Real Estate SEO is a lot like Recruitment and Jobs SEO. Unless you are one of the major aggregators, eg: Domain/Seek, there is very little point in trying to optimise for “New Homes Sydney”, because you are coming up against massive players for the front page.
If you are a small Real Estate Agent, or even a franchise owner, you are going to want to a)promote your existing properties to people looking in your area and b)promote your services to potential vendors.
With this in mind, here are our top 9 tips for optimising your real estate website for search engines. We assume you have gone through our other posts on SEO to get an idea of how to keyword research etc.
- Optimise your front page first on your location, then on your name. Don’t think about going for words like “new homes” or “buy homes sydney”. The more you can optimise for your location, the more likely you will be able to promote homes in your area. The better your name is optimised the more likely you are to be found when people look for you. For vendors, most frequent searches are for the name of the real esate agent, and “real estate + location” comes a distant second.
- Make sure you have your page structure built around the size of the house, ie 4 bedroom etc, and then separate pages for each property, with descriptive page titles based on location. If someone searches for “4 bedroom house, lane cove” you want your pages to have the best chance of being found. For buyers, the most common searches are for the number of bedrooms and then the location.
- Search for link partners from your local geographic area. Local search is becoming more important, so finding other businesses who want to link to you within 20kms of your business is a must! You can do a search for “add url your location” etc.
- When you have your pages for each property built, use the target term evaluator from SEO moz to see if your page is best optimised for that property. Some common things websites miss having good descriptive terms for their images, and using the H1 tag properly.
- Find out where your competitors and near competitors are getting their links from. Use the opensite explorer to find out if they are using directories or link partners to improve their position. You can also use the operator “link:yoursite.com” in Google to see what has been indexed.
- Sponsor local sports teams. Make sure you ask them for a link back to your site, from their front page, that is both image AND text. If you can, instead of sponsoring the one local soccer team for a few thousand dollars, sponsor the local team for a small fee, and then sponsor several other local teams too. We once looked into this for a client, and found we could sponsor the local table tennis competition, badminton competition and chess tournament, all for less than $500. The more teams you can sponsor the better. You get double points if you can get naming rights to the competition.
- Allow for Q+A or comments on pages, or at least somewhere on your website. This is about increasing the amount of relevant and interesting content on your website. If you can allow people to post questions and you answer them, this is going to increase the amount of interaction and content that is relevant to people searching for you. You don’t have to approve every comment, or even have a full time effort at it, but just post some of the most common questions about a property or about your service, on your website.
- Another content tip is to have a blog. Talk about upcoming real estate trends, vendor’s nightmares, anything that relates to buying and selling a property. You don’t have to make it all about one house or another apartment, talk about the industry etc. One of our biggest sources of leads comes from this blog! If you manage to start writing some lengthy blog posts, then you can start to post those to other blogs, article websites or squidoo etc.
- Talk in forums. There are forums for new immigrants, new buyers, newly weds etc. Spend 15 minutes a week on a few forums to spread your name around. You don’t have to be mercenary and JUST talk about real estate, make it real and give some sage advice. Try to find forums that allow you to have a signature, which will help with links back to your site. For Australians, there is the expat forum or the Australia forum.
Remember SEO is a long process, especially in competitive markets. What you are aiming for with your Real Estate website is to allow the properties you do post to have the best chance they possibly can to be found.