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The Art of Real Estate SEO
Real Estate SEO has been affected by a number of new technologies and by the growing use of social media to hone in on people’s conversations. While there’s no doubting that new technologies allows realtors to hone in on potential deals, real estate SEO remains a top lead generator and your best business investment is with a good Real Estate SEO Specialist.
The goal of a real estate SEO specialist is to attract qualified traffic from Google. It’s your value proposition, branding and content strategy which converts that visitor to a new client
But how is Real Estate SEO done these days? What is it that we focus on to make your site soar in the rankings? Realtors get confused about what an SEO does and undervalue what a proficient SEO expert/producer can achieve. If like most agents now, you have a student doing your marketing, you can amplify their value by working with me. I create, modify and optimize websites to make them irresistible to Google.
What Does Google Want in a Real Estate Website?
- Google wants lots of high quality, original content that is on topic and written in a flexible way that makes them think it is natural and not written for search engines.
- Trust is important which is why the Trustrank algorithm was created. Google’s system checks for spam, and other misrepresenting, poor quality content and links. You won’t see much spam via Google anymore so they’ve cleaned it up. However, if you have thin content that looks like everyone else’s — Google thinks that spam. When you have high Trustrank, Google will trust the links and words on your site more.
- Google wants to see lots of incoming links to your site. If you have quality content, are active on social media and do a good job of marketing your marketing, you’ll likely get those links (maybe some extra help here too).
Here’s Rand Fishkin of Moz in his video speaking about basic page SEO which is some of the work an SEO specialist must do. Rand’s an interesting guy and I don’t know how he remembers all that!
Ignore the Ill-informed Myths Floating Around out There
Pagerank is not dead. Google stills needs a number to rate importance and popularity of websites and webpages. An algorithm is simply a complex equation that generates or results in a numeric value. To rank things you need numbers. However, Pagerank is much more filtered now. The new Pagerank is closely tied to Trustrank and keyword relevance (for instance, if you get a link from a site that is not related to your specific topical area such as a blog on a music site, there may not be much ranking juice awarded to your real estate site. Instead if you get a link from a major, popular and trusted real estate portal such as Realtor.com or Remax, it may give you more Pagerank and Trustrank factor than you ever dreamed of. Almost inappropriately!
I’ve got a few SEO techniques here that might help a real estate agent understand what to look for in a Real Estate SEO specialist provider. There’s skills, tactics, creative innovation, semantics, and an understanding of what a good user experience is. SEO isn’t simple when you want to be the number one ranking site. If you want to optimize like the rest of the common SEO herd, you’ll find yourself down the results page where searchers don’t go.
There are a lot of ranking factors (Google still says 200) however these are the big factors you need to understand:
- High quality, well written content with an intelligent flow to it appeals to Google’s quality filter
- Content on your site flows well from a progressive learning perspective appeals to the Rankbrain Algorithm
- Rich content that includes video, bulleted text, graphics, statistics, and other visuals that make it a more complete experience for visitors
- Long form content – pages over 1000 words in length such as what you’ll see on my site (content that offers chances to link out and is what people like to share socially)
- long form content that has more to read increases engagement and Google’s watching whether visitors stay on your pages
- Content that uses synonyms, related words and stemmed variations of words in an intelligent way that Google reads as on topic and relevant
- Websites with lots of content pages that have inbound links coming to them (not just to your homepage)
- Keywords near linked items
- Keywords within anchor text
- Keywords in title tag of page
- Content that is segmented or siloed to produce more power to capture high volume competitive phrases and long tail phrases (e.g., real estate agents in Los Angeles would have separate silos for real estate, real estate agents, and los angeles. Google even processes the word “in” so you work that into your page linking structure)
- Google likes original, unique copywriting and linking (think of how different homes are in LA vs Toronto, and how the roadways that link each city’s roadways are unique too)
- Content that uses related words in links and text which helps Google determine precisely what your content is about (e.g., homes for sale 90210 and houses for sale in Beverly Hills, tells them with more precision than if you plastered your site with LA homes for sale)
So now you can see some of the subtlety and complexity that applies to every word, link, and page on your site. And Google is much more page-centric and on topic. In the past if you had a popular, authoritative, and trusted website, then all of your pages were given a golden halo. Not anymore, Google has increased its damping factor which means ranking juice doesn’t go very far. Sort of like the Colorado river. By the time it gets to the mouth there’s nothing left.
Do You Need an SEO Specialist to Review Your Site? Call me at 416 998 6246 and let’s talk
You Crafty Devil You! You Did that On Purpose!
An SEO Specialist is very crafty, sneaky, strategy-minded copywriter who wants to write some beautiful prose on your website and social media pages to hypnotize and capture your visiting prospects. Yet, we speak to Google in a way you won’t understand in how we read between the lines of Google’s stated algorithm to romance Googlebot and all of Google’s database filters. We run a gauntlet of nasty algorithm demons who doubt our every word, action and even our identity.
Google says it wants only the best stuff and a highly skilled SEO content writer is the one to make sure Google’s receives with wrapping paper and a bow on top. A good specialist will be an expert on content strategy too. This doesn’t mean that you won’t have specialized expert contributors on staff creating copy. It may be best to let these writers research and create their in-depth expert pieces and to focus on what their content needs to express — the unique value proposition and benefits. A content strategist needs to ensure the content experience is fun and gets the brand message delivered.
Getting “On Brand” Means Having the Right Content Strategy
Yet these expert contributors will often not be “on brand” and true to the value proposition, meaning they’re not creating copy that sells you. In the end, all of your content has to create a customer for you, not for the top earning agents such as Merrily Hackett, Josh and Matt Altman, Jade Mills, Donald Trump, Melissa Wu, or Jason Soprovich, or for some cliche real estate agent image.
Your SEO copy and inter-page linking are all part of a branded experience in content. Your content is you. Reader’s weigh your content’s promise of value vs the benefits they want. Your content constantly speaks about the value you promise to deliver. It’s not enough to be pretty, you have to be effective in getting your significant, personalized, unique value proposition (your brand) across to visitors. But visitors love keywords and related words so they’ll be gobbling up our copywriting and calls to action.
I like what Dave Keys says about creating real leads via Real Estate SEO. We have to keep in mind that any exposure to buyer/sellers at any stage of their search is good. If they see you on Google in November, and then they see you again in May, they may feel comfortable enough now to call you. Visibility at any time is good.
If all those visitors don’t call you, it’s because your content doesn’t get your UVP across laser clear that you offer what they’re looking for. In fact, your SEO copywriter can make it look like you do, when in fact you’re not the best agent around.
With a great real estate SEO specialist writing your web and social media content, you’re creating a weave of powerful content they can’t resist. It speaks to what they want with the words they love to see, and the wording that Google respects.