Real estate agents strive for a constant stream of local leads to be productive and profitable. In a modern marketplace that relies on search engines to find everything from shoes to homes for sale, the right SEO strategies are crucial for continuous lead generation. Discover the real estate SEO trends that are guiding results in 2019 and beyond.
1. Focus on Featured Snippets
Featured snippets are the answers that appear in a box above the organic search engine results on Google. Because of their coveted location, featured snippets are often referred to as position “zero.” Providing meaningful responses to common questions is the best way to land in this desirable area of the search results. From sage advice for home sellers to how to buy your first home, there are countless opportunities to become an authority and attract more leads.
To find topics that matter, review the “People Also Ask” questions. Prepare responses that matter to people searching for specific keywords. Google will pick up on the clearest, most comprehensive answer to spotlight as a Featured Snippet. This SEO strategy should not be underestimated, as more than half the clicks coming through Google come from these informative snippets.
2. Listen to the Voices
As more people search on mobile devices, the essence of real estate SEO is changing. Voice search is an increasingly popular way for consumers to find what they want on-the-go. And, often that includes looking at houses for sale while they are traveling through a specific neighborhood. By next year, it is estimated about half of all searches will be done by voice.
Once again, voice searches put questions at the forefront rather than choppy word sequences. For example, people might say “Hey, Google,” and “Okay, Google,” then ask for something they want. The nature of searching differs from entering a few words into a search engine box. As this latest form of searching evolves, SEO professionals are finding ways to harness the power of voice searches to attract more organic traffic.
3. Explore User Intent
Simple keyword research is no longer enough to soar up the ranks of Google. Examine user intent to find the perfect words and phrases to connect with your target market. What are they asking and looking for, and why do they want it? Answers to these questions help define intent, so you can craft content that meets or exceeds the searcher’s expectations.
Consider where you want to land in the sales funnel. Broad keyword terms could be too expansive and competitive to corner your target market. Choosing more targeted keywords with less traffic can help you connect with more informed consumers who are further down the sales funnel. While you might get less traffic, conversion rates will improve because you’re reaching customers who are ready to take action.
4. Think Ahead
Following trends was once a viable way to reach out to your target market and climb up the ranks of the search engines. While trending topics are still helpful to connect with your target audience, the real innovators remain ahead of the curve. Creating forward-thinking content is a way to establish authority, score featured snippets, and get ahead of your competitors.
Once you determine searchers’ most common inquiries per People Also Ask, start to think ahead. Write responses to those questions, then consider what questions would naturally come next. Use your own experiences and consumer research to come up with related responses to enhance your answers, and make them different from anyone else. Originality, coupled with smart real estate SEO is an effective way to crawl to the top.
5. It’s Time to E-A-T
Get ready to E-A-T – that is, boost your expertise, authority, and trustworthiness. The acronym stands for Google’s rating guidelines for search quality. And, these guidelines, are linked with a Google quality rating referred to as YMYL, which stands for “Your Money or Your Life.” YMYL means Google wants relevant and correct information that won’t negatively impact the health, wealth, or happiness of users.
Google is looking out for the user’s well-being and their reputation as a search engine. Real estate is an industry directly related to health, safety, and finances. With that in mind, content should be straightforward, factual, and useful to rise up the ranks. Focus on creating authoritative content based on your unique expertise, so people and Google trust it. Want more good news? Bing also rewards content that follows the E-A-T principle.
6. Optimize the Images
Real estate is an industry fueled by imagery. Photos are used to provide a virtual tour before people visit the property. The photographs must be clear and compelling to encourage potential buyers to take action. Beyond professional quality, the images posted with listing descriptions and blog entries should be optimized to ensure people can find them.
Each photo used with an article or description should include an alt tag, caption, title, and description. Use keywords that aptly describe the photo and match the content. If a buyer misses the listing or blog entry, they will be able to find the images. Remember also to optimize the pictures accompanying your social media updates.
7. Remember Mobile-First Indexing
Right before spring, 2018, Google brought out mobile-first indexing. Consider almost 60 percent of all web traffic comes from mobile devices, and that number continues to grow. It makes sense that Google would focus on the quality of the mobile user’s experience. One of the primary aspects of the mobile journey is speed. Mobile users want information on-the-spot, in seconds. Anything less means they’re surfing away to the competition.
Mobile-friendly real estate websites make it easy for people to locate homes while they drive around. If they see a sign, they can instantly look up the details about the property. Mobile sites should be fast-loading, easy to use, and completely navigable. Having a mobile-friendly website can help real estate agents score more listings and connect with more buyers.
