The first and arguably one of the most important steps in any search engine optimization plan is to define what keywords and related phrases you want to target. No matter how much solid SEO work is done, if you’ve chosen the wrong targets then all your hard work could be for nothing. For an industry as competitive as Real Estate, this can be a costly mistake to make, so it’s crucial to choose the right real estate keywords for search engine optimization the first time.
While it sounds simple on the surface, the research to identify which keywords best fit your real estate business is actually quite complex. Keyword research should be composed of a number of different levels which include:
- Industry Knowledge: The first step in the process consists of creating your laundry list of keywords that you think best fit with your business. This step should be considered the idea phase. Don’t worry about traffic, competition, and other elements, this is where you want to figure out what’s important to your business. Don’t just focus on the services you offer, but everything useful that’s related to your business and location.
- Keyword Traffic: Once you’ve put together you’re inevitably long list of keywords, it’s time to see what’s actually being search in Google. Regardless of how great you think a keyword might be, Google knows exactly what people are searching and that’s the most important thing. Using Google Keyword Planner you can take your list from step one to find out the estimated search traffic for each keyword. This can help you to narrow this list down. Something important to note in this step is that simply going after
- Competitive Analysis: This often overlooked step of keyword research and is a big reason why many real estate companies fail at SEO. All too often keywords targets are selected simply because they fit will with the business and they have a good amount of search traffic. The problem is that real estate is an extremely competitive industry, so while ‘Apartments in Denver’ might seem like the best keyword for your new apartment building, in reality it’s an unattainable goal. Websites that have been established on the Internet for long periods of time and are well known resources of information are always going to rank better than a website for a single property. Websites like Zillow, Apartment Finder, Trulia, Apartment Guide, etc… are always going to rank among the top search results. For this reason it’s better to select a keyword target with less traffic, but less competition so you actually have a chance at ranking for a keyword.
Good Real Estate Keywords for Search Engine Optimization
So now that you have a basic understanding of how SEO keywords are selected for a real estate business, let’s dive into some keyword categories that tend to be successful for the industry.
Keywords and Phrases Related to the Location
If someone is moving to a new city and looking to rent an apartment or buy a house, they generally do some research about the area first. Rather than just focusing on keywords like ‘houses for sale in Denver’ or ‘Denver apartments for rent’ put yourself in their shoes for a moment and think about what they might be searching before they move to the area. Here are some examples:
- Best Neighborhoods for Families in Dallas
- Milwaukee Suburbs with Good School Districts
- Affordable Cities in Colorado
Depending on the location and type of real estate business you operate, they are inevitably a number of search phrases people are using to get more information about the neighborhoods. Instead of simply shooting for the high conversion keywords like ‘homes for rent’ getting your brand in front of your audience while they are still settling on a location can be a strategic SEO objective.
Long Tail More Descriptive Keywords
We’ve seen so many real estate companies be descriptive in their marketing efforts, but it rarely translates into their search engine optimization strategy. Their apartments might have spectacular views, with brand new fixtures and a dog park, yet all their SEO keywords consist of is ‘apartments in Miami’ or ‘Miami apartments.’ The more specific you can be with your SEO keywords the better chance you have of ranking in Google and brining in qualified traffic. Here are some good examples of real state keywords in this category:
- Pet-friendly Boise Apartments
- Mountain View Apartments in Salt Lake City
- New Apartments in Portland
- Colorado Springs New Apartments
- Apartments with Gym in St. Louis
Structuring Your Website Content to Support the Keywords
Even if you’ve managed to execute flawless keyword research and have the perfect list of targets, you need a website that’s actually capable of supporting each keyword. If your real estate business only has a simple 5 page website, then you can realistically only target a few keywords. The rule of thumb in SEO is to target only one keyword per page. This means if you have a long list of target keywords you need to put together a plan of expanding your website. This can be done by adding additional pages or in the form of a blog. It really just depends on your preference and website setup. The last ingredient for a successful real estate search engine optimization strategy is patience. SEO takes time to work, and it should never be considered a short term strategy.
The Brandsmen are very experienced with real estate search engine optimization. We have created and managed SEO strategies for investment/management groups, real estate brokers, property management companies, and individual properties. Please send us a message if you need help with real estate search engine optimization.