Keywords are the backbone of any real estate website. They get your business in front of potential buyers (and sellers) at the exact moment people are searching for the services you provide. Today, 44% of real estate buyers start their home search online, and 95% use the internet at some point in the buying process.
Therefore, you need to be visible in search engines like Google. Otherwise, potential leads and business will go to higher ranking competitors. One of the most fundamental parts of your SEO strategy is a keyword list. By identifying the terms potential leads are searching during the home buying process, you can target them with relevant pages/posts, like property listing pages, home valuation landing pages and blog content. Target and rank for the right keywords and you’ll have a consistent flow of qualified traffic flooding your website each month.
What is a keyword?
A keyword is simply a word or concept that best describes the content on a given post or page. It’s the search term you want to rank for with a page on your website. The terms buyers use during the home search process are going to be somewhat predictable.
Here are a few examples:
best realtor providence ri
wisconsin lake homes for sale
how long does it take to buy a house
new york real estate agents
Different keywords get searched more than others. You can determine monthly keyword search volume (and traffic potential) with a free tool like Google Ads’ Keyword Planner.
Or, uncover more detailed metrics with a paid tool like Ahrefs’ Keyword Explorer:
You can see around 1,100 people are searching for “wisconsin lake homes for sale” each month. The term has buying intent (i.e. people searching this term are actively looking to buy a lake home in Wisconsin), and according to Ahrefs, it has a relatively low level of organic search competition.
If a realtor could rank for this type of keyword, it would bring a passive stream of qualified leads into the business each month.
By creating content and landing pages that align with keywords used at each stage of the buyer journey, you’re able to get in front of leads wherever they are in the buying process:
Because leads at varying stages of the buyer journey have very different information needs, your site must target keywords across all levels of search intent. Let’s look at the different types of real estate keywords you need to consider.
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Different Types of Real Estate Keywords
Keywords can have equal volume and difficulty, but very different levels of intent. For example, someone searching for “how to buy a home” isn’t as likely to convert into a paying customer as someone searching for “buy home in [your local area]” i.e. the “buy” modifier in the second phrase indicates the searcher is actively looking for a place to purchase in the near future. Obviously, a value keyword for any realtor. In general, real estate keywords will have three distinct markers – generic, local and hyperlocal.
As you move from generic to hyperlocal, the intent to buy becomes stronger.
Something like “how to buy a home” is a generic informational search term. While it has a lot of monthly search volume, it is very competitive to rank for, and will have a low conversion rate.
for sale by owner
sell home fast
find real estate agent
A term like, “buy a home in san antonio tx” has the local marker. While there’s still relatively high search volume for the term, the “buy” and “san antonio” modifiers indicate a strong intent to purchase in a specific location. i.e the person is further into the buying process.
Other local keyword examples without the buy modifier, include:
Luxury homes for sale in portland maine
cheap house for sale in Boise
Agents can compete in less crowded markets by targeting hyperlocal keywords that include references to specific streets, property types, neighbourhoods, etc.
2 bed apartments for sale williamsburg ny
3bd/2ba lake house poconos for sale
Homes for sales 83713 zip code
These kinds of keywords might have much smaller monthly search volume, but are searched by buyers much more likely to convert. i.e. they already know what type of property they need, and in what location, now they just need to find it.
A good real estate keyword strategy will target generic, local and hyperlocal search terms.
FOCUS ON LONG TAIL KEYWORDS
Search traffic tends to be clustered around a small number of super competitive keywords like “real estate”. Many agents and brokers make the mistake of only focusing on these high volume keywords. But, as we saw above, these terms usually attract less qualified traffic. Short, low-conversion terms are called head keywords and account for around 18% of total searches:
While 70% of total traffic is spread across billions of long tail search queries (phrases with 3+ keywords). All the local and hyperlocal search queries are all considered longer tail keyword variations. Long tail keywords aren’t searched as often as generic terms, but the intent is much higher:
In fact, Google states that 15% of the search queries conducted every day have never been asked before.
The keyword pyramid model
Another way to manage your keyword list is to break it down into different buckets:
While it might look like it’s worthwhile to start at the top of the pyramid, long tail phrases are actually easier to win and more relevant to your business. Typically, you’ll target these phrases on a small set of landing pages on your website:
You should use the long tail keyword list to inform site content so people looking for those specific terms will find you online. Once you’ve got your lists of primary, secondary and long tail keywords, you can refine them further. For instance, if your business serves multiple neighborhoods, towns, or regions, you can create a separate pyramid for each. For example,ou could segment a keyword list according to sale (foreclosures, luxury, under $___), location (lake, oceanfront, ranch) or property type (apartments, houses, condos). The more specific, the more qualified the buyer. Now that you have a solid grasp of the different types of real estate keywords, and the different use cases for each in your business, let’s look at some tactics you can use to find new opportunities.
