The Ultimate Real Estate SEO Keywords Spreadsheet for Agents
By Matthew Bushery
Spoiler alert: Conducting keyword research to find the best phrases to use in your real estate marketing takes time and is an ongoing task, not a one-time deal. Thus, organizing your real estate SEO keywords is paramount. Deciding which keywords should go on certain pages within your website, implementing those keywords, tracking their progress, and modifying your content marketing plan based on their performance requires a good system. Otherwise, keyword chaos will ensue and your dreams of ranking high in search engine results pages will fade. The best way to assemble, categorize, and audit your real estate keywords is by organizing your keyword data in an Excel or Google spreadsheet — a task we explain in detail below.
Step #1: Research primary, secondary, and long-tail real estate SEO keywords for your website.
If you subscribe to our Real Estate Marketing Academy newsletter, you know the need to perform in-depth keyword research is a common theme in our content. Whether this research is conducted once a week or once a month is up to you, but the most recent keyword data is always more helpful when crafting and modifying your website content. The first place to start with your keyword research is relatively straightforward: Head to Google and the AdWords Keyword Planner and enter in housing- and market-related terms you believe your home buyers and sellers are searching for.
Some keywords you research will just be hunches of what you think they’re searching (you can never go wrong with any keywords with “homes for sale” in them), but many should be based on which keywords work best for other local agents — something you can determine using one of several “spying” tools that reveals oft-used keywords.
When checking to see which home buying keywords are popular in Google search, enter phrases like “[market name] homes for sale,” “where to buy in [market name],” “[market name] home prices,” and other similar wordings in the search bar. For sellers, phrases including “how to sell a home in [market name],” “[market name] real estate agents,” and “best Realtors in [market name]” are likely search terms entered by your local audience. Also find synonym keywords that are also searched just by entering these phrases into Google’s search bar without hitting enter — you’ll see the similar suggested terms drop down below the search bar:
The bulk of your keyword research, however, needs to take place in Keyword Planner, where you can figure out the popularity and competitiveness of the real estate SEO keywords you think are worth considering for use on your website. The main factors that should be weighed when determining which keywords are worth pursuing include the keywords’:
- 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.
- Popularity: 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.
Here, we used the Miami housing market and entered in one popular key phrase — “Miami homes for sale” — for the area. By simply clicking on “More like this” next to the keyword, we see other similar terms that are likely beneficial for a Miami-area agent’s real estate SEO strategy. This is a crucial step to take in Keyword Planner, as this essentially performs much of your research for you:
Step #2: Create multiple keyword groups, each with its own distinct primary keyword as the main focus.
From here, select the most applicable and popular real estate keywords you discover and add them to your own 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. Similarly, if some keywords aren’t as nearly highly searched as most of your other terms, put them on the backburner for the time being and focus on implementing only those that are more popular among your personas at the moment (or are trending higher).
Here’s what the list of keyword concepts/groups should look like in your SEO real estate spreadsheet:
Step #3: Decide where on your real estate website you should apply each individual keyword concept.
Next up is figuring out which pages and posts should include each keyword group. The best way to accomplish this is to look at past content you’ve created and plan to use again, like a blog post series highlighting problem areas sellers face, or even landing pages that describe your area and community. This is an educated guessing game, so there really is no wrong place to put your keywords. The key to success with your concepts, though, is to designate secondary and long-tail keywords within each group to specific areas of your site.
Implement one group of real estate SEO keywords for your about page, a different set for your listings page, and another category of terms to your contact page, for example. This helps you cover the bases: Each of these pages likely contains roughly the same information (how to get in touch with you and some information on who you are and what areas you serve), so your chances of driving traffic to one of the pages increases due to the different keywords each page entails:
Step #4: Measure how your pages and posts perform and add the data points to the spreadsheet.
After determining the appropriate keywords for your existing and soon-to-be-created pages and posts, add the terms to each one and let them do their work. Every SEO strategy is unique, meaning each one takes a different amount of time to see success, so use this initial period of keyword implementation to monitor how long it takes for certain pages to reach specific goals, like the first ones to get 1,000 total pageviews, reach an average of five minutes time-on-page, or rank highly for the keyword phrases they’re targeting. Whereas Keyword Planner is where you find your keywords, Google Analytics is where you’ll find the performance metrics for each one, so check your account a couple times each week to see the progress each page and post makes.
For the sake of our example with the Miami agent’s keyword list, you could next create reports that track each page’s and post’s data so you can export the figures for each into your real estate SEO spreadsheet. Whether each keyword group is a success depends on what success looks like to you. For some agents, it’s strictly about lead generation: how many people landed on a page or post and filled out a form to become a lead. For others, metrics like the number of sessions all users have on a page or on what page many users exited matter more. Whichever metrics are top priorities for you are the ones to add columns for in your spreadsheet, like the ones added to the spreadsheet below, for instance:
Step #5: Segment keywords and groups that work from those that don’t work, and ditch the latter.
Over the course of even just a couple months, you should have a clear indication of which real estate keywords are taking you to the digital promised land and which are dragging you into the seven circles of marketing. It should be noted, though, that some keyword concepts need time to develop, so if you want to maximize your organic marketing plan and ensure your on-page real estate SEO thrives, set up numerous keyword groups — for this example, let’s go with at least a dozen — to improve the odds that at least some perform beyond expectations. That way, if several don’t work out, you can replace the concepts with newer primary keywords as the focus.
Just don’t make the common mistake of assuming instant results are the norm. One group of keywords may get you to the first or second slot on page one of SERPs after just a couple of months, but even the ones deemed to have failed could also get your content to the top of search results. It’s a matter of choice, but often the better choice is to be patient and allow your real estate SEO strategy to gradually unfold. Should you ultimately decide to eliminate some keywords and concepts, keep them in your spreadsheet so you remember to avoid them in the future or, in some cases, revisit them down the line to see if they could work for you.
Want to become a real estate SEO expert? This comprehensive Placester keyword research ebook expands on the steps laid out in this Academy post in even more detail, so download it today!
Creating a strategy focused on SEO for real estate agents clearly requires attention to detail — but what else do you want to know about optimizing your real estate website for search? Ask us any questions you have below!
Published on July 31, 2015
Written by Matthew Bushery
I'm the Sr. Content Creator for Placester, where I educate real estate professionals about modern marketing and, in turn, help agents and brokers make the most of their online presence, earn more traffic, and generate more leads and business.