SEO For Real Estate Agents: A Beginner’s Guide

Rita Akekelwa | February 20, 2022 | Search Engine Optimization For Real Estate

Becoming a real estate agent can be very rewarding. Real estate agents are their own bosses. They answer only to themselves, meaning anyone who becomes a real estate agent essentially runs a private business.

Business owners must always be aware of their competition. In the real estate agent industry, competition is fierce. Real estate agents are, to quote the cliché, a dime a dozen.

So how can real estate agents stand out? Search Engine Optimization (SEO), is a great way to get noticed ahead of your peers. is the process of getting traffic from free, organic, editorial, or natural search results from search engines.

Real Estate SEO: The Statistics

Real Estate SEO statistics point to a single fact. Nowadays home buyers search Google rather than the local newspaper, their friends, or the yellow pages (which are like the hard copy version of Google Search).

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The yellow pages are in the past. The fact is that most people on the hunt for a home won’t see your website unless you’re great at SEO. The Internet is where it’s at. Check out specifics on where home buyers discovered the residences they purchased:

  • Internet – 50%
  • Real Estate Agent – 28%
  • Yard Sign / Open House Sign – 7%
  • Friend, Relative, or Neighbor – 7%
  • Home Builder or Their Agent – 5%
  • Directly from Sellers / Knew the Seller – 3%
  • Print Newspaper Ad – 1%

Notice how only 1% found their home by searching in the local newspaper? It means that real estate agents must be aware of how SEO works.

They must also know how to use SEO specifically for a real estate company. By doing so they will drive potential home buyers to their website instead of to their competitors’.

86% of potential home buyers consider real estate websites the most important tool to find a home.

Benefits of a Real Estate SEO Strategy

One way real estate agents can generate more leads through their websites is through SEO. Although we’ve mentioned some of the benefits, the following state the main ones more clearly.

Gain More Traffic

This is the largest benefit of real estate website SEO. Attracting a large amount of traffic to your website is like casting a huge net. You may not turn every visitor into a lead, but converting just 10% of them can be substantial with a large enough audience.

Become an Authoritative Voice

Having great content on your website is very valuable. So is getting that content seen. Employing the right real estate SEO strategy can make your content visible. Eventually, your business will become the go-to source for those seeking quality listings and education. The more your consumers interact with the content the better.

Control Your Image

If you employ the right strategy you can put the best you have to offer higher up on any search results from any search engine. You can even put slightly less than ideal search results about your brand much lower down than they originally are.

There are many more benefits involved, and if you’re not yet convinced take a look at this comprehensive list.

Now, let’s talk about the management of your time and expectations before getting into the best SEO practices for real estate websites.

Manage Your Time & Expectations

While there are many search engines that exist, most people favor Google. If you’re a complete novice when it comes to realtor SEO, who better to learn from than the developers of Google themselves?

They provide a comprehensive starter guide to explain the basics. It makes sense to educate yourself from the source as their algorithm is ever-changing, and this way, you can remain up to date.

You can also make use of a professional real estate SEO company or a real estate SEO consultant if it all becomes too overwhelming.

As you would imagine, SEO will differ depending on the product or service you’re trying to promote. Keep in mind that advice around general SEO practices will have to be adapted slightly to suit Real Estate SEO.

SEO takes time

You could end up spending a ton of time getting your real estate agent business higher on Google. The key to optimizing time is organization.

If you know you have to search for houses to list, call clients, build your sphere of influence and spend time on your website and SEO, you need a system.

Set up an SEO/online marketing schedule. Spend 1/2 hours daily on your online marketing. Then, schedule around your online marketing.

A higher ranking doesn’t mean you’ll get calls and/or emails…and that’s okay

Don’t expect a higher ranking to automatically produce results. That’s all right.

You’ll know through Google’s optimization tools, which keywords lead to hits on your site.

Get the hits first. The calls and emails will come. You’ll want to write a blog, use video and post great photos.

Those are the things that lead to calls and emails once you’ve ranked. We will talk about those things later on in this article.

Be Social

We all know social media is important to connect with your current and potential clientele. And it’s important for SEO, too.

It’s a wonderful opportunity to link back to your website and to your blog posts so you can improve your presence on the web.

Having a social media plan that helps you consistently post and provides useful and interesting content will help you stay organized and on schedule.

SEO Shady Practices to Avoid

Before getting to common real estate SEO questions and answers, it’s important to know what could get real estate agents in trouble with Google. Do not do the following

  1. Place non-relevant keywords into meta-tagsGoogle looks down on non-relevant keywords that are just there to boost rankings.
  2. Hidden keywordsA hidden keyword could be something like white text on a white background. Google will most definitely penalize anybody who does this.
  3. Link farmsThe job of link farms is to share links. If Google sees you doing this, they will lower your page’s ranking, or even ban you from search rankings.
  4. Private Blog Network (PBN) participationGoogle does not appreciate people who specifically create blogs to link other blogs together.

How do I do SEO for real estate? How do I optimize my real estate website?

55% of searchers click one of the first three links that shows up on Google. Check out 6 ways to ensure you get the clicks that lead to listings.

