Estate Agent SEO
Estate Agent SEO campaigns are as challenging as expected in a highly competitive market. Most real estate businesses understand the benefits of driving customers from Google Organic Search and making this channel their website’s primary traffic source, thus reducing the required investment in Paid Search Campaigns. Frequent Google Updates and a lack of proactivity from competitors creates windows of opportunity for those willing to implement solid SEO strategies. A solid SEO strategy is based on a business’s varying customer profiles and factors in their different behaviours and attributes when creating sales funnels.
In this guide, we’ll go through What is SEO, how it works and the different key factors that are always present in successful Real Estate Organic Search campaigns.
What is SEO?
Following Google’s documentation, the definition of Search Engine Optimisation is “the process of making your site better for search engines”. From a real estate business perspective, SEO translates to ”improving the number of prospects coming from Organic sources who are specific to our business goals”. The idea behind this is to increase the levels of free organic traffic through your website to maximise your Real Estate business visibility.
Optimising your real estate website for SEO will benefit not only your chances for rankings and traffic, but also your customer’s experience. This is because technical changes and content generation will always be guided by your customer’s search intent and goals. Helping the customer to achieve such goals while also helping search engines to rank your site is the best option to satisfy the intent beneath the queries which they type in the search box.
Why is SEO important for Estate Agents?
Visibility on the first page of Google and other search engines’ results for queries that potential customers use to find businesses offering real estate services like buying and lettings will undoubtedly increase your chances for new clients. Potential customers use search to find a suitable estate agent that can help them and if your customers can’t find you, they can’t contact you, and so that’s why having a meaningful presence in organic search is so important.
How does SEO Work for Real Estate? What is the process for getting my site ranked?
The process through which Google and other search engines notice your website and include it in the index goes as follows.
Firstly, they need to find your website, and this can only happen if they follow a link from another website to yours, or if you add your website to a suite for webmasters such as Search Console for Google or Bing Webmaster Tools.
The next step consists of crawling your website to collect all the available pages to be considered for inclusion in the index.
Finally, the pages considered useful for users will be included in the index and ranked based on their relevance for specific users’ queries and the intent behind such queries (find information, buy a product, get advice).
Quality content that can be easily accessed is crucial to help search engines deliver information about your products and services to your potential clients.
Strategies for Real Estate SEO
Now that we know how SEO works for Real Estate Websites, let’s go into the best strategies to make a success of your SEO campaign in this competitive industry. The sections below describe which key elements should be included within your strategy to get more traffic for free from organic search results.
What are your Core Services?
Prioritising the key business areas in your campaign will guarantee that every action taken towards increasing traffic and conversion from Organic Search will also have a meaningful impact on your business results. Your SEO campaign should follow a holistic approach and create synergies with other marketing efforts such as PPC, and even offline advertising. One of the techniques we use to maximise these synergies is defining the different funnels that our client’s customers follow across the Multichannel (PPC, SEO, Affiliates, Email, etc.). And with that information we then define potential actions to implement in SEO to deliver dramatic revenue increases.
Who are your Best Customers?
You need to know who your most profitable customers are in order to create the different sales funnels that apply to them. A business needs to gain visibility at each step within their customers’ decision-making process in search. This requires a deep understanding of the customers and how they use search engines to achieve their goals in order for your site to be present at each touchpoint.
What are your Unique Selling Points?
What makes you different from your competitors and why potential customers should choose you will play a vital role in the different SEO sub-strategies that will be implemented. Both the content that goes on your website and your digital PR efforts should always focus on your USPs to achieve the desired level of engagement and brand positioning.
Do you have more properties available? Do you offer the most updated listings? Using your USPs correctly can be a game changer for your click-through rate and conversions.
Keyword Research for Estate Agents and Long-Tail Keywords
Once you have a clear idea of who your key customers are and what you can offer that others can’t, it is now time to find out how clients use search engines to find real estate businesses that can help them. This process is called keyword research and requires using keyword research tools like Google Keyword Planner, SEMRush or Ahrefs, and for real estate businesses usually involves the following steps.
1. Keywords regarding your offer on serviced areas
Firstly, we need to carry out research about the keywords our customers use to find our services in the areas which we serve. For instance, if we are a Letting Agent based in Newcastle offering properties like houses, flats, and bungalows to buy for people looking to purchase property across multiple locations then we should make sure that we know the keywords those users commonly search with.
2. Long-tail keywords to target more specific queries
Additionally, we need to expand the initial research to collect more specific keywords that users who are looking for different characteristics on properties will surely use. These keywords usually relate to features and properties’ specifics; for example, number of bedrooms, leasehold or freehold, and schemes like Help to Buy.
