This is the most complete guide to Local SEO For Real Estate Websites on the planet!
Start generating real estate leads on Autopilot.
In this in-depth guide you’ll learn:
- What Local SEO Is & Why You Need It
- How To Rank In The Map Pack (“3-Pack”)
- How To Build NAP Citations
- How To Build Local Backlinks
- And Much, Much More!
If you’re ready to start seeing results with Local SEO, then this guide is for you!
Let’s dive right in.
Using the resources and strategies in this guide, you can ensure that when your target customers search for a realtor in your area they’ll find you!
What is Local SEO for Real Estate Websites?
Local SEO for real estate websites is the practice of optimizing your website and overall online presence in order to increase your visibility in Google’s “Map Pack” and localized organic search results.
For real estate agencies, local SEO will help buyers and/or sellers find you online.
Why Is Local SEO Important For Real Estate Websites?
According to Google’s small business trends 2019 report, interest in “Local” + “Near Me” searches is 350 x’s higher than it was 10 years ago.
No more paying for leads, or wasting money on ineffective advertising.
Instead of using pay-per-click ads to appear on the first page of Google, you’ll show up there organically.
With local SEO you’ll be able to acquire new clients essentially for free.
That’s just one of the many benefits of local SEO.
Why Ranking In Local Search Results Matters For Real Estate Websites
Ranking in Google’s local search results is so valuable because no one goes to page two.
“92% of Searchers Will Only Pick Businesses on the First Page of Local Search Results.”Source
When a user doesn’t find what they’re looking for on the 1st page of search results, they’ll just perform another search.
Therefore, if your real estate website isn’t showing up on the first page of search results or in Google’s Map Pack… it’s effectively invisible.
What Are Local Search Results (SERPs)?
Local SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages) are the search results shown for searches with:
- Local “Intent”
- Geo-Modifiers (“Near Me” or Specific City/Town)
The primary differences between the local SERPs and traditional SERPs is the presence of the “Map Pack” and local relevance of the organic results.
The whole point of local SEO is to get your real estate business to show up in Google’s Map Pack and the localized organic search results.
The “Map Pack” & Organic Results
The Map Pack (also known as “The Local Pack”) is a set of 3 local business results… with a map of their locations pulled from Google Maps.
For example, when you search for “Realty Phoenix”, Google has a Map Pack at the very top of the results.
With the “organic” search results underneath it:
The map pack and organic results are where the overwhelming majority of users will click.
In fact, 35% of clicks go to the local “map pack,” and 51% go to the organic results.
Leaving only 14% of clicks remaining for the pay-per-click Ads.
Local SEO affects more than just the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs).
Have you ever searched for a business in Google Maps?
Those businesses are there because of Local SEO.
Local searches are often conducted while we’re out and about, which means that most searches are performed on a mobile device.
Which is why it’s not surprising to find that Mobile Search Results are also significantly impacted by Local SEO:
When a user searches on their phone, Google uses the GPS to identify their location.
Knowing the location of the searcher ensures the most relevant results in the local area.
When a user searches a business by name on mobile, they see a “Knowledge Card.”
This makes it easy for a user to learn more about the business or to get in touch with them.
What Influences Local SEO For Real Estate Websites?
Local SEO for Real Estate Websites is influenced by a number of factors.
Moz conducted a local SEO study and found that the map pack and organic results are influenced by different factors.
Map Pack Ranking Factors:
At 25%, Google My Business is the most important Map Pack Ranking Factor.
Other important factors are: Links, On-Page, Citation, and Review Signals.
Localized Organic Ranking Factors:
For the localized organic results, the two dominant ranking factors are Link Signals (28%) and On-Page Signals (26%).
Customer Research For Real Estate Local SEO
Before diving into the nitty-gritty of local SEO, it’s important that you identify the ideal audience for your real estate website.
You’ll do this by creating a “Buyer Persona.”
What Is A “Buyer Persona”?
According to Hubspot, a buyer persona is a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer based on market research and real data about your existing customers.
When creating your buyer persona(s), consider including customer demographics, behavior patterns, motivations, and goals.
The more detailed you are, the better.
Here’s an example:
If you already run an online business you probably have a good idea of what your target customer looks like.
Why Buyer Personas Matter For Real Estate Local SEO
Creating a Buyer Persona for your Real Estate Local SEO Strategy is important for a number of reasons.
Once you’ve created a buyer persona, it provides a compass to guide your SEO and Content Marketing strategy.
Your buyer persona enables you to create content tailored specifically to your ideal customer.
With this content, you’ll be able to educate them, help solve their problems, and most importantly… earn their trust.
How To Create A Buyer Persona For Your Real Estate Agency
To get started creating a buyer persona for your real estate agency, I suggest using HubSpot’s “Make My Persona Tool.”
This tool will walk you step-by-step through the process of creating a buyer persona.
Once finished, you’ll have a detailed avatar of your buyer persona for reference.
Keywords For Real Estate Local SEO
Local keyword research is foundational to any local SEO strategy.
Prospective homebuyers use location-based keywords to search for properties in a particular area.
Targeting the right local keywords will get your real estate business in front of potential buyers (and sellers) at the exact moment they are searching for the services you provide.
Therefore, you need to maximize your visibility in search engines like Google.
Think about it like this… if you aren’t ranking at the top of the search results, then your competitors are!
Which means that any potential leads and business will go to them.
To prevent your competitors from outranking you, you need to identify the terms potential leads are searching during the home buying process.
Once you know the keywords they’re typing into search engines you can create targeted content like:
- Relevant Pages
- In-Dept & Informative Blog Posts
- Property Listing Pages
- Home Valuation Landing Pages
- And more…
By targeting and ranking for the right keywords, you’ll have a consistent flow of qualified traffic flooding your website every month.
How To Find Keywords For Real Estate Local SEO
In general, real estate keywords will have three distinct markers – generic, local and hyperlocal.
As you move from generic to hyperlocal, the intent to buy becomes stronger:
Step #1: Brainstorm A List Of Head Keywords
These are just to get you started.
List the services your real estate agency offers, as well as what problems a searcher is trying to solve when searching for a realtor.
