The Agent’s Real Estate SEO Guide for Using Keywords
By Matthew Bushery
Read up on the latest and greatest ways to gain an edge with your real estate SEO strategy and you’ll come across a lot of discussion about how to add the right keywords to your blog posts. Keywords need to be applied to much more than your blog entires, however. From your homepage, to niche landing pages, to social media updates, long-tail terms and phrases associated with your market need to be incorporated.
Though keywords are just one of many on-page SEO factors to be mindful of, knowing the ins and outs of finding, implementing, and reviewing keywords is essential in today’s marketing landscape — all of which you’ll learn about in detail below.
It all starts with detecting the most appropriate real estate SEO keywords.
Before implementing any real estate inbound marketing tactic, planning and research are the first and foremost tasks to handle. Select one or more keyword research tools you can use to find the best primary, secondary, and long-tail keywords to use throughout your real estate website. You have plenty of these resources at your disposal. The trick is trying out each (ideally the free ones first, then the paid ones if the former don’t yield results). Google Analytics is a must-use platform to help you locate keywords: Use the search queries report to discern what keywords your site visitors use to find your site in search results.
Once you identify the ideal tools to use, it’s time to explore your real estate SEO opportunities — that is, pinpoint the terms and phrases that directly correlate with your housing market, community, and buyer and seller niche. Create a spreadsheet in which you can easily add your desired keywords and track them later to see if they do indeed help your organic search efforts. Spoiler alert: Not every keyword will get you to page one in search engine results pages (SERPS), and that’s okay. This is a volume game. Find a lot of keywords you can use to boost the odds of success.
Find out which keywords are helping your closest competitors win at SEO.
“Spying” may seem like a sneaky term only secret agents involved in espionage use … but it also plays a role in your SEO-for-real-estate strategy. Countless brands spy on their competition to find out what kinds of marketing tactics, brand awareness efforts, and — you guessed it — search optimization techniques are being put into play. If you feel guilty about checking on other real estate agent SEO campaigns, don’t: This is how you get ahead in the world of search. Chances are the keywords you find using your research tools overlap with those your competitors use anyway, so finding out what terms and phrases help them rank well in SERPs is just due diligence.
Grab the URLs for other agents’ real estate websites, enter them in any number of helpful keyword spy tools on the market today, and jot down which common ones are used on their home pages, listings page, area pages, and blog posts. Every agent has their own unique niche, so not all of the keywords you unearth from other agents’ sites will be of use for your own, but routinely executing this task will give you a glimpse into how you can even the playing field — and, eventually, leapfrog your competition.
Optimizing blog posts comes later — start with your real estate website.
As noted, many agents still have the impression that only aspects of their websites they need to keyword-optimize are their blog entries. Adding rich, detailed copy to each page of your site, however, is the starting point for your real estate keywords. Google, Bing, and other search engines heavily favor sites that have several (dozens, really) landing pages, each of which serves a distinct purpose. In your case, this means having a homepage that aptly explains who you are and your value proposition (e.g. “The agent who knows the most about [market name] and can close your deals quickly and for the right price”), an about page that delves into your company mission and background, listings pages that feature an explanation of your market, and area pages that depict what life is like in each neighborhood of your market.
Once these pages have been established and optimized accordingly, it’s time to pay attention to the real estate content on your blog. Just as you should have specific keyword groups for each page on your site, it’s equally important to have a specific group to use for certain article types and topics. For instance, if all of your blog content revolves around evergreen posts (non-time-sensitive content that explains broad concepts, like how to save for down payments and the top-10 cafes nearby) and news articles (ones that detail housing market stats and local community updates, etc.), develop two separate keyword groups for the entries and use those terms and phrases exclusively in the designated content.
Achieving real estate SEO success no longer means stuffing keywords.
If you started your online real estate marketing strategy in the early 2000s, you know the way into Google’s heart (a.k.a. the top of its SERPs) was to add lots and lots of relevant keywords into your content. Do that today, though, and you could agitate the search giant and make it feel not-so-jolly about your website — meaning a dive in results pages and perhaps even search penalties from Google.
The reality is there isn’t one keyword density range that works best for every website. What’s clear, however, is Google and other search engines want to see keywords added naturally to your content. So, write out the copy for your webpages and blog posts first, then divert your efforts to optimizing them for your real estate website SEO.
