Having an internet presence is essential for any real estate business in today’s digital environment. Yet simply having a website is insufficient. It’s crucial to have a real estate SEO strategy in order to draw in more leads and boost conversions, as real estate SEO has many benefits for agents and business owners in the industry.
However, real estate SEO today is a very convoluted field, with many agencies offering tiered packages like Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum like it’s the Olympics, while in fact they just do some initial work and charge a significant sum for “monthly audits” and reporting, without doing much concrete work. Freelancers can be more diligent, but it can be hard to find the right one.
So let’s talk about how you can form your own SEO strategy for your real estate business and make sure that you’re on a clear path to ranking higher, without getting distracted by inefficient strategies.
In this article, we will cover 6 main ways to improve SEO for your real estate website at little to no cost.
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In the fiercely competitive real estate market, establishing a robust online presence is more than a necessity—it’s a strategic imperative. A well-crafted real estate SEO strategy can significantly elevate your visibility, attract quality leads, and drive conversions. This comprehensive guide delves deep into constructing an effective real estate SEO strategy, ensuring your listings shine in the crowded digital marketplace.
Understanding the Essence of SEO in Real Estate
The real estate sector’s digital landscape is dynamic and challenging. SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, is the art and science of enhancing your online content so search engines favor it in their rankings. For real estate professionals, SEO isn’t just about gaining higher visibility; it’s about connecting potential clients with their dream properties.
Why SEO for Real Estate is Different
We don’t want to delve too deep into backlinks at this point as they can be quite expensive, in this article we’ll cover understandable and easy to implement On-Page techniques for improving your real estate website’s search visibility.
Since SEO is so much about content, it’s important to understand your audience’s needs and the tremendous length of sales cycle in the real estate niche. As real estate sales can easily take up to 18 months to come to fruition, it’s crucial to decide on a long-term content plan.
On the other hand, following a SEO strategy in the real estate industry yields pronounced beneficial and long-lasting results.
The Role of Real Estate SEO Keywords
- Targeted Visibility: Real estate SEO keywords ensure that your listings appear in front of the right audience, at the right time.
- High-Quality Leads: Effectively chosen keywords drive not just traffic, but traffic that converts, ensuring your marketing efforts yield tangible results.
Crafting Your SEO Strategy
An effective real estate SEO strategy requires meticulous planning and execution. It’s not just about integrating keywords; it’s about creating a comprehensive approach that resonates with both search engines and potential clients.
1. Keyword Research and Selection
Start with identifying the keywords that potential clients use when searching for properties or real estate advice. Tools like Google’s Keyword Planner or Ahrefs can provide insights into the search volume and competition for these keywords.
2. On-Page SEO Optimization
Optimize your website’s content with the selected keywords. This includes:
- Title Tags and Meta Descriptions: Craft compelling titles and descriptions that include your primary keywords.
- Content: Produce high-quality, informative content that naturally incorporates your keywords.
- URL Structure: Ensure your URLs are clean, concise, and descriptive.
3. Off-Page SEO Tactics
Off-page SEO is about enhancing your website’s reputation and authority through external means. This primarily involves:
- Backlink Building: Acquire high-quality backlinks from reputable websites within the real estate domain.
- Social Media Engagement: Actively engage with your audience on social media platforms, driving traffic to your website.
4. Local SEO: A Game-Changer for Real Estate
In real estate, your market is often defined by geography. Local SEO helps you dominate local search results, ensuring your properties get noticed by those who are most likely to convert.
- Google My Business: Optimize your Google My Business profile for maximum visibility.
- Local Keywords: Use location-specific keywords in your website’s content and meta tags.
Leveraging Content Marketing
Content marketing is a powerful tool in your SEO arsenal. It’s not just about selling properties; it’s about establishing your brand as a trustworthy, knowledgeable authority in the real estate space.
Blogging: Your SEO Powerhouse
Blogs are an excellent medium to engage your audience. Use this platform to discuss various topics like home buying tips, market trends, or neighborhood guides. Here’s how to make the most of your real estate blog:
- Consistent Posting: Regularly update your blog with fresh, relevant content.
- Keyword Integration: Seamlessly integrate your real estate SEO keywords into your blog posts.
- Engagement: Encourage readers to engage with your content through comments and shares.
Visual Content: A Must in Real Estate
The real estate industry is visual by nature. Leverage this by including high-quality images, virtual tours, and video content in your listings and blog posts. Remember to optimize these visuals with relevant keywords in their tags and descriptions.
Monitoring and Adapting Your Strategy
SEO is not a one-time task but an ongoing process. Regularly monitor your website’s performance and adjust your strategy based on these insights.
