Search Engine Optimization (SEO) can seem a little daunting and given how technical it can become, that’s understandable. However, while it can be tempting to put SEO in the ‘too hard basket, agents rely on a strong local profile to drive new business, so ignoring it may mean you are missing out on new leads. Read more about DIY SEO for real estate: Tips to improve search results.
The good news though is there are some simple strategies you can do yourself to improve your SEO search results and we outline them below.
1. Leverage as many directory websites as possible
A big part of local SEO focuses on local mentions. The more places you are listed with your name, address and phone number, the higher you’ll rank in local search results.
Start with Google My Business, complete it as much as possible with text and images and keep your profile up to date. Other directories to list your business on include:
- Yellow Pages
Because people do a lot of research on these platforms, you’re not only boosting your SEO, but you’re also creating additional sales channels to increase lead generation.
2. Include relevant keywords and search terms
Keyword research is the process of finding and analyzing search terms that people enter into search engines.
A good place to start your research is the Google Keyword Planner. Here, you can type in relevant words or phrases related to your business and find out how many searches per month are done with those words (volume), and how many other businesses also use those same keywords words (competition).
Play around with variations of your keywords and if you identify any phrases with both high search volumes and low competition (the holy grail of SEO optimized keywords) incorporate them into relevant areas of your website and blogs.
Of course, there is no harm including high volume and high competition keywords on your website too, but be aware that the higher the competition, the harder it is to be included in search results.
3. Publish a blog
If you already have (or intend to launch) a blog on your website, you have the perfect platform to really extend your potential SEO search results.
There are two key things to remember when using keywords in your blog:
- Keywords must be relevant – don’t include keywords in your blog (or anywhere on your website) if they are not relevant to the content. Google looks specifically for relevance and without it, you won’t just miss out on search results inclusion, but you may be penalised in other searches for trying to ‘hack’ the system.
- Keywords must have intent – by this, we mean what problem or question does your content intend to answer. These days, people rarely search with single words and instead ask specific questions. To see what this looks like in practice, search ‘how to save for my first home’ and see what kind of content comes up. If you plan to publish similar content, this could be a good keyword search term for you to use.
The opportunity for agents is there is no shortage of potential problems and questions they can provide information on in their blog. Anything from local social life, schools, restaurants, cost of living, and walkability are great topics to start with.
Infographics and interviews with local business owners and local residents are other ideas agents can adopt to add value and increase their SEO searchability.
4. Website structure
Google, Bing, and other search sites use web crawlers (or bots) to read the content on your website, and depending on what the web crawling bots find, they’ll determine where and when your pages should be shown in search results.
With this in mind, the structure of your site needs to work for both humans and bots to improve SEO search results.
A few of the key areas to take a closer look at include:
- Website URLs – use words rather than numbers and symbols in your URLs. Keep them short and meaningful so bots (and humans) can easily read them
- Remove any dead ends – make sure the navigation is easy and you have ‘closed the loop’ on click-throughs eg Every web page should contain links to other areas on your website.
- Titles, tags and descriptions – don’t just rely on the default page names and SEO settings your website CMS assigns. Check each of your pages to ensure they include relevant keywords and accurate descriptions.
- Don’t duplicate content – avoid duplicating the same content across multiple pages of your website. Web crawling bots will interpret this as spam and it will negatively impact your ability to rank in search results.
- Fix broken links – broken links are not just a poor experience for visitors to your website, but the web crawling bots can view this as a problem with your site and again penalise you in search results.
- Blog – SEO optimised keywords included in the articles in your blog are a great way to boost your SEO
- Use a secure site – ensure your site starts with https:// rather than http://. Google views https:// sites as secure and will be more likely to serve these sites up in search results
While SEO can get a bit complicated, it’s well worth the effort to help improve your search results and local visibility. SEO is generally a longer-term goal but by adopting some of the strategies in this blog, you’ll already be taking a step in the right direction.