How to Find New Real Estate Keyword Opportunities
In a nutshell, the research process uses different tools — like Google’s Keyword Planner or Ahrefs — to find, qualify, prioritize and map keywords to individuals posts/pages on your website.
Step #1: Research primary, secondary, and long-tail real estate keywords
Head over to Google Ads Keyword Planner and enter a housing or market-related term you believe home buyers (and sellers) are searching for online:
Note: you will need to be spending money on a Google Ads campaign to see specific search volume metrics. Otherwise, you will get a broad volume range. Take a minute now to brainstorm a list of keywords you think buyer and/or sellers are searching for in your local area. Enter each of the terms in the Google Ads Keyword Planner and export any new ideas that emerge to help round out your list. If you want to save some time, use a competitor research tool like the Ahrefs Keyword Explorer to identify all the keywords local competitors are using to drive organic traffic to their website:
You can also use the Top Pages report to see the actual pages (and primary topics) driving the most traffic:
I can see Buy Idaho Real Estate is getting most of its organic traffic by building pages that target “[city] idaho real estate for sale” terms, as well as different property types like ranches. When looking at which home buying keywords are popular in Google, enter phrases like “[market name] homes for sale,” “where to buy in [market name],” “[market name] home prices,” and other similar terms. For sellers, phrases including “how to sell a home in [market name],” “[market name] real estate agents,” and “best Realtors in [market name]” are good phrases to start with.
The main factors that should be weighed when determining which keywords are worth pursuing include:
Competition: If many other real estate agents in your market are going after the top terms, try to find other popular terms they have yet to use in their SEO strategies. Some keywords may be too strong to pass up regardless, but if you select these, be smart about where you implement them on your site.
Volume: The most commonly searched terms are typically the best to go after, but be sure they’re trending in the right direction — terms and phrases that are popular now but have dipped in searches over the previous month or longer may not warrant use.
Relevancy: Don’t add keywords to your site just because they’re loosely related to your market or niche. Only select the terms and phrases that pertain closely to the areas you serve and home types you work with.
Negative Keywords: Some words have multiple definitions and associations, meaning people who search them in Google may not be looking for homes for sale. So, put the terms and phrases that have nothing to do with your business in the Negative Keywords section of Keyword Planner to avoid getting them as recommended terms for your SEO strategy.
Step #2: Create multiple keyword groups, each with its own distinct primary keyword as the main focus.
Select the most applicable and popular real estate keywords you discover and add them to your real estate SEO spreadsheet. These core keywords will serve as the main terms for each of your keyword groups. Think of them as your content concepts: You will create specific content for pages and blog posts with themes directly related to the primary keyword concepts.
If some terms overlap closely in subject matter or phrasing (e.g. “homes for sale in [market name]” and “houses for sale in [market name]”), group them together. You will want to group these keywords together in whatever content piece you create. They should not stand alone as separate pieces or pages.
Put your keywords in groups by primary keyword. For example:
Buy apartment in newport rhode island
Buy apartment cheap in rhode island
Buy apartment with balcony providence rhode island
Again – here’s what the list of keyword concepts/groups should look like in your SEO real estate spreadsheet:
Step #3: Prioritize keyword groups based on business value
Earlier, we touched on how some keywords are used by leads who have intent to buy right now and some are used by people just looking for information. While both keyword types have a place in your overall strategy, the ones geared towards driving direct sales should be your primary focus. That means first optimizing content for purchase-intent keywords that describe exactly what your business offers:
For example these sorts of keyword phrases should be targeted on your most important “money” pages (homepage, area pages, listing pages, about page):
Rhode Island real estate agency
Homes for sale in Newport Rhode Island
2 bedroom apartments in Providence
On the other hand, informational content (most often categorized as blog content) is useful for building your brand, nurturing leads over the long term, and having resources you can share with prospects and customers to gain trust:
How long does it take to sell your home
Home buying checklist
What is fsbo
Informational content is at its most useful when it links to optimized, high-converting listings and category pages, so focus on those core “money” pages first.