If one of your keywords is “best [market name] neighborhoods,” for example, look for phrases in your content where the language can be adjusted slightly to account for this keyword. Perhaps there’s a paragraph atop an area page for one of your most popular neighborhoods in which you often close deals where you could rephrase the copy accordingly: “When home buyers consider the best [market name] neighborhoods, this one should be right at the top of their list.”
Ensure site links include relevant real estate keywords in their anchor text.
As important as it is to write informative content for each page of your website and all of your blog posts, it’s equally critical to include several pertinent links across your real estate content that have keyword-rich anchor text.
Back in 2012, Google made some adjustments to its Penguin search algorithm that lent more favor to sites with internal and external links that had long-tail, audience-relevant keywords. The reasoning behind this move was to make sure all webmasters’ site links matched accordingly with the phrases to which the link was attached — the anchor text — and, in turn, prevent sites from sending visitors to random pages that didn’t align with or relate to this text.
The question for you is not how to abide by this rule, but rather what pages you should link to and which keywords to include in each phrase. As mentioned above, it’s vital to have keyword groups for each page and post, so you already know which terms and phrases you can link to.
Take time to figure out the most appropriate links to use across your site. Landing pages typically only have internal links — in other words, ones that solely lead to other pages on your site. This is so you can keep users who are further down the inbound sales funnel (if visitors are checking out your listings, about, and area pages, they’re likely close to buying or selling) on your site so you can continue to nurture them.
Meanwhile, since you research various subject matters and news topics for your real estate blog posts, you need to provide context for your articles in the form of external links. Articles featuring study or survey results, for instance, should have external links that lead to the original copies said reports.
Implement long-tail synonyms of your keywords to cover your bases.
While you may find specific keywords get the most searches and lead to the most website clicks, that doesn’t mean you should aim to include only those exact phrases. Similar keyword variations, like ones that feature synonyms related to the original keyword (e.g. “Houses for sale” and “properties for sale” instead of just “homes for sale”), should be used in your landing page and blog post copy. Google even blogged about the intricacies of its search algorithms and how they are increasingly able to detect keyword synonyms and their relevance related to more popular search terms.
Regardless of the depth of your real estate keywords list, develop additional, complementary terms ones you can also employ sitewide. The main keywords should still be used most often, but sprinkling in the other terms throughout pages and articles will help in terms of both your SEO and avoiding repetitive phrasing throughout your content.
Over time, the lesser-searched complementary terms may end up outperforming the previous main keywords, so you’ll be ahead of the game by implementing these ones early and often.
Don’t forget to add keywords to your real estate social media channels.
Just because the marketing world is still a bit unclear as to whether keywords in their social media posts and profiles contributes to their pages’ rank in SERPs doesn’t mean adding keywords to them isn’t important. For instance, each social networks offers areas where you can enter your bio and information about your company. These are premier spots to place keywords for your business, as Google has all but officially indicated these play an important role in social content getting found in SERPs.
Reaching your niche audience can arguably be better accomplished through traditional organic search marketing methods, but this keyword optimization also helps.
Need revamped real estate keywords? Use the right tools to find them.
More often than not, it takes roughly a week for a keyword’s status as a preeminent search term to diminish, but this decline in popularity can sometimes occur within just a day or two. Because of this volatility with your real estate SEO keywords, you need to mix them up regularly. Use Google’s Keyword Planner as your main keyword checker as often as you can (at least once a week) to keep tabs on the data associated with your long-tail keywords.
Just like the stock market, though, there will inevitably be rises and dips in how often keywords are searched, so if you see your top term drop markedly in search one week (or even month), don’t assume it won’t return to its former position. On the flip side, don’t put all of your hope that it will — have plenty of backup keyword options in place so you can seamlessly transition one new keyword and keyword group to replace ones that are falling.
What tactics do you use to optimize your real estate website? What techniques have helped your real estate SEO strategy? Share your blueprint for getting found in search with us below!
Published on July 1, 2015
Written by Matthew Bushery
As the Content Creator at Placester, I'm devoted to producing content that helps transform real estate professionals' marketing efforts and bottom lines. When I'm not developing Academy posts here, I'm writing film reviews and screenplays (the latter of which will never see the light of day).