, achieving top rankings for highly competitive keywords might take longer.

SEO is never truly “done.” Regular site updates, content creation, monitoring, and adapting to algorithm changes are crucial to maintain and improve your rankings.

Remember: Powerful SEO Isn’t the End Goal for Real Estate Agents

Nor is it visitor-to-lead conversion the goal of SEO for real estate agents.

The ultimate goal is lead-to-client conversion.

That said, as you’re putting in the time and energy to improve your website’s performance, be careful not to get lost or miss the point. Rather than focusing on SEO directly, it’s better to remain focused on making your website a way to provide excellent customer service for potential buyers and sellers in your area and drawing them farther down your sales funnel.

Use the “Hub & Spoke” Approach

Think less about making each page a powerful SEO-booster on its own. And think more about how all of the pages on your site work together to help you rank higher.

One way to do that is to take the so-called “hub and spoke” approach to SEO. It involves creating a comprehensive and authoritative “hub” page on a central topic, supported by several related “spoke” pages that delve into specific subtopics.

The hub page internally links to the spoke pages, forming a content network. This enhances your site’s organization, user experience, and SEO. The hub page targets a primary keyword while the spoke pages target related keywords. This strategy establishes your site as an authority on the main topic and increases the chances of ranking well for various related keywords, ultimately boosting your site’s overall SEO performance.

Track Your Performance

SEO is dynamic. Search algorithms change, and your competitors evolve. So it’s not a good idea to “set it and forget it.”

Regularly schedule comprehensive site audits to identify technical issues, opportunities for improvement, and changes in keyword trends. Doing so will keep your site optimized and up to date.

It’s also a good idea to keep a close eye on which pages are driving the most traffic and conversions so you can further optimize them to perform even better.


You can do this! By setting a solid foundation for your website’s performance and being diligent about upkeep and following the best practices covered in this guide, real estate SEO can indeed be a powerful way to grow your business. Good luck!