Tools for Monitoring SEO Performance
Use tools like Google Analytics and Google Search Console to track your website’s performance. Focus on metrics like:
- Traffic Sources: Understand where your traffic is coming from.
- Keyword Rankings: Keep track of how your keywords are performing in search results.
- User Engagement: Analyze how users interact with your site and content.
Refining Your Strategy
Based on the data, refine your strategy to focus on what works. This might involve targeting new keywords, revising your content, or exploring new marketing channels.
6 Practical Tips to Improve SEO for Real Estate
1. Integrate your Search Console with Google Analytics
In order to measure your success properly, you will first need to be able to track improvements efficiently. While you may already have both Google Search Console and Google Analytics set up for your website (as you should!), they’re not integrated with each other by default.
Doing this step allows you to access synchronized data from both platforms, unlocking access to notable features such as:
Landing Pages: See your top landing pages by user sessions, bounce rate for individual pages and more
This will help you understand which of your pages are underperforming and would need to be merged and revised. It’s a common trend in real estate SEO now to create many very templated pages with just the names changing, in order to try and capture some local ranking.
This is understandable as client lists in real estate, such as email lists, can be already in the 1000s, and these pages can serve as landing pages for personalized email marketing and paid ads, but it’s also important to consider that Google really doesn’t like duplicate content.
If your real estate site’s structure is not optimized, you should focus on content consolidation.
Devices: Understand where your search traffic is coming from
In this particular example, the website is receiving 98% of their search traffic from desktop devices. This is a rare case, but you should examine what are your clients searching with.
If someone is looking for real estate services, it’s more likely they are doing it in a concentrated way and using a laptop or sitting down behind a computer. So use that knowledge to your advantage when deciding on mobile friendliness vs mobile responsiveness.
How to integrate Google Analytics with Search Console
You do this through the Google Analytics Admin section. Go to the Admin section by clicking the gear in the bottom left corner, then choose Property Settings and scroll down to find “Search Console Links” at the very bottom. From there it’s pretty straightforward to set up, just choose your Search Console property and you’re good to go.
2. Create content that complements your website
Regarding real estate content writing
SEO agencies and a lot of freelancers nowadays will delegate it into something called “content writing”, but unfortunately you can’t just create general guidelines with keyword frequencies and anchor texts and other metrics to give to a generalist copywriter, and expect great ranking results (link anchor texts are still great, though).
It’s important to understand Google’s ranking algorithm here instead of trying to game it with methods that stopped working 10 years ago. Google wants high quality content and expertise, and the algorithm now is pretty good at detecting it.
SEO and Digital Marketing Strategist Adam Di Frisco at Atigro has some great advice about Google’s search algorithm:
“Google, like users, is looking to feature websites that could be considered the authority on any given topic. To establish yourself as an authority, you must consistently create content that answers searchers’ questions in complete depth, adds your unique perspective as somebody working in the industry (this is where AI fails), and provides a great overall website experience.”
A word about AI-generated content
If you were hoping to fill your website with ChatGPT content with some minor editing (or with some premium AI-content generation tools on the market), then you should also be cautious of that. While it might be tempting to do that for each location in your real estate business, you may also find that it comes with some drawbacks.
Tools like Originality.ai can already detect GPT content with scary accuracy, and it’s a safe bet that Google’s algorithm is also not so easily fooled.
These AI-created pages will simply not rank very high, but it can also backfire in terms of reducing your overall search ranking. Google likes websites with a high proportion of quality content, so it’s important not to dilute that.
Concentrate on creating evergreen pages with long-form content, and then have internal links to these pages from throughout the website.
3. Avoid Keyword Cannibalization
What is Keyword Cannibalization
Keyword cannibalization occurs when you have several pages targeting the same keyword on your website. In real estate SEO, this can be seen when several landing pages and blog posts are covering one location query.
Keyword cannibalization is a very contested and debatable term, but ultimately it comes down to this: it’s better to have one page rank higher than several pages down lower in the search results.
How to fix and prevent Keyword Cannibalization
If you have several pages that are covering the same topic, like general real estate advice for newcomers, or specific tips for certain situations, merge it into one page and revise it. It should bring you good results.
In the same vein, don’t focus your efforts on making several blog posts covering the same keyword that your evergreen pages are targeting.
Adam has some additional advice on how to avoid Keyword Cannibalization:
“A good practice for staying organized and avoiding keyword cannibalization is to keep track of your main topics, subtopics, and articles with associated targeted keywords. You can do this either in a spreadsheet or through a visual “bubble” diagram. Keeping track of this early on will save you lots of headaches later down the road when you have hundreds of webpages to keep track of.”