Put yourself in a home buyer/seller’s shoes.
What words or phrases do people enter when they need a real estate agent?
Come up with a list of 20-50 keywords and phrases.
Below are some examples: :
- Real Estate
- Homes For Sale
- Real Estate Agents
- Home Buying
Step #2: Add Local Keyword Modifiers
These are words (adjectives, adverbs) that people add to their main search query in order to get more relevant and specific results.
For example, the keyword “Real Estate” is a very broad keyword.
But, by adding a few modifiers to it like, “Affordable” and “In Phoenix AZ” it becomes a long-tail keyword.
In the long tail keyword “Affordable Real Estate in Phoenix, AZ.”
The keyword modifiers are:
- In Phoenix, AZ
Here’s another example:
Let’s say your main keyword is “Townhouses.”
In the long-tail keyword “Cheapest Townhouses Near Me.”
The keyword modifiers are:
- Near Me
Step #3: Find Long-Tail Local Keywords
Local keywords often include a location like, “Top-Rated Realtor Phoenix AZ.”
The following are examples of localized keywords:
- Greater Phoenix Realtor Office
- Scottsdale Real Estate Agent
- Condos For Sale In Scottsdale
- 2 BR Townhouses in Central Phoenix
- Luxury Homes For Sale in Paradise Valley
Local Voice Searches
According to Google, 20% of all Google searches done on mobile are now voice searches.
The main difference between voice and keywords searches is that voice searches tend to be longer and use natural language.
For example, take a local keyword like “Real Estate Agency Phoenix”.
Well, that same search done via someone’s voice will probably be more like: “Hey Google! What’s the Best Real Estate Agency for Buying A New Home In Phoenix?”.
As far as I know, there aren’t any tools to help you find voice search keywords.
But it’s something to keep in mind as you go through this process.
Find Keywords With Google
Google can be a great source of keywords.
Use Google suggest, “Searches Related To,” and “People Also Ask” to find keywords to target.
At the very least, you’ll be able to come up with a great list of keywords that you can build upon.
To find keywords using Google suggest, just start typing in the search bar:
I typed in “Home Buying,” and then the letter “V” and got the following suggestions:
Searches Related To:
The “Searches Related To” section of the search results can offer some really great keywords to target.
When I search for “Real Estate Phoenix” I found the following “Searches Related To” section at the bottom of the search results.
People Also Ask:
The “People Also Ask” feature in the search results can be a goldmine of keyword opportunities.
I searched for “How To Sell A House Fast”:
Right near the top of the page was the “People Also Ask” box:
Find Awesome Real Estate Keywords With SEMRush
In SEMRush, type in a keyword > enter your location.
You can see how difficult the keyword would be to rank for, the monthly search volume, and search trends of individual keywords.
Although SEMRush isn’t the most user-friendly at first, once you get some practice with it, it’s great.
The initial keyword results are “Broad Match Keywords.”
You can switch to: “Phrase Match,” “Exact Match,” and “Related” keywords.
To filter your list of keyword suggestions: Click > “Advanced Filters.”
For a list of questions that include your keyword: Click > “Questions”.
Google My Business For Real Estate Businesses
If you could only do ONE thing for local SEO, it should be this!
As we saw earlier, Google My Business is the most important ranking factor in the map pack.
What Is “Google My Business”?
Google My Business (GMB) is a free, easy-to-use tool that helps businesses manage their online presence and appearance in Google Search and Google Maps.
If you’ve ever searched for a business’ name, you’ve likely seen the “knowledge panel,” a card containing information about local businesses.
For desktop searches, it’s displayed to the right of the organic and paid search results like this:
On mobile searches, it’s usually the top result before the organic results.
Why Should I Care About Google My Business?
The benefits of Google My Business are threefold:
- Increased visibility in local search
- Better experience for clients
- More traffic to your website, social channels, and realtor office
Optimizing your Google My Business page helps Google understand more about your business:
- Who you are
- What you do
- Where you’re located
- What your website is.
The more Google knows about you, the more searches your business can appear in.
How To Sign Up For Google My Business
Go to Google My Business > Click “Manage Now”
Step 1 – Enter the name of your real estate agency. (Use your exact business name, as it appears on your business cards, website, etc.)
Step 2 – Choose “Yes” so you can add a location that your clients can visit.
Step 3 – Enter the address that will show up when customers are looking for your business. Similar to step 1, enter an address that is coherent all across the board.
Step 4 – Choose “Yes” to serving customers outside your location (See Below).
Position your real estate agency as a Service area business.
- As a real estate agent, you serve clients at their location and throughout a number of hyperlocal areas.
- Being set up as a service area business gives you the opportunity to rank for city searches outside of your address city.
Step 5 – Add the areas you serve.
Step 6 – Choose the category that best fits your business.
You can add additional categories after your listing is verified.
- If you are an individual agent, enter “real estate agent.”
- If you are an office, enter “real estate agency.”
Step 7 – Enter the contact details that you want to show customers.
For the phone number, use a local number (the same # as on your website).
Using the same number across multiple platforms sends a positive signal to Google demonstrating consistency.
Enter your current website URL linking to your trusty real estate website.
Step 8 – Click “Finish” and Google will send you a postcard with a verification code that you’ll use to complete the signup process.
No information will be displayed, and you can’t make changes to your listing until it’s been verified.
Complete Your Google My Business Listing
Once you’ve verified your Google My Business listing, go through your profile and make sure it’s fully completed.
Google favors fully completed Google My Business profiles.
At the very least:
- Logo and cover photo
- Hours of operation
- Business photos
When filling out your Google My Business listing remember to incorporate keywords that are relevant to real estate.
Include descriptions of the procedures and services you offer and provide answers to any questions Google asks about your business.
Add Photos To Your Google My Business Listing
According to Google, businesses with photos see 42% more requests for driving directions and 35% more clicks through to their websites than businesses without photos.
Uploading high-quality photos and videos can make your real estate agency look more appealing to potential clients.
Let’s take a look at the types of photos you can upload:
Your cover photo is important because it is the most prominent photo shown on your business profile.
