The Complete Guide to SEO for Real Estate Agents
Everything Real Estate Agents Want to Know About Using SEO to Find Buyers Quickly and Sell More Homes all while spending less on advertising.
Hi there, welcome to the SEO for Real Estate Agents Guide. We will tell you everything you wanted to ask about SEO and maybe more. Whether you are new or you want to get up to speed with the latest trends, this guide is for you.
We go over the basics and move into some advanced tactics to give you a better idea of how to rank on the first pages of Google. If you are looking for an SEO professional to hire, this guide also explains about services that you want to look for when you hire a real estate SEO services specialist.
If you know a lot already this guide can help you brush up on your game and give you some helpful tips about tools and tricks you might not know about. We’ll start with a definition, then go over keyword research, on-page SEO, SEO for social media, backlinking, more backlinking, tracking and monitoring your efforts, and some bonus resources you can check out to level up.
What is SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
Why Does SEO for Realtors Matter?
The Current State of SEO for Realtors
SEO for Real Estate Agents: Keyword Research
On-Page SEO for Realtors
Social Media SEO for Real Estate Investors
Tracking and Monitoring
SEO for Real Estate Agents
What is SEO (Search Engine Optimization)?
SEO is short for Search engine optimization. It's the things you do online to manipulate the search engines and get traffic on your site. Manipulate in a good way. Although once you learn SEO it's your choice whether you want to go black hat or white hat or even gray hat.
If you're not familiar, white hat describes ethical SEO tactics. Black hat techniques are about finding loopholes in the system, gray hat is somewhere in the middle where it's kind of accepted but discouraged by some.
These powerful techniques give you the choice whether you want to be a good guy or a bad guy Whichever way you look at it. These are all simple concepts that you can apply right away, with some dedication and practice you’ll be on your way to SEO blackbelt status. We are just getting warmed up, it’s time to start your first lesson.
Why Does SEO for Realtors Matter?
SEO matters just as much as any other type of marketing. Probably more than most for most businesses because just about everything is online these days.
- Everyone is looking for services or products online.
- Everyone is asking questions online.
- If you want business from an online search you'll need the focus on SEO.
Organic SEO is everything you do to optimize your site that doesn't involve paid search. There's SEO for paid search as well. The way you set up your site, the content you publish, your overall marketing plan, how popular the sites you are affiliated with are, and other factors determine whether or not you will show up on the first pages of the SERPs ( search engine results pages).
How do Search Engines Work?
Well, a bunch of geniuses with PhDs programmed the search engines and still do. Nowadays with AI, these programs program themselves as well. But you don't need to be a genius to understand how search engines work and how to make them work for you.
Search engines are built around links. They go from link to link to find websites that display in browsers. If a search engine can't find a link or it's hard to find a link, it's going to be hard for people to find you amongst the billions of pages on the internet.
Crawlers are kind of like people who are great at networking. If Google was a person, and you introduced it to somebody and then that person introduced it to someone they know, and so on. But this happens on a larger scale with billions and billions of links.
A Very Short History of Links
It all started with HTML in 1995. HTML is a markup language that was devised by none other than Tim Berners-Lee. The original prototype for HTML was made for scientific researchers to share information. This model became the model for everyone to share information. It gave birth to the web, the internet, cyberspace, which are all the same thing.
This is important because now there are many markup languages and other types of programming languages that search engines and websites use to connect to each other. The history is not that important, you just need to know how to play the game. Now, let’s get further into it.
The Current State of SEO for Realtors
SEO for real estate agents has changed a lot. The search engines have changed, people's tastes have changed, and web technology is always evolving. One thing is that still the same, is that search is king. More people than ever are searching for services on mobile phones. Don't get me wrong desktops are still very popular.
It used to be super easy to rank in, say, 2010. Many real estate SEO services would just slap a theme on a website, add some keywords and call it a day. You could literally just list them or even hide them, also known as keyword stuffing but that just doesn't work anymore.
Today, SEO for real estate agents should aim to:
Satisfy search queries
Make sure people are satisfied when they search for terms you want to rank for. Everybody's trying to do this which means you have to find a unique way to answer a question and answer it better. This starts with keywords but there are also a bunch of other factors that matter.
Take a holistic approach
So SEO used to just be about what's on your website now it's about how your website connects to everything on the web. Social media, mentions on other blogs, how popular Your Friends Are( other sites that have links to your site), how trustworthy your site is which is rated by Google and other search engines.