3.Keywords related to Prepurchase Content
As we will see in the next section, content strategies include different types of content to satisfy different user intents. Together with keywords regarding our products and services covered in the first two stages above, we should also include expressions and questions that our customers search to understand complicated concepts about the processes of purchasing, selling or letting a home and, of course, to solve pain points.
Real Estate Content Strategies that Deliver Visibility on Key Moments
Content Strategies for Real Estate need to focus on the most crucial moments within the customer decision-making process. From initial awareness, to comparing offers, to answering those questions which stop customers from buying, all these stages are filled with micro-moments that require different types of content:
- Content to Generate Awareness
- Products & Services: Operation, Location, and Property Type
- Pain Point Solutions
A. Content to Generate Awareness
Generate pieces addressing topics your customers usually have questions about in the initial stages of their decision-making process. These may be questions such as ‘What is stamp duty?’, or ‘How much tax will I pay for my new home?’. This will help you gain a presence in the minds of potential customers.
B. Products & Services: Operation, Location, and Property Type
Your website should include pages covering the different operations, types of properties, locations your business covers, and other features, like the number of rooms. More details about how this all works are available in the “Increase Local Visibility” section below.
C. Pain Point Solutions
Content pieces about questions and doubts your customers have regarding the latest stages of the funnel will help with conversion. Investigate what issues or questions make your customers feel like they need more time to decide. Including content that answers such questions on your website will give your website more visibility to users searching for those types of questions, users who are potentially closer to buying.
Digital PR is Still Important
Links are still important to let Google know how relevant your real estate website is. However, links should always come from sources where your customers spend time reading information tied to their buying intentions. Digital PR can help you move the needle. But to achieve this, you need to investigate what websites your audience is visiting and how you can outreach to these websites with an added value proposal for collaboration. ‘What do they write about?’, ‘How can you help them with a piece that will be interesting for visitors?’, and ‘How should you approach the relationship with the person in charge?’ are some of the questions you need to solve if you want to get links from websites with a high level of authority.
The Technical Bits that make a Difference
Google follows a process to include and rank content that consumes computing resources. Therefore, the easier we make processing, the better results we can expect from this search engine. Resources are money and so making Google’s life easier will positively impact both your rankings, and the experience users have on your real estate website. Indexing issues should be fixed as soon as possible. If you think your site is suffering from this kind of problem, please check our guide for quickly finding indexing issues on your website.
We need to keep in mind that making changes which make websites more efficient also improves usability, especially on mobile devices. Nowadays, searches on mobile devices drive most of the traffic on Real Estate websites, so making your website technically sound will positively impact your results from organic search.
If you are wondering how you can check if your website is suffering from any technical issues, both Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster Tools provide very useful information about how your website is performing in organic search. If you haven’t signed up yet, you should; these services are completely free and a must-have in your set of SEO tools.
Watch out for Potential Toxicity
Again, links still matter, and successful Real Estate SEO campaigns always include a set of actions to prevent websites from being negatively affected by toxic links. Google crawls links pointing to your website and a large number of suspicious links can put you in a difficult situation, potentially suffering a penalty that is difficult to lift once your site has been flagged. You would be surprised by how often companies run not-so-ethical “SEO Bowling” campaigns which generate spammy links towards competitors to take them down. Tools like SEMRUSH backlink audit are very useful in finding out if your website’s profile needs attention and also for monitoring how your profile changes over time.
Local SEO for Real Estate
Increase Local Visibility with Google My Business for Estate Agents
Visibility in local results can make a difference. Your customers could be looking for a real estate agent or property types near them, or in specific areas; your strategy should cover both. When it comes to a local business you will be reliant on Google Local Pack. So, if you have branches in different locations make sure an optimised listing is included for each of them through your Google My Business account. Having a presence in search queries about different operations, property types, and locations will deliver a significant amount of traffic. Therefore, it is recommended that you include faceted pages for your most valuable operation *property* location combinations, as explained above in the ‘Long-Tail Keywords’ section. Examples of these pages are:
Flats to let in Newcastle
Bungalows to let in Heaton (a popular location in Newcastle upon Tyne)
Houses for sale in Gosforth
2 bedroom flat to let in Whitley Bay
Relevant Directories and Citations
In addition to Google my Business you need to explore other quality listings that your real estate business can benefit from. Websites like Yelp and 192.com are great options, but you also need to investigate the listings top performers in your market are using and look for other potential opportunities. In this regard, tools like Bright Local are very useful.
When it comes to directories, you need to be careful and only include your site in the good ones. So, if you are unsure about any particular directory, the rule of thumb is not to add the website.
We understand SEO can be overwhelming at first, so we hope this article helped you to understand how it works and provided you with some ideas for your Real Estate Business’ SEO campaign. You can find more useful information in our knowledge section, and remember that if you have questions, our friendly team is here ready to help you.