This image is also used in thumbnails, so be sure to pick an image that makes you stand out from competitors or makes people want to click on your listing:
This can include houses, events, awards, community programs, or anything else that helps represent what you’re all about.
Be sure to also upload a variety of other photos to represent your real estate agency.
Here are some ideas you may want to consider:
- Photos of the exterior of your office
- Photos of the interior of your office
- Photos of homes your listing
- Photos of happy new homeowners
- Photos of your team or employees
Google My Business – “Posts” For Real Estate Agents
The “Posts” feature in Google My Business is similar to posts on social media.
Use “Google My Business Posts” to promote your real estate agency.
You need to be active on your page and keep it interactive!
Post to your page on a regular basis and respond to comments.
Some GMB Post Ideas:
- Local news and events
- Photos and videos
Ideally, you should post once a day, but if that’s not possible, post a minimum of once per week.
What Types Of Posts Can You Create?
1) What’s New – Standard Post Type with Image/Text/Button
2) Product – Posts that emphasize a specific product your business sells.
3) Offer – Create an offer with image, title, start/end dates, coupon code, a link, and T&C.
4) Event – Create an event with an image, text, title, start/end dates, and CTA Button
Google My Business – “Question & Answers”
Google My Business enables you to interact with prospective customers via “Questions and Answers.”
Customers are able to reach out and get answers to their questions without feeling any obligation to do business with you.
Citations For Real Estate Websites
Citations play an important role in local SEO for real estate agents.
What Is A Local Citation?
Citations are any mention of your “N.A.P.” (Name, Address, Phone Number) online.
Citations can occur on local business directories, on websites and apps, and on social platforms.
Not only do citations help users discover local businesses, but they also impact local search engine rankings.
There are two types of citations:
- Structured Citations: Yelp, Angie’s List, Home-Advisor, Foursquare, Facebook, etc.
- Unstructured Citations: A mention of your business in a blog post, news article, etc.
A citation does not need to link to you, but Google uses them as a local signal to determine an entity’s online authority.
Why Citations Are Important For Real Estate Websites?
If you have too many variations of your NAP scattered around the web, especially if some or many of those are outdated, this makes it hard for customers and thus, Google, to trust your information.
If Google thinks your data is untrustworthy, this could downgrade your local search ranking.
The two primary reasons why citations are important in local SEO for real estate agents are:
Search engines like Google compile information about businesses.
When that information is accurate, the search engine trusts the validity of the data.
This is believed to strengthen the business’s chance of ranking well.
However, when the information they encounter is inaccurate, this trust is eroded, lessening ranking opportunities.
Accurate citations help people discover local businesses, which can result in web, phone, and foot traffic, ideally resulting in a transaction.
Inaccurate citations, however, can misdirect customers, leading to loss of reputation and revenue.
Citation (NAP) Consistency
Make sure when adding new local/niche citations that your NAP is EXACTLY as it appears on your Google My Business listing.
Local citations help Google locate your real estate agency based on the number of local citations that show the correct NAP information.
The more consistent local citations Google sees, the more it’s going to trust your business information.
How To Check NAP Consistency
To check your NAP consistency you can use Moz Local.
Moz Local is a Free tool that checks for incomplete, inconsistent, and duplicate listings across the top 11 citation sources.
The results consists of the top indexing platforms such as Google Search, Google Maps, Facebook, Yelp, Bing, etc.
How Many Citations Do Real Estate Businesses Need to Rank?
According to this report by BrightLocal, real estate agents have on average 79 citations, with the median number of citations at 111.
“There is a strong correlation between the number of citations a business has, and how high it appears in Google’s search results. Real Estate & Property Businesses that rank in positions 1-3 have an average of 89 citations. ”Source: BrightLocal
How To Build Citations For Real Estate Agencies
When building out local citations for your real estate agency, make sure to complete each listing in full.
This includes your business description, services, hours, photos, etc.
Be sure to enter the SAME information in each profile.
CONSISTENCY IS KEY!
Citations can be a bit of a pain to create yourself though, which is why a lot of businesses will hire an agency that builds citations as part of their Local SEO Services.
The lists below are of the top citations for real estate agencies:
The following lists show the top citations for real estate agents in Tucson, Arizona.
To change the city, in WhiteSpark click the dropdown and choose your city and in Moz, scroll to the top of the page and click on your city.
User Experience Signals For Real Estate Websites
In the early days of SEO, Google evaluated content based almost 100% on backlinks and on-page SEO.
In recent years, thanks to the introduction of “RankBrain” Google has started to incorporate “User Experience Signals” into their algorithm.
Specifically, they measure how users interact with the results… and use that to help evaluate content quality.
A few of the user experience signals Google uses are:
- Dwell Time
- Bounce Rate
- Organic CTR
- Fulfilling User Intent
Dwell Time For Real Estate Websites
Google looks at how users are interacting with your website.
When a user sticks around and consumes content (Dwell Time) Google rewards your site with better rankings.
What Is “Dwell Time”?
Dwell Time refers to how long a user spends on a page from the search results before returning to the SERP (Search Engine Results Page).
Let’s illustrate this with an example.
Say a potential client searches “Real Estate Agents Near Me” on Google.
The real estate agency at the top of the Map Pack looks good, so they decide to click on it.
When they arrive on that real estate agency’s website, they instantly recognize it’s NOT user-friendly.
Not only is the website ugly and slow… the content isn’t helpful.
Not willing to stick around, after 5 seconds, they click the “back” button.
This is what’s known as a “Bounce.”
That users’ Dwell Time was 5 seconds.
A short dwell time tells Google that the user wasn’t happy with that result.
Back at the search results, the user notices that the 2nd real estate agency in the map pack only has 3 review stars.
Not willing to compromise on quality, the user skips the 2nd agency.
The user then clicks on the 3rd real estate agency in the map pack.
This time, the real estate agency’s website IS user-friendly!
It’s fast and easy to navigate, and full of really great content.
Now, they spend 6 minutes and 4 seconds on the page reading the content… then click back to the results.
The long dwell time tells Google that you got a lot of value from that result.
If a lot of other people spend a long time on that page, Google will boost its rankings.
