Organic Growth Tips Specifically For Real Estate Companies
Gone are the days when new home buyers read newspaper ads to find a new home. In the digital age, 44 percent of new home buyers look online for potential homes before ever contacting a real estate office. For the last few years, we’ve helped a number of real estate websites get more organic traffic from Google.
In fact, the best real estate websites already have carefully constructed listing pages with virtual tours allowing buyers the opportunity to view a number of potential homes and narrow down their search all from the comfort of their living room.
We decided to put together this post to round up our top “real estate SEO” strategies that have helped to achieve explosive results.
This post will explore actionable ways you can optimise your website to capture the attention and purchasing power of your best customers and convert more leads.
Let’s dive in.
How Home Buyers Search
The typical home buyer will use their mobile phone to search online, looking at websites, listings and seeking out information about the home buying and lending process.
Understanding how to list homes effectively will improve your chances of having your listings seen before your competitions’.
New home buyers aren’t just interested in the brick and mortar plan of a potential new home. They also need to be able to see themselves living there. To get a better picture of where a potential home is located, buyers will want to know about the amenities of the area. Where is the nearest shopping area? How are the schools? What is the crime rate? The need for this information provides content opportunities for your website. We’ll explore this a little later on.
How to buy a home
When a new home buyer does their online research they are not always just looking at potential homes but also how to purchase it. Many buyers, particularly millennials, often have questions around the more technical aspects of home ownership such as how to get a home loan, how to budget for your first deposit, how to negative gear a current home to buy an investment property.
We noticed that the interest in real estate marketing from real estate agency owners is growing more and more as the competition expands especially across the local landscape. The way houses are being sold is changing and we might just see augmented reality impact the discovery and way that the houses are shown online.
Creating informative content around these types of questions builds trust with your audience and positions you as a thought leader in your industry. This trust is what makes a potential customer more likely to enquire about and pay for your services when the time comes to buy. It is also what helps your site be found among the thousands of others online.
Understanding how home buyers search for homes and other related information is vital to optimizing your site. In fact, providing content that answers your leads questions is the most important part of the puzzle.
The next piece is understanding how to position this content so that searchers can easily find it. This is where keywords come in.
Now that you understand how home buyers search, we’ll take a look at how you can leverage this information to position your website to be more easily found.
Step 1: Select Your Keywords
Have a brainstorm session and write down a list of keywords that reflect your business and its services. For example, you might try ‘real estate agency’, ‘real estate agent’, or “real estate companies”.
If you’re having trouble finding keywords for your business try typing various “keywords” into Google based on your business (i.e. “Gold Coast real estate agent”).
Google Suggested Search will show you similar keywords to help you build out your list.
Pro tip: When choosing your keywords, ask yourself if the keywords are relevant to your services and the content on your website. Will a searcher find what they are looking for if they searched using the keywords you have chosen? Or, will they find irrelevant content when they arrive to your site.
When you have built your list of keywords, sign up for Google Adwords. You won’t need to create an ad campaign but you can use the account to access the Google Keyword Planner Tool which will show you how much traffic your keywords get and will also list other related keywords that may benefit your website.
When you are ready to compile your final list of target keywords, you’ll need to consider which of the two following headers they fall under.
Research intent keywords are a good indicator that a potential lead is just shopping around and in the early stages of the process. Perhaps they are considering selling their home, or downsizing in the near future but haven’t made a firm decision. For example, searching for “home prices Parramatta” is probably just someone deciding whether they should buy a house in this suburb, rather than a lead ready to buy.
Research intent keywords will not result in a quick conversion but are valuable when it comes to building your blog content. These vital posts build trust in your brand with those who are still doing research and will remember you when they are ready to buy or sell a home in the future.
Don’t underestimate the value of these keywords when it comes to long term content creation which should be a vital part of your SEO strategy going forward.
Buying intent keywords are those that a potential lead searched when they are already in need of your services. It would be safe to assume that someone who is searching with “buy a house in Parklea” would like to make a purchase soon.
Search intent is how Google learns what web pages match the intent of the person searching. As shown above, the keyword funnel shows how a person would move down the customer journey if they were searching for a Ford Ranger.
The same principle applies to people searching for a rental property in Penrith or looking for a 4x2 house for sale in Applecross. While one person may want to find a house in Hillary’s another person may want to find a house for sale in Hillary’s, while this is nearly the same the web pages that each person wants to see will be different depending on the search query.
When it comes to optimizing your site initially, your primary focus must be these buying intent keywords. Ensure they are used in your listings pages, featured on your home page and build your service pages with these keywords at the core. All supporting keywords can be semantically related and on the topic to the buyer keywords, this creates a more complete and helpful web page for people searching for information.
Step 2: Keep it local
72% of consumers who did a local search visited a business within five miles when it came time to make their purchase. Be sure to optimise your site for local search before you try to rank nationally.
Most real estate agents service more than one region or city. But when you first start optimizing your website, be sure to focus solely on the main city you do business . After you have had success with this you can branch out to target other areas.
Optimize your website for search terms such as:
- [City] real estate agent
- [City] real estate
- [City] real estate listings
- [City] homes for sale
These words should appear on the main pages of your website. For example, a Sydney real estate website that focuses on just Penrith realty might consist of pages based on local search suggestions such as:
- Penrith Houses for Sale
- Penrith Apartments for Sale
- Living in Penrith
- Penrith Real Estate Testimonials
- About Your Penrith real estate agents
Be sure to use the local target keywords throughout the pages by writing them into content that is useful for a prospective home buyer.
STEP 3: GET TECHNICAL
When you are optimised locally, you’ll need to go a little deeper into making sure the technical aspects of your site are taken care of. The better your site works and can be crawled by search engines, the more likely it is to rank for the keywords you have chosen. The higher your pages rank, the more sales you are likely to generate.
