By Anita Clark
Real estate agents are always vying for the top spot on Google in their area but are quickly squashed by the big guys – Zillow, Trulia, Redfin, etc. They have bigger marketing budgets, faster websites, professional marketing and SEO teams, and every detail of a listing covered. How can your average real estate agent not just survive but thrive in this type of environment?
How Agents Can Compete
Those big guys are NOT the individual agent. Big corporations do not know the neighborhood and subdivision micro-markets. They only go off of public information. If you as an individual agent know something the big guys don’t, you need to capitalize on that. But what can an agent do with their website to help their ranking and traffic?
First of all, realize that there are dozens, if not hundreds, of ways to market. Don’t put all your eggs in one marketing basket. If you think the only way you’re going to get leads is being first on Google, you’re going to miss a lot of opportunities. Rethink your strategy.
Imagine a house with one door. If you think the only way in that house is through the front door, you’re going to miss all the people that could potentially come in through the window, the backdoor, the garage door, the side door, or even the roof. Here are some SEO practices all real estate agents should be doing, especially now while many of us are cooped up at home.
Start With Your Neighborhood
For any neighborhood where you want to rank highly in search results, write an amazing community post about it with outbound and inbound links and then have all the listings for the neighborhood listed there and make sure they show as content to Google, not just a file or script. This example of the Live Oak Preserve Subdivision has the elements to succeed in the search engine results pages and quickly get noticed by consumers who are looking on the web.
Make the URL Structure Accurate
You can’t have a URL like this: http://www.yourwebsite.com/345-php it means nothing to Google or readers. The structure needs to be accurate and optimized. It should be your domain, the area, and the neighborhood like this: https://www.findourpad.com/seattle/seattle-condos-for-sale/ The area is Seattle, then the subpage is condos for sale. There is no doubt what should be on that page. It is obvious at first glance what this page is about. That is good for both Google and humans alike.
Promote That Page
Don’t just let that page sit on your site where no one is going to find it. Post it on all the social media platforms you can, at least a few times a week with different captions, such as: “New listing in [neighborhood] that you have to see!” “[Neighborhood] has the lowest HOA fees of anywhere and here’s what you get:” or “Looking to live on a street where you can walk down tree-lined sidewalks and enjoy your neighbors? This is it!”
Remember, when potential clients leave information or ask questions, it is imperative to respond quickly. When we take the social out of social media, we get left behind wondering where that new buyer or seller ran off to. Hint: They ran to the agent who engaged with them and provided the information they were seeking!
Share It and Have Others Share It
Don’t just share on one social media account, share on them all if you can! And have others share, promote, link to, talk about, and comment on your posts. The more traffic that page gets, the more Google will rank it. AND you’ll be getting traffic from a wide variety of sources rather than just one.
Many of the highly successful agents who market online use this approach. Help others by sharing their content then watch as they share yours in return. Don’t take my word for it, try it out for yourself and see if your results improve. They will.
Inbound and Outbound Links
Every major page on your site should have several links on it. Relevant links that inform the reader, send them deeper into your site or offer more information. If a reader comes to that page, reads it then doesn’t know what to do, they will leave and you’ve lost them. Make sure every outbound link (a link that directs off your website), opens in a new window or tab so they don’t actually leave your site and open all your inbound links (links to other pages in your site) opens in the same tab so you don’t drive people crazy with opening 20 windows or tabs.
Revisit the page
Don’t just leave the page hanging out there. Link to it from the main page (like the Seattle condo page should link back to the Seattle main page the homepage), refresh it with new information every few months and go back and link to it and share it again. Once you get some serious traffic to that page, move on to another neighborhood and so forth. Talk about all the property types in that area, price ranges, schools, etc. Things change in a neighborhood so keep that page up to date. If a reader comes to that page and sees outdated information, they may disregard your whole site.
Final SEO Advice
SEO is about 100 small things that come together to make a well-optimized website, but these things are highly important for competing with the big guys. I know you know something about a neighborhood that Zillow doesn’t, so write about it, share it, link to it, and never stop talking about it. When in doubt, go hyper-local on a specific feature about a community or neighborhood. This is where your advantage plays out nearly every time against the big companies. Get focused on long-tail keywords (like homes for sale in Houston County GA with pools) and you will find more often than not that your rankings will soar, your phone will keep ringing, and your business will be profitable beyond your dreams. You have nothing to lose…try it!
Anita Clark is a residential real estate agent with Coldwell Banker SSK, REALTORS®, in Houston County, Ga. She is from Coventry, England, is a retired military spouse, and has been assisting buyers, investors, and sellers in middle Georgia since 2007. Connect with Anita on Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, or on her Warner Robins GA Real Estate Blog.