Search engine optimization for real estate agents is a high stakes game. Ranking in Google can be the difference between no calls and too many calls, so it’s important to invest some time into learning the basics of SEO. You’ll get more buyer and seller leads every time you jump ahead of your competition on Google’s search results page.
While there’s no magic bullet to reaching page one for a given search term, there are certain things you can do to up your chances of ranking higher in Google. Here are five things you should do right away if you want to rank higher in search engines.
1. Focus on Long-Tail Keywords
If you ask real estate agents what terms they’d like to rank for, the first thing you’re likely to hear is “real estate + their city”. Unfortunately, this goal is lofty if you serve a large municipality. It’s hard for a real estate agent or team to compete with major real estate websites and portals that likely have hundreds of thousands of more monthly visitors and tens of thousands of more backlinks.
Your gameplan shouldn’t be to rank for the most searched phrases, it should be to rank for more specific phrases known as long-tail keywords. Instead of trying to rank for “real estate Vancouver”, try ranking for “top-rated realtors in Mt. Pleasant”, or “things to know about moving to Kits.” Those kinds of search terms are much less contested, and writing articles on your website that focus on those topics can bring in lots of new traffic.
Another way you can use content to rank higher is by creating videos that target these long-tail keywords. If you write a blog that focuses on capturing a specific search query, add a video to your page that also addresses answering the searcher’s intent. This will keep people on your page longer, which is a signal to Google that you’re providing an answer to its user’s questions.
2. Make Sure Your Technical SEO is Done Properly
You might need to work with your website developer to get this done, but it’s imperative that you understand the basics of technical search engine optimization. Web developers won’t necessarily take this into consideration for you, so map out a plan and provide them with the changes you need to see. This will help you bring more attention to your listings and website overall.
There are plenty of SEO tools online that can help you address potential problems, but we’d start by focusing on the following technical SEO fixes:
Meta Descriptions: Write short, 150 character summaries for all of your webpages. These summaries should include relevant keywords to help you rank. Pass this list along to your web developer.
Title Tags: Title Tags are displayed in search engine queries as the headline that people click, so you want to make sure this is updated to match the searcher’s intent. These should be roughly 50-60 characters, and you should put your important keywords at the beginning of your title. Create this list for every page on your website and provide it to your web developer.
Alt Tags: Every image on your website should have an Alt Tag. These tags are descriptions that explain what is in your images to Google. If you have a picture of your office in Edmonton, your Alt Tag should read “real estate office in Edmonton”. Make a list of these tags for every image and provide them to your developer.
URL Structure: The URL strings on your website should be readable, not numbers and abbreviations that make no sense to your readers. Take this blog that you’re reading for example - notice that the title of this blog is reflected in the URL string? Your website should use a similar structure.
Taking care of these four technical SEO fixes can be done in a day or two, and will help you rank for years to come. Don’t put them off any longer.
3. It’s all about the Links
Getting other websites to point, or link back to your website, will help you rank higher in Google Search (if the links are coming from credible websites). This is just one of the reasons why setting up profiles in online directories and joining professional organizations is beneficial. Their links will lift your website higher in search engines and help you become the go-to real estate agent in your community.
You could also try writing for industry publications, or having your expert advice quoted in other people’s articles. If you’re new to guest posting, you could start by writing on LinkedIn Pulse or Medium to get your words out to a larger audience. If you tag your posts properly and share them with the right people, you’ll be surprised at how many people will start turning to you for quotes.
Another little known secret to getting links back to your website is HARO, short for Help A Reporter Out. The website sends out requests for quotes from journalists at publications large and small, and if your quote is selected you’ll see a link point from their publication to your website. HARO covers topics of all kinds, but real estate is one of the most popular. It’s free to sign up and with a little consistency, you’ll start getting more links back to your website in no time.
4. Mobile-Friendly is Crucial
Searchers are using mobile devices more than ever before, and the share of internet traffic continues to skew away from desktop and towards mobile every single year. If you’re going to invest time into ranking higher on Google Search, it only makes sense that you consider mobile since it’s where things are headed.
You’ll need to work with a developer to make sure your website is mobile-friendly. If it’s not, this can keep you from ranking on Google Search indefinitely. Address this immediately and set yourself up for success in search.
Here’s how to test to see if your website is mobile-friendly.
5. Build Community Pages
When people are searching for new properties, they often want to learn about the neighbourhood. What are the schools like? What did the average single-family home sell for last year? How safe is the area?
Spend your marketing hours building pages that answer questions like these. Do a quick search to see what the best community pages in your service area look like and what questions they answer, and then make it a goal to write and build something even more extensive. If you create better content than what’s ranking at the top of Google, you’ll put yourself in a good place to rank higher in search results. It’s also a great way to brand yourself as a local real estate expert.
Replicate this process for other neighbourhoods and communities that you service and before you know it, you’ll be pulling in tons of relevant traffic from potential buyers and sellers. You might even learn an extra thing or two about the communities you serve which can help your overall sales presentation.
If you follow these five tips you’ll be ranking higher in Google Search quickly. Tackle one project at a time and keep improving as you go. You’ll thank yourself a year from now.