Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the “key to the castle” when it comes to capturing traffic from buyers who are searching for you online. But what exactly is SEO? According to Search Engine Land, “Search engine optimization is the process of getting traffic from the free, organic, editorial or natural search results on search engines.” This may sound a little intimidating, but you don’t have to be a web developer to be discovered more often by search engines. Here are five basic, but effective, SEO tips that will help your business rank higher in local real estate searches.
1. Conduct Keyword Research
Conducting keyword research should be the first step in becoming more visible when potential clients search for you online. There are a few ways this research can be done, but the easiest is referred to as “long-tail keywords.” Go to your Google search bar and start a query such as “Homes for sale in.” You’ll notice that Google provides you with a list of suggestions to complete your search.
These suggestions are based on the geo-location of where a person is conducting their online search, in addition to the phrases or keywords that have had the highest frequency of use in the past. When someone in your area types in “Homes for sale in,” they’ll most likely be shown the same suggestions that Google provided you.
Incorporating these terms and phrases selectively and logically into your website content will help Google recognize your site as being “relevant” in similar local searches. Keep in mind that this is one of the most basic forms of keyword research and not likely in itself to make you show up at the top of a Google search. Tools like Google Webmaster Tools and Google Display Planner will help you understand and implement core keyword research and strategy.
2. Local Content is the Best Content
Producing great local content that engages and educates your audience is another key to driving more traffic to your website. Your content needs to be informative, include relevant local topics, and provide answers to the questions that your audience may have.
Creating content that answers questions like “What is my home worth?” or “What are the top neighborhoods in Houston?” is a great way to help boost your presence within local search results. The more often your content is viewed and interacted with by online users, the more relevant it will be to search engines. If you’ve done your keyword research and incorporated those terms into your content strategy, the odds of it populating search results related to that topic will increase dramatically, thus increasing the chances of driving traffic back to your website.
3. Establish Your Local Footprint
The top search engines (Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc.) allow you to register your company in their local business directories by adding information like your name, address, phone number and more. The importance of registering your business here cannot be stressed enough. For starters, it will help you rank higher in search results because your page will already be indexed in their local directory. It also gives you the ability to add customer reviews, and the more positive reviews you have means that search engines will see you as a “better solution” for its users. Here’s a scenario to put it all in perspective:
Say a potential client, we’ll call him “George Homebuyer,” is moving to Atlanta and needs a real estate professional. George gets on Google and types in “Top Realtors in Atlanta, Georgia” and gets a list of realty companies that Google has ranked in order of relevancy (aka SEO ranking). George sees that “Realty Folks of Atlanta” is among the top results and decides to do a little more research into the company before he contacts them. So, he types in “Realty Folks of Atlanta” and since these savvy business owners have registered their company on all local business directories, Mr. Homebuyer is immediately provided with all their company information and is able to read through their awesome client testimonials. George sees that people are raving about this company and, boom, Realty Folks of Atlanta now have a new client.
4. Search Engines Pick Up on Social Media
Did you know that social media activity can help the search ranking of your website? Social media is a great way to get the conversation going about your business. If you’re actively engaging with your followers, receiving positive reviews and sharing awesome content, search engines will pick up on it. This is referred to as “social signals” and is just another reason why optimizing your social media strategy is vital to both your branding and growing your online presence.
5. Optimize Your Site for Mobile
Now that “Mobilegeddon” is in full effect, having a website that looks flawless on smartphones, tablets or desktops is no longer an option – it’s a necessity. Improving a user’s ability to consume your content is key to generating positive user satisfaction, shares and repeat visitors. In fact, Google has found that mobile users are five times more likely to abandon their search on your site if it isn’t optimized for mobile use, regardless of whether the site contains great content. When search engines recognize that users are quickly leaving your site, they’ll identify it as not being relevant and will drop your position in related searches.
If your site is not ready for mobile, Homes.com offers a responsive web design platform that is created specifically for real estate and offers all the tools buyers need during their search for a home.
Use these five basic tips as stepping stones to take control of your SEO game. If you’re looking for more tips on how to increase your web presence, visit the Homes.com learning center for free downloadable checklists and eBooks.