Today, 90% of home buyers use the internet during their home search. But according to CNBC.com, nearly half of small businesses (real estate agents included) don’t have a website.
Hang on. We need a moment to process this.
Not having a website in 2020 is the equivalent of not having a phone number in the 1980s. You’re virtually invisible as a business. That being said, a website alone doesn’t guarantee visibility. You need smart SEO practices as well to succeed in today’s real estate industry.
Stay tuned as we explain the effect SEO can have in real estate and how to avoid some of the biggest real estate SEO mistakes.
Is SEO the Key to Real Estate Success?
SEO is the practice of improving your website’s search engine ranking and visibility through strategized content and website development. Over half of real estate website visits come directly from search engines, so we know that people head to the internet when they are ready to buy or sell. As a real estate agent, you need to be where they’re looking.
Even if you regularly secure word-of-mouth referrals, you can bet those new leads are checking out your online reputation before giving you a call. If they come across someone else first, they may skip reaching out to you altogether.
Ranking for the right keywords in real estate can transform your business. Imagine not having to spend hours prospecting for new leads but instead having a 24/7 online representative of your services.
We know SEO for real estate can be intimidating and we won’t tell you it’s easy. But we can promise it’s worth the effort.
Don’t try to go it alone! Here are 4 reasons why you need an SEO specialist.
Avoiding the Biggest Real Estate SEO Mistakes
We’ve broken down the most common and biggest real estate SEO mistakes into three main categories. As you browse, keep in mind that SEO blunders rarely lead to permanent consequences. There’s always a way to reverse the damage. But if you’re new to SEO, take each potential scenario to heart.
SEO keyword mistakes
SEO includes a strong focus on keywords. So, it only makes sense that some of the most common real estate SEO mistakes are related to keywords.
Let’s start with keyword stuffing or the practice of fitting in your target keyword as many times as possible on a page. Keyword stuffing is bad. Google doesn’t like keyword stuffing. You should avoid keyword stuffing. Keyword stuffing can hurt your SEO efforts. Keyword stuffing, keyword stuffing, keyword stuffing…annoying, isn’t it? Google doesn’t like it either. Focus on writing natural content sprinkled with your target keyword.
Cloaking is another keyword-related SEO mistake. This is a technique in which the content presented to the search engine spider is different from that presented to the user’s browser. This is a black-hat SEO technique and highly penalized by Google. If someone suggests cloaking to rank faster, run.
Choosing the wrong keywords is another common SEO mistake in real estate. As an agent, you’ll likely want to focus on local keywords, like homes for sale in Austin instead of two-story homes for sale. They’re both long-tail keywords and more detailed than just homes for sale but only one will bring in local leads.
SEO linking mistakes
Links are one of the most important factors in any real estate SEO strategy. But they require finesse and patience. Avoid any of the following when building links.
A sloppy internal link strategy can come off as unprofessional and frustrating for website visitors. If you want to direct readers to a different page on your site, make sure the hyperlinked words aren’t misleading. Your internal links should improve the user experience, not hinder it.
Broken links can also hurt your SEO efforts. But they’re difficult to catch unless you check every single link within your website pages, blog content, and social media posts. Yikes. Instead, use a broken link tool to uncover (and correct) broken links before Google slaps you on the wrist.
Finally, avoid buying links from spammy sites. If a website is offering you a link in exchange for a fee, say no thanks and move on. Guest posting is a great way to build links, but it should be an even exchange – content for links.
As a real estate agent, you can also build your list of inbound links by submitting your information to relevant directories. There may be a small fee associated with this process but if the directory is valid and reputable, it’s worth the investment.
SEO content mistakes
When’s the last time you gave your website content a close look? There are several ways your content can be interfering with your SEO efforts.
Let’s start with property listings. Real estate agents have a unique opportunity with SEO thanks to real estate property listings. But these listings can create SEO issues as well. First, duplicate content can keep you from improving your rankings. Avoid this with all content, including listings. Spend the time to come up with unique listing descriptions, even if the properties are similar. Avoid listing templates that can cause Google to label your listings as a duplicate content.
Another common content SEO concern in the real estate industry is keyword cannibalization. This occurs when an agent or agency uses multiple pages to target the same keyword. SEO experts believe this strategy confuses Google and lowers your page authority. So rather than trying to rank for real estate agents in your town on your home page, about page, blogs, and listings take the time to generate a list of potential keywords. This will help to avoid keyword writer’s block, which inevitably leads to keyword cannibalization.
As a real estate agent, it’s also recommended to avoid outsourcing local content. Outsourcing generic website pages or blog posts can save you time and boost your SEO efforts if you’re working with a digital marketing agency. But when it comes to the local details, locals know best. Find a local agency.
Finally, make sure your content is consistent. Google rewards websites who continuously and consistently update with new pages and content. A blog can help you share industry news, trends, and tips on a regular basis.
Still not convinced? Here’s 5 Ways Bad SEO Hurts Your Bottomline (And, We’ll Tell You How To Fix It).
Fast Guide to SEO for Real Estate Agents
It wouldn’t be fair for us to tell you all the biggest real estate SEO mistakes without showing you a few SEO best practices as well. Here’s our fast guide to getting started with SEO for real estate.
Tackle those listings
When writing property listings, be as unique and specific as possible. Use local keywords (think towns, subdivisions, or local landmarks for keyword variety) and include a property’s address in the listing header. Finally, optimize images for SEO by avoiding stock images, compressing image sizes, and including keywords in alt text (e.g. spacious eat-in kitchen or an oversized living room instead of Image 74).
Making sure that you have a strong local online presence is crucial in real estate. Local SEO isn’t much different than the standard SEO. You just need to add a local touch. This, of course, applies to your keyword selection but also your website content and social media posts. Festival in town? Write a blog to show potential home buyers what your town has to offer (and put your name in their head).
Upgrade your website
Your website is about more than just looks. Think of it this way. Repainting a home won’t guarantee a sell if the plumbing and electrical are a mess. Focus on optimizing your website for mobile viewing and take the time to improve the overall user experience. Make sure it loads quickly and that every page has a purpose and a clear call to action.
Ready, Get Set, SEO!
The biggest real estate SEO mistakes can cost you. The good news is that they’re completely avoidable.
An SEO strategy won’t be successful overnight, but if you’re committed, persistent, and willing to put in the work, the sweat equity of SEO always makes the process worth it.