Step #4: Assess content types
Before you start creating content to target a specific keyword, take a second to Google the term first to see what content types already rank:
Google is basically telling you which type of content you need to create in order to rank for a given term.
For example: There’d be no point using a blog post to target a term like houses for sale in barrington ri, because it won’t compete with the other pages in the SERPs. Google clearly thinks the intent of the search term is best served with a category or property listing page.
The same goes for blog content; there are some keywords that lend themselves much better to being covered in a blog post than ‘sold’ in a landing page. These are usually informational keywords, like how to buy a home which is being targeted here:
In the SERPs, you can see straight away that this keyword is best targeted with an informational blog post:
(Plus the ‘how to’ clues you in on the fact that it’s an informational keyword straight away.)
Step #5: Decide where each keyword should be targeted on your website
Make a decision about which page on your site will target each keyword, and add it to your spreadsheet:
It could be that you simply alter an existing page’s on-page SEO by changing its title and copy, or maybe you need to create a new page altogether. Implement one group of real estate SEO keywords for your about page, a different set for your listings page, and another category of terms for the contact page. To make an informed decision about which pages you should optimize, it helps to have a database that catalogs your site’s existing pages.
Tip: If your site is built on WordPress and uses the Yoast SEO plugin, enter your domain followed by /sitemap_index.xml to find the sitemap with all the existing pages/posts:
Step #6: Measure how your pages/ posts perform and add the data points to the spreadsheet.
Every SEO strategy is unique, meaning each one takes a different amount of time to see success. Use the initial period of keyword implementation to monitor how long it takes for certain pages to reach specific goals, like get 1,000 total pageviews or rank highly for specific keyword phrases.
Then use Google Analytics to track performance and get a pulse on which assets are picking up organic traffic over time:
While organic traffic is important, it’s not what pays the bills. At the end of the day, you need conversions (i.e. leads). To track conversions against individual landing pages, you need to set up Goals in Google Analytics. A Goal is simply an action you want a user to take on your site. For example: User submitted a request through contact form:
With reports that include your Goals, you can see both which pages are getting seen and which pages are driving leads. This helps you hone your content strategy:
Google Analytics supplies the hard data on traffic and conversion, but you should also use a free tool like Google’s Search Console to track keyword rankings:
By now you should have a solid list of target keywords for each stage of the buyer journey.
If you’re looking for some help to kickstart the research process, check out the list of real estate keywords below.
105 High-Value Real Estate Keywords
Generic Real Estate Keywords
How much is my home worth? my house price Do I need a Realtor? Pricing Your Home Best time to sell your home Best time to buy a home How to invest in real estate Improvements that increase home value How long do homes stay on the market in (insert city/zip code) Things to Do in (insert neighborhood) best [location] neighbourhoods Best Schools in (insert neighborhood) real estate taxes real estate appraisers real estate agent fees Best places to buy in (insert city/zip code) Best Neighborhoods in (insert city/zip code) Crime Rates in (insert neighborhood) Best Restaurants in (insert neighborhood) Real estate comps Capital gains tax on real estate mortgage payment calculator house buying costs home staging tips buying a repossessed house buying a house checklist questions to ask when buying a house credit score needed to buy a house how much house can you afford how much do you need for a house deposit how long does it take to close on a house buying a house with cash buying a house to rent out
Real Estate Buyer Keywords
Realtors top real estate agents in ________ real estate agent best real estate agent houses for sale near me realtor near me real estate services houses for sale condos for sale townhomes for sale house for sale in [area] buy real estate best Realtor near ________ [location] houses for sale open house in [location] real estate agencies real estate broker relocation Realtor in [area] [location] real estate [location] houses for sale open house in [location] best schools in [location] realtor [location] apartments [location] cheap houses for sale how to buy a home big houses for sale new homes for sales in ______ villas for sale foreclosures for sale foreclosure listings foreclosed homes Apartments in [neighbourhood / street name] [neighbourhood / street name] restaurants [neighbourhood / street name] parks [neighbourhood / street name] schools 2 bedroom condo for sale in [neighbourhood / street name luxury real estate buy a lot local realtor List of Real Estate agents in (insert city/zip code) waterfront land for sale rural property for sale new construction homes for sale houses with pools Homes under $_____ big homes for sale beachfront property for sale historic homes for sale high rise apartments house and land packages Fixer Upper Homes For Sale
Real Estate Seller Keywords
how to sell your home sell home fast Sell house in ________ staging home to sell cost of selling your home ways to sell your house sell your own home real estate companies list my home house prices in my area
Real Estate Keywords for Investors
we buy houses we buy homes cash home buyers fast home buyers how to sell house fast sell without a Realtor sell vacant house sell house without an agent
Remember: you can localize each of these real estate keywords simply by adding information such as city, town, county, zip code etc.
