If you’ve been paying attention to SEO (search engine optimization) over the past few years, you’ve know doubt heard the declarations of “SEO is dead!” What you need to know is that SEO is not dead, but it has changed. SEO is no longer about stuffing your webpage with keywords, or buying backlinks on other websites. If you don’t know what that means—good. Those are old practices that will only get you in trouble with Google, the Internet police. Now, SEO is about the content you’re producing. As Douglas Karr says, “Good SEO requires exceptional content marketing…knowing who your audience is, where they are, how to attract them, and—ultimately—how to convert them.” This doesn’t mean keywords are no longer important. Instead, it means that you have to work hard to seamlessly incorporate top quality keywords into top quality content.
For real estate agents in an increasingly digital world, SEO is extremely important. One of the first things most consumers do when deciding to buy or sell something is head straight to the Google search bar. If you’re website or content is not somewhere visible in the search results, there is a large change that this potential client will find someone else—maybe even your local competition. We’ve decided to help you out! Here are some of the things we found helpful when it comes to optimizing your website.
Choosing Your Keywords
Deciding which keywords you’re going to pursue is vital to the success of your SEO strategy. This isn’t something you should do in a hurry or on a whim. Effective keyword strategy takes time and research. One of the things I like to do while researching keywords is spend sometime in the Google search bar. It’s great to see the kinds of things that are being searched by consumers. When you type in one word, Google will show you suggested searches for that word based on what other people have typed in. It’s a great way to get the basic idea of keywords you may want.
It is also important that you don’t go for broad keywords. For example, “Real Estate” is not a keyword you’re going to want to pursue. It would take way too much time and energy to even get close to ranking well with such a broad keyword, and if you’re running your own SEO campaigns, you won’t have time for it. Instead, go after “niche keyword phrases that offer low-hanging SEO fruit.” Each of your keywords needs to be specific and relevant enough to appeal to your target audience.
There are many things you’re going to want to avoid in order to have an effective SEO strategy. Active Rain gives a great list of rules to consider when choosing keywords:
- Making keywords too broad
- Too much competition
- Not enough traffic
- Only one [word] at a time
- Words that don’t create a lead
Many of those are reiterations of the things we listed in the first section, but they are all important. As SEO and content marketing are becoming more and more interwoven, shorter or one-word keywords are becoming more irrelevant. The same Active Rain article suggests going for “literally hundreds of long tail [keywords] instead.” This is in line with the idea of going after “keyword themes” rather than just keywords. Doing this “…will get you ranked faster for a variety of keyword themes rather than that big one you’ve been vying for. The more specific you define your theme, the easier it is to rank.” For real estate agents, this is particularly easy due to the nature of the things that potential buyers and sellers are going to be searching. Active Rain also gives a list of qualifiers (something that defines and describes what you’re looking for) that every real estate agent should incorporate into their optimization process:
- Time & Date – 2014, January, Afternoon
- Price & Quality – Affordable, Best, Most Desirable
- Intent – Buy, Sell, Invest
- Location – Community, Neighborhood, Outdoors
By getting specific, you are better able to hold a monopoly on those keywords and own the first page results. By narrowing down your keywords, you are setting yourself apart from the competition. If all of the other local real estate agents are fighting over a popular keyword, you can quietly boost your rankings before they realize what you’re doing.
Once you’ve decided on the keywords and keyword phrases you want to utilize, the next step is to make sure that your website is optimized in a way that these keywords will actually help you. Remember, you don’t want to stuff your pages full of keywords—it looks spammy and Google will penalize you for that. Instead you want to create “recent, frequent, relevant, and compelling” content that naturally includes your keyword phrases. You should get your website to the point that “at least 70% of your website should be built around your keywords.” This is why it is so important to have a large list of solid keywords that you are trying to rank for: it will help make it easier to write content utilizing them without sounding repetitive.
If you’d like more information on real estate and SEO, feel free to watch this video by Inman News about what SEO looks like in 2014. Moz.com also provides this free SEO guide for beginners, and it’s a great resource.
You can also check out our series on SEO done by our very own Mike O’Rourke:
It’s highly informative and will help you get your campaigns off the ground no matter what your SEO background.