When it comes to SEO, real estate agencies have to think about it from 4 angles. Unfortunately, and based on our observations, most agencies only look at it from one angle.
The first angle of course is traditional SEO — making sure that you show up high in search engine result pages (SERPs) that are used by buyers throughout the buying cycle. “Throughout the buying cycle” is the key here. Many real estate agencies’ web sites will score high with condo-specific terms, for example, which are used by buyers who are already well into their buying cycle. They score low, however, on more generic terms that buyers use when they start their search process. You want to make sure that you catch the prospective buyers at any stage of their buying cycle.
Next is local SEO, and there are two things to consider when optimizing for local SEO — your Google Business Listing, and your business information using schema.org formatting.
Your Google Business listing can be claimed or created for free at https://business.google.com. Some companies will try to sell
you your own business listing, even though it is free, which may be why many real estate agencies don’t claim their listing. Typically a business listing will appear in the sidebar of Google search results when you search for your company, as in the Google Business listing screenshot (click to see larger version). Your Google Business Listing will also show up in the Google “local 3-packs,” if you optimize it properly. Those are the local listings you see in the middle or at the top of Google search results pages (see local 3-pack screenshot). If you don’t claim your business listing, you will not show up in those searches and miss out on buyers who are looking for a local real estate agent as they are driving through neighborhoods. Google Business listings are often a strong source of phone call traffic.
The other local SEO to focus on is to have your business information available in schema.org format. Schema.org is a format that let’s Google and other search engines improve the way your business information appears in search engine result pages. The name of your business, the type of business you run, the opening hours, and the physical location all should be coded in the schema.org microformat to increase your rankings in local search results.
The last angle of SEO that you need to focus on when building a real estate website is the SEO that comes with your IDX solution. An IDX is that piece of technology that lets you display information from your MLS system onto your web pages. Those pages, generated by your IDX provider, are very important to your potential buyers. According to NAR (National Association of Realtors), 51% of home buyers found their home online in 2017, up from 29% 10 years earlier. If those pages are not properly optimized for SEO, including meta descriptions, page titles, <h1> and <alt> tags in all the right places, and sitemaps, those pages will be invisible to search engines and thus invisible to your potential buyers.
Sure, you can buy keywords to show up high in search engine results, but unless you have serious money to spend on that, those efforts will become increasingly difficult to deliver results. For most real estate agencies, SEO is the better avenue in terms of digital marketing.