In a tidal wave of internet noise, it’s important to remember that real estate websites aren’t a “set it and forget it” endeavor. They require consistent updating and SEO optimization to drive a steady stream of traffic and leads for agents.
But if you’re like most busy agents, you can use all the help you can get when navigating the rocky search engine seas.
If you’re currently working with a real estate website builder to help take care of the digital elements that keep your website fresh and SEO-optimized, this article will help you understand the nuts-and-bolts behind the scenes so you can get even more out of your website’s rankings.
Remember, Google doesn't care who’s at the helm of the ship. It’s on you to apply the right on-page optimization tactics to stand out and win more traffic.
So let’s batten down the hatches and get you where you need to be.
As the price of paid leads continues to increase, organically attracting leads to your website is an indispensable marketing tactic that saves you both time and money.
Just ask OKGN Life owner Brandon Grass. His three-part marketing system includes a razor-sharp website backed by a strategic inbound lead generation plan that brings him a steady stream of leads, without the endless cold calling.
A huge part of his success comes down to stellar on-page SEO.
Search engines use web crawlers to evaluate the content of every page on your website. These crawlers then use algorithms to assess your website’s keywords, content relevancy, freshness, page errors and more.
The quality of your determines where it ranks in any given Search Engine Results Page (SERP). The ideal scenario is that your real estate website’s on-page SEO is so good that you’ll rank on the first page, in the first five or so results for the specific keywords you’re optimizing that page for.
Off-page SEO, such as paid marketing and online reviews and testimonials, is everything done outside of your website to improve user traffic and rankings.
While both are important, a strong on-page SEO strategy tends to be a more affordable and easier to execute approach for quickly increasing your traffic and leads.
Let’s start with you’ve definitely heard before — keywords.
Keywords are everything to search engines. How people utilize the search bar, whether typing on a keyboard or even speaking phrases into their phones, is a constant area of development for search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo!.
SEO crawlers aren’t satisfied by the number of times your site hits keywords like “homes in Arkansas” or “realtors Little Rock.” Instead, search engines are prioritizing user intent, context, and language to offer better search results to users.
This new data surveying technique, known as semantics search, requires websites to provide more layers to their content. For real estate professionals, this means anticipating the questions around a keyword or topic and providing the answers within your website’s text.
To pinpoint the right keywords for the page you’re trying to rank, begin by using tools like Google Ads Keyword Tool or the Keywords Everywhere plugin, then build your content around those questions and terms.
Another simple technique is to google the term you want to rank for and check the Related Questions section to see what other keywords your prospects might be searching for.
Note: Take care to avoid keyword stuffing — the act of repeating keywords unnecessarily or placing them in pages filled with unrelated content for the sake of “tricking” SEO crawlers. Search engines are very good at detecting black hat SEO tactics and aren’t shy about punishing offenders by banning or blocking websites in their SERPs.
Page titles, or title tags, are the hyperlinked titles that appear in search results as well as web page tabs. It’s the first impression your page makes in a sea of other search results...and great news — you have 100% control over the clickability of your title tag.
First, ensure you’ve inputted a title tag on every page of your website. Search engines will take it upon themselves to create them for you, but this means you’ll lose the ability to optimize that page for both the keyword(s) you’re intending to rank for and for optimal clickthrus to your site. Depending on your website or content management system (CMS), the field for this is usually marked ‘Title Tag’ or ‘SEO Title’.
Next, evaluate your title tag for keyword usage, appeal, and proper title tag optimization. Among the SEO factors at play, frontloading your keyword into the beginning of the title tag — ideally the first 25 characters — signals to search engines that your page is especially relevant to the user’s search.
Keep in mind actionable and engaging text answering users’ needs will always earn you more clicks. For example, “Homes for Sale West Hills CA” isn’t as enticing as “Newest Homes for Sale West Hills CA - View Now!”
Search engine crawlers identify the main theme of a page using the heading (referenced as H1) and the subheadings (beginning at H2). Your heading is like the title for the web page (not to be confused with the title tag) and subheadings break the content down even further.
For SEO optimization, your heading and subheadings need to touch on the keywords associated with the page and remain readable. H2 subheadings make the text scannable by introducing readers to the topics being covered in each new section. Headings from H3 and beyond are used for content such as examples or lists. Search engines take all headings into consideration when crawling your pages for indexing.
As you’re optimizing your page for SEO, shifting content to different pages and rewriting headers, avoid the double content pitfall – including the same information on multiple pages. Double content confuses search engines and cannibalizes your traffic. They don’t understand which page you intended to show for certain keywords and this defeats the time and energy put into crafting organized headers.
Duplicate content occurs often on real estate websites, where frequent disclaimer information is required. Instead of reposting the same disclaimer, dedicate a position for the disclaimer on your website and routinely link to that page when needed.
The AI technology behind search engine crawlers grows every day in its understanding of human language, but comprehension is still limited.
Crawlers, semantics search, and your former English teachers read copy best when it’s well-written. Want higher SEO real estate marks? Let go of fragmented sentences, run-ons, and sloppy misspellings and make it easy for visitors to read your content.
Users are searching for digestible, clear, and engaging content — why not make it easy for them?
