Are you a real estate agent or investor looking to get ahead of the competition?
SEO can help.
In this guide, we’ll explain what SEO is, how it works, and how you can get your website more rankings and generate both buyer and seller leads for your business.
Let’s dive in!
What is SEO For Real Estate?
SEO stands for “search engine optimization” and is the process of ranking website pages in search engine results. The higher a page ranks, the more likely it will be to receive organic (free) traffic.
Let’s look at a simple example.
Using a tool called Ubersuggest, I’m able to see that “sell my house fast dallas” gets 720 searches per month in Google!
It’s no surprise, then, that the top organic (non-paid) result for that search phrase which, in this case, is from Four19Properties…
… gets a lot of free traffic from motivated sellers looking to sell their house fast for cash. That traffic can turn into leads and deals for their business.
You can also use SEO to generate leads from cash buyers…
Or, if you’re an agent, to find people who are trying to list their home or buy their next home…
The value of SEO, then, for agents and investors is obvious. If you can get your webstie ranking on the first page for high-value keyword phrases like the ones above, then you can generate a steady stream of leads and beat your competitors.
But how do you do that?
The Easiest Way To Rank Your Website Right Away
You’re not looking to become an expert at SEO…
… you just want a simple way to rank your website in Google and get more leads for your business.
I’m going to show you the easiest possible way to do that — it’s what I recommend to every agent and investor I talk to.
Get yourself a free Google Business Profile.
If you do a bit of Google searching and keyword research for your own market, you’ll find that a lot of the relevant searches produce Google Business Profile results.
For example, this…
But you can’t show up in the Google Business Profile results if you don’t have a Google Business Profile. For real estate SEO, this is ground zero.
Create a Google Business Profile and give it the attention it deserves.
Fill out your profile completely, add some photos, and ask friends and family to go leave reviews.
This will help you get ranking faster and easier than anything else.
3 Things To Ignore From Real Estate SEO “Experts”…
If you talk to too many SEO “experts”, your head will start to spin.
They’ll recommend tons of super complicated things you need to do to get your website ranking.
Most of it is BS (and they’ll usually tell you to pay them to do it).
I know this because I help software companies rank for wayyy more competitive phrases than local agents and investors need to rank for… and there’s tons of advice we ignore even when we get #1 rankings.
Here are three things I recommend ignoring from the SEO “gurus”:
- Your Domain Name: Google is capable of figuring out what your site is about based on elements other than the domain name. So don’t stress over getting the perfect one. As long as it’s not super random and bizarre, you’re probably going to be fine.
- Tons of Blog Content: There’s a misconception in the real estate world that you should be producing tons of blog content to improve your SEO rankings. While blog content can be valuable for sending to your email list (to stay top-of-mind) or sharing on social media, the truth is that for SEO purposes, the search phrases you’d be going after with blog content (such as “how to find a good real estate agent”) aren’t localized keywords… meaning you’ll be competing with sites like Zillow, Redfin, and other massive giants that you basically have no chance against. Publishing a few different pages to target your primary localized keywords in the markets where you operate is a good idea. Spewing out blog content for random keywords and hoping for the best… is not.
- Keyword Cramming: SEO experts often give the advice that you should have somewhere between 2% and 5% “keyword density” for the content of the page you want to rank. This is dumb. I regularly rank content on the first page that falls well below that threshold. The only place you need to include your target keyword is in the Title, URL, and meta description of your page. The rest of the content should be about the visitor… not about the algorithm.
Keyword Research: The Foundation of Good Real Estate SEO
If you decide that you want to go beyond the bare minimum of local real estate SEO (i.e. getting and optimizing a Google Business Profile), then you’ll need to understand a little bit about keyword research.
Keyword research is just a fancy term for figuring out which keywords people search for in Google, how many people search for them, and determining which keywords match your target market.
People typically use tools like Ubersuggest or Ahrefs for this.
But since we’re talking about pretty simple, localized keywords, I’ve gone ahead and done the keyword research for you.
Here are the simple phrases you’ll want to optimize your pages for…
- (Investors) For Finding Motivated Sellers: “sell your house fast [CITY]”
- (Investors) For Finding Cash Buyers: “wholesale deals in [CITY]”
- (Agent) For Generating Leads: “real estate agent in [CITY]”
By “optimize”, all I mean is including the keyword I mentioned above in the Title, URL, and meta description of the page that you want to rank. This isn’t rocket science.
If you operate in multiple markets, don’t try to rank the same page for all of them. Create separate pages on your website to target different local searches for cities or states.
Important Note: You might be wondering why I’m only recommending three keywords above. Well, there’s something called “cannabilizing your rankings” that is super important to understand. When you publish different pages to rank for different keywords that are too similar (such as “sell my house fast in [CITY]” & “sell my house quickly in [CITY]”), you confuse Google and it ends up ranking neither of the pages for either of those keywords. If, on the other hand, you just publish one page targeting, say, “sell my house fast [CITY]”, Google is smart enough to understand the intent of searchers and will rank it automatically for other similar search phrases as well. I’ve written articles targeting just a single keyword that end up ranking on the first page for literally hundreds of different keywords. The point is, it’s better to target just ONE high-value search phrase with ONE page then it is to target lots of very similar search phrases with lots of pages (the exception to this is creating pages for different cities or states).
