The agents who succeed in the next 5-10 years will be those that heavily invest in SEO. Why? Because they will be the ones to receive the bulk of the inquiries from anyone who is searching for real estate help online.
It’s fair to say that the internet is no longer in its infancy. As the internet grows, SEO continues to evolve as well. Whether we like it or not, SEO is the key to digitally marketing your business to its full potential.
Real Estate Marketing Changes
When I first started in real estate, most people were concerned over the location of their billboards. Over the past 20 years, I have watched the rules of marketing drastically change. Now, I’m not knocking billboards. I know they can still be an effective tool, I just believe that physical advertising is not the future.
Take a few moments to watch people walking down the street. Pay attention to their eyes. Are they scanning the sky and nearby bus shelters? No, they are looking at their phones checking their Instagram feed.
In today’s market, real estate agents are found either by:
a) online interactions, or…
b) word of mouth relationships.
First of all, what is SEO?
When I ask real estate agents where they rank on Google in their local market, I usually get a blank stare in return.
SEO, or search engine optimization, is the ongoing process of creating content that will be positively ranked or recognized by search engines such as Google. This includes choosing topics that are popular or trending, as well as keywords and other ‘signals’ search engines use to identify, rank and match content with a user’s search criteria.
Good SEO is critical if you want to be found on the internet. SEO is not an option or a software that you can simply add to a website. It is also something that cannot be implemented overnight. Rather, consider it to be part of your long-term strategy.
By observing SEO best practices, you ensure that search engines will consistently rank your content on the first page of search results.
How SEO Works
Essentially, when a homebuyer takes their phone out and searches “Top real estate agent in ____”, Google will crawl the Internet and analyze all of the relevant content to see which websites will best suit the searcher’s needs in less than a second.
After scrutinizing thousands of web pages, Google will provide a list that is ranked from most valuable to least valuable. You always want to be one of the first few results that appear for the prospective buyer or seller.
What Is Google Looking For?
The engineers that created and update the Google algorithm have one main goal in mind – to bring the user the most relevant and useful result possible. What does this mean for you as a real estate professional?
You need to be creating content that actually adds value to people’s lives. Not only should your content be educational and valuable, it should be entertaining. Luckily I learned this lesson early on in my career. Between my personal accounts and my business, I produce or help produce at least 5-6 unique pieces of content per day.
You don’t need to produce 5-6 pieces of content per day, but you should be regularly contributing to your website, blog and social media accounts. If you don’t have all three of those online tools, you have some work to do.
Google also takes into account how long you have been creating content. For example, an agent that has been regularly blogging for 2 years will likely rank higher than someone who has been blogging for a year.
How Can You Tell If Real Estate Content Is Useful?
I know that you and I find real estate topics fascinating, but the average consumer isn’t waiting on the edge of their seat for the blog on home buying tips.
There are a few ways that you can make your content useful. It can be very educational, providing the perfect answer to a unique or common real estate questions. You can be humorous, emotional, or even shocking. Every agent will have a different technique but I would recommend being true to your own personality as much as possible. Your online content should be an extension of yourself!
If you are trying to measure the value of your content on social media, pay attention to your web analytics, which measures the engagement. How many likes, comments, and shares are occurring? On your website, check the bounce rate, or the time spent on each page.
There are thousands of different strategies for creating SEO content and measuring it. Even I felt overwhelmed when I was first trying to wrap my head around search rankings.
Don’t worry. If you are new to the world of SEO, focus on creating content that your ideal clients will actually enjoy consuming on a regular basis. This is the foundation of ranking higher in Google.
Google’s search algorithm is becoming more efficient every single day. If you are looking to cheat the system to rise in the rankings, I recommend you place your efforts elsewhere.
One of the ways Google is trying to improve is by placing an emphasis on local references. When you are creating your content, get as specific as possible.
For example, if you are mentioning the value of sponsoring charity events, mention the charities in your hometown. If you are telling a story about an interaction you had in a coffee shop, mention the name of the shop and tag the business when you post to social media.
Don’t Forget Keywords
If you want to become one of the MOST searched agents in your city, you need to place an emphasis on the keywords that your ideal clients are searching for. Keywords are the words or phrases that individuals in your area search for most frequently.
Some of the common keywords and keyphrases real estate agents should be focusing on are:
- Top real estate agent
- Finding a realtor
- Real estate broker
- Finding a real estate agent
- Real estate agent
Your content should highlight and include these key phrases but I would recommend trying to target some of the less popular keywords that fall within your niche as well.
Why? Due to the lack of competition, you will be able to rise faster in the Google search rankings in these particular areas. Don’t forget to target key phrases that include specific geographic references such as “Best realtor in Manhattan”.
I urge you not to become discouraged with your SEO results if you have only recently placed an emphasis on the technique. As I said before, it is a long game that requires patience. Start today and I promise, your efforts will pay dividends for many years to come.