There's a lot of high-level SEO information out there to help Realtors thrive, and search engine marketing is a practice that includes an immense level of detail. But sometimes we need to take a step back from the fine tuning and look at the bigger picture.
The 5 real estate SEO tips in today's post help agents focus on that big picture and create a website that's well optimized.
5. Keep your community area focused
When starting your site off, pick a city or handful of communities, and then focus. Create as much content as you can about that area, write everything you know about it, go out and take photos that nobody else has, and ultimately make your site the single best resource out there for learning about real estate in it.
Focusing on a single area makes it more likely you'll develop the content needed to beat out your competitor and it helps search engines, like Google, to actually understand what your site is about. When you throw too much out there at once, you run into a "jack of all trades, master of none" scenario, and that's not a competitive strategy.
So, start with a focus on one area. Once you master it and really do it justice, then you can look at expanding to new areas.
4. Evaluate your pages using mobile devices
It's no secret that Google is developing a mobile-first search engine, and the plan is for it to replace the desktop-based search algorithm entirely. In essence, Google will be evaluating sites based on the experiences they provide mobile users, instead of the experience for desktop users. There's no need to panic, as Google does intend on giving lots of warning before they switch, but it is in the works.
Because we know these changes are eventually coming, it makes sense to start looking at your website this way too. Responsive design is a great start, and it's automatically included in all our modern sites, but you still need to be individually evaluating your pages to ensure the content comes together well and functions the way it's intended.
3. Secure your site with HTTPS
We have been recommending HTTPS for the past several years, but we still see a significant number of real estate sites without it. Starting in January, Chrome will increase its security and increase the warnings on HTTP sites. Leads who start to fill out the registration form or any other contact form will be given a "Not secure" warning, significantly decreasing the likelihood that they'll submit their information. In this circumstance, Google is telling users exactly what they want us to do: secure our sites. From an SEO standpoint, it's almost always a good idea to do what the major search engines are recommending.
2. Share your site whenever you can
There's a lot of nuances to link building, but you can simplify your strategy if you have the right mindset. Just remember to share your website whenever it's relevant, and you'll start building links in a way that's entirely natural and genuine.
For example, if a news site is writing a story, ask them to include your link. If you're sponsoring a scholarship, find a reason the school has to link back to your site. If you're participating in a community event, ask for a link. ...You get the gist. Whenever the opportunity is hot, ask someone for a link—the worst they will do is say no.
In addition to building up backlinks, sharing your site is also a great way to get it out there in the community. You want people to visit your site as much as possible and they can only do that if they know it exists. Think of your site like a virtual business card and hand it out to anyone who will take it!
1. Create a navigation with intention
My last tip for this post is to create a navigation that reflects your most important content first. Search engines use your website's navigation to help understand what your site is about, and also to figure out what content you think is most important.
This is also why you'll typically see listings and real estate type pages at the beginning of navigation structures, while "About Us" and "Contact" tend to be towards the end. We naturally categorize our most important information first, and search engines pay attention.
This message will get lost if you have too many links, but a refined and focused navigation is a great way to reinforce your main keywords and areas of focus. By ensuring we're creating our navigation structures with genuine intention, we can make the most of this SEO tip.
If you're interested in learning more about SEO, check out our SEO Guide for Realtors. It's a great place to find out more about the basics of search engine optimization and will help you hit the ground running.