Today, more than ever, sites such as Google and Yahoo! are the true drivers of the Internet, transporting users to web pages based on one thing – the results of their algorithms.
It’s imperative that agents learn to harness the massive traffic that search engines generate (after all, 88 percent of buyers use the Internet in their home search, according to the National Association of Realtors’ latest survey of homebuyers and sellers), so we’ve got the five most important basics for agents to optimize their presence on search engines.
- Research Keywords – Yes, this one requires research! It’s one thing to design a site, but it’s another matter populating it with content, and you’ll want to make sure that content uses prominent words and phrases for your audience; so, use Google’s Keyword Tool and see what real estate terms are trending, and give Google Insights a try to see if there is any regional popularity to the terms.
- Internal & External Links – Once you start generating content, make sure you’re putting internal links within your posts that link to other content within you’re site; it’s good for search engine optimization, or SEO, and it generates great internal traffic. Consider linking to other listings, or other neighborhoods with similar amenities to what the client is viewing on that page. External links, when other sites link to your content, are equally, if not more, important, though they do require a little bit more legwork than internal links. You can always go the monetary route and pay PR firms for links, but we’d recommend a more cost effective approach that is dear to our hearts – write! Write articles and send them to EzineArticles, GoArticles and other public sites; log-on to Yahoo! Answers, and answer real estate related questions; and start a blog, and share your posts on the Blogger and WordPress forums and community pages. And in all of those outlets, include links to your main page within your posts.
- Consistency – This one is the big killer of SEO hopes and dreams. It’s one thing to have a website, but it’s another matter keeping it hoppin’ and churnin’. Post daily, and post often; if not, the search engines will forget you and move on to the thousands of other sites vying for their attention.
- Video – With the simplicity and ubiquity of YouTube, all agents should be utilizing video for their listings, and search engines place particular emphasis on video content when generating their results. So between virtual tours, specialty videos on neighborhoods and amenities, and even fun “Meet the Agents” videos, make video content a priority.
- Patience – This one is the compatriot of consistency. Even though you may have the best listings with the best content, you won’t rocket to the top 10 on Google’s pages overnight. Stick with it, and expect gradual results.
Those are the five basics, but you may be wondering – what sites in my market are practicing good SEO? We did a quick Google search for “Chicago Real Estate,” and here are the first few brokerages we came across: Baird & Warner; Prudential Rubloff Properties; @properties; Dream Town Realty; Sheldon Chicago; and Falcon Living. Take a look at the sites, and see how they utilize the very basics we just described – nothing like seeing a day’s lesson in practice!