This is a beautiful synchronicity that happens to occur between SEO and the world of real estate. The one term that joins this particular mode of business with the practice of search engine optimisation comes down ‘local.’ Both entities live and die by their association to a community.
Whether the enterprise is small or happens to fall under a major franchise chain like Century 21, LJ Hooker, Raine & Horne, Ray White or First National, the same principles apply.
The goal is to dominate the competition by showcasing and broadcasting an image that matches or exceeds your quality of service. From rural areas to downtown suburbia where the margin for error is minimal, the objective is to be the real estate company that locals know and trust.
SEO is simply a means of communicating that message more eruditely and directly to a market of people who might not be aware of your existence or degree of expertise.
Right here we will take some time to examine two crucial aspects to the connection between real estate and SEO:
- Why the practice actually matters in this field?
- How best to implement the methodology into your business?
Real estate firms domestically and overseas can fall into the trap of prioritising the glossy brochure or investing in that one big billboard down town over more pressing projects, but SEO substance reaps long-term dividends.
Why SEO Matters In Real Estate?
It would be fair to acknowledge at this point that real state professionals should not be expected to be inherent SEO experts in their spare time. There is only so much time in the day and between closing deals and managing open house schedules, there is a lot to process.
All that can be mentioned at this stanza is that the practice is worthwhile for a number of factors. Marketing is all part of the game but while others get stuck trying to play it, a clear and concise SEO strategy accelerates your profile without exhausting time or expense.
Builds Local Directory Network
With the boom of the shared economy making data all the more immediate and at the click of a button, it is vital that your real estate business is as visible as possible. That makes every avenue count, and the local business (real estate) directory is a method to channel your hub into a community of peers and competitors.
Just consider the following platforms of real estate directories that can be found with a simple Google search:
- Real Estate
- Australian Real Estate Agents Directory
- Australian Real Estate Directory
- Real Estate World
Every realtor will understand that crosspollination is a regular feature in this domain, with the same brands being plastered throughout various outlets.
Having a sound SEO strategy is about including on-page and off-page techniques to drive traffic and with directory involvement, that very much falls into an example of the latter. Clicks from external sources drives your search engine ranking skywards which grows visibility and revenue.
Offers a Multimedia Experience
Studies that conduct the human attention span might appear to point to a dwindling of our own capacity, but the ability to engage online visitors requires an immediate effect put into action. This is where multimedia can bridge the gap between your requirement to inform and the consumers need to absorb information in a friendly format.
Optimising your search engine performance requires you to branch out and think creatively. That might suit some personalities and talents over others, but it is often a case of repackaging content to suit a style.
Consider any of the following as a means of illustrating your real estate prowess:
- Photo gallery
- Video expose
- Interview recorded on audio format
The online marketing landscape is fertile with opportunities to lace content that is optimised. The knock-on effect is that you happen to engage customers with information that is fun and easy to consume than just pure text on a spreadsheet or pamphlet.
Targets Local Consumers
The most important element of SEO’s tangible benefit to realtors is the process of showcasing your brand to the local community. Throughout every platform possible – from Google to Bing, Facebook or local directories, the goal is to drive your brand into the conscious of residents and home-seekers within your proximity of operation.
There are two key tactics in this field that enhances your visibility to locals:
- Organically through keyword strategy and general SEO practices
- Pay-per click (PPC) advertising
Both of these techniques are equally applicable as the best SEO marketers manage to marry the pair with precision and efficiency.
For example, an emerging realtor in the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney would earmark the following locations as their prime territory to target homebuyers and renters:
- Rose Bay
They would then implement keywords that come inclusive with those geographic locations to target those demographics. Anything from “Randwick real estate” to “Randwick realtors” or “Renting in Randwick” would be applicable.
SEO strategies enables your enterprise to pool together those in surrounding locations to encounter your message. From long-term (keywords) to short-term (PPC) techniques, traditional marketing methods fail to offer this much precision.
Mobile Compatibility Ease For Consumers
Speaking of attention spans, what about our evolving reliance with smartphone devices? According to Hootsuite, 94% of Australians own a mobile phone with 80% owning a smartphone as of January 2017. Those figures don’t even take into account our addiction to laptops, tablets, desktops and televisions.
What these statistics illustrate is the requirement of real estate organisations to be savvy and compatible across all platforms. Simply put, our collective habits for consuming media has changed and it is those who adapt best that gain the traction.
To reinforce this point further, Google’s own algorithm alterations over the past few years has accelerated the need to be mobile compatible. Should your text, images and video load with ease, then your search engine ranking will be in a healthy state.
There is a common saying in business circles that if you attempt to please everyone, you end up pleasing nobody. In the domain of online marketing across platforms, pleasing everybody is the objective.
Develops Social Media Profile
Continuing our discussion about on-page and off-page SEO tactics leads us nicely to the department of social media. This domain also lands into the latter category to drive organic traffic. Not that long ago, hits from Facebook and Twitter were viewed as secondary to Google and Yahoo, but that hierarchy has shifted over time.
The fact remains that these social hubs act as thriving communities where content is shared and posted with immediacy. Australian real estate companies on their game can cash in, broadcasting their message to:
- 15 million active monthly Facebook users
- 9 million active monthly Instagram users
- 2 million active monthly LinkedIn users
- 3 million active monthly Twitter users
Yet the goal of course with SEO is local. Having accounts on these sites enables your business to curate campaigns that targets your demographic. It also empowers your site to drive content, keeping consumers engaged and informed about properties and real estate news.
4 Quick Hacks To Utilise SEO For Your Operation
Now that you have been made aware of SEO’s importance in the real estate field, the idea is to implement the tricks of the trade. Your website might already be ticking some of these boxes, but be aware that the world of optimisation search engine performance is never static.
Keywords are the gateway towards a healthy SEO performance. These terms will be the single determining factor that must be prioritised to obtaining organic traffic from a variety of sources.
Head to Google’s Keyword Planner software application tool as a starting point. This can give your operation a detailed report to go in-depth on the data, or offer a simple overview on the keywords you opt for.
There are other keyword tools out there available to use. Whether you invest money or go down the free route, the trick is to update your information and follow the path directed by your consumer base.
One of the best ways to change your perception from a static profit-driven real estate enterprise is to blog. Having agents and brokers who inform their clientele about approaching opportunities in the market for investment and hot spots to rent is a major asset.
Blogging through the likes of WordPress or Squarespace enables the consumer base to keep your brand front of mind and builds the profile of your agents. Search engines thrive on sites that continually update their content and utilising this hack is a clever way of boosting your score.
Run Through Mobile Testing
Your domain should be as easy to navigate on an iPhone or Samsung as it is on a desktop hub. When homebuyers and renters are out on a Saturday afternoon, they will be scrolling through their smartphone for the next open house and it is paramount that you cater to this need.
Examine the following mobile testing applications to see how your domain is performing:
- Mobile-Friendly Test (Google)
Create Directory Presence
Once you have placed your operation on the litany of local real estate directories, it is crucial that your information is plastered across these platforms. The more modes of contact and points of access the customer has on their hands, the better.
Consider these factors when placing your brand on the directories:
- Opening times
- User reviews
- Video, image and audio content
- Agent/broker details
Some outlets can limit what you what to put up, but it is best to push the boundaries and take advantage of directories that are an open format.
Lucas is the Managing Director and the Head of SEO Strategy at SEO Shark. He has over 15 years of experience in achieving SEO results for small and medium businesses as well as multinational and ASX-listed brands. He is also an author of multiple publications about digital marketing.