Let’s take a look at what “Bounce Rate” is and how it impacts Local SEO for Real Estate Agencies.
What Is Bounce Rate?
Bounce Rate is the percentage of visitors that leave or “Bounce” from a webpage without doing anything, like clicking on a button, completing a form, or making a purchase.
Your bounce rate is expressed as the percentage of all sessions on your site in which users viewed only a single page and triggered only a single request to the Analytics server.
Why Real Estate Agencies Should Care About Bounce Rate:
A high Bounce Rate is indicative of low-quality or poor content, negative user experience, ugly page layout or bad copywriting.
There is a close correlation between Bounce Rate and first page Google rankings.
When a visitor bounces from your site they obviously didn’t convert.
Preventing visitors from bouncing can increase your conversion rate.
Now we’ll take a look at “Pogo Sticking” and how it impacts local SEO for real estate websites.
What Is Pogo Sticking?
What a search engine user goes from search result, to search result trying to satisfy their search query, it’s referred to as “Pogo Sticking.”
Let’s illustrate this with an example.
Let’s say you search for “Real Estate Agents” in Google.
And you click on the first result… but it’s not what you were looking for.
So you head back to the search results to find a result that gives you what you want.
(In other words, you’re “Pogo sticking”)
If a lot of searchers repeat this pattern of Pogo Sticking down the search results, that tells Google:
“This website isn’t satisfying user’s intent. Let’s drop it down a few spots.”
Pogo sticking is a VERY strong sign that users aren’t happy with the results.
Organic Click-Through Rate (CTR)
Now that we’ve covered Dwell Time, Bounce Rate, and Pogo-Sticking, we’re going to discuss “Organic Click-Through Rate.”
What Is Organic Click-Through-Rate?
Organic Click-Through Rate (a.k.a. “Organic CTR”), is the percentage of searchers that click on a search result.
Your position in the SERPs plays the largest role, but organic CTR is also influenced by a result’s title tag, meta-description, and URL.
The presence of Rich Snippets also plays a role.
For example, let’s say that you rank #3 for a keyword that’s searched for 200 times a month.
And 20 people click on your website in the search results.
Your organic CTR for that keyword would be 10%.
Why Is Organic CTR Important For Real Estate Websites?
There are two reasons why Organic CTR is important for real estate websites.
First, Click-Through Rate is a search engine ranking signal.
According to Larry Kim, there’s a strong correlation between “Expected CTR” and Search Rankings.
Second, a higher click-through rate = more traffic.
Let’s say you increase your CTR from 10% to 20%, you just doubled your traffic… without higher rankings.
By increasing your CTR and preventing users from Bouncing which improves Dwell Time, you’ll be rewarded by Google with better rankings.
Understanding User Intent is extremely important to succeed with local SEO for your real estate website.
Let’s take a look at what user intent is and why it’s important for real estate agencies.
What Is User Intent?
User Intent (also known as “Search Intent”) is essentially the WHY behind a search query.
By understanding what people are searching for, and answering the underlying question that prompted a user to enter a search, you can create content that fulfills the user’s intent.
There are four types of Search Intent:
- Informational Intent
- Commercial Intent
- Navigational Intent
- Transactional Intent
The easiest way to understand user intent is with an example.
Let’s say that you are considering buying a house in Arizona.
Well, you might search for “Best Places To Live in Arizona.”
Your intent is informational. You’re looking for information on different cities throughout Arizona.
The first result you click on looks OK at first.
But you realize it’s about the best apartment complexes in Phoenix.
So you click the “Back” button and return to the search results to find something else.
The next result you click on has a list of the “Best Places To Live In Arizona.”
…which is EXACTLY what you’re looking for.
If enough people that search for “Best Places To Live In Arizona” feel the same way, that result will get a significant rankings boost.
Why Is User Intent Important?
Simply put: Google exists to satisfy User Intent.
If you want to set your real estate agency apart and succeed with Local SEO, satisfying User Intent needs to be your primary focus.
In fact, Google’s most recent edition of their Quality Rater Guidelines are OBSESSED with Search Intent.
And Google recently published a report called: “How Search Intent Is Redefining the Marketing Funnel”:
In other words: backlinks and other traditional Google ranking signals still matter.
But if your page doesn’t satisfy Search Intent, it’s not going to rank.
How To Improve User Experience
By making your website SEO-friendly, you’ll also be improving the areas that negatively affect user experience.
Your website is often the FIRST impression people will have of your real estate agency.
According to the 2016 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, 86 percent of home buyers consider real estate websites the most useful source of information when buying a home.
I can’t stress enough how important it is for this first impression to be a good one.
Real estate is one of the most competitive industries online.
With so much competition, you need to ensure that when a potential lead arrives on your site, they stay!
Mobile-Friendly Real Estate Website
I can’t stress this enough… your real estate website HAS to be mobile-friendly.
Homebuyers are searching for real estate on mobile devices.
“89% Of New Home Shoppers Search Using A Mobile Device During The Home Buying Process.”Source
We live in an increasingly mobile world.
If you’re reading this blog post on your phone or a tablet, then you proved my point.
Even if you’re on a laptop or desktop, I guarantee your cell phone is within arms reach!
According to BrightEdge, 62% of traffic now comes from smartphones and tablets.
As a result, Google has switched to “mobile-first indexing.”
This means that whatever shows to mobile users is what counts for ranking purposes.
Having a mobile-friendly website is a critical part of your real estate agency’s online presence.
“69% of Smartphone Users Also Say That They Are More Likely to Buy From Companies With Mobile Sites That Easily Address Their Questions or Concerns.”Source: BrightEdge, 2017
Ensuring that your website is mobile-friendly will improve the user experience.
Avoid These Mistakes To Improve Mobile-Friendliness
- Text that is unreadable or pictures that are indecipherable without zooming or scrolling
- Tap-targets that are too small or inadequately spaced (buttons, links, etc.)
- Unplayable content
How To Check Mobile-Friendliness
The basic prerequisite for earning a mobile-friendly SEO boost is passing Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test.
Mobile-Friendliness is determined on a page-by-page basis, so you need to check each page individually.