More on the holistic approach
You have to make sure that your site is designed well, which means graphic design, user experience (UX), And the overall architecture of your site. It also has to Be responsive so it looks good on any device it needs to load quickly and everything you do an FCO should tie into your overall marketing plan.
YouTube, Instagram, and other social media
The most popular search engine after Google isn't Yahoo or Bing is YouTube (also owned by Google). Search engines on social media sites are a big part of SEO for real estate agents. Getting ranked on these sites means big money. This is almost as important as blogging.
You need to brand
Branding is everywhere and Google loves brands. What is branding these days? It's basically a cohesive identity built around your business. It's basic Marketing at its best. It may seem strange to brand a small grocery store or a local hole-in-the-wall restaurant but everybody needs to. A successful real estate SEO company will tie in your brand with your online presence.
SEO for Real Estate Agents: Keyword Research
This is the first stop on your real estate search optimization journey. This is an essential part of finding your audiences and learning about your competitors. First, you need to learn how to perform keywords research, take advantage of longtail keywords, and find out what you are up against (competition).
Keywords: phrases (terms) that people search for. A term that got you here could be “SEO for real estate agents,” or “SEO for real estate investors.”
Keywords can be single words or they can be phrases, also known as longtail keywords. In this stage in the SEO game, you need to make friends with longtail keywords. They are your biggest allies. Don’t count out short tail keywords though. They are extremely important as well.
Short tail examples: “real estate agent,” “real estate SEO,” “homes for sale,” “new homes.”
Long-tail keyword examples: “Where can I find a real estate agent near me?” “How to conduct real estate search engine optimization?” or “Who is the best real estate agent in Tennessee?”
Performing Keyword Research for Real Estate Agents
This is the beginning of the discovery process. This is where you find out what you need to do for your client or yourself depending on why you were looking into SEO for real estate agents. if you don't do this right you are going to waste a lot of time. This makes things quick and easy. It doesn’t take as long as most people think (shhh, that’s a secret).
It's not just about going over the data in finding keywords. It's also about using the data to find patterns and turn that data into information – which you can use to bring people to your site. The right people at the right time.
The Basics of Keywords Research
First off you want to find keywords to target. This is your starting point and important but don't sweat it because it’s not that hard. But you do need to be careful and see what your competitors are doing. That way you can see what's working for other SEO for real estate companies, which is basically proof-of-concept.
If you can apply the same technique and you see you have a chance of beating them in the rankings you should do it. Likewise, there are some keywords you just can't rank for. You're not going to be able to compete with a whale like Amazon or Realtor.com who's getting billions of people coming. So let's get it started.
SEO for Realtors: Keyword Research in Action
Time-saving tools make all the difference. So there are a few examples we have that you can try out. If you don't have any budget or you just want to try stuff out you can use all of these tools for free. The thing is you might want more.
It's not uncommon for people to sign up for free trials to get full access and then cancel before it's time to pay. If you wanted to you could do this over and over because there are dozens and dozens of different tools that are great for keyword research and the other SEO for realtors related-tasks.
SEMrush: SEO for Real Estate Agents
SemRush has a free version, they offer free trials but sometimes they don’t. You can sign up for a free account and get started. The free version is quite useful. You may not need a full account and less you have multiple clients to work for.
Use the keyword tool to check out keywords. As you can see I searched for “SEO for real estate agent.” One thing I should mention. If you want bulk tracking for multiple words you need to take the trial or sign up for a subscription. This allows you to search for multiple keywords rather than just one term.
Hit the analyze button to see the results page. It gives you a lot of information here, it shows you variations of your keyword, related keywords, questions related to those keywords. So if you look at the keyword variation you'll see that it has a monthly volume of 260, and the difficulty is 48%.
A term with those stats may be good to target but it may not, it depends on what your competitors are doing and if you can rank. Another one below is “SEO services for real estate agents.” That looks like a good prospect.
The results page also includes questions that people are searching for. Even if there is no monthly volume, it doesn’t necessarily mean that people aren't searching for it or people won't be searching for it soon. It just means there's no data on it. it might not be a safe bet but it doesn't mean you shouldn't try it. Best practices are solid but you have to go beyond them to beat your competitors.
You need to see what other real estate SEO services marketers are doing to see where your opportunities are and where they aren’t. The results vary based on your location as well but for the most part, local SEO for real estate agents is a good way to find out what kind of content is working for your direct competitors.
Note: it's not all about just keywords though, backlinks have a huge influence on whether a site shows up on the first page or not. We talk more about back blinks in Backlinking 101.
All right let's get it started. So we search for the keywords “real estate agent search optimization” and up pops the results.