How To Optimize Your Real Estate Homepage For SEO
I’ve said a few times that optimizing a page for a specific search phrase is really simple, despite what a lot of expensive SEO gurus would tell you.
All you have to do to tell Google what phrase you want a specific page to rank for is put the keyword in your title, URL, and meta description.
You’ll notice, for instance, that when I search for “sell my house fast dallas”, the top results have some variation of that keyword in their URL (Ex: /sell-my-house-fast-dallas-tx), their title (Ex: We Buy Houses in Dallas TX | Sell Your House Fast & Get Cash), and their meta description (Ex: Sell your house in Dallas fast and you pay no realtor fees or make any repairs!).
Those three spots are by far the most important places to put your keyword phrase.
It’s also good to include the phrase at least a couple of times in the content of your page, but you don’t need to try and aim for a specific keyword density percentage (unless it happens naturally).
Your only goal after these three optimizations is to write great copy and make the page as high-converting as possible.
The Importance of Blog Content (Sort Of)
Earlier I said that writing blog content for the sake of getting rankings when you’re targeting highly localized SEO keywords is silly.
And I stand by that.
But there is one caveat… because I don’t want you to get the idea that publishing content on your website is entirely useless for SEO… it’s not.
In fact, consistently adding to your blog content (say, every week or month) tells Google that your site is active and that it’s providing free, valuable content for its readers.
Active sites outrank inactive sites in Google by a mile.
So it’s worth writing blog posts (even if they don’t target a specific keyword) just for the sake of showing Google that your site is active and up-to-date.
Plus, if the content is good, then you can send it to your email list and post it on social media to stay top-of-mind with your followers, build rapport, and nurture your subscribers.
How To Build Backlinks (The Easy Way)
Any SEO expert would label me a criminal for writing an article about SEO without talking about backlinks.
In case you don’t know, backlinks are the term we SEO nerds use to refer to links that point from external sites to your site… and they do indeed have a huge impact on rankings.
But there’s a problem.
You own a local real estate business…
How are you going to get backlinks from websites with authority?
There are a lot of different ways.
To simplify things, I’m going to list your options below from easiest to hardest. I’ll let you choose which strategies to use based on your budget and bandwidth.
- Build Citations — “Citations” are basically just backlinks that are easy to get because they come from business listing websites such as LinkedIn, BBB, B2B Yellow Pages, Yellobook, and more. Carrot has an article (and a done-for-you service) showing you how to do this. It’s a one-time thing and well-worth doing from my experience.
- Collaborate With Local Business Owners — Why not collaborate with other business owners who have websites? Ask them to link back to your website and you can return the favor. Win-win.
- Guest Blog — If you like to write, then you can reach out to websites that accept articles in the real estate investing niche. In those articles, you will be allowed to have a bio where you can include a backlink to your website. Here’s a list of 80 different sites that accept guest posts. This is by far the best way to build backlinks and get results. It’s also, unfortunately, the most time-consuming.
- Buy Backlinks — Buying backlinks is a risky game and you NEED to make sure that where you’re buying them from only uses white-hat strategies. Otherwise it can tank your SEO. My favorite is LinksThatRank. You can get high-quality links starting at $177. My recommendation would be, when you’re getting started out, buy like $1,000 worth of backlinks to boost your authority and maybe buy one or two more backlinks every month if you’ve got the budget for it.
A Note About Website Speed
There is one thing that SEO “experts” talk about which they are right on: website speed.
This is one of those tech things that actually matters.
If your website loads slowly, Google won’t rank it as well because it provides a poor user experience.
So here are some simple tips for testing and improving the speed of your website (just give this list to a tech-savvy VA from Fiverr or Upwork and call it day)…
- Test your website speed using Google’s PageSpeed Insights or Pingdom.
- Optimize images so they load quickly: compress, resize and save in the correct format (jpg, png).
- Minimize HTTP requests by combining files such as CSS into a single file or use tools like Autoptimize or WP Rocket.
- Enable browser caching so visitors don’t have to reload the same content each time they visit your site.
- Reduce redirects and use a CDN (Content Delivery Network) to serve static content from multiple locations around the world.
Final Thoughts on Real Estate SEO
SEO for real estate is really not that complicated. I understand why everyone makes it sound so hard (because it makes them money) but, in reality, it’s pretty straightforward.
Focus on getting a Google Business Profile, optimizing your content for the local keywords I mentioned above, and building some backlinks and citations across the interweb. That’s really all you need to do to rank well in Google.
And don’t forget that the biggest ranking factor of all is time — the longer your website exists, the more likely it is to rank in Google.
So don’t expect results right away.
Make the optimizations above and keep at it, then see where you’re at six months down the road.