You’ve probably heard over and over again that search engine optimization (SEO) is important to the success of your IDX website, primarily by way of your real estate blog and the other content you produce.
If you’re like some other full-time industry professionals, though, you might still struggle to understand what exactly SEO is, the specific ways in which it can provide a boost for your digital presence, and, ultimately, how it truly benefits your business goals.
While we could explain the overarching concept of SEO for real estate and how a search strategy fits in your overall marketing plan, let’s start off slow by honing in on one important, core aspect of search success: keyword inclusion.
Read on to get detailed insights as to the role keywords play in your website’s on-page SEO, how you can research popular, locally focused terms and phrases to use on your site, and SEO pitfalls to avoid.
How Real Estate Agents Benefit from SEO
Long-form content that provides unique value for your niche audience(s): That’s what’s overwhelmingly favored by search engines today. So, as long as you consistently craft original, fresh, pertinent content for your main buying or selling demographic(s), you’re golden. Here are some of the other top ways in which you benefit from having a concrete real estate SEO plan for your brand.
1) When optimized accordingly, your content can be found by more people (a.k.a. possible leads) within your target audience.
The entire point of writing content for your website is to attract people to it, mostly through having your prospective visitors find said content via search engines. As we’ve discussed here on the Academy before, SEO is the long-term marketing play for agents, so don’t expect instant results or success.
Having said that, once you have a consistent publication pattern down for your site pages and posts and ensure each one features the appropriate, relevant keywords, you will start to see them slowly but surely climb up the search engine results pages (SERPs) and, in turn, earn you more traffic.
2) A strong SEO strategy provides you with an opportunity to increase your brand awareness for the long term.
Since your search-optimized content is, in theory, reaching a wider audience, you’re presented with more opportunities to promote your personal brand and get more online individuals to notice what makes it unique and different from other, local firms and Realtors.
Doing this will ultimately drive more traffic to your site as well, and keep your name top of mind with those searching for homes and representation. Just be sure your homepage and about page are up to snuff so visitors are able to easily discern who you are, what your niche is, how many deals you’ve closed, and other top business facts. Otherwise, your SEO efforts for these pages will be all for naught.
3) You can become more competitive with other Realtors in your market — and even best their search-ranked website pages.
If you’re actively using the right mix of targeted keywords in your real estate blog posts, your content will gradually begin to rank next to — and potentially above — your competitors, Sure, they’ll likely take notice, if they too have SEO strategies in place … but the truth is not every agent does, so that’s a big advantage for your agency in the long run.
Understanding that there are benefits to optimizing the content on your real estate website is only the first step, though. Eventually, newer agents will emerge in search rankings in the weeks, months, and years ahead. For that reason, it’s vital to a) constantly evaluate your existing pages’ keywords to ensure they’re still highly searched and good to incorporate site-wide, and b) create lots of new pages and posts that include other long-tail keywords associated with your market.
The SEO Optimization Basics to Know
Getting started with SEO might feel overwhelming, but it’s necessary to educate yourself to bolster your real estate content marketing efforts (and eventually generate new, high-quality leads from SEO). Below, you’ll find our tips and tricks to help you get started off on the right foot when creating your search-friendly content and deciding which keywords to target.
Don’t go overboard with keywords like it’s the year 2000!
To put it bluntly, you need to avoid keyword-stuffing at all costs. It’s a “black hat” SEO tactic that was popular several years ago, when Google and the like favored pages with lots of random keywords. Today, though, the practice is greatly frowned upon, since the tactic doesn’t consider a human audience and goes against search engine guidelines.
Instead, pick a handful of high-quality, long-tail keywords that pertain to your housing market (e.g. “Two-story brownstones in Philadelphia,” “luxury Miami condos,” etc.) to implement in your real estate blog posts. There are several tools available if you need ideas or want to track which ones are popular — including and especially Google Keyword Planner. From there, you can develop content around specific focus terms and phrases that relate to your real estate niche and attempt “own” those keywords in SERPs.
Focus on the critical sections of your IDX real estate website.
Whether you’re zeroing in on on a single, dynamic keyword or a group of them, the keyword(s) should appear in your title, meta description, URL, several times throughout the content, and in your article tags to be fully optimized and appear in search. Make sure to add relevant keywords to any images you’re using as well within the alt text and description.
Leverage internal and external links to your advantage.
Successful SEO practices aren’t just about targeting the right keywords and settling on the correct title, the links you use matter a great deal too. The more popular and important a site is, the more links from that site matter. This is what’s known as global popularity in the world of SEO, and if done correctly it can increase your rankings.
If you’re a beginner real estate agent, your content is probably not going to rank right off the bat, but you improve your chances by including links to relevant content from other sites. For example, let’s say you come across an infographic from the National Association of Realtors and include a link to it in a blog entry. Since this link comes from a reputable source, you’ll get more traction from it on your site.
A lot can also be said for regularly updating your links to keep your content relevant on search engines, and maintaining a robust online presence. Although social sharing is treated differently by search engines, it’s still a noteworthy and necessary component of your SEO strategy.
The Ins and Outs of Keyword Targeting
While the quality of the real estate content on your website shouldn’t be given any less of your time, keyword research might be the most overlooked aspect of SEO, research finds. If people don’t find your website when they’re searching for the types of homes you specialize in selling, you’re putting in a lot of effort for nothing.
Start with a focus keyword and make broad associations around it. For example, let’s say you work in a community in Seattle. You might begin with “Seattle real estate” as your main keyword and list every combination you can think of that relates:
- Seattle real estate agent
- Realtor Seattle
- Seattle neighborhoods
- Buying homes in the Seattle area
- Home search Seattle
- Pacific Northwest homes
- Real estate agent Pacific Northwest
After you’ve exhausted keyword combination possibilities, pick a few to segment. Depending on how large your area of focus is, you’ll want to narrow your keyword groups down into neighborhood names or even buildings.
The key here is to try and predict which terms your leads will search for, and focus on those in your content. Conduct several test searches before categorizing them. Your prospects will almost definitely use different words than you will, and the trick is to try and predict how they’ll phrase their searches so your content is available as people are looking for it.
Focus nearly entirely on local SEO for your site.
It’s not a good idea to try and devote your energy to working in a handful of different communities when you could be more focused and hone your expertise in one area. Local SEO is imperative to use when you work within a specific neighborhood, especially when you have a physical location–such as your office–to feature.
Be specific and detailed when optimizing your Realtor blog. Doing this almost guarantees people will find you if they’re searching for “Condo in Seattle neighborhood” as in the example above. Don’t forget about these on-page characteristics as well when crafting your content to appear in local SEO results:
- City/neighborhood keyword relevance in search: Add your location and a related keyword in all of the places content is optimized on your site, like the meta description and title.
- Physical address & city/state: Include the address of your office in all tags, website titles, and descriptions to make sure it appears on maps and in local search results.
- Topical relevance: Create pages full of local content that provides value for your prospects, rather than trying to ensure your content ranks just for the sake of rankings. Doing this will put you in a better position as a trustworthy source of information at the local level, and your prospects can rest assured that your content will be useful in their home search.
Learn how to select the right keywords for your real estate website with Placester’s real estate SEO spreadsheet planning tips.
What are some of the local search techniques you use on your IDX website? Share your SEO tips and tricks with us below!
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