These are some of the top pages. If you want to see what kind of content is doing well, check some of them out. Now let’s talk about what kind of content to publish.
More Competitor Research
If you are trying to rank keywords for a real estate agent or a blog about real estate, you will want to see how others are doing it. We are going to try SEMrush again but this time, to research one of the top sites for the keyword “real estate agent in Rochester NY.”
Go to the Domain Overview Tool and enter the URL.
We are only searching in the US and for organic traffic. You can see there are over 59K backlinks. That means 59K links are pointing to the site. Below shows more information about their position in the results pages.
Local SEO for Real Estate Agents
Local SEO for real estate agents is an especially important part of inbound marketing. According to Moz, 97% of people using search find out about businesses online.There are many listing sites based on what kind of business you have. It gives you authority and builds trust.
There are dozens of other listings like YellowPages.com and Realtor.com. Local SEO for real estate agents is one of the best ways to get more business from your target areas. Google Maps is crucial if you have a physical location. You can also get a virtual location anywhere you want.
If someone searches “realtors in my area,” or “realtors in [city name],” a local listing site will come up first. You can check how well you are doing on local listings with the Moz Local app. Below are some local listings you may want to consider.
- Google My Business (Google Maps)
- Yahoo! Local
- Manta Local
- Dozens of others
On-Page SEO for Realtors
On-page SEO for real estate agents includes some of the most essential tasks you need to do. If you do nothing else, on-page SEO will still get rankings. Of course, you should be doing everything we mention in this guide to make your site visible.
However, some of these things can be expensive. If you're a one-person marketing team or you don't have much of a budget for digital marketing, on-page SEO is a kind of sweat equity that gets long-term results.
Publishing Content That Ranks
So you found your keywords and you can see who's on the first page. It’s time to get to work. We did mention that you also have to check backlink profiles, if you don't know what that is we explain it in the next section. There are all sorts of types of content that you may want to publish multiple types. Google looks at images, whether you have video and written content.
Blogging and Creating Content for Your Website
Written content is still one of the most important tactics real estate SEO services pros utilize. If you have great written content and all you have is just images with it you're probably going to rank if you have a solid strategy and you're consistently publishing. Here are types of media you should consider.
- Written: written is good, you're reading written content right now. It gives you the chance to answer people's questions and give them more in-depth information. The more in-depth you get the better but not always. Many times, a real estate SEO company can get great results with shorter articles.
- Audio: podcasts are also key. People like to listen to them when they're walking around or doing other things. You can also publish these on other sites like SoundCloud or host them on your site.
- Visual: video, images, infographics, gifts, and any other kind of visual stimulation helps SEO for real estate agents significantly. Not everyone will read and some people like visuals better. Live or recorded video gives your brand a human face. Crawlers also take notice of if you have visual elements on your page.
Here are some tips on content:
- Make it accessible. Accessibility is huge these days. That means if someone would rather watch a video, or look at an infographic, or even read every word you want to make sure they can.
- Inclusive. Inclusive is about publishing for people who are differently-abled. If someone is blind, you can add an audio version of the text available.
- Write for your audience. If you know your audience you need to tailor your content toward them. Make it highly targeted because if you're publishing for everybody you’re publishing for nobody. You don't want to be all over the place. The best SEO for real estate agent professionals should have experience in your niche.
Publishing and Refreshing Stale Content
Content gets stale, it might have outdated information or your competitors may have outdone you. If you have pages that are already ranking, refresh them. How?
- Add a little more useful information.
- Add more types of media.
- Freshen up the design.
- Add internal links.
- Rewrite it.
- Do this at least once a year.
Social Media SEO for Real Estate Investors
Social media is for everybody these days. You can check the news look at your favorite products, look at the profile for your friend’s dog, see what your grandma is up to...If you can get creative and come up with stuff people like you'll be able to drive more traffic to your site.
Other than that you need to optimize for the search engines on social media. Use the same keywords in your posts, use hashtags, post blogs that link back to your site, and optimize your site for the social media engines.
There's lots of stuff you can try out to get more traffic on your website and more business:
- Use tools apps like Facebook Business to track the activity on your social media. If you're getting any traffic on your page, you'll be able to look at the demographics of the people who are visiting. This is a smart way to figure out who your audience is and how you can cater to them.
- This helps you figure out who's just looking and who actually wants your services or products. Paid ads are a good way to figure this out, you don't have to spend much but you might want to spend a decent amount if you're going to do it.
