Whether you want to attract buyers, vendors, tenants or landlords, your website is key, and optimising it for search engines is crucial. Getting your head around the evolving science of SEO can be tricky. If you’ve read our guide to 13 killer SEO strategies for real estate you’ll have plenty of ideas for optimising your site.
In this article, we’ll go back to basics with the what, why and how of SEO for estate agents.
SEO for real estate agents is the marketing technique used to make your web content visible to people when they are searching for properties online. It’s about positioning your content as high up the organic (not paid for) search pages as possible.
Your SEO strategy should include everything from technical aspects of your website’s construction, and the meta descriptions and tags you use behind the scenes, to the way your pages and blog posts are written.
Gone are the days when house hunters would find their dream home by looking in an estate agencies window or scouring the ads in local papers. The vast majority of property sales and rentals originate with an internet search results.
If you’re looking to target landlords and vendors, they are probably searching online for the best estate agency to meet their needs too.
No matter how glossy your website, how gorgeous your photography and how persuasive your copy, if customers can’t find it online, you’re wasting your time.
Get your website SEO strategy right, on the other hand, and you’ll drive traffic to your site, bringing more leads and, ultimately, more conversions.
Optimising your site for search works in multiple ways, and it’s a complex area. Traditionally SEO was about keywords - making sure your site includes the words people use when searching for homes or services in your area.
Keywords are still important, but Google has evolved, meaning that stuffing your content with keywords will actually have a negative effect. Poorly written copy will put customers off and Google will penalise you by lowering your ranking.
The important thing is to produce high-quality, relevant content that considers the intent behind people’s searches and the context in which they are searching.
Keyword research is a big part of beginning to optimise your site - you need to do some digging to find the words and phrases your target audience is using. There are plenty of tools to help you do this including free ones such as Google Keyword Planner or paid-for options like SEMrush.
Once you’ve done your research, select the right keywords to use. Avoid keywords just because they rank highly, unless they are relevant to the intent of your searchers.
Research the traffic for your chosen keywords - there is no point in ranking highly for a keyword that few people are searching for.
Equally, look at the competition - if very many people are ranking for a keyword, your site may get lost in the crowd.
Longtail searches are the questions people ask when they are looking for something online - ‘Where should I live in south London’ for example.
Using longtail search terms is a good idea because people are increasingly asking questions when they search the web. As fewer websites will optimise for these specific questions, you are more likely to rank highly.
Thinking local is vital in real estate as you are generally targeting people with a particular location in mind. You can increase your local ranking with relevant neighbourhood information - by becoming a hub for up-to-date local events, amenities and schools info, for example.
Google’s Official Stance on Responding to Reviews
According to the Google My Business support page, businesses should “interact with customers by responding to reviews that they leave about your business. Responding to reviews shows that you value your customers and the feedback that they leave about your business.” This statement is then followed by “high-quality, positive reviews from your customers will improve your business’s visibility and increase the likelihood that a potential customer will visit your location.”
Responding to reviews will build trust with your customers, but it will also build trust with the search engine itself.
Google only wants to recommend the most credible businesses to their customers and this is especially true with estate and letting agencies.
An estate agent that responds publicly to a praise or a complaint will give Google a great credibility indicator. It’s no wonder Google is encouraging businesses to respond to reviews in order to improve their local SEO.
So, does responding to Google reviews actually help your local SEO? The simple answer is, absolutely.
At the end of last year, Darren Shaw of Whitespark released the findings from his annual Google Local Rankings Survey. The results of the survey found that reviews accounted for 15.44% of how Google ranks a local business. This is up almost 5% from 2015 when Google only valued reviews at 10.8% of how they rank a business.
TIP: Here are six simple steps to help you gather valuable testimonials and attract more advocates
Does blogging help SEO? It definitely does. In fact, blogging is one of the most efficient ways to boost your SEO.
Here is why:
Link building, simply put, is the process of getting other websites to link back to your website. All estate and letting agents looking to grow and attract more traffic and leads should be interested in building links to drive referral traffic and increase their site's authority.
Why build links?
Google's algorithms are complex and always evolving, but backlinks remain an important factor in how every search engine determines which sites rank for which keywords.
Linkbuilding is one of the many tactics used in search engine optimisation because links are a signal to Google that your site is a quality resource worthy of citation. Therefore, sites with more backlinks tend to earn higher rankings.
Don’t neglect your Google My Business profile. A good profile could get you among the top results for people searching ‘estate agents + my area’ - as part of the Google Local Pack. This will drive traffic to your site and improve your general Google rankings.
Read more on How to get your property business on Google Maps
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