Home buyers have an unprecedented amount of information at their fingertips. Computers, tablets, and mobile devices all make home listings instantly available. With such access, search engine optimization (SEO) is an increasingly vital strategy for cultivating qualified leads with a high conversion potential.
Currently, 90% of home buyers rely on the internet as their primary source of information. More than half of home buyers will research online before seeking any other sources of information, and this research is driven by search engines. Real estate related web searches on Google grew 253% over the past 4 years according to a study by the National Associations of REALTORS, while real estate searches on mobile devices have jumped 120% in just the past year.
To maximize traffic opportunities, and therefore lead generation opportunities, real estate professionals need to implement a thorough SEO strategy. This process involves adapting your site so that it is likely to receive a higher ranking from the search engines and thus receive more attention from consumers. A page that is ranked #1 on a Google search receives 33% of clicks. The second position receives only 18%, and the numbers continue to fall from there. If a website is positioned after the first results page, 95% of searchers will never see it.
The success of a webpage in driving leads is so strongly tied with its search engine rankings that SEO must be a priority for real estate professionals. There are countless factors that affect the search engine rankings each website receives. Some are easier to optimize than others, but there are some that can’t be ignored and are fairly easy to implement:
A primary consideration should be the use and placement of keywords. A keyword allows a search engine to pair the content your site offers with the web search a user is running. Because not all web searchers use the same terminology, the ideal site will incorporate a range of relevant keywords.
The list of keywords that could drive home buyers and sellers to site is likely extensive. Rather than forcing those keywords on your site, which will both sound unnatural and may hurt your search rankings, opt for a blog or content page dedicated to explaining the various aspects of the services your business offers. The keywords can likely be naturally used in this context, and the page will also be informative to site visitors. Moreover, regular changes to a webpage is another factor that will increase the site’s ranking, so posting often is encouraged.
The old adage, “there is nothing more local than real estate” holds particularly true for online content and therefore relevance with the Search Engines. Google, Bing and other search engines constantly modify their search algorithms to return results that they believe have the highest relevance to the searching consumer.
In October Google announced their Hummingbird algorithm, an updated approach to return better, localized search results. Designed to better handle “conversational” search queries, Hummingbird also aims to return search results that have the most geographic relevancy to the searcher’s location, especially queries conducted via mobile devices.
Including local content on your website in the form of neighborhood information, school information and other local content of interest will not only help position you as a local expert, but will also bolster your position in the search engines.
SEO is not limited to optimizing your website. Rather, a substantial influencer on search engines are now social signals from the social networks. While social media can be utilized to cultivate leads when buyers and sellers find you directly on the social site, interactions are also considered when ranking a webpage, as the search engines rely on social media activity when weighing the significance of brands. If your business and content you are posting is liked, shared, mentioned, +1’ed, or followed, search engines will perceive this as a growth in popularity and endorsement of your business.
It is important to note here that brands which a large social media presence have greater brand loyalty, in turn leading to better conversion rates on their website, more positive reviews, greater referrals and a larger percentage of repeat business.
Though these are a few examples of how you can use SEO to capitalize on the surplus of buyers and sellers online, SEO is a comprehensive and ongoing endeavor. Analytical tools and SEO specialists can both help to determine where your website is living up to its potential and where there is room for growth. By changing and improving your website regularly, you can incorporate the newest trends in search engine marketing. For more information on how you can leverage SEO to drive traffic and leads, contact us at email@example.com.