A report published by the National Association of Realtor’s in 2012 states that 90% of people buying homes used a search engine during the buying process. This, coupled with the fact that 52% of activity on a real estate website comes from a search engine, cements the importance of SEO for real estate agents.
Search Engine Optimisation, or SEO as it is more often referred to, is the process of making your website easier to find through a search engine. It is not a single technique and ranking high up on Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs) doesn’t happen overnight. It takes patience, persistence, and an understanding search engines algorithms to get there.
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Not keeping updated on changes to search engine algorithms
Pigeon, penguin, panda – do these ring a bell? They are all updates to Google’s search algorithms. Search engine companies update their algorithms to try and provide the most relevant content. Due to competitiveness between search engines, the exact changes are often kept secret. A tactic that may have worked before may no longer be successful.
If you’re new to SEO, understanding how search engines work and the consequences of an update can be confusing and time-consuming. Many choose to hire a skilled SEO professional who is already well aware of the most successful tactics.
Irrelevant and poor quality content
“Content is king” is a popular saying coined by Bill Gates over 20 years ago. Although not the only important factor, high-quality content plays a very important role in SEO for Realtors.
You may think it is enough to fill your posts with keywords such as “apartments for sale” but this alone won’t work. A study conducted by Google in 2012 found that 69% of people who access a real estate website, used a local search term. An example of a local search term would be “LOCATION + houses for sale”. Instead of content crammed full of unhelpful keywords, content should provide value to visitors. For example, a guide to an area covered by your real estate business.
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Trying to cheat the system
As mentioned, it takes patience to build a good rank on SERPs. Buying backlinks (links on other websites to your website) on a cheap marketplace may seem an appealing option as it’s cheaper than a professional SEO consultant and promises to improve your rank. As they say – if it looks too good to be true, it probably is.
Purchasing backlinks can actually have the opposite effect. Google penalizes websites by moving them down in ranking if links come from poor quality sites, or they suspect you of buying links. Cheap “miracle” solutions are often a waste of money and may even damage your ranking.
You may have found an article online about mortgages that you think would be useful to customers on your site. Thinking that they would never know, you copy the article and place it on your site. Although the original author may never know: Google will. Duplicating content can also lead to a penalty from Google as well as being generally frowned upon.
Not understanding keywords or doing keyword research
Keywords make or break a website when it comes to SEO. You may already be familiar with high-level, general, keywords like “houses for sale” but for many organizations, long-tail keywords are of greater importance. Long-tail keywords are more specific for example “three bedroom houses for sale in San Diego AREA”. An understanding of keywords can help with the creation of content that will boost your website’s ranking.
Keyword research can be as simple as brainstorming for what you believe your clients may search for. However, for best results, tools such as Google Analytics and Google Webmaster can be used. Utilizing these tools properly can be time-consuming and if you are unfamiliar with them, it can also be confusing. A dedicated SEO consultant is often used to get the most relevant data extracted more efficiently.