If there is a bigger obstacle in internet marketing for Realtors than SEO (search engine optimization), then I don’t know what it is. Don’t feel bad! It is not just Realtors who struggle with this 800 lb gorilla. Almost all small businesses struggle with this misunderstood, completely necessary digital marketing tool.
What makes SEO so difficult for most companies and Realtors is, of course, the unknown and the perception of the difficulty of trying to hit a moving target. Google constantly updates their algorithm to keep the bad guys from learning how to manipulate the system. By doing this, it does create some frustration for us honest folks trying to get on, and stay on, page 1 of Google. For a Realtor who is using the right search terms and keywords, a good SEO program will produce organic leads that will turn into buyer and seller prospects.
Below are some common things that Realtors overlook that prevent them from obtaining a page 1 Google rank.
Keywords, Keywords, Keywords – Most Realtors look at keywords with the mindset of “What keywords do I want to be found for?” Instead agents should think in terms of “What keywords are my prospects searching for?” Use Google’s Keyword Tool to determine what keyword phrases prospects in your area are searching for.
Backlinks, Backlinks, Backlinks – Backlinks are HUGE in determining relevance of your website to Google. Backlinks are links to your website from other websites. These links tell Google that your website is alive and important enough to be mentioned on other websites around the web. How do backlinks get there? You put them there. The keys to back linking are the quality of the sites that backlink to your site and the slow, steady nature in which those backlinks appear. Backlinking services or sites do not work well anymore after Google changed their algorithm earlier this year, so beware the false claims by those services.
Content, Content, Content – After keywords and backlinks, you must have content that matches your keywords. In other words, if your keyword phrase is “Memphis Homes for Sale” but your website content is all about “Collierville Homes for Sale” then you are not going to rank well on Google. Structure your content for your keywords. Blogs and press releases are great ways to offer relevant, timely content that will catapult you above the competition.
Social Media – Yep, it matters. If you don’t have a presence on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook then get one now. These sites offer a great deal of online credibility, so use them.
YouTube – The thought of doing video for your business makes some people shiver. But the truth is, you can optimize a few parameters within YouTube for your videos and easily outrank your competition. It is worth the time and trouble, and after you do a few videos you’ll become more comfortable in front of the camera and will actually enjoy it.
Google Places – Hey, Google is basically giving you a free website that is optimized for Google searches, and about 90% of the businesses are not even using it. Google Places will help you be found during local searches such as “Realtors” and/or “Real Estate Companies.” This is a must for most individual agents.
If you will be vigilant and stay on course with the above SEO obstacles, within 30 days you will begin to see amazing results with your SEO campaign. Once you see these results and the leads you are getting for only a few hours work per week, you’ll have more buyer and seller leads than you will know what to do with. I recommend referring them out to your office mates. It sure does make them curious!
If you have another SEO tip or trick that I didn’t mention in the post, please feel free to leave a comment below. We’d love to know what is working for you!