The tool will tell you if the webpage you tested is mobile-friendly and what needs to be fixed to improve it’s mobile-friendliness.
To learn how to implement Accelerated Mobile Pages on your website, check out “Google AMP: How To Implement AMP On WordPress The Right Way-2019”
PageSpeed Optimization For Real Estate Websites
One of the most important aspects of your Real Estate website is user experience.
Good user experience begins with a fast website.
This is especially true for website visitors on mobile devices.
In 2018, Google announced that PageSpeed is a direct ranking signal.
Below are results from GTMetrix, a popular tool for testing page speed.
It also provides you with recommendations to improve your mobile page speed as well.
Why Does PageSpeed Matter for Local SEO?
PageSpeed matters in Local SEO For Real Estate Agencies because people are impatient.
How fast your site loads has a direct impact on the user experience signals we discussed earlier.
Your site could be full of amazing content, but if it’s slow, users won’t stick around to find out.
Half of users expect a site to load in 2 seconds or under, and if it takes more than 3 seconds… They’re gone!
Another tool provided by Google for testing page speed is the “PageSpeed Insights tool.”
When you test a page, it will be given a speed rating that ranges from 0-100.
Additionally, you’ll receive a list of recommendations to speed things up.
Improving your site’s speed is an ongoing effort and you should always aim to improve it.
How To Speed Up Your Real Estate Website?
As we’ve established Page speed matters… a lot.
So, how can you speed up your real estate website?
When it comes to improving page speed, there’s no “one-size fits all” solution.
That said, here are a few easy wins to improve your site’s speed.
- Compress Images
- Use Caching
- Lazy Load Images
- Upgrade Hosting
- Content Delivery Network (CDN)
This is an easy way to quickly improve your site’s speed.
Use A Caching Plugin
Browser caching basically means that once someone has visited your site, their second visit will be a lot faster.
This allows users to store parts of your page in their browser cache.
Unfortunately, this won’t help your page load any faster for first-time visitors.
But it’s great for improving your loading speed for people that have visited your site before.
Lazy Load Images
Lazy Loading prioritizes the visible portion of a webpage.
This will delay loading images until a user scrolls down the page.
Upgrading your hosting provider can have a massive impact on your site’s speed.
When it comes to hosting, you get what you pay for.
Content Delivery Networks (CDNs)
Content delivery networks (CDN) improve page load times by storing your site’s resources on servers around the world.
Your website’s assets are then delivered by the server in the closest proximity to the user.
Local On-Page SEO For Real Estate Websites
Ranking your real estate website on Google and other search engines will require a lot of high-quality hyper-local content.
To perform well in search, your content needs to be properly optimized which is where local on-page SEO comes in.
Taken individually, the on-page optimizations we’re going to cover don’t seem very important.
However, when combined they add up to provide a significant boost to your local ranking.
Before we look at specific elements of on-page SEO, let’s start with how you want to set up your real estate website to leverage hyper-local searches.
Hyper-Local Neighborhood Pages
In the real estate industry, the real estate “portal” sites like Zillow and Trulia completely dominate the search results for broad search terms.
This makes it next to impossible for local real estate agencies to compete for keywords like “Real Estate” or “Homes For Sale.”
The key to ranking your real estate website is by doing what Trulia and Zillow can’t, which is to focus on long-tail, hyper-local searches.
Create Silo’s Of Hyper-Local Neighborhood Pages
A major part of ranking in Google’s localized search results is sending the right signals regarding your relevance in a particular locality.
One way to do send these signals is to create a hierarchy of dedicated hyper-local neighborhood pages.
Create top-level (City), second level (Neighborhoods), and third level (Property Type)
A few examples below.
- City Page >> Neighbourhood Pages
- City >> Neighbourhood Page >> Condo Building
- City >> Neighbourhood Page >> Property Types (Ex: Vacation Homes)
When you create neighborhood pages, try to get as granular as possible.
Break each city down into 15, 20 neighborhoods if possible.
This is GREAT for hyper-local SEO.
You can also choose to create the second level pages based on condo buildings or property types.
You can make pages for everything from new construction condos, to vacation homes and golf course homes.
It really is up to you and the market you want to reach.
What Type Of Content Should You Put On Your Hyper-Local Pages?
Use your hyper-local pages to provide value to your target audience.
A good example of neighborhood pages on a real estate website is “Real Estate Creativ’s” use of neighborhood pages.
Your content could:
- Describe The Area
- Provide A Brief History
- Property Development Timeline
- Market Changes For That Neighborhood
- Interesting/Fun Facts
- Things To Do
- Prominent Residents
- Images & Videos Of The Area
Creating this type of hyper-local content will help you build trust and establish yourself as the go-to local expert.
Another real estate website that does a great job with their neighborhood pages is “Great Colorado Homes.”
In addition to the neighborhood video tour, they also provide all the demographic data for that area.
Internal Links For Real Estate Websites
Internal links are links from one page on a website to another page on the same website.
Google uses internal links to help discover new content.
Let’s say that you publish a new blog post.
Oops! You forgot to link to it from elsewhere on your site.
Now let’s say that the page isn’t in your sitemap, and doesn’t have any backlinks.
Google won’t know that the page exists… their web crawler can’t find it.
“Google Must Constantly Search for New Pages and Add Them to its List of Known Pages.”Source: Google
New pages are discovered when Google follows a link from a known page to a new page.
If a page doesn’t have any internal links pointing to it, it commonly referred to as an “Orphan Page.”
Create Content Silos With Internal Links
To help Google better understand your real estate website and the content you create, you should group topically-related pages together via internal links.
It’s much easier to understand this concept visually.
For example, your real estate agency’s website has content specific to individual cities and neighborhoods:
Each page falls into one of two distinct groups:
- City Pages
- Neighborhoods Pages
So this is how you could “Silo” these pages:
Each city page acts as a “hub” and links to subpages about related neighborhoods(and vice-versa).
This creates a topic cluster—a group of interlinked pages all closely related to the same topic.