4. Use Your Real Estate Blog (And Images) Wisely
Real Estate Blog as a source of content for SEO
This is a topic of its own, but in general you should be maximizing the value of your blog, which many real estate business owners are not doing properly. Content is usually not posted regularly, and SEO-wise it could use some easy and effective fixes.
At the same time, as a real estate agent or business owner you communicate with so many people that you often have a lot of unique stories and relevant insights to share with your audience.
When focusing on your real estate blogging efforts (which is absolutely something you should do as content is extremely valuable for SEO), use your posts as ways to add get internal linking and quality content to your website.
Maximizing the value of images
Images are very important to handle right, in order to rank well. This can be your competitive advantage, as many people don’t bother with this, yet it can be very impactful.
Add descriptive alt tags to all images that are used in your posts and pages and use an image per 300-400 words. And use good, descriptive titles when uploading your images to the server, not something like “1235234.jpg”, since Google also takes note of that.
It only takes a couple minutes to add some images and alt text to them, but the SEO benefits are great, and they make it easier for Google to rank you.
Try to use original images that were not sourced from an image aggregator – the more unique, specific, and relevant to your niche the better. And it’s fine to bend the alt text a little to your advantage sometimes.
Here’s what Adam has to say about the value of multimedia for SEO:
Multimedia (images and videos) are one of the easiest ways to stand out in a sea of competition. All else being equal, Google will prefer sites with rich images and videos because this provides a better user experience, and the alt text and captions give Google more context about what the page is about. Always strive to take as many unique, professional images and videos as possible in your everyday work to include on your website.
5. Take Advantage of Internal Linking
Internal Linking and search ranking
The reason to focus on your real estate blog is not just to improve average content quality but to maximize internal linking, which is key to ranking high. You read that right – internal linking can significantly boost your search positioning.
4 Tips for Improving Internal Linking for your Real Estate website
Here are the best ways for a real estate agent to take advantage of the strength of internal linking:
- Link back to your evergreen pages, using keywords as the anchor text. Any page on your website needs to be interlinked with the pages that you want to rank, and in fact this is one of your strongest tools for free SEO improvement. This is why having a blog is great for real estate SEO.
- Use links generously throughout the text. They don’t have to be evenly distributed, just make sure that your page is interconnected with your domain and the internet as a whole. That also means make sure you link out to external websites and sources. Check out this great internal linking guide from Yoast SEO for more information.
- Take a moment to think about your site structure and what are you trying to achieve, SEO-wise. Which categories are the most profitable, or viable to target for your real estate venture, and how does your current site structure correspond to that?
- If your site’s structure needs to be optimized, then make sure to do that before you start creating new content.
6. Follow the Crowd (Title, URL, H1)
While creativity is great for digital marketing, SEO relies on using terms and concepts that the public and Google’s algorithm are familiar with. When thinking of titles, URLs and H1 headers for the website, don’t aim for too much originality. Instead, keep it simple.
Optimizing SEO meta for a Real Estate site
We specifically mentioned these three parameters as they are some of the biggest ranking factors for a page.
Header tags are especially prone to misuse by inexperienced authors. As Adam puts it:
“Header tags are one of the things we see most commonly misused on websites, especially WordPress websites. With many themes and page builders in WordPress, header tags are assigned automatically depending on font size, bolding, etc. You want to make sure you have manual control over what is an H1, H2, etc, to properly nest your page topic and subtopics. This goes a long way in helping search engines understand your page properly.”
Our advice for you regarding these parameters would be to use keywords that have good search volume and are relevant to your business operations. Making a page about real estate services for restaurants? Make the slug URL something like “/restaurant-real-estate”, and create the title and h1 accordingly.
How to fix a bad URL structure with permanent (301) redirects
If you already have a URL structure that’s a bit convoluted, installing an SEO plugin for WordPress will simplify the transition. It will automatically create 301 redirects to the new URL, and after a while Google will reindex the page as well.
Real Estate marketing is becoming increasingly competitive in 2024; paid ads are starting to become more expensive as well. Other digital marketing channels like SEO (and email marketing, of course) are still very effective, and you can use a variety of effective SEO practices to improve your search visibility at a little cost.
Building an effective real estate SEO strategy is a complex but rewarding endeavor. It requires a deep understanding of both your market and the intricacies of SEO. By following the steps outlined in this guide—conducting thorough keyword research, optimizing on-page and off-page elements, leveraging content marketing, and continuously monitoring and adapting your strategy—you can significantly enhance your online visibility.
Remember, the key to success in real estate SEO is persistence, adaptability, and a relentless focus on delivering value to your clients. With a well-executed SEO strategy, your real estate business is not just seen; it stands out. Check out our Real Estate SEO guide for more information.
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