3 SEO Strategies to Boost Traffic to Real Estate Websites
If you go to Google and search anything involving real estate, your results will be huge real estate websites like Realtor.com, Zillow.com, Trulia.com and etc. If you have an individual real estate website there is little chance of your website outranking any of those. However, there are ways to beat them in the areas where they don’t appear. You can do this by using a funnel model on your keywords. This way you can uncover the searcher’s actual intent when they put those words in the search bar. Knowing their intent will allow you to create the appropriate web content so that your site can rank towards the top in those keyword searches.
The Funnel System
The funnel model that works best for individual real estate websites consists of three steps: the base, the middle and the top of the funnel.
- The keywords at the base of your funnel should be the most powerful, the ones that your ad campaign is most focused on. However, those same keywords will likely be the same ones those large websites dominate most. These would be phrases like “buy a house in San Antonio,” “rent a condo in Houston,” and etc. You may want a high ranking for these keywords, but if your website has just been launched you won’t have the authority. These SEO keywords will be dominated by very well-established long-term websites. You will need at least six months and maybe a year of outstanding SEO to be in a position to write for and effectively compete in those keywords.
- Until then, my advice would be to focus on creating relevant, interesting content pertaining to the keywords in the middle and at the top of your funnel. Your middle-funnel keywords will include search terms people use before they’re ready to work with a realtor. Think about who your target client is and put yourself in his/her shoes. If you intend to show homes in Orange County, CA, you need to know that clientele intimately. What are they looking for? What kind of questions will they want answered before they’re ready to make an offer? These would involve local things involving the various neighborhoods, the demographics, quality of schools, crime rate, and things of that nature. This kind of information will get you closer to the real intentions of the people searching online, before they’re ready to choose a Realtor.
- If your website is just being launched, you will want to post quite a bit of content targeting keywords at the top of your funnel, very high-level search terms. I would suggest you include blogs on “things to do in Newport Beach,” “restaurants in Laguna,” very high-level topical subjects that someone moving to that area would want to read about and that is not specifically about real estate. Your primary goal is to get traffic and attract attention so that you’re building an awareness that you are offering people help and not just promoting listings. You are building your brand in the particular space you occupy.
The three most effective strategies we’ve been able to find for increasing the organic traffic to individual real estate websites are detailed below:
For the most part, there are three main types of web pages that we are going to focus on for SEO purposes: the pages featuring your listings, your category/building or neighborhood pages and your blog or resources pages. These are the pages where it would be most appropriate to include additional content. I am not discussing your Homepage or About Page because those are fairly straightforward. For the purposes of SEO, the three pages I mentioned are where you need to put your focus.
1) Pages featuring your listings
First, let’s discuss your listing pages. I consider these to be the most misused and misunderstood web pages in terms of effective SEO on real estate websites.
Everything bit of content you have on your website should be unique, relevant and add value. This is what Google is looking for when determining rank. The challenge that your listing pages present is that they come from the MLS, which means the same content is being sent to who knows how many thousands of other real estate websites? This duplicate content is being sent all over the web. Furthermore, you can’t even customize these listings because the turnover is so quick. By the time you edit the template, the property is sold and it’s off the market. Google considers these listing pages low-quality because of the quick turnover and their proliferation all over the web, so none of them are unique.
Under these circumstances Google will just send searchers to sites like Zillow.com because it has earned the most authority and the content there looks to be the most relevant on that particular home in the Newport Coast section of Newport Beach. So, this means that your listing pages have very little chance of achieving any ranking. For SEO purposes you need to get a little technical. Go into your Robots.txt file and block the crawl of those pages. This informs Google not to index them. I know this may go against everything you’ve previously been told, but when you have thousands of low-quality pages that are duplicated all over the Internet and continually turning over, Google typically won’t index them anyway. And, you should make sure they don’t because it would only serve to create a negative impression of your website.