Three benefits of this are:
- Users will have an easier time navigating their way around your site
- Crawlers will have an easier time understanding your site structure
- More “authority” is transferred to your most important pages (because subpages link back to hub pages and vice-versa)
But there’s another, often overlooked benefit—this kind of structure can help search engines to understand the context of your content better.
Now that we’ve covered hyper-local pages and the types of content you can use on them, let’s get into local on-page optimizations.
Keyword placement refers to the use of keywords throughout your content and in specific areas of your site.
Title Tag Optimization For Real Estate Websites
Title tags are the most important part of on-page optimization.
The title tag appears in the search results as the blue link above the URL and Meta-Description.
Use Your Keyword + Location In Your Title Tags
If you could only do ONE thing for local on-page SEO, it would be this:
Use your Keyword + Location in your title tags.
Why is this important?
Well, the title tag is the most important part of your page.
Your title tag provides a summary of what your page is about.
Including your target keyword in your title tag sends a STRONG signal to both users and Google that your page is about that keyword.
You’re limited by the number of characters you can use in your title tags, so make the most of the space you have.
Make your title tags accurate and concise, offering a brief description of a page’s content.
Title Tag Best Practices For Real Estate Websites
- Limit to 60 characters to avoid them being truncated
- Don’t Keyword Stuff
- Give each page a unique title tag
- Place primary keyword first
- Write for your customers
- Leverage brand recognition (If you have a well-known brand)
Title Tag Cliffhangers
The idea here is that you start your title tag off with a strong, benefit-driven statement.
Then, make sure the statement goes beyond Google’s title tag limit (currently 500-600 pixels or 50 characters).
This cutoff creates an open loop that can lead to more clicks.
See how it looks in the search results:
This technique can help increase organic CTR and rankings.
Meta Descriptions aren’t a ranking factor, but they still play a very important role in getting users to click-through to your website.
Your meta descriptions appear as the grey text under your title tag and URL in the search results.
Include your keyword and location in your meta-descriptions.
A well-written meta description can significantly impact click-through rates.
Meta Description Best Practices For Real Estate Websites
- Try to limit it to 160 characters
- Write using an active voice
- Include a Call-To-Action (CTA)
- Include Your Target Keyword
- Include Your Location
- Describe the content
When a search query contains the keywords that are in your meta description, Google makes them bold which helps them stand out in the SERPs.
URL Structure For Real Estate Websites
URLs are green in the search results.
They’re sandwich between your title tag and meta-description.
Your URLs help both search engines and users understand what your page is about, without having to visit it.
Use your keyword + location in your URL as the “Slug.”
In the screenshot below is the URL to our Local SEO Services in Scottsdale, AZ page.
This next screenshot is the URL to our Local SEO Services in Phoenix, AZ page.
Each URL contains our target keyword and the city.
Each of the pages is ranking on the first page of Google’s local search results, and we show up in the local map pack.
Use Headings & Subheadings To Structure Your Content
Use headings and subheadings to break up long blocks of text.
People don’t read every line of text on a computer screen, they skim.
Breaking up your content with headings and subheadings will make it easier for people to skim your content.
Remember to include your keyword, location, synonyms, and LSI keywords in your headings and subheadings.
Schema Markup For Real Estate Websites
While Schema Markup isn’t a ranking factor, it still plays an important role in local SEO for real estate websites.
Schema markup can help your real estate website stand out in the search results, leading to higher click-through rates.
What is Schema Markup?
Schema Markup for Real Estate Agents will help search engines like Google understand what web pages about.
With schema, search engines are able to identify location-based structured information such as:
- Dates of Events
- Phone Numbers
- And Other Information
This information can be used to display the search results as rich snippets, reviews, answer boxes, video carousels, etc.
Let’s say you just published a blog post on “How To Choose A Realtor To Sell Your House: 6 Steps.”
Schema markup tells search engines:
- “This is Step 1”
- “This image is for Step 1”
- “This is a Video”
Hopefully, Google will show off this data in the search results as a Rich Snippet:
If you want to learn more about Schema Markup, check out Google’s Structured Data Guidelines.
What Are The Benefits Of Schema Markup For Real Estate Websites?
Using schema markup on your real estate website will help with:
- Click-Through Rate: More users clicking on your site
- Organic Visibility: Increased visibility in local organic results & map pack
- Traffic Relevance: Better quality traffic means a higher potential for conversions
Schema Markup for real estate agents will help search engines display additional information in search results.
The additional information displayed in the search results can make your real estate website stand out with rich snippets.
What Rich Snippets Can Real Estate Websites Appear In?
Unfortunately, Google does not have any rich snippets specifically for real estate.
That doesn’t mean you should ignore schema markup.
You can still appear in the following rich snippets:
When users search for businesses by name on Google Search or Maps, Search results display the Knowledge Panel with details about a business.
With Local Business structured data, you can tell Google about your business hours, different departments within a business, reviews for your business, and more.
Mark up your organized events, such as open houses so that users can discover events through Google Search results and other Google products like Google Maps.
Adding structured data to your blog pages can enhance your appearance in Google Search results.
Enhanced features can include placement in the Top stories carousel, host carousel, Visual stories, and rich result features such as headline text and larger-than-thumbnail images.
Review markup enables Google to display Aggregate Review Rating in the search results.
Once you’ve implemented schema markup on your website, it’s a good idea to test it to ensure it’s functioning properly.
How To See If A Page Supports Rich Snippets
Google’s “Rich Snippet Testing Tool” will tell you if the schema markup you’ve implemented on a page supports rich snippets.
This is just like the mobile-friendly test, and structured data test (up next) that Google provides.
How To Test Your Site’s Schema Markup
Google makes it easy to test your site’s schema markup with its “Structured Data Testing Tool.”
To test a webpage, enter the URL > Click “Run Test.”
On the left is the HTML code of the webpage.
On the right, is a list of the structured data present on the page.
Any errors and/or warnings will be clearly indicated.
Warnings aren’t a big deal, and they shouldn’t cause any problems.
If you’re seeing any Errors make sure you fix them or hire a developer to do so.
How To Add Schema Markup To Your Real Estate Agency Website
To add schema markup to your real estate agency’s website, you have a number of options.
I suggest the “Schema Pro” plugin by BrainStormForce.
