It seems like we get a couple of e-mails a week from website owners asking us to analyze their websites. And lately it seems like real estate SEO tips are what a lot of real estate agents are looking for now, particularly as the real estate market heats up.
So we decided to put together a Real Estate SEO Tips Case Study for all those inquiries.
For example, we received one such e-mail last week from http://www.century21regan.com – a real estate office in Cape Cod, Massachusetts.
The owner emailed us this message:
“Could you please give me some suggestions for web site optimization? Any help you can give would be greatly appreciated.”
As we are always looking for good blog post ideas, we have often read that you should write posts about the most popular questions you get.
So using http://www.century21regan.com as our example,
we figured….why not analyze this website right here, right now?**
**Please keep in mind that although this analysis is specifically for real estate SEO, these tips apply to any website that is having difficulty ranking highly in the search engines. You may find yourself in a very similar situation to this website and if so, we hope this information is extremely helpful.
Real Estate SEO Tips to Optimize a Real Estate Website
To give some really solid real estate SEO tips, here we show our exact process of how we analyze a website.
Since the owner hasn’t yet responded to us in my request for more information, we’re not exactly sure what specific “suggestions for website optimization” he really wants, or namely which “keyword phrases”he’s looking to optimize for.
Based on our past experience, we could take a pretty good guess as to what keyword phrases he wants to optimize his site for.
Although the site has some SEO issues, it has all the right things potentially in place for good search rankings….it just needs a little help.
Real Estate SEO Tips and Analysis
1. Keyword Phrase Research
The first thing we do when we receive a query on how to optimize a website for the search engines, is we first asked to speak with them lives we can cover the most important SEO question of them all, which is:
“What keyword phrases are your potential customers trying to find your business for in the search engines?”
This question is the foundation for everything that we do. Without good keyword phrases, the process of search on engine optimization is a big waste of time.
So we assumed a couple of things, and decided that this website. Probably wants to rank for super local search queries. These are keyword phrases that people type in to the Google search box to find information on local services.
As has been the case with other real estate agents we’ve worked with, the most common search queries potential customers for a real estate agent are:
“Town (or neighborhood) + real estate/houses for sale”
Surprisingly, for many towns on Cape Cod, the primary town name, let’s say for example, “Falmouth Real Estate” is an excellent search term to have your website rank highly for. However, for a website like http://www.century21regan.com, which has little to no search engine rankings aside from the name of the business, this could take many months to gain first page rankings.
So we take a different approach – by doing it “super local”.
Super Local Real Estate SEO Tips
What we usually recommend is to pick sub neighborhoods, villages or even neighborhoods of towns to rank for and DOMINATE those rankings instead. They may not get the number of searches per day as a big term like “Falmouth real estate” might, but they will see immediate results.
The best part of this is that when you optimize a long tail keyword phrase, you gain benefit in the search engines for the primary term in the keyword phrase. The search engines bestow “credit” for having the primary town name in the keyword phrase.
So for example, if you are trying to rank your page for “Falmouth Heights real estate”, you would also gain “SEO credit” for “Falmouth real estate” as well.
For example, if Century 21 Regan wanted to rank highly for the keyword phrase “Falmouth real estate”, we could certainly help them. However, there is an easier way to go.
We would recommend to optimize certain pages on their website for sub-sections or even neighborhoods of the town of Falmouth, such as:
- Falmouth Heights real estate
- East Falmouth real estate
- West Falmouth real estate
- North Falmouth real estate
Or perhaps if they wanted to rank your website for the town of “Bourne real estate”, we may recommend any of the many villages of Bourne:
- Sagamore beach real estate
- Sagamore real estate
- Monument Beach real estate
- Pocasset real estate
- Bourneville real estate
2. Keyword Analysis
Now the fun begins….
We would then plug all of these keywords into one of our keyword analysis tools in order to analyze each keyword phrase. In this case, we used Market Samurai, which we have always found to be helpful in generating good competitive data, especially in an initial SEO analysis.
Most importantly, we are looking for the relative ease for ranking that keyword phrase on the first page of the search engines.
