“I’m done optimizing my IDX website for search!” is a declaration that should never come out of your mouth. Why? Because like many aspects of your online marketing, there is no finish line to your search engine optimization (SEO) efforts.
The popularity and competitiveness of the keywords used on your website, for instance, will gradually change over time, in turn impacting just how many people get to your site organically (that is, via search engines).
So, that means you need to stay on top of your real estate SEO game and consistently modify your strategy so your site is up to speed with the latest search engine algorithms and more “findable” in search engine results pages (SERPs).
Step #1: Take a step back to remember the factors that play a constant role in your real estate SEO success. Start with your website itself. Is it responsive? If so, congrats — your pages are golden in the eyes of the Great and Powerful Google! (Well, and other search engines, but Google matters most nowadays search-wise.) If not, you’ve got some work to do — specifically, to change site providers to one that offers a mobile-friendly design and, ideally, several pre-made site themes already optimized for search, so you don’t have to hire a designer to build a site for you from the ground up.
Another area to explore is keyword usage. Finding top-tier terms for your local market to include on your IDX website is key. Once you have a set that works well, it’s time to use them across your site so you can ensure you only feature commonly searched, long-tail phrases associated with your brand and market.
Like pretty much all things online marketing, the work is a never-ending process. That doesn’t mean it’s arduous necessarily, but rather just a task that requires a concerted focus. For keyword research, that means allotting about 30 minutes every couple of weeks to use Google Keyword Planner (or the Realtor SEO tool of your choice) to ensure your existing keywords site-wide are still popularly searched by your chief buyer or seller demographic and finding new keywords you’ve yet to incorporate on your site so you can rank highly for those down the line as well.
Natural and voice search are certainly growing trends in the search space, but keywords are still quite impactful in getting brands found in the first few pages of Google, so place a big emphasis on continually bettering your on-page SEO strategy for the foreseeable future.
Step #2: Examine each website page’s copy to ensure it sounds natural — an increasingly important SEO factor. Of course, it’s not just about nailing down the right mix of keyword quality and quantity (called keyword density) on your website. It’s also equally important to write informative site copy that sounds very conversational in nature and that effectively gets your points across clearly to your visitors.
That’s where the content creator in you is needed. If you don’t think it exists inside you, you’re wrong. Any agent can become a stellar writer with the right mindset and mentality (heck, you can even learn how to produce a blog post in just 20 minutes with relative ease with the appropriate tools and approach).
Take a close look at all of your existing website pages to see if they include the most up-to-date, relevant information based on the page focus in question (like the latest neighborhood features and amenities on a particular community page). Once you’ve confirmed these pages are all set, or amended ones you noticed were in need of a refresh, think up new concepts for future pages and how you can use your current brand voice on those areas of your site.
For example, if you notice you’re lacking a quality resource for the home seller persona you typically work with, such as a detailed, digital handbook they can use to get tips on when to list, how to stage, and other selling components, then develop that guide. Craft compelling page copy that concisely explains what sellers get with your resource. Only after this copy is crafted (and a real estate lead capture form is implemented) should you focus on the SEO aspect of the page.
In other words, write copy that makes you come off as wholly relatable and personable so you can best connect with your website visitors, then optimize for SEO so the pages in question have a better chance of getting found by the right audience in SERPs.
Step #3: Make sure all of your website’s multimedia continue to load properly and are tagged appropriately for search. You might be asking yourself, “What do multimedia files on my website have to do with generating new real estate leads?”
The answer is simple: The most alluring lead capture form and inviting call to action won’t earn you many new prospects if you don’t feature images and videos that make your site far more easily viewable and intriguing and ones that help you move your way up the search results ladder over time.
The most engaging and interesting content on your real estate website are the pages and posts that feature supporting photos, graphics, videos, and other forms of multimedia that can educate and entertain your audience.
Meanwhile, the file names, alt tags, sizes, and captions of those website images and videos greatly impact just how highly they rank in search engines. You may not think these seemingly tiny elements of your site content may have large ramifications on where certain pages appear in SERPs, but believe it or not, it’s this attention to detail with your site’s meta information that can make or break your ranking.
Analyze your website’s multimedia files a couple times annually to ensure a) they continue to load as they should (more often than not, they should be fine, but occasionally, minor changes to the code of your site can sometimes “break” your files, so it’s worth examining once in a while), and b) they feature explanatory copy in the meta tags and titles that makes it easy for Google to identify what the files entail.
So, let’s say you feature a variety of photos across your website of you and your team of agents and/or assistants. Including different iterations of your brand keywords in the title, alt tag, and description of each photo will ultimately help you “own” your brand keywords. This is imperative, as you don’t want other, competing real estate firms near you or with similar names don’t get their site pages found above yours in search results — something that could prove detrimental to enhancing your real estate SEO success for years to come.
Step #4: Get SEO Help.
Transforming into an advanced real estate SEO expert doesn’t happen overnight. Even by adopting all of the aforementioned search marketing tips and tricks for your business, you’ll still never truly master the art of optimization — because nobody truly can.
Given Google adjusts its search engine algorithms (and there are several of them that play a role in where content is found in SERPs), it’s just about impossible for anyone — novice professionals just getting started with SEO and the most decorated and accomplished search analysts — to “beat the system” when it comes to search. It’s helpful to start with a website that’s built with SEO in mind and has features that allow you to optimize your pages easily. There are also individuals out there who make it their goal to help brands small and large and in a wide array of industries to develop comprehensive search plans. In the case of your real estate SEO strategy, there are real estate marketing-oriented pros who can help you understand how you can augment your IDX website for search and get the ideal traffic headed to your digital foundation daily. These marketing gurus step in and aid your SEO plans (like the Placester team does for its customers), so research the marketplace to find the best optimization experts within your budget to occasionally audit your site and offer their adept advice.
Working with these pros could be the difference between having your pages stuck on page five of search results for what seems like an eternity and dominating the SEO game by ranking multiple site pages on page one of search engine results — a major difference that can ultimately influence your ability to generate leads online.