This plugin makes it really easy to get schema set up on your website.
Embed Google Maps On Hyper-Local Pages
Embedding a Google Map on a webpage helps Google understand your location and increases that pages relevance for a particular locality.
I suggest embedding a Google Map on your:
- Location Specific Pages
- Contact Us Page
If you have an office that real estate clients can visit, you should also add a link to driving directions.
Convert Website Visitors Into Real Estate Leads
When seeking out a real estate agent to assist with buying, or selling their home, prospective clients will be looking for Social Proof.
Often times, Social Proof is what gets them to take an interest in the first place!
What Is Social Proof?
Social proof describes a phenomenon whereby people look to others for reference, and even flat out copy their behavior in a given situation.
In this case, that someone is considering selecting you to assist with their real estate needs.
Essentially, they want to see evidence of your ability and trustworthiness.
So why is it called “Social Proof” and not just “Proof?”
Because they are looking for “Proof” demonstrated within a “Social” (human-to-human) context, ergo “Social Proof.”
Examples of Social Proof for Real Estate include:
- Reviews & Testimonials
- Provable Results
- Social Media
- Hyperlocal & Authority Type Content
So how does this all translate into your real estate website?
Social proof should be one of the prime areas to focus on when building your real estate website.
Here are a few specific ways you can use social proof on your real estate website.
Client Reviews + Your Real Estate Website
Reviews are the single most powerful source of social proof you can display on your website.
“91% of 18-34 yr Old Consumers Trust Online Reviews as Much as a Personal Recommendation.”Source
Include reviews from third-party websites like Zillow, Facebook, Google, Yelp, Etc.
Include a link to the corresponding review site where prospects can view more reviews.
Consumers rely on reviews, reading an average of 10 online reviews before feeling able to trust a local business.
Display Awards Prominently
Has your real estate agency received any awards recently?
Display any rewards you’ve received prominently on your site.
Realtor-Specific badges as well as badges from prominent sites are great forms of social proof.
Visitors are looking for signs of credibility.
The logo of a well-known and trusted 3rd party will serve in establishing credibility.
This Christie’s International Real Estate has a page dedicated to Philanthropy.
They display the logo of all the non-profits they support.
The more proof you can provide of your expertise and competence, the more people will trust you.
Use Photos Throughout Your Website
Convey trustworthiness to prospective customers through photos of you and your employees.
This gives people a sense of what to expect when they arrive at your real estate office.
Include pictures of you with your family, like Flagstaff’s Elite Realty in the image below.
People love images and visuals, so incorporate them into your website.
Use Videos On Your Real Estate Website
Video is the future of content marketing for the real estate industry.
It offers audiences a unique experience and leads to higher engagement.
Plus, Google owns YouTube!
They want videos to show in the search results.
“73% of Homeowners Say They Are More Likely to List With a Real Estate Agent Who Uses Video to Sell Property.”Source
Spring Homes of Colorado Springs uses video throughout their blog & website.
With 50 percent of prospective home buyers using YouTube as their main source of video research, it seems that Youtube is the place to focus your attention.
Providing video tours of your listings will help to keep people on your website longer, which as we covered… Google loves!
Use Clear Calls-To-Action To Generate Leads
Website traffic isn’t very valuable if visitors aren’t converting into leads or clients.
Make it as easy as possible for visitors to get in touch with you or to schedule an appointment.
To ensure that your site is mobile-friendly, make your phone number clickable.
Visitors can simply tap your phone number to call.
Tell visitors what you want them to do:
- “Click Here To Schedule An Appointment”
- “Fill Out This Form To Request A Call Back”
Don’t use vague or ambiguous calls-to-action.
Visitors to your website shouldn’t have to guess what to do.
Reviews For Real Estate Local SEO
Acquiring reviews is one of the most important aspects of any Local SEO strategy.
They play a big part in reputation management and an even bigger part in consumer buying decisions.
“92% of Consumers Read Online Reviews and 68% State That Positive Reviews Influence Their Feelings of Trust in a Business.”Source
How Do Reviews Impact Local SEO For Real Estate Businesses?
Reviews have a significant impact on local SEO for real estate agents.
They are akin to word-of-mouth recommendations and are great for establishing trust and credibility.
How To Get Reviews For Real Estate Businesses
1. Send Follow-Up Emails Asking Clients For Reviews
After completing a job, send a thank you email and ask for a review.
Include a link to your Google, Facebook, or Yelp.
2. Ask Clients In-Person For Reviews
The best time to ask for a review is in person, right after a teeth cleaning or other pain-free procedure.
Obviously, you don’t want to ask a patient for a review right after ripping their wisdom teeth out.
You can give customers a card outlining the steps for leaving a review.
“Around 69% of Recent Home Sellers Surveyed Said That They Would Gladly Write a Review for Their Real Estate Agent if Requested.”Source
3. Tell Them To Search On Google:
After your Google My Business listing is verified, your business will show up in the “Knowledge Panel” for branded searches.
The knowledge panel displays your business’ information and allows customers to leave reviews.
They just need to click on “Write A Review” and this box will pop up.
Along with their review, users can upload a photo to accompany it.
Responding To Reviews
Responding to reviews is an essential part of local SEO for real estate agents.
The more reviews you respond to, the better.
And yes… that includes negative reviews.
By responding to reviews, you show that you care about your clients and improving your business.
When responding to negative reviews it’s not so you can win over the negative reviewer.
It’s to win over anyone that reads your reviews.
Just think of negative reviews as an opportunity to showcase your empathy and professionalism.
When it comes to local link building for real estate websites pretty much every link building strategy that works for non-local websites will also work for local real estate websites.
What Are Local Backlinks?
Local backlinks are links from relevant local websites that point to your website.
Because real estate agencies have a strong tie to a specific city or state, they also have LOTS of unique backlink opportunities that non-local sites can’t tap into.
Local Backlinks VS. Regular Backlinks
If you’re at all familiar with backlinks for conventional SEO, that’s great… but it’s not going to help much with local SEO.
With local SEO for real estate agents, backlinks from locally relevant websites are more important than backlinks from high-authority websites.
