Ranking in search engine results has become increasingly more difficult as the Internet has gotten “older.” More and more content is added each day. Need an example? Stats tell us there are approximately six billion Google searches per day. Yes, six billion!
From a real estate standpoint, we are competing against not only local websites but also big syndication sites like Zillow, Trulia and Realtor.com. I don’t have stats on how much content is produced daily by individual sites (or combined) like Zillow, Trulia and Realtor.com, but I can confidently say they produce more content for consumers than individual real estate pros do.
So, how do you get your website to rank well for your real estate business?
The Internet is constantly evolving and changing. However, I can give you tips for getting your site to rank well in the foreseeable future.
Pick a certain city or area and base your site around that smaller geographic area
It’s very difficult to build a real estate website to try and cover all of a large metropolitan area and have your site rank well. It can be done, but it’s a ton of work – like 60+ hours per week for years. If you have the ambition to do that, more power to you. But if you are just starting a site, keep it small in the beginning and focus only on a small area or city.
Why should you only focus on a small area? Because Google uses bots to crawl websites looking for new content. If you create a huge website, your crawling resources will be spread too thin. New sites get very few allocated resources from search engines like Google. Creating too many pages on your site means that Google will only crawl a few of your pages and skip the majority of your site. Too big is an issue in the beginning.
If you are in a smaller real estate market, this won’t be an issue for you. However, again, I advise you keep your new site smaller even in a limited market.
Choose a domain name that includes the terms and words for which you want to rank
Time and time again, Google has told webmasters that keywords in the URL (the www. name of your site) don’t matter when ranking websites on organic searches. These statements are simply false. It has been proven that keyword rich domain names do still matter in rankings.
To cut Google some slack, I do truly believe Google wants to make keyword heavy domains a thing of the past when it comes to rankings. However, no matter how much Google is trying (behind the scenes) to level the rankings’ playing field when it comes to domain names, they have not yet succeeded.
So, how do you take advantage of this? For fun, let’s say you are in Small Town, Texas. I would personally choose a domain which incorporated at least a few of the following words — “Small Town, TX,” “homes for sale,” “real estate,” “homes and real estate,” etc. A real example would be – “www.smalltowntxhomes.com” or “www.smalltowntxhomesforsale.com.”
In keyword research, it has been shown that consumers use the word “homes” more often in their searches than they do “real estate” or “houses.” So, if you can, I’d try for “homes” as part of your domain.
Choose a .com domain name
Dot com domain extensions were the original and people still naturally think all domains should end in .com. The public has never quite warmed to .net or other extensions.
Plus, if you are forced to buy a .net (or other extensions) for your website, it generally means there is another website with the exact same name and the .com extension.
Knowing this, which site do you think is going to be found more often by consumers, even if they are trying to find you?
Yep, the .com site.
Blog but be careful
I cannot stress this enough — blog about your chosen community. Become the expert in the eyes of consumers about your local city. But, be careful when writing those blog posts. What do I mean? Be careful about competing against yourself while trying to achieve rankings. I’ll explain below.
Let’s say your homepage is centered around “Small Town, TX Homes for Sale.” When written well enough, and using strong SEO principles, Google and other search engines will recognize your homepage as the page on your site about “Small Town, TX Homes for Sale.”
But, if you choose to write a blog about, say, “The Cheapest Small Town, TX Homes for Sale,” it could easily confuse Google as to which page on your site is intended for visitors/rankings because you have included very similar key terms on both pages – “Small Town, TX Homes for Sale.”
Instead, if you are going to write a blog article about the least expensive homes in Small Town, TX, I would suggest titling the article something like the following: “Most Affordable Real Estate Listings in Small Town, TX.” See how I pretty much said the same thing, but avoided using the exact duplicate titles?
Remember, at the end of the day, Google is still just a computer algorithm and it absolutely can get confused by webmaster mistakes.
Pick the low hanging fruit
When blogging, there are some articles agents must write. Yet, many forget about these types of topics or they don’t think outside of the box.
Two easy areas for which you can quickly rank are (1) “best neighborhoods in (insert city)”; and, “best schools in (insert city).” These two topics mean money to agents. If someone is looking for the best neighborhoods in a certain city, it generally means they are moving to that city. Same goes with schools. If parents are looking for the best schools in an area, they are probably doing it because they are moving. Moving means money to real estate pros.
I suggest writing some good content about the best neighborhoods and schools in your chosen city or area. I love these two topics and, remember, each city and area will be different. You can literally parlay these two topics into a large number of individual articles.
I would love to hear your thoughts on my tips and please feel free to post tips of your own. I wish you the best in the market.
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