Buzzwords abound in the world of web design and digital marketing. And chances are, if you’ve talked to even one person who has anything to do with “digital”, you’ve heard the acronym “SEO.”
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization, and it’s a pretty integral part of any digital marketing strategy, particularly for real estate agents. Because it’s one thing to build a web site and it’s quite another to make sure the right people find it at the right time.
What’s a search engine?
Nobody ever says “Let’s use a search engine to find that.” They say, “Let’s Google it.” Google is a search engine (and is now a verb, too), as are Bing, Yahoo and even YouTube. The job of a search engine is to crawl around the code and content of a web site and add it to a gigantic index so that folks can type in a search phrase and find valuable, on point content.
What is “organic search?”
This is another phrase you might hear with talking about SEO. Organic search has nothing to do with chemicals or GMO. Instead, it’s about the results that Google or another search engine will show a user: a free entry that appears because it’s relevant to someone’s search terms. Paid results show up above and to the right of these.
So how do you optimize your content?
Optimization means that you are thinking about the way potential clients will be searching the web and how your web site can have the content that best matches those searches.
For example, a homeowner or homebuyer in the pretend town of Sandbrook may go to Google and type in “Sandbrook real estate agents” or maybe “homes for sale in Sandbrook.” In order to optimize your Sandbrook real estate business, your site should include any and all variations, such as:
- Sandbrook real estate
- Sandbrook homes for sale
- Sandbrook real estate listings
- Sandbrook realtor
- Sandbrook real estate agent
But here’s the catch: if you write web content for the sole purpose of optimization, you will probably sound like a robot and your content will read like this:
Jane Doe is a Sandbrook real estate agent with Sandbrook real estate listings and homes for sale in Sandbrook.
Instead, try something like this:
As a real estate agent in Sandbrook, Jane Doe specializes in helping new home buyers find their dream homes in the Sandbrook, Westbrook and Southbrook areas.
Then elsewhere on your site, you can include versions of the other phrases from that list above.
Go beyond the MLS listing
As many real estate agents do, you probably have MLS or IDX listings integrated into your web site. And while this fills your site with up to date, specific and valuable content, MLS and IDX listings do nothing to help you with organic search.
Instead, you need to create the content about those listings in addition to your embedded listings. Write blog posts about your high priority listings, including your own photos and videos. That will significantly increase the searchability of that page.
Do more with your page titles
As we mentioned in our previous post on how to make the most of your real estate landing pages, page titles are a great opportunity for optimization. Don’t just call your personal bio page ‘About.’ Call it ‘About Jane Smith, Real Estate Agent in Hometown, State.’
However, that doesn’t mean your About page has to have that huge, clunky name in your main menu. A web developer might have to assist you, but you can shorten the name in the menu without shortening the page title.
Get listed yourself
Not all optimization happens on your web site. Be sure your site is listed on other sites, as Google and other search engines do look at how many other sites link back to yours. Trulia, Redfin and Zillow are just three to start with.
Don’t forget to measure!
There isn’t much point to optimizing your real estate web site (see what we did there? Optimized!) if you aren’t going to measure how it performs. Google Analytics is a free, easy to install analytics tool that will help you understand some of the search terms visitors use to find your site, what other web sites are sending you traffic and how your landing pages are performing.
As you move forward with your digital marketing strategy, SEO is a constant. Search engines love fresh content, so keep updating and publishing!