Five Ways To Use SEO To Drive Real Estate Leads
Ninety percent of people start their home search online. Ninety percent! For consumers, the most difficult real estate challenge is finding the right property, followed by finding the right agent to buy or sell a home. As a real estate firm, how do you make sure these consumers find you?
One crucial tactic you need is Search Engine Optimization (SEO). While most agents and real estate outlets do have an online presence, most report that keeping up with technology in the digital age is a challenge.
Most prospective home buyers these days use search engines, like Google, to find properties or to find an agent to sell their home. You can use SEO to help people find your real estate firm and the services you provide. While SEO can be complex, there are some tried and true tactics to help you be found online.
Optimize for local keywords
People want a realtor familiar with the area where they are looking to sell or buy. Of course, most realtors conduct business more broadly, covering several areas, but you want to look like a local expert for every location. If you are just starting out, focus first on the area where you do most of your business and then expand from there. You should focus on keywords with city or neighborhood modifiers:
[City name] homes for sale
[City name] real estate
[Neighborhood name] realtor
[Neighborhood name] real estate agent
You probably already have a good start, with website pages such as Homes for Sale, Community, Testimonials, and even your Realtor Profile. Just make sure each of these sections is optimized for local keywords. When you do this, you are in effect turning your website into a local resource, and that’s what potential clients want. Provide as much local info as you can, particularly about the neighborhood(s), things to do, school districts, outdoor amenities like parks and nature trails, crime rates and information about the average area homeowner (things like median income, whether they’re families or couples without kids, and other similar details.)
One thing to note here is that you should make these optimizations seem natural – when someone comes to your site and reads the content it shouldn’t seem forced – optimize for the search engines, but write for your customers. This also means that you shouldn’t try to spin up pages just for the sake of optimizing for each local variation of a given keyword. The Google algorithm can make connections between keywords and looks for larger keyword themes. For example, you shouldn’t have four different pages, each optimizing for (Minneapolis Realtor, Saint Paul Realtor, Bloomington Realtor, Edina Realtor). Instead, you should have a single page with a title like “Realtor servicing Minneapolis, Saint Paul, Bloomington and Edina.” You can also bolster the page relevance by including addresses of relevant offices in each of those cities that you work out of.
Leveraging video (include information about schema markup for embedded videos)
Of course, most realtors use photos. After all, taking those great shots of the living room or yard of a property for sale is a hallmark of the business. Photos will always be a staple ingredient for your listings, but you should definitely consider using video if you’re not already doing so.
100 million Internet users view video each day. While they’re certainly not all looking for homes to buy, that’s still a lot of users, and this gives you an indication of the power of video for your business. Average users watch about 30 videos per month, so you simply must use video for any marketing messages you’re sending in real estate.
Video tours are greatly loved by home buyers. These days, great software packages are available on the market for you to do 360-degree tours of your homes and properties. Buyers are pressed for time, and they want to watch realistic videos to get a real sense of the properties to cut down on time to only do in-person visits to the top picks on their list. Data shows that real estate listings with video get many more views than those without it, and views definitely convert to leads.
Speaking of video, consider using it to optimize your bio. Definitely keep your text bio, but create a video bio as well. You’ve heard the phrase “a picture is worth a thousand words.” According to Dr. James McQuivey of Forrester Research, one minute of video is worth 1.8 million words. A video where you describe yourself and your real estate practice will do wonders.
Optimizing all of these videos on your site is also key – making sure that Google is able to quickly find and index these videos is important. You can help Google by leveraging schema markup (several lines of code) for your videos. To make this easier for you, there are several WordPress plugins to help you implement this markup.
Optimize for your own name and location
Your name is important in your business, so be sure to optimize it. Don’t forget to include your name in your SEO. Remember—your goal is to be the hometown or in-the-know area realtor buyers are looking for. Don’t forget to rank for your name, because people will search for it, and make sure you have contact information listed on your site and in your bio. You also might even think about purchasing the .com and .net addresses for your name, which many realtors use with great success. This purchase isn’t a huge investment. You can own the domain for pennies a day.
Don’t just purchase your personal .com, use it! You can do something as simple as a one-page resume, or something more dynamic like publishing a blog. It’s a fantastic way to build your reputation strategy in the marketplace. Your personal brand means so much in the real estate business. There are very easy-to-use do-it-yourself platforms like Wix or WordPress that are ideal for people with no Web coding experience. Another option is to redirect these to your bio on the broker website.
Word of mouth is still very important, and people will search on your name. You should definitely have a social media presence.
You should also strongly consider having a professional page on social media outlets like LinkedIn, Facebook, Pinterest and others. These pages tend to rank in the top 10 in terms of search results. Use your full name to create these accounts, because it boosts your overall online footprint and visibility. Once you have these pages set up, don’t forget to use them. Maybe you sell a high dollar property, or maybe you reach a sales goal. In both cases, make sure you share this to your social channels.
Also consider setting up a Google Business page. When you completely fill out this page with your business location, reviews, and other information, it will help you be found in local and maps search.
Make Your Site Mobile
More and more, potential buyers are searching for homes on mobile devices, which is why it is extremely important for you to have a website optimized for mobile. Users with downtime between meetings or on the subway ride to and from work are going to use that time efficiently, and if they’re in the market for a home, they’re going to search on their phone during this down-time.
Users do everything on their phones: look for map directions for home locations, read about the home, compare features and prices, look at your real estate inventory of homes, read reviews, and email you! They especially watch property videos. So you see why it is important to make your website mobile, and it is really easy to do. WolfNet websites are built using responsive design, which means they automatically adapt to whichever device someone is using.
Generate leads by using reviews
In real estate, your reputation is key. Potential clients want to see what reputation you have in the local area. You can use reviews from past clients to showcase your reputation. Today’s review tools like Yelp and others are very comprehensive. In addition to the reviews, you can showcase your services, add pictures and even video, offer special promotions, and send directions to their mobile devices. Being able to do all of this before they even meet you will ensure a higher conversion of leads into clients. Leads are going to call the realtor with several great client reviews rather than the one that just has a name and phone number listed.
Also, as with video, you can use schema markup to make your reviews more likely to show up in search results. The same rich snippet plugin mentioned above can help implement this as well.
The main thing to remember with real estate SEO is that you need to think and be local. This means optimizing for local keywords and providing as much locally relevant and useful information as possible to your site visitors.