8. Google Your Real Estate Business
Real estate agents need to be accessible to local home buyers and sellers. Google My Business pages help agents get noticed during localized searches. Google Maps directions appear with ratings, reviews, images, and specific information to easily find the business. Log in to Google My Business and complete your profile 100 percent including hours, description, website, telephone number, and real estate categories.
Businesses with complete local information tend to be favored by Google. Make it easy for people to put the contact information to good use. For example, use dashes and parentheses in the company phone number so clients can take advantage of one-click calling inside the Google Maps results. Talk to your tech team to verify that schema markup is used to gain recognition from Google. Also, verify the contact information for the agency is consistent in all online profiles for consistency Google will recognize.
9. Love Being a Local
Local real estate SEO starts with loving the neighborhood. Create content about upcoming events, local hot spots, and distinguished community members. Become known as a local authority that writers about the latest happenings. An agent who is constantly seen around town is sure to connect with more potential buyers and sellers.
Sharing a passion for the local lifestyle is the ultimate way to encourage people to buy homes in the community. Let them know about recreational, professional, and social opportunities in the area. Share photos, links to local businesses, and all the information people need to get settled into a new town or city. When people recognize your name, they will remember you when they want to buy or sell a property.
10. Ask for Reviews
About 90 percent of consumers read online reviews before going to a visit. Nearly three-quarters of them take action only if they read a positive review about the company. With that in mind, it’s important to ask clients to share their good experiences with the agency. Reviews brand your agency and help establish trust to improve conversion rates.
Excellent reviews make a real estate agent stand head and shoulders above the competition. Plus, they also give SEO a healthy boost to improve local rankings. Encourage happy clients to share their opinions on Facebook, Yelp, and other third-party sites. Savvy agents also work with a network of other professionals, such as bankers, attorneys, and inspectors. Offer to exchange positive reviews to help boost your reputation and search engine rankings.
11. Refresh and Reuse
Content was once considered king, but now it’s only part of a successful SEO strategy. Effective optimization is crucial for an article to continue ranking on Google. Use Google Search Console to determine which keywords are ranking best for the content. Once you find the top keyword phrases, it’s time to refresh the article to improve its rank.
Naturally infuse the keywords into the existing content. If a new sentence or paragraph is needed to ensure the phrase makes sense, add it to the current article. Update the title tag, metadata, and alt tags to help the search engines find the content. Include links to the latest research from other authority sites to add more value to the article. Remember to add relevant internal links to new content that relates to the subject matter. Readers and search engines will notice – and reward – these revisions.
12. The Long and Short of SEO
There are two basic types of keywords – head and long-tail. Head keywords are short, common phrases often used to search for the location, venue, etc. These keywords tend to be highly trafficked and very competitive. Long=tail keywords are longer phrases used to search for something specific, such as a ranch home in Babylon, New York rather than a New York house.
Use Google Adwords to find the top head keywords and long-tail keywords pertaining to the topic or location. Choose a mix of head and long-tail keywords to add to the content and back-end for search engine recognition. Pay close attention to SERPs, as they will play an even more significant role in optimization as artificial intelligence (AI) starts to take over in the future. Keep in mind, long-tail keywords attract the most targeted traffic because they have higher intent.
13. Leverage the Power of Video Marketing
Real estate listings that also include video footage get over 400 percent more inquiries than listings without video. Real estate SEO will focus on quality video in 2019 and beyond. More people expect to take a video tour of the property before visiting it in-person. Remember to optimize all tags and descriptions for each video.
Take video to the next level with aerial images that provide a bird’s eye view of expansive properties. Virtual reality makes people feel like they are climbing stairs and overlooking balconies in real-life. And sites such as Facebook provide a golden opportunity to share live video tours of new properties as they hit the market.
Other factors are also crucial to stay ahead of the curve as the new real estate SEO trends takeover 2019 and beyond. Consider the timing of the article and what keywords apply. Encourage collaboration with other industry professionals to spread the word far and wide. Revamp your web design to be eye-catching and navigable. Finally, add social sharing buttons to ensure the content reaches more potential clients. Couple these steps with the concepts about to stand out from the competition!
Does all of this sound like a lot of work? Are you struggling to keep up with the latest SEO trends? Talk to the professionals at Galileo Tech Media to learn the latest updates and discuss ways to optimize your online presence. We help real estate companies maximize their online presence for optimum productivity and profits.