How Does Real Estate Marketing Online Work?
We cover the basic SEO steps in our processes that you can get when you sign on as a client. This post is about more marketing tips that work in conjunction with SEO. What does our process look like?
Discover Analysis. In the discovery stage, we look at the landscape, keyword opportunities, competitor research and areas that can be improved.
We also look at what type of listings competitors use, what features to include, what details are provided to people searching for houses.
Technical SEO. Auditing website page load speeds, URL structures, Schema markup, navigation structure, Mobile responsiveness and xml.sitemaps.
We go on a real deep dive into the website backend looking for areas that can be improved for Google to read and understand the website and for people searching to find what they want without needing to click too many times.
OnPage SEO. We optimise items like page titles, keyword density (on each page) and content quality / depth and readability.
Here is where a lot of the work comes in analysing what you have and don’t have, finding a balance of enough information, how it is presented and where it is placed.
User experience signals. Items like enagement, on site dwell time, analysis of bounce rate and search queries.
We also expand into placement of buttons, placement of the listing features, maps, contact details for the agents and anything that can help in the decision making process for a website visitor.
Online buzz. Items like social media activity, bloggers, branded search and online coverage and local media.
We want to really look at how we can increase our clients online visibility, this includes looking at backlinks and areas where we can get more exposure.
When it comes to optimising your real estate website there are two main types of pages where it pays to be scrupulous:
These pages target your buyer intention keywords and are the pages on your site where you list and describe the properties you have for sale. When it comes to SEO, these pages can be problematic for a couple of reasons:
- Quality: When it comes to ranking, these pages are considered by Google’s crawlers to be of lower quality than your website’s main pages. Containing the same information as other websites they can get your site bitten for containing duplicate content.
- Turnaround speed: Listings pages are published and irrelevant very quickly as houses are sold. Sometimes, this process happens so quickly that Google doesn’t even have time to rank the page before it is obsolete. If these types of pages are not managed correctly they will bloat your site which can cause further ranking issues down the road.
Quick fix: Block the crawl of any listing pages in Google Console using your Robots.txt file. The paged will remain live on your website but will not be indexed by search engines. This may seem strange considering the goal is to rank highly in the SERPs but by removing dead weight from your sitemap, Google is forced to focus solely on your best and most-optimized pages.
If you have a new, low authority website, it’s super important that every page that makes you money has unique and valuable content on it.
Blog posts and resource pages
These pages are used to target your research intention searchers. Here you create blog post and informative pages about your region to convert readers to future leads.
The topics within these pages don’t need to be about real estate. Instead, focus on answering questions that a potential buyer would ask about the neighbourhood you operate in. Returning to the Penrith real estate example, here would create informative pages that cover topics such as ‘what is it like to live in Penrith?’ ‘Schools in Penrith’ or ‘Things to do in Penrith.’
Here you want to capture all of the searches people undertake before they are ready to hire your services.
Recommendation: Apply traditional SEO tactics to your pages, ensuring they have optimized headers containing your keyword, structured data laid out with <H2>’s, <H3>’s and bullet points.
Be sure that the content is in-depth, containing at least 500 words, tables, relevant images and other media.
Once you’ve mastered all of the above, give your site an overall audit to make sure everything is performing as well as it should be. It won’t matter how good your content is if your images take 30 seconds each to load. Be sure that your site loads quickly and is easy to use.
This leads us to the next step:
STEP 4: IMPROVE USER EXPERIENCE (UX)
Researchers found that coloured visuals increase people’s willingness to read a piece of content by 80%. It is small changes like this that can make a big difference to how user’s experience your website. It is important to evaluate UX regularly. Continuous improvement over time will keep your site easily found and accessible to leads ready to buy.
Here are a few changes you can make today to improve home buyers’ interaction with your website:
1 Make search easy
We’ve all seen search forms that have so many fields that once you have entered the information required you only receive one or two results. Make sure your search form doesn’t have too many fields so that users can easily find what they are looking for.
2 Make next steps obvious
Make it clear what is the most important element of your page. Make any links or calls to action clear and obvious so that your site visitors aren’t confused about what action they need to take next.
3 Only list relevant information
The benefits of listing pages is that you can give as much information as you want about a property, but be careful not to give too much information. Stick to what is relevant and important to home buyers, such as price, location, number of bedrooms, number of bathrooms, the size of the property, the floor plan and images of the home itself.
4 Optimise for mobile and tablet
It cannot be emphasised enough how important this is for the success of your business. Home buyers are searching online right now for their new home. You need to be sure that the properties on your books are listed where your audience is looking for them.
BONUS: Optimise for page load speed. The single most important factor moving into the new year is speed.
Another thing a LOT of Real Estate companies leave out of their online marketing is hyper-relevant content. The focus on content for real estate websites is about the Geo location and providing searchers with access to houses for rent or sale in specific areas, having content that is helpful can help visitors looking for a new home may consider areas that your realty website is featuring on it’s blog or as a highlighted suburb.
Search engines love hyper-targeted content that users can engage with, plus used strategically this type of content can increase attendances at home opens and sales leads.
What would we suggest to do for real estate websites that want to expand their business? we suggest investing in a content marketing strategy that covers your target business areas. Content marketing is time-consuming and is not for everyone however you are in the right place, we have specialists in content marketing that can assist you with strategy and delivery to help you reach more people.
As you can see, there are many considerations when it comes to optimising your real estate website. Be meticulous in your keyword research, optimise your content to rank locally for these target keywords and ensure your site is mobile friendly and easy to use and fast. The return on your time and investment will be well worth the effort or you can fast track it all and work with a company like Be Media that specialises in this.
Contact us today to talk about how we can help your real estate marketing get back on track.