The real estate industry is very competitive, and both big and small agencies compete for customers. Then, how could a real estate agent with a limited budget compete? You must simply build your own website and promote it. After all, 93% of home buyers use the Internet to search for their future home.
It is surprisingly easy to create a website with tools like WordPress. However, promoting it can get tricky. One of the best ways to let people know you exist is by using search engine optimization (SEO).
Big real estate agencies can afford larger budgets for creating comprehensive SEO strategies. Yet, SEO for small businesses can be challenging to implement; that is precisely why some prefer to outsource to specialists. Nevertheless, this article will help you get started with website optimization on your own and give you some practical tips.
What Is Search Engine Optimization (SEO)?
There are many ways to define SEO, but they all boil down to making it easier for people to find your website with search engines.
Google takes into account numerous factors when ranking your website:
- Website and page structure
- Content and keywords
- The links you place and sites that link back to you
- The usability of your website
All these play a role when Google decides how to rank your website for each search query. Thankfully, there are a lot of tools to help you out when you optimize your site for search engines.
Are you ready? Let’s find out how to optimize your real estate website for SEO.
Your website’s structure will be the starting point when optimizing your website. You must have a clear and straightforward structure for your website. You want to please both the people that visit your site and the search engines they use to find it.
The first thing you need to do is upload your XML site structure into the Google Search Console. It will index your website into Google’s system and make it easier to find. Of course, you should do this for Bing as well; you can find instructions to help you with that.
Next, you want to set up your website’s robots.txt correctly. It will tell the search engines which pages to include and exclude when someone performs a Google search.
The page structure is a little different. Basically, you should have titles for every page as well as headings for the different sections of each page. People usually skim through information when browsing the Internet, so you want to make it easy for visitors to find what they need.
Also, you should have a unique meta description for each page. A meta description is the descriptive text under a link that people see when searching Google; use it to make it clear to potential visitors what the page is about and what they can get from it. Don’t forget to put actionable keywords in your meta descriptions. Just don’t overdo it, or Google will punish you.
Arguably the most crucial aspect of SEO is to choose the right keywords. As a real estate agent, you will most likely work in a specific region. Your potential customers will also search for properties in that area; take advantage of this by using geo-targeted keywords.
If you are based in Boston, you want people that search for “real estate agent Boston” or “Boston homes for sale” to come to your website. At first, you should focus on the area that is the most profitable for you and then expand to others.
Keyword research can be quite tedious, but luckily many free tools exist to help you — Ubersuggest, Google Keyword Planner, and Soovle. These tools will help you get some ideas for which keywords to use. Naturally, you should use these tools together with Google Analytics and Google Search Console to see the keywords that attract the most visitors.
Real estate is a visual industry; you want to display the full glory of all the properties you manage. You can do this by creating an image gallery, a video tour, or even a virtual tour for potential customers to see.
However, you can also use text to inform your visitors about the neighbourhood, the surrounding places of interest, or maybe just to offer some nifty homeowner tips. Consider what information is of importance to home buyers and present it readily to your visitors. They will surely appreciate it and trust you more because of it.
You could also show reviews and testimonials on sales that you have already made. They will have a considerable impact on your visitors and even push them to choose you over the competition.
Your real estate website must be mobile-friendly because 73% of home buyers use their smartphones to search for their new home. You don’t need to have a separate mobile site, though. Nowadays, responsive web design is the norm, and most WordPress themes come with it.
If you’re not sure what your site looks like on different devices, you can use this tool to see how it looks on a mobile, tablet, and desktop device for free.
Social media can have a high impact on your real estate business. In 2018, there were more than 240 million social network users in the United States alone. Additionally, 47% of companies in the real estate industry pulled in top quality leads from social media platforms. You’re missing out on a large number of potential customers if you don’t have social media for your business.
You can use Facebook and Google+ to join local groups and interact directly with communities. YouTube is great for videos of properties, and for uploading interviews and testimonials from customers. Instagram and Pinterest are better for high-quality images that will impress your followers.
Remember, social media activity must be used strategically. At first, you should focus on just the one that’s the most profitable to you; as you grow, extend your reach to other platforms as you see fit.
Search engine optimization is hard, and you need to do it for a long time to see actionable results. You cannot treat it as another checkmark on a checklist; it’s something that needs constant attention.
Once you have set up your website, you must continuously test and optimize your website for optimal user experience. Think of it as preparing a property for an open house. There will always be that one tiny change that will boost your customers’ satisfaction.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed, it would be best for you to hire a professional. After all, you are a real estate agent. It’s alright to leave this type of work to the specialists. They will address all of the SEO factors mentioned above, create an overall strategy for your website and help you grow your business.