It is far better for Google to only index your top pages and crawl those. When those low-quality pages are blocked, Google then reconsiders your website and will increase its level of authority now that the quality of the content is so much better. This is especially true because all your competitors still have all this duplicate content on their websites, stuff home buyers couldn’t care less about when searching online.
2) Building Neighborhood Pages
It’s important for you to understand the distinction between SEO external search, which is what Google is looking for, and website internal search, what users want. The goal is to direct people to your website with the content on your category/building or neighborhood pages and once on your site, they can find your listing pages. So, by blocking those pages from the crawl you raise the quality of your website, giving it a much better chance of ranking for many more things and much faster as well.
Therefore, the web pages you need to focus on for the base of your funnel would be your category/building or neighborhood pages. We’ve been at this for a while now and have quite a few lead generation websites that simply run off our category pages. Your focus should either be on type of buildings if you sell single-family homes and/or condos and their neighborhoods. These web pages will contain your most authoritative content for the keywords at the base of your funnel. They should be robust, no less than 500 words, contain multimedia, have titles and headings optimized, be Meta optimized using all the traditional SEO techniques. The content on these pages must be of excellent quality, have relevant information about the neighborhood the property is located in and the amenities offered in that building, if that page is one of your building pages.
3) Your Blog & Resource Pages
Lastly, we need to talk about your blog/resource pages. The content on these pages would focus on the keywords at the top and middle of your funnel. Once resource section could be neighborhood guides and place a link to these guides on your top-level navigation. You could create a resource section with a drop-down menu that includes each neighborhood. You could have Newport Beach and by clicking on that menu item you are directed to everything that anyone needs to know when looking for a home in Newport beach; the demographics, median income, public schools and private schools, where to go and what to do in the city and etc.
Your keywords at the top of your funnel would include “things to do in Newport Beach,” “best restaurants in Newport Beach,” and etc. This is where you would create blog content covering those topics to capture the incoming traffic generated by the blog. Let’s not forget that people looking for real estate want to see images. When you are looking for a particular building you want to see a photo. All the images on your website should be optimized using traditional SEO techniques. You would put the building name on the raw image file, place an alt tag on your website, then upload it to Pinterest and share it far and wide on social media. These typical SEO tactics can’t be ignored.
This way you have a chance of getting your photos ranked in Google images. In fact, you are able to track the traffic they generate in Google Search Console. Just go to your search analytics report, filter for image search and you will see exactly how much web traffic you’re getting via Google images.
Conclusion & Linkbuilding
Okay, now it’s time to discuss some ways to promote your site. This is usually done through link building, which is getting other websites talking about you and linking to your site for the purpose of attribution or citation. Imagine an article on the Huffington Post covering the 50 most successful Realtors in Orange County, CA and they listed you in the article. There would be a link to your website right there. That very link would be the #1 ranking factor. So, you need to figure out ways to get other websites talking about you so that there would be links back to your site from theirs.
This can be accomplished in two ways, first by targeting local bloggers. If you are a Realtor in Newport Beach, bloggers that cover events going on in Newport Beach, golf tournaments for example, try to connect with and possibly meet those bloggers. You should also target travel bloggers. Yes, I know you want to talk about real estate but people who are blogging about real estate probably have their own real estate agency and wouldn’t want to promote you. So, what you’re looking for are bloggers that would have an interest in what you’re doing, people you can work with.
Why not use Instagram? You can use Instagram search looking for geolocation tags or hashtags. Find all the bloggers and make a list of their websites, get their contact info and pitch them that way. You have to offer them something for free as an incentive, a value promotion. You can offer a sponsor content or whatever you think might interest them so they will give you some coverage. Think growth pack PR, but you’re targeting bloggers rather than news sites.
So there you have it! 3 real estate SEO strategies that aren’t being done by most real estate agents and goes beyond your traditional SEO optimization. Incorporate these tips today and see your SEO and backlinks to your website increase exponentially.