1. Optimize Content for Effective SEO Keywords and SEO Best Practices

The important thing to understand is that keywords require two considerations, search intent, and search volume.

Search intent is the “why” of keywords. Why are they searching? Search volume measures the effectiveness of the keyword.

If you keep those two things in mind, you will find the optimal keywords and long-tail keywords for your real estate agent site.

2. Go Mobile. Be Mobile-Friendly. Get Fast. Get Secure

Most people will view your site on their phones, you must ensure your images, landing pages and videos load fast. You’ve got 3 seconds or less before potential customers hit the back button.

Your site must also be secure. The last thing you need is to provide a potential client with a virus.

Make sure you have an SSL certificate installed on your website. Many hosting providers already include this in their hosting packages.

3. Use AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages)

Delving deeper into the point above let’s explore the option of AMP. Accelerated mobile pages is an open-source project created by Google. It aims to load a webpage in under 1 second (on average). AMP does this by optimizing code (HTML, JavaScript, and lightweight CSS) and setting certain limitations on a webpage.

Remember that your ad formats will also need to adhere to the AMP requirements if you want to adapt your page.

Below are some benefits associated with having AMPs:

  • The number one advantage is a faster page load time
  • Drastically improved user experience and interactivity
  • Helps with ranking higher than competitors that don’t use AMPs
  • Reduced bounce rate and more views on adverts listed on the page
  • Improved CTR

Although there are a few disadvantages associated with AMPs, they don’t outweigh the pros of using this option.

4. Have Confidence and Start a Real Estate Blog

Blogs require more work than simply optimizing your site. It requires an understanding of content marketing.

Placing a blog directly on your site shows confidence. It also presents you as an expert. Write relevant content in a style that makes the reader feel as if you’re speaking directly to them.

Check out these statistics from Blue Corona:

  • A blog on your site increases the chances of ranking on search engines by 434%
  • 70% of home buyers prefer online content as opposed to paid advertising

Don’t just stick to writing your blog. Make sure to add vlogs, or video blogs, with testimonials from happy customers. Blogs are a huge part of real estate search engine marketing.

5. It’s all about Visuals: get Great with Videos, VR, and Photos

Make sure you’ve provided the best photos of properties on your site. Ensure your listings sell by using virtual staging. Check out stats, again from Blue Corona, that back up the advice:

  • 50% of buyers wish to see potential purchases virtually staged
  • On average, homes with clear, colorful photos sell 44% above the list price

Use virtual staging and crisp photos to not only make more money in home sales but also increase your rankings on search engines.

6. Make Home Buying Easy

Buying a home is not easy. Different buyers find different parts of the home buying process to be more difficult than others. Check out a few more interesting statistics from our friends at Blue Corona:

  • 17% of prospective home buyers state that understanding the home buying process is difficult
  • Finding the right property is the most difficult step for 52% of potential buyers
  • 24% of home buyers find the paperwork surrounding purchasing a home to be the most difficult aspect

Luckily, making it easy on home buyers can also lead to a higher ranking. For example, since 24% of home buyers find the paperwork surrounding purchasing a home intimidating, why not write a blog about home buying paperwork?

Many don’t understand the home buying process at all, so it makes sense to write a blog detailing the home buying process. Go step-by-step. Don’t leave anything out. This leads to quicker turnover, which impresses home sellers to list with you.

Local SEO for Real Estate

Real estate agents are local. Although at times they can sell a home outside of their area, the most successful real estate agents are local agents. Local real estate SEO will differ slightly in that it is much more targeted to a smaller audience. With that in mind, let’s go over the 3 things agents must do to become SEO local kings.

What Motivates Buyers? Schools and Amenities

Homebuyers are not just looking for a house; they’re looking for a lifestyle and a certain environment. They have families to raise, activities to do, and places to relax. Keep this in mind when developing long-tail keyword phrases to rank for.

Ricardo Martinez is the founder of Perconvly, an e-commerce consulting company that specializes in SEO and Facebook marketing. He suggests long-tail keywords such as “best middle school neighborhoods,” “best public schools in (insert city)” and “best high schools in (insert city).”

By doing this, real estate professionals segment other purchase intents while building an emotional connection with home buyers.

To expound on this idea, think about neighborhoods in the same way. This may often be what motivates buyers first and foremost. Some ideas:

  • Safe neighborhoods
  • Best neighborhoods
  • New construction communities

General queries like “real estate (insert city)” are much harder to rank for, so get specific with what you think buyers really want.

Select the Best Local Keywords

Since you’re a local agent, you must choose local SEO keywords.

What’s the difference between a local keyword and a basic keyword? Remember search intent and search volume? The ‘why’ for local includes the city, or, in some cases, the word local.

So, instead of using a keyword like “Atlanta real estate agent” use a keyword like “Buckhead real estate agent”. Not only will paring it down to Buckhead make it a more efficient keyword, but it will also rank faster on Google than if you use Atlanta.

If you think that changing the keyword from Atlanta to Buckhead will affect search volume, you are correct. Atlanta has more searches than Buckhead on an hourly basis for sure. Even though that’s true, Buckhead is the better keyword because there is more value to each search.