Walls of text with no paragraph breaks aren’t fun for anyone to read and therefore aren’t so great for your page rankings either. On the flip side, shorter content lacking answers leaves potential real estate leads annoyed, dissatisfied and heading straight to your competitor’s website for answers.
The solution is writing detailed content at lower literacy levels, right around the sixth grade level. This makes your content accessible to the widest audience possible while providing the comprehensive answer potential leads are looking for.
High-quality SEO content goes a step further by providing real estate professionals with digital authority. When users are happy, they spend more time on your site, keeping another SEO factor, bounce rate, to a minimum and increasing your rankings for all the other pages on your site.
Hyperlocal content, like blogs or neighborhood pages, establish your unique real estate brand as the go-to resource in your area.
To start, try focusing your content on topics like walkability, cost of living, social life, schools, and restaurants. Showing up for keywords related to area searches increases organic traffic to your site and underscores your SEO and brand authority.
It’s also something high-performing agents like Raleigh Realty owner Ryan Fitzgerald hangs his hat on.
Blog categories on Raleigh Realty’s site range from buyer and seller focused advice to “Local Blog” and “Best Restaurants.” The attention to providing detailed answers to the right questions using the right keywords helps Ryan’s website rank for not only the hot and warm leads searching terms like “buy three bedroom home Raleigh”, but also the milder temp prospects housed in his database for future engagement.
The right SEO strategy keeps you in front of leads across all stages of the real estate funnel.
Imagine getting more miles out of the well-written, hyperlocal content you’ve created for your real estate page. Wouldn’t it be great if you could compound the SEO payoff from the work you’ve already invested?
Allow us to introduce you to the power of internal linking.
Internal linking is just as it sounds, linking to other pages of your website. Not only do you garner more pageviews for the linked content, but your SEO also experiences an uptick.
When search engine bots analyze a page on your site and come to a link, they follow it to that page and begin going through the content. When you have well-placed links throughout each page of your website, the bots will crawl each link, enhancing your overall keyword authority and boosting your results even higher.
Pro tip: Anchor text matters! Anchor text, the highlighted link text on webpages, is also crawled by search engines. Including keywords from the page or the URL’s meta description helps Google and other search engines deem that linked page an authority on its targeted keyword/topic.
Another great way to improve your real estate website’s rankings is through backlinking.
Backlinking, or linking out to other high-ranking websites, ensures your content is reinforced through on-page association.
When including backlinks in your written content, we recommend linking to sites already ranking for the keywords you also want to rank for. You can also take things a step further and research the website’s domain authority score using a free tool like Moz’s Domain Authority Checker to see how well the site ranks in SERPs overall.
The higher the Domain Authority (DA), the more likely it is to rank.
Images and videos play a huge role in your website rankings.
Search engines crave unique content outside of text because they know their audience prefers these media formats. In fact, video improves traffic by 91% when included in a website.
For pictures and quick-read infographics, just be sure to pay attention to the file size, which could slow down your website’s speed if too large.
The easiest way to optimize an image for the web is with image editing or compression tools such as Adobe Photoshop, Canva, TinyPNG or GIMP. These programs allow you to change the overall resolution to a manageable size without sacrificing image quality.
But remember, crawlers see text, not pictures.
It’s important to apply key metadata like alt text to your images, including the page’s keyword, which helps both the visually impaired and the search engine crawlers understand your visual content.
If you’re already investing in virtual tours and other video content, you could also consider establishing a YouTube channel to house the content – then embedding those visuals on your own website to further boost your SEO.
Users waiting a long time for a page to load don’t tend to stick around. They leave quickly and with them goes your potential for free real estate leads and optimal SEO rankings.
Google and other search engines take these bounce rate statistics into consideration in addition to your overall site speed when evaluating your site’s quality score.
There are a number of issues that can lead to a slow loading site and thankfully, they’re all repairable.
To find out where your site ranks in load time and how to overcome any issues, throw your URL into Google’s PageSpeed Insights. Google will test your website speed on mobile and desktop and specifically diagnose areas for improvement.
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again, websites aren’t a “set it and forget it” situation.
Seasoned agents who invested in websites even as recently as six months ago should routinely check for SEO optimization, especially in the case of mobile responsiveness.
The NAR reports that 76% of homebuyers use mobile devices or tablets when researching properties. If these users are stumbling upon slow-to-load images, poor navigation, or forced to execute the classic zoom in, zoom out to clearly see your webpage, then you’re more than likely going to lose that lead.
A lackluster mobile experience will drive potential clients off your website and onto a competitor’s. Worse, sites that don’t translate well to mobile often require a complete redesign, costing you additional time and money.
But if that’s you, don’t worry. The silver lining is that with that redesign typically comes major upgrades to other website elements that will position you in far better standings within the SERPs.
When it comes to real estate SEO, there are always new tactics to help you take your website to the next level. While it may seem like extra work in the beginning, it’s important to remember that the end goal is to attract leads to you — instead of chasing them down.
Once you’ve done the legwork with on-page SEO, it’s time to make sure the rest of your real estate systems are ready to capture and convert those leads. That’s where a flexible lead management platform like Follow Up Boss can help.
With features like easy website integration and a Tracking Pixel to help you instantly prioritize active web leads, you can get more out of every organic opportunity. Sign up for a free 14-day trial and make your SEO the one lead source that never sleeps.