Backlinks are links on the internet that are pointing to your site. This is the number one thing that search engines look at. Even if you don't have that much content a healthy backlink profile will rank your site.
You want backlinks from credible, popular sites and you want to remove backlinks from spammy sites. Otherwise, it'll hurt your reputation. Other than on-page optimization, backlinking is the most important part of SEO for real estate agents. It’s a very competitive industry and it’s all about who you know.
Why is backlinking so important?
- Gives you credibility not just with search engines with people.
- The more valuable backlinks you have the more traffic you get.
- Backlinks from untrustworthy or spammy sites will kill your reputation with the search engines, and alter the perception of your brand.
- You need to constantly check your backlink profile. One technique that ruthless competitors use is to flood your site with spammy backlinks ruining your credibility.
How Can You Build Backlinks
Backlinking is a contact sport. You may even have to spend a significant amount of time to find sites that are willing to help.
- Make Friends: you can use a scraper like SEMrush to find sites for blogs where people might be willing to give you a link. How can you get them to do that?
- Outreach: make contact, partner with other sites. It can help you both out. If you are new you probably aren't going to get it backlink from some site that has tons. Go after lower sites with domain ratings of 0 to 50 Maybe.
- Email: email blasts are kind of useless unless you already have a bunch of subscribers and you know who your customers are. Most people don't open emails so you're going to have to personalize it.
- Social Media: this might be more effective than email but it depends on your business and who you're talking to. Just reach out on a platform and say hi. Comment on their posts, be active on social media, and get to know people.
Backlink Building Tactics
Okay, so you know you can use a scraper to find the sites in your niche. But how can you use that information? Well here's a few ways that you can do it and bring more traffic to your site. These methods may take a lot of time and effort but it’s one of the most powerful SEO tactics for real estate agents.
- Create Content: make something great. If you have an amazing video and infographic, find this site that's accepting guest posts and show them what you do. You need to vet and find prospects, maybe hundreds to succeed at this.
- Collaborate: maybe you see a blog that has some great information but doesn’t have any images or videos. Contact the author or site with a simple proposition, “Hi, I love your post about [something specific here]. I made this awesome infographic that will go perfect with it.” Just ask for a link to your site or even just a mention if they use it.
- Pay an Influencer: This might cost a little money but it will get you a lot of exposure. You can find inexpensive low-level influencers or mid-level influencers like Snooki who will mention you on their social media. This may often be more affordable than you think.
Tracking and Monitoring Your Analytics
You can use a variety of different tools to track and monitor your progress. It'll help you figure out when you should abandon the strategy or find new opportunities that you can capitalize on. here are a few of the best tracking and monitoring tools in the business.
Google Analytics is the gold standard for tracking and monitoring. You can add it to the code in your website and it will monitor your traffic, the behavior of people who browse your site (if they scroll to the bottom, how long they stay on the page, etc.).
One of the best things you can do is track the performance of the pages is on your site in the Google Console. It generates automated reports to summarize your performance. You can also integrate Google Analytics to integrate with all your other tools. This gives you some serious big data power.
Since we've been using SEMrush as an example let’s continue that theme. You don't need Google Console and there are lots of reasons why people won't use it for certain sites. Maybe you don't want to enable cookies on your site. You can't use Google Analytics without cookies. Maybe you have a site where you ask people to opt-in and nobody wants to.
Here is another one of the industry-standard apps many real estate SEO companies use. It does a variety of things. It's a full suite with everything you need for on-page, tracking, backlinking, and pretty much everything else. Like SEMrush, you can just add a site to track and it will give you information on the performance. You can do a free trial with this one too or just use the free versions.
This guide has everything you need to get going. But there’s so much more to cover. Enough to fill a few ebooks at least. The next step is to stay up to date and carve out your path. There are no schools for SEO but there are plenty of programs and boot camps online. The only way to truly learn is by doing. Learn all you can and carve out your path.
Here are some resources you can check out:
- Google Search Central
- Google Trends
- Internal Linking
- Google Ads
- SEMrush blog
- Ahrefs blog
- Moz link explorer
SEO for Real Estate Agents
As you can see, just about everyone is doing SEO. The competition is always getting stiffer but if you stick with it and you are savvy, you’ll be able to find opportunities and execute a plan. Slow and steady wins the race. Once you build up your SEO powers you can make significant gains and a lot of money.
We aren’t going to lie to you, it’s a long way to the top (if you want great SEO) but we all can rank and find gaps in the market. Need SEO for Real Estate? Have any questions? Let us know we’d be happy to help. You can reach us here.