About the Author: Andy Misek is a senior SEO specialist at SoMe Connect, a digital marketing agency in Chicago’s west loop.
Realtors are very focused on buying and selling homes that they may forget about their website and SEO. However, many of their leads are generated from online and a well-optimized website can be the difference between doing well and doing GREAT!
The question you’re probably asking yourself is how you can go about taking your website to the next level? Believe it or not, only a few minor changes could have you seeing a significant boost in traffic on your website.
We’ve come up with 5 on-page SEO tactics for realtors that are sure to improve your website and generate more traffic.
Before we can get into any tactics, we first need to define a few terms for you. Most importantly is SEO; it stands for “search engine optimization”. This is how the results are determined for each search term.
What happens is the search engine sends bots to your website that go through it and ensure that the content is relevant to the search term. The more relevant and authoritative your site is, the higher the search engine will rank it for the search term.
There are two types of SEO: on-page and off-page SEO. On-page SEO is everything you do on your page. This includes content optimization, title/meta description updates, code updates and implementing videos and images. These are the changes we’re going to focus on in this article.
For contrast, off-page SEO is everything you do to improve your website rankings off of your website. The main way of doing this is through link building. Link building is getting links on other website that go back to your site. The more authoritative a link back to your website is, the more it will affect your rankings.
Without further ado, let’s start looking at our 5 on-page SEO tactics for realtors.
The key to ranking is to know what’s being searched in the first place. This is called keyword research and it should be the backbone of your entire website.
The goal is to find the keywords that are being searched the most and build your pages around it. There are many great tools you can use to do this including Google Keyword Planner and SEMRush.
These tools will tell you how many people are searching for these keyword or phrase and how difficult it is to rank for those terms. You want to pick keywords that are realistic to rank for. For example, SEMRush shows keyword difficulty on a scale of 1-100. Anything under 65 can be attained by new websites with the right content and backlinks.
It’s also important to note that you need to have a unique keyword for each page. When you start using the same keyword on multiple pages, you’ll run into the problem of creating duplicate content. Google and other search engines penalize websites that create duplicate content to it’s best to avoid it.
Now that you have your keywords picked, you need to implement them properly. Your keyword needs to be found in the title, meta description, the alt text of at least one image, the URL and throughout the article.
One thing you need to be very careful about is keyword stuffing. This is when you use the keyword excessively. When you over use the keyword in your content, you’re at risk of being penalized by the search engine and your rankings will take a hit.
According to WordPress’ SEO Yoast plug-in, they’d like writers to keep the keyword usage to under 2.5% of the words in article. If you’re not using SEO Yoast but you still want to ensure you’re not keyword stuffing, we recommend using the keyword once or twice per section.
Another great way to help your website rankings to to link out to authoritative websites. What this does for search engines is ensure that your content is reinforced by other authoritative websites.
We recommend when you’re writing articles to do research and linkout to sites that are ranking well for the keyword you’re trying to rank for. You know these are authoritative sites for that search term so use that to your advantage.
Here’s a bonus tip – when you link out to another website, reach out to them. Let them know that you wrote an article and linked to them. Ask them to share your content on their website or social media. This is a great way to build backlinks and social awareness (both of these are off-site SEO factors).
Speaking of backlinks, many backlinks are directed to your homepage or only a few different pages on your website. You’re probably wondering how you can spread the power of those links to deeper pages on your website so they rank better.
That’s where interlinking comes in. Interlinking is when you link to other pages of your website. It seems like it’s simple and more to try and get people to read other content on your website but there are huge SEO benefits to doing this.
This is because when the search engine bots are going through a page on your website and come up to a link, they follow it to that page and start going through that content. When you have links going throughout your entire website, the bots will crawl your entire site for each crawl.
Anchor text is the text that’s embedded with a link. You want the anchor text to be related to the page that‘s being linked. That gives Google a preview of what it’s going to be crawling next. Also, when you use keywords and related text as the anchor text for a certain page, Google considers it an authority in that topic.
However, you don’t want to put the link on the keyword of the page with the link. Search engines, especially Google, don’t like when you do that and if it’s done too often, they can penitalize your website.
Images play a huge role in the rankings of your website. Search engines like to see more unique content than just text – images and videos go a long way. We recommend that using them on all of your pages to ensure that you have various types of content throughout a page.
However, images can negatively affect your website’s rankings if you’re not careful. For starters, if the image is too large or isn’t properly optimized for the web, it can slow down your load times which can have devastating effects (we’ll get more into that a little later).
The easiest way to optimize an image for the web is with an image manipulation program such as Photoshop or Gimp. You can change the width to a more manageable size and optimize it at about 70%. While this may decrease from the quality, it’s to a point that users wouldn’t notice and it’ll help the page load quickly.
Also, when a search engine bot is going through your page, they don’t actually see the image itself. They recognize the image tag in the code. The way they know it’s relevant is by the alt text. All images should have alt text and at least one of the images on the page should contain the keyword in its alt text.
Even on images you aren’t inserting the keyword in, you’ll want the alt text to be relevant to the content. It’s a great place to use related keywords or just describe what’s in the image. Search engines will see that the image is relevant which can help boost your rankings.
As we mentioned earlier, site speed is very important for your search engine ratings. What you’re probably wondering is why that’s so important? Users who have to wait a long time for a page to load typically don’t explore the site. They usually leave pretty quickly.
When a user comes to your page, doesn’t explore the rest of the site and leaves before going to another page, that’s called bouncing. Search engines take a website’s bounce rate (the amount of users who bounce vs how many visits to your site overall) very seriously. When your page tends to have a high bounce rate, search engines won’t rank your site very high.
Recently, Google has been proactive in effecting websites with slow site speeds. If a page doesn’t load quickly, Google penalizes the website. Even if you have a great bounce rate, Google will penalize the site.
We already mentioned that optimizing images for the web is a great way to improve site speed, but there’s so much more you can do. One thing many websites are guilty of is having large sliding images or auto playing videos. These things take longer to load and could affect the entire website’s load speeds.
Site speed problems could go even deeper than just images and videos – the code of the website could be the culprit. When a website loads, the search engine has to go through the code of the page. If the code is messy, disorganized or not intuitive, it can take longer for the page to load. Also, if you have a lot of action and transitions, those can slow down the search engine as it goes through your code.
If you dig even deeper than the code, it could be your website’s hosting. You should never cheap out on website hosting because less reputable companies will have slower servers.
It also helps getting dedicated hosting vs shared hosting. Shared hosting is having many websites using the same server while dedicated hosting is having a server all to yourself.
While they may seem minor, these 5 on-page SEO tactics will improve your real estate website. Many realtors don’t think about their website so there are many opportunities for someone who takes the time to improve their website.
If you don’t have the time or aren’t sure how to improve your website on your own, we recommend using a professional digital marketing agency. They’ll take care of your on and off-page SEO needs while you focus on what you do best.