Local SEO Guide for Real Estate Agents: 5 Tips to Improve Your Google Rankings

/Local SEO Guide for Real Estate Agents: 5 Tips to Improve Your Google Rankings
Local SEO Guide for Real Estate Agents: 5 Tips to Improve Your Google Rankings 2017-11-12T10:14:16+00:00

Real estate agents face constant challenges in attracting new customers. Although you may get a few referrals, most prospects just search in Google and contact the first agent or two on the search results. To draw in as many new customers as possible, you must make your way to the top of the rankings.

We will show you our proven step by step process to boost your company to that critical first spot. Before we get started, though, let’s take a look at why local SEO is so important for real estate agents.

3 Reasons Real Estate Agents Should Invest in Local SEO

The Yellow Pages Have Been Replaced by Google:

Until recently, real estate agents could place an ad in the Yellow Pages and simply wait for prospects to call. Today, however, a stunning 97% of people search for local businesses online, and Google is the king of the hill.

Free Traffic:

Despite extremely quick changes, advertising is still one of the largest expenses for many small businesses. Boosting your Google rankings will give you a constant flow of free traffic that you need only convert into paying customers.

Zippy Results:

National and international companies must wait, on average, 6 to 12 months to see the results of a new SEO campaign. As a real estate agent, you have a tremendous advantage, because you are competing only with nearby real estate agents, not those on the other side of the world. And many of them are not yet using local SEO. This means that a targeted campaign could place you on the first page of Google local rankings in just 30 days!

Step 1: Select Your Keywords

Step 1 is simply to write down a list of keywords that reflect your services. For example, you might try “real estate agent”, “real estate broker”, “realtor”, or “real estate companies”. When your list is reasonably complete, set up a free Google AdWords account.

You do not need to build or fund an ad campaign, but the AdWords account will provide you with access to the free Google Keyword Planner tool. This allows you to input your chosen keywords to learn how much traffic they get, and suggests additional related keywords that might not yet be on your list.

Now you are ready to decide on your final list of keywords. All keywords fall loosely into 2 types:

  • Buying Intent: Buying intent keywords are a signal that a prospect is imminently ready for your services. For example, someone who searches for “buy a house in Cleveland” is probably looking at imminent relocation.Your primary focus should be on buying intent keywords, which produce the fastest results. Feature them on your homepage, and build your service pages around them.
  • Research Intent: Research intent keywords are a clear signal that a prospect is just shopping around. She might be ready to buy or sell a home later, but not now. For example, someone searching for “home prices Milwaukee” is probably considering whether to buy a house.These keywords are of a lower priority, as they do not drive speedy conversions. Don’t get rid of them, though, as you can use them for blog posts and FAQs. These posts introduce you to prospects who might remember you when they are ready to buy or sell a home.

Step 2: Optimize Your Keywords

With your final keyword list in hand, you are ready to optimize for them in 2 spots—your Google My Business page and your website. Here’s how:

Google My Business

Your Google My Business page is a mini-website that appears in Google’s “Map” section. It provides a quick overview of your company, and raises your overall presence online. It can also give you a swift rankings boost, as it is much easier to rank highly for a Google My Business page than for a website.

For the best results, make sure these elements are accurate and complete:

  • Verification: First, simply claim your page and submit it for Google’s verification process. You will see a checkmark and the word “Verified” next to your business name when this step is done.
  • NAP: Your business name, address, and phone number (NAP) must be both accurate and consistent across all listings. Let Google know that yours is a local business by listing a local phone number instead of an 800 number.
  • Categories: Google requires all categories to focus on services instead of results. Besides Real Estate Agency, you might try Commercial Real Estate Agency and Real Estate Rental Agency, if you provide those services. Try to think of 3 to 5 categories.
  • Description: The description is simply a short introduction to your company that ends with a call to action. It should be 100 to 200 words long and use a format similar to: {Name of Company} offers professional {real estate services, or similar} in {Your City}. {Provide some information about your company and/or why customers love you.} Call {Phone Number} today for a free consultation!
  • Hours: Be sure that your office hours are current, and are identical across all of your internet listings.
  • Images: Images can dramatically boost customer engagement, and show prospects that you do a great job. Add a few photos of your office, your staff, or even your satisfied customers (with their permission, of course!). Your images must have a sharp focus, be sized between 10KB and 5MB, and have a minimum resolution of 720px x 720px. We also recommend replacing the generic Google My Business background image with a branded image.