In this way, a customer like Century 21 Regan would see near immediate benefits in leads and sales from the real estate SEO tips we incorporate on their website.
According to Market Samurai, here would be an example of a real estate keyword phrase that would be very difficult to rank for quickly – “Falmouth Real Estate”:
In contrast, here is a super local SEO real estate keyword phrase “Falmouth Heights real estate” that could achieve page 1 rankings relatively quickly:
Out of the two, we feel that although the first one has many more searches per day, optimizing a specific page for the longer tail. Super local keyword phrase is a far better way to go.
The reason for this is that Century 21 Regan wants to see some results from our efforts fairly quickly… and so do we.so instead of trying to rank for your keyword phrase that probably represents a tremendous amount of new business, it’s far better to take a backdoor approach to SEO in real estate and attempt to rank webpages for lower traffic, but highly targeted keyword phrases that have far less competition.
3. Diagnose The Website
Since Century 21 Reagan really doesn’t have any rankings for any keyword phrases that we found in our initial analysis, we now need to look at the reasons why this is happening. And this is done by analyzing their website, page by page.
We do this by plugging it into a website analyzer tool. There are many like this out on the Internet, with the best free one to use is Screaming Frog. although there is a paid version of it, the free version is excellent for analyzing problems within the website itself.
We use other paid website analyzer tools, but Screaming Frog is one that we seem to come back to more and more these days.
Any good website analyzer tool will tell you the amount of error pages, incorrect redirects, exact title tags, description, tags, keyword tags and all kinds of other geeky SEO techie terms that tell us how well they are website is optimized for individual keyword phrases.
Any SEO monkey can do that…
The real question is how to fix all those things to totally search engine optimize the website.
In the case of Century 21 Reagan, their website is fairly typical, in that they have many of the same problems and search optimization as other websites we’ve analyzed such as:
- Multiple 404 not found pages.
- Multiple images with no alt tags
- Title tags that read like description tags and are far too lengthy – one which is
- Title tags that have nothing to do with search engine optimization keyword search queries
- Duplicate description tags
- Meta keyword links in excess of the recommended character length – on with 930 characters!
- Missing H1 tags
- Missing H2 tags
- Missing H3 tags
All in all, relatively simple stuff to fix – every one of these search engine optimization mistakes can be fixed, they just need to be fixed correctly.
The Biggest Real Estate SEO Tip of Them All
But the biggest problem that we so we analyzed this website is that it had very little on page content related to the keyword phrases their potential customers may be searching for.
We have talk about the power of excellent content before and how important it is for your search engine rankings.
Search Engine Optimization Recommendations
1. Clean up the current search engine optimization errors
This can be broken down into two phases. The first one would be to clean up the current pages and optimize them first and then the second phase would be to create fresh content centered around the primary keyword phrases that Century 21 Reagan wants to rank for
- Edit all the title tags to be under 70 characters in length and optimized for the primary keyword phrases
- Cut down the description tag length to under 160 characters. At minimum.
- Rename all images with real estate related keyword phrases
- Clean up all 404 errors
- Insert H1 tags where appropriate.
- Insert H2 tags where appropriate
- Insert H3 tags where appropriate
- Create 7 to 10 new keyword phrase rich webpages focused on the primary and secondary keyword phrases Century 21 Regan wants to rank for.
An example might be a page on the website with 500 to 1000 words titled “Falmouth Heights Real Estate | How We Can Find The Perfect Home For You”
The page would then describe exactly why Century 21 Reagan is the ideal choice for people searching for homes in Falmouth Heights.
A good example is a page we created here for search engine optimization bourne ma, which if you click here to query “search engine optimization bourne ma”, that page is currently ranking #1 or #2 in Google.
You see, we actually to know were talking about! 🙂
3. Create Link Authority to the New Pages
This is usually where most companies really fall down, because they have no idea how to do it. Someone tells them to “get some links” and they go and ask their brother and their neighbor to link to them from their website…its doesn’t quite work that way.
This is the “link network” part of search engine optimization, and its the most tricky.
Creating authority for webpages is something that is more about art and the science, so we don’t recommend SEO newbies do that on thier own. that is where you’ll need the help of a reputable search engine optimization company.