For example, take the keyword buy a townhome. Let’s say you’re an agent servicing the Manhattan area. You might consider localizing the search phrase like this:
buy a townhome Manhattan buy a townhome at Trump Tower buy a townhome Wall Street buy a townhome Central Park buy a townhome Greenwich Village condo 2bd/1ba townhomes for sales near Greenwich Village
Use the keywords above as a starting point and localize to your service area using different geographic modifiers – town, city, zip code, landmarks etc.
Best Tools to Find Real Estate Keywords
Here is a list of free and paid tools you can use to quickly find valuable keyword ideas for your real estate business.
Google Keyword Planner
Google Keyword Planner is a tool designed to help businesses find keyword opportunities for paid Google Ads campaigns. However, it can also be used to find organic keyword ideas for ranking in the search results.
Simply enter a keyword related to your business and the Keyword Planner will kick back hundreds of new ideas. Use the search volume, CPC and trend data to qualify and prioritize the keyword set.
Note: there’s a couple downfalls to the Google Keyword Planner:
Metrics are pulled directly from Google Ads database. The volume and competition metrics are not the same for organic search.
Unless you run paid ad campaigns, the search volume metrics will be presented as ranges. This makes it hard to properly qualify the highest-value keyword opportunities.
While the Google Keyword Planner is a great free starting point, there are a number of other tools you should look at during the keyword research process.
Ubersuggest is a keyword research tool that has a much lower barrier-to-entry than Google Keyword Planner. A quick search will return loads of great keyword ideas you can prioritize based on volume, difficulty and CPC data (in a CSV export, if that’s easier!).
You can also check the SERPs from inside the app, which is helpful for understanding the content type/quality you are up against.
Ubersuggest is free.
AnswerThePublic uses data from Q&A sites as well as search suggestions to generate long tail keywords. Think of it as a database of the most frequently asked questions about everything, categorized into different buckets – questions, prepositions, related terms, and alphabeticals.
For example, you can generate a report on the most common question-based keywords related to the field of FSBO:
These are the exact questions your target audience are asking in the search results, and because they are so specific, are often much easier to rank for. These keywords make for great informational assets at the top and middle of the funnel. The Prepositions report is handy for surfacing the different features/modifiers people use when searching for particular type.
Check out what’s generated for miami condo:
Straight away, you get a list of the most in-demand features (on the beach, with car elevator, with boat slip) and nearby places (near metrorail, near FIU, near american airlines arena). These modifiers are great targets for category pages (or listing page filters) that bucket properties with similar features or localities. AnswerThePublic is free for basic functionality, but costs $99/month for a premium plan that includes location filtering, unlimited searches, and saved reports.
Ahrefs is a full SEO suite with site audits, rank tracking, and backlink reports. It also has a powerful keyword research tool that allows you to analyze competitor keyword profiles and generate a massive list of new ideas just by entering a single topic.
Ahrefs’ suggestions, parent topics, question filters, and “also rank for” views make it easy to explore different keyword ideas:
For hyperlocal keywords, check out the “Newly discovered” report for any [location] + [property type] keyword, like miami condo.
You can also use the Site Explorer tool to spy on competitor keywords — i.e. the terms bringing in the most organic traffic each month — so you can optimize your site for the same set of terms. This is by far the fastest way to kickoff the keyword research process.
Enter the Mississippi Valley Realty domain into the Ahrefs Site Explorer and navigate to the Organic Keywords report and you’ll a list of all the individual keywords driving organic traffic to the site:
You can also use the Top Pages report to get a quick snapshot of the individual URLs driving the most traffic to the site:
Ahrefs’ full keyword research and site explorer features are restricted to show keyword positions up to 20 in its cheapest plan ($79/month), but it should be more than enough to get you started, especially considering all of the extra tools and value that come with the suite.
Ready. Set. Research.
Whether you’re just starting to make optimizations to your real estate marketing site, or want to build out your existing keyword database, now is the time to take action. Over 90% of pages on the internet are completely invisible to search engines because most people are misinformed about how proper keyword research and SEO works.