Get backlinks from local real estate websites

Backlinks are links that are on other well-performing websites and redirect to your website/landing pages when clicked. It is a way of also demonstrating to Google that you’re a trustworthy site. If you create amazing content that ranks well, chances are that other websites might link to that content organically.

However, there are many other ways to control how many backlinks you get as well as monitor how they’re performing.

Make Sure Your Google Business Profile (Formely Google My Business) is Current and Looks Great

Since most real estate agent searches happen online and through Google, your Google Business Profile must be up to date. Make sure your name, address, and phone number are correct.

Verify your business with Google if you haven’t yet. Add images to raise your rankings. If you can add images of local homes for sale, that’s even better! Get a professional headshot. Make sure to smile.

Fill out the Categories section correctly. Google requires all businesses to focus on services.

You must include the words “real estate” into any category. Since you want to concentrate on local, consider this category: Local Real Estate Agency. Create at least 3 categories. A couple more could be Residential Property Real Estate Agency and Local Real Estate Services.

Local Presence

You must optimize your website for local searches. Real estate agents should only use the clearest possible photos of homes for sale. Posting a specific page about each home is a best practice.

Real estate agents should also post relevant local content on their sites. An example might be if your real estate business sponsors a local event. Make sure to post videos and photos of the event.

Real Estate Agents Should Take Advantage of These Free SEO Tools

Real estate agents run their own businesses. They have no choice but to be cost-conscious. Check out free SEO tools that you can use to increase your search engine optimization ranking.

1. Google’s Search Console

Google’s Search Console provides a suite of tools that help real estate agents measure their site’s search traffic and performance. Through the console, real estate agents can see how Google views their website and if there are any issues with indexing or crawling their websites.

2. Google’s Keyword Planner

Real estate agents can search for keywords related to their products or services. They can also research keywords to discover search volume and how searches have changed over time.

Google Keyword Planner is also important because it helps narrow down the keyword list. That should lead to more efficient, and likely less difficult, keywords to rank for.

3. Google Analytics

Google Analytics helps real estate agents understand how website visitors behave online and on their websites. Google Analytics allows agents to discover which queries bring visitors to their sites.

It also analyzes a real estate agent’s site’s impression, clicks, and position on Google Search.

How to Use Google’s Tools for Real Estate SEO

Use Google Keyword Planner to Find Keywords

Find what you believe to be the most efficient real estate agent keywords. Remember, you’re a local marketer, which means the keywords you choose should have something to do with your local market.

Also, it’s important to choose keywords that tie into the categories on your Google Business Page as well as your blog.

Use Google Analytics to Discover What Optimization Choices to Make

Use Analytics to see which are your most popular pages and which are the pages that visitors exited from. Use Analytics to track lead conversions, where viewers are visiting from, and what device they used.

What’s most effective? Again, think local. Then, change your strategy based on the information from Google Analytics. Just remember there is no such thing as a list of the best real estate SEO keywords. It is an ever-evolving concept that needs to be consistently updated.

SEO for Real Estate Agents: A Long-Tail Keyword Formula to Follow

Ed Brancheau, CEO of Goozleology Digital Marketing, has helped numerous real estate agents rank their sites and attract targeted traffic. What he’s found the most successful: always focus hyper-locally and on one niche. And he has an awesome formula to help, below, in his own words.

1. Pick only one niche

Condos, single-family homes, green homes, etc. Whatever you think will make you the most money.

2. Pick a neighborhood to focus on

For example, most real estate agents come to me and say that they can “sell anywhere in San Diego.” Well, just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should. Usually, I tell them to zero in on a one-mile radius around their office.

Now, some come to me and are a little more targeted by choosing a smaller city within their area. But most of the time, even that is too broad. For example, I work with a realtor in La Jolla (outside of San Diego) who wanted to rank in all La Jolla.

But we chose to dominate the Bird Rock area of La Jolla first. At first, they ranked in Bird Rock and got plenty of business. Yet, over time, they also started to rank for La Jolla in general. Their business is growing and stable.

3. Create evergreen content about the area in which you sell

Interview restaurant owners. Take pictures of the parks. Post crime and school reports. Everything that you can think of because most people don’t buy the house, they buy the area. Plus, when you create posts about the houses you have for sale, they die once you sell the house.

So, bottom line, choose a long-tail keyword, go with Niche + Neighborhood + Local

SEO is the Only Way Forward for Today’s Real Estate Agents

We live in an online, mobile, driven world. Many of us are constantly on our phones. Because we are so online-driven, every business in every industry has had to develop online marketing skills.

The most important of online marketing skills is search engine optimization. Real estate agents that become SEO experts help their sites achieve high Google rankings.

Because people often choose one of the top 3 search results on Google, real estate agents with SEO skills are more likely to get the best listings.

Better listings lead to more sales. When it comes to online marketing, search engine optimization is the most important skill for real estate agents to learn.

Those agents without it will miss out on the prime listings while those with it will become real estate stars.

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Rita Akekelwa