Website Optimization

Start with your “core” pages (your homepage and service pages), and optimize them for your buying intent keywords. Later, you can optimize your “content” pages (FAQs and blog posts) for research intent keywords. Here is what you need to do:

  • Homepage: The title tag, which serves the same purpose as a book’s chapter title, is the single most important element on your homepage. It should be 50 to 65 characters in length and formatted similarly to: Real Estate Agent in {Your City} | {Name of Your Company}.Next, write your meta description. This 100 to 150-character overview lists your primary services and ends with a call to action. Try to approximate this format: {Name of Company} offers quality {real estate services, or similar} in {Your City}. Call {Phone Number} today for a free consultation!

    The H1, or visible headline, must include your primary category, and should be both descriptive and concise. This format works well: {Real Estate Agency} in {City, State}.

    The last element is your page copy, which must be clear, descriptive, and well edited. In 500 to 1000 words, give some background information about your company, briefly present your core services, and close with a strong call to action. Incorporate your primary keyword as it naturally fits.

  • Service Pages: Build a keyword-optimized page for each core service. Optimize these service pages identically to the homepage, making sure to substitute in the relevant keyword.

Step 3: Find Citations and Links

With the overall framework of your SEO campaign in place, you can start to build your citations and links. These increase your online reach and help to boost your Google rankings.

  • Citations: A citation is simply an online directory listing of your business NAP (name, address, and phone number). You can choose general national directories (yellowpages.com and Facebook), general local directories (Chamber of Commerce website), and targeted real estate directories. Your NAP must be identical in every listing.Note that some directories accept only paid listings. Before you spend money, take a look at Google Analytics. There is no reason to pay for a site that does not drive traffic and conversions.
  • Links: To reach the highest Google rankings, you must have inbound links from authoritative websites. Build relationships both online and in person with companies that offer complementary services, and then ask to trade links. A tool such as the Moz Open Site Explorer will show you where other local real estate agents are finding their links.

Step 4: Ask for Reviews

Customer reviews play two critical roles in your local SEO campaign: they convince prospects to try your services, and they let Google know that your business is legitimate. All review sites can be useful, but for the speediest rankings boost, focus on Google My Business reviews. Send an email to your satisfied customers with a link to your Google My Business profile, and ask them directly to write a review. Doing this frequently will give you a steady stream of new reviews.

Step 5: Track Your Results

You will only know if your local SEO campaign is getting results, and find those areas that still need tweaking, by tracking your results. There are many different methods of analyzing your data, but these 3 core metrics are the most important:

  • Rankings: Google personalizes its displayed search results according to the user’s previous browsing activities. This means that a tool is required to learn your actual Google rankings. A great place to start is the free Google Search Console (formerly Google Webmaster Tools). Ask your webmaster to install it, and look at your results at least once each month.To dig more fully into your rankings, consider a paid rank tracking tool such as the one offered by RankRanger.com. It can track your Google My Business page as well as your webpages, and will provide automatically updated ranking data from all of your SEO campaigns.
  • Traffic: Google Analytics is an excellent way to track your traffic, or the visitors to your website. You can view your total traffic, the traffic for each individual webpage, and the percentage of traffic that comes to you through Google search. Check your report every month with an eye toward any long-term trends.
  • Conversions: A conversion is a specific action that you want your prospects to perform. For a real estate agent, this might be contacting you for a free consultation. In Google Analytics, you can track both web and phone conversions, discover which of your services drives the most conversions, and even learn which of your webpages have the highest and lowest conversion rates.

Ready to Get Started?

Now you understand why a comprehensive local SEO campaign is so important in driving more potential customers to your real estate agency. Make your way through the steps in order, and fully complete each one before starting the next. Here is a recap of the 5 steps:

  1.    Keyword research
  2.    Keyword optimization
  3.    Citations and Links
  4.    Reviews
  5.    Tracking

Want Help with SEO?

At Main Street ROI, we specialize in helping real estate agents attract more local customers through Google. If you’d like help with your SEO, contact us for a free quote.

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