Real Estate Marketing Made Easy with SEO Keyword Research
By Seth Price
Keyword Research for Real Estate Marketing
Building an effective real estate marketing website is not a trivial undertaking. There are quite a few significant decisions to be made before you launch your website — choosing your CMS platform, selecting a URL, determining your site structure, navigation, and permalinks, etc. — which is why it’s crucial to plan ahead for success.
Whether you’re launching a new website or refocusing an existing one, you’ll want to make sure you’re headed in the right direction by taking the time to find your target keywords.
Here are some tools and strategies you need to do the most effective keyword research for a website, without spending a lifetime on it.
Pick Your Battles
To get your website ranked #1 in Bing and Google and reap the benefit of all the free organic traffic that comes with that rank, you have to choose specific keyword phrases to build your site around.
These phrases may seem obvious, but you’ll have to dig deeper than “rentals” and “real estate.” The fact is, you’re late to the party on general terms like these, and the time and resources you’ll have to devote to rank for them are simply not practical.
Instead, you should be looking for niche keyword phrases that offer low-hanging SEO fruit and aren’t already dominated by competition — that is, smaller, narrower subtopics that appeal to your target clientele.
You Ask, Google Tells
Fortunately, you don’t have to divine these niche keyword phrases on your own, nor do you have to guess which ones offer the most potential. Instead, let Google tell you what people are searching for with the Related Searches feature.
To start using this feature, simply navigate to Google and type a general keyword or your niche keyword phrase into the search bar. Next, click “More Search Tools” on the lower left column. Finally, choose “Related Searches.”
This will bring up a list of several keyword phrases that Google considers to be related to your main keyword, as shown in the example below:
Once you have your related search terms, simply copy them onto a spreadsheet for easy reference.
You can also use the auto-complete results that pop up below your search bar to generate related SEO keywords to analyze:
Going Further With Adwords
Once you’ve compiled a list of possible keywords, you can use Google’s Adwords Tool to further refine and narrow down your choices.
Start by selecting 4-6 keywords that seem to fit your website’s niche. Then, run them through Google’s keyword tool to find more information on their search volumes and overall competitiveness.
Hot tip: When looking to judge the value of a keyword for real estate marketing, look at the following two metrics
- Competitiveness. How many people are vying for this keyword? Is it worth entering the fray? Find out by mousing over it on the Adwords tool. (Alternatively, you can use the SEOmoz Keyword Difficulty Tool in conjunction with the SERP analysis.)
- Local Monthly Searches. How many people search this term every month? If you rank #1, you stand to get about 18% of these searchers as traffic to your website. (Check out Demystifying SEO for Real Estate for more stats.)
Competitive Keyword Research
Finally, you can use the Google Adwords tool to “reverse engineer” your competition’s websites as a way of finding the most profitable keywords to pursue.
Suppose you decided to target the keyword phrase, “Waterfront Vacation Rentals” using the process described above. Now, we know that we want to build a website around this keyword, but we also want to find other keywords that Google thinks are relevant from a latent semantic indexing standpoint, as well as keywords that we know will be valuable to target.
To find these specific related keywords, enter the main search phrase into Google, then copy the address of the first natural search result:
Now, return to the Google Adwords Keyword Tool and enter this URL into the “Website” box, ignoring the “Word or Phrase” entry area.
Repeat this process for all the sites listed in the natural search engine results page for your target keyword phrase. Pay close attention to any common keywords between the sites.
Doing this kind of research will give you an idea of the SEO keyword phrases that your competition is targeting, as well as insight into Google’s perspective on which keywords are related. Assuming that your competition is working hard to compete online and have also done their SEO homework, you can start to understand how to your competitors got the ranking they have.
Don’t forget, there are lots of other factors that Google and Bing use to determine search ranking — over 200 in Google’s case — so don’t stop here!
Looking to dive deeper? Find a really great SEO expert to help you by providing a detailed competitive analysis and website audit. You can make significant strides on your own, but no one perfects their swing without a coach and good measurement.
Had success with these keyword research methods that you’d like to share? Have suggestions for alternative tools and approaches to online real estate marketing and keyword research? Tell us about your experiences in the comments!
Published on July 24, 2012
Written by Seth Price
Seth is a brand and marketing strategist with 20 years of digital marketing experience. He’s a founding team member and VP @Placester, author of the bestselling small business marketing book, The Road to Recognition and host of The Craft of Marketing and Marketing Genius podcasts. As a speaker, writer, and marketing workshop leader, Seth brings levity, mentorship, and a dose of reality to the businesses and entrepreneurs he coaches.