Local backlinks differ from regular backlinks in that they are specific to a particular city.
For example, a Realtor in Phoenix, Arizona might have a link from a local Phoenix newspaper, a local realtors’ association, and a local blogger.
Because those links are from local websites, they provide more value than non-local backlinks from high-authority websites.
Why Is Local Link-Building Important For Real Estate Websites?
The majority of small business websites have very few if any backlinks.
Which is good news!
To improve your ranking in local search, you should only need a few relevant local backlinks.
As you build local backlinks, the local relevance of your website will increase more and more as you acquire local links.
How Do I Build Local Backlinks To My Real Estate Websites
The best way to build local backlinks to your real estate website is to create high-quality, engaging, and locally relevant content.
No one wants to link to a business or service, however, they do want to link to content that their audience will enjoy or benefit from reading.
This type of marketing is called Content Marketing.
Below are 10 Local Link-Building Strategies for Real Estate Websites:
Join Local Business Associations
Links and citations from industry-specific business associations are not only valuable but also easy to get.
Business associations like the Greater Phoenix Chamber Of Commerce provide a powerful and trustworthy backlink.
Local backlinks from websites like the Chamber of Commerce send a strong relevancy signal that boosts your local ranking.
Do Interviews With Local Papers/Blogs
Local news organizations are always struggling to find good stuff to cover.
Reach out and offer them your time for an interview.
Do little interviews and post the videos on your Facebook & YouTube accounts.
This is cool and shows you know what’s going on locally.
Partner With Local Businesses
Partnering with local businesses is a great way to get quality, locally relevant backlinks to your site.
There are plenty of opportunities to choose from, especially in the trades and services area.
Just think of anything that a new homeowner might need done or fixed in a house.
Below are a few suggestions for Local Business Partnerships:
- Painters & Roofers
- Builders & Construction Companies
- Mortgage Brokers
- Insurance Brokers
- Interior Designers
- Furniture Companies
Make sure the people you work with are in non-competing businesses or real estate agents outside your target market.
What Are The Benefits Of Partnering With Local Businesses?
There are countless reasons to use strategic partnerships with local businesses.
- Leverage Their Network To Generate Business
- Receive Credibility By Association
- Double or More Your Marketing Efforts
- Fill Knowledge Gaps When Producing Content
Clients and Friends Websites
Do any of your clients have their own business?
See if they’re willing to link to you as “the best realtor in [your city]?”
You can also ask friends who have a website if they would be willing to add a link back to your real estate website?
This is a pretty simple and effective way to get hyper-local backlinks for your real estate agency’s website.
Sponsor a local little league baseball team.
You can also sponsor local charities, local plays, races, conferences, etc.
These local organizations usually have a website and they receive news coverage, which can lead to higher authority local websites.
Host A Community Event
Hosting local events is a great way to build your brand.
Anything from workshops to speaking events.
Hosting an event is a great way to get people to know more about your real estate agency in the community.
It’s also a great opportunity to get highly relevant local backlinks.
Links from local events are beneficial because the links are:
- Somewhat Easily Attainable
- Can Include NAP Information
For a detailed guide on how to execute local events, I recommend Moz’s guide.
Local Crowd Sourcing
Get a group of local influencers together and ask them their opinions on something community-related.
Compile their responses into a blog post on your site.
Odds are, they will share and post your content on their social media channels without you even having to ask.
Attend or Host Local Meetups
Attending or hosting Local meetups can be a great way to find highly relevant local backlink opportunities.
Local Meetups are also a great source of business connections.
Find a group that doesn’t have a place to host their meetup and offer them one.
Local Resource Pages
This could be anything from a hyperlocal news site, sports coverage nightlife, etc.
If you make a good resource, you should gain natural links & traffic from your area once people begin to find it (if you build it, they will come).
Localized Facebook ads can help speed awareness up.
Social Media For Real Estate Local SEO
While businesses of all shapes and sizes can benefit from a smart social presence, the importance of social media for real estate really can’t be overstated.
According to a recent study from the National Association of Realtors, social has become integral to scoring clients and closing deals across the industry.
Here’s a brief snapshot of the report’s findings:
- 77% of realtors actively use social media for real estate
- 47% of real estate businesses note that social media results in the highest quality leads
- 99% of millennials ( 90% of baby boomers) begin their home search online
Translation? Social media is an absolute goldmine for real estate businesses.
YouTube For Real Estate Agents & Agencies
If you aren’t using video as part of your real estate agency’s inbound marketing strategy, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity!
Facebook For Real Estate Agents & Agencies
Facebook is a no-brainer and remains a staple of marketing for real estate agents.
A big reason for this is that Facebook’s user demographics represent the target audience for any given real estate business age and income-wise.
Beyond being where your audience is likely hanging out, the business features built into Facebook are perfect for real estate businesses.
For example, Facebook allows businesses to publish listing-related updates and content, book appointments, communicate with customers and curate reviews in a single platform.
Oh, and don’t forget about Facebook ads which allow you to directly target demographics and users who have shown specific interest in buying property in your area.
Instagram For Real Estate Agents & Agencies
Instagram is absolutely booming for real estate businesses right now.
One real estate agency that’s killing it on Instagram is “Austin Luxury Realty.”
It’s no secret as to why, though.
Stylish property photos go hand in hand with the most popular types of content on Instagram.
For luxury or boutique real estate businesses, the platform is becoming more and more of a priority as opposed to a “secondary” social channel.
Additionally, features such as Instagram Stories make it a cinch for realtors to provide quick and personalized property updates day-by-day.
Need Some Help With Local SEO?
Is your real estate agency showing up in local search results?
If not, you’re missing out on all those potential leads and clients.
The worst part is that if you aren’t ranking… Your Competitors Are!
Our Local SEO Services can help your Real Estate Business crush your competitors in the search results.
Now It’s Your Turn
So that brings us to the end of Local SEO For Real Estate Websites.
Now I’d like to turn it over to you: Which aspect of your Local SEO strategy will you focus on first?
Are you going to begin by setting up Google My Business? Or by doing keyword research?
Let me know by leaving a Quick Comment below Right Now!