What is a Real Estate Sales Funnel? It’s the buying process that companies lead customers through when purchasing products. In real estate, it’s a series of web pages that customers navigate through, starting as anonymous visitors and ending as qualified leads.
We’re proud to offer Easy Agent Pro Leadsites customers a perfect search marketing solution for Google & Bing search engines — Leadsites SEO Dominance.
What is SEO Dominance? Read on.
It’s simple. The best way to rank a webpage for a desired keyword is to prove to Google and the other search engines that you are the foremost authority on the topic.
This is a ranking, after all. You need to be the best page on the entire internet for your topic.
Ok, but how?
Google et al. weigh hundreds of factors when ranking pages, and the algorithm is updated every 18 hours on average. But the big ranking factors boil down to 3 major categories:
Links, length, and linger.
Get as many websites as possible to link to your page. But not all websites are created equal.
The higher those other websites rank, the more influential their link to you becomes.
Multiple studies & experiments have found that the average #1 ranking webpage is 1,800-2,000 words long.
That’s about 4 or 5 pages on a typical MS Word document.
Google calls this a “long click.” It’s one of their User Experience metrics to measure how much Google searchers enjoy or draw value from a result.
The longer their time-on-page, the better.
To search engines, links are like votes. They are connections between pages on the web, where one page endorses another. The search bots analyze how, and to what degree, webpages are related to each other.
Since the late 1990s, search engines have treated links as votes for popularity and importance in the ongoing democratic opinion poll of the web. Links aren’t everything in SEO, but we know that a big part of Google’s algorithm looks at links and related factors.
Search bots analyze a webpage’s popularity based on the number and popularity of pages linking to it. Link equity, once colloquially referred to as “link juice,” is a search engine ranking factor based on the idea that certain links pass value and authority from one page to another.
In 1997, Google’s founders created a set of mathematical formulas to determine importance and popularity based on several key principles:
- Links on the web can be interpreted as votes that are cast by the source for the target
- All votes are, initially, considered equal
- Pages which receive more votes become more important
- More important pages cast more important votes
Fascinating. What does it mean for me?
Glad you asked. It means that your webpages need inbound links. Ideally, the links would come from related, relevant, respected sources.
Quality over quantity, but quantity still matters.
No one will link to your site if they never see it. And any marketer or salesperson knows that informing is only the beginning. Informing people that you have a website or new page is crucial, but it’s only the first step in a marathon of promotion.
So how do you get links?
Find the right audience, show them the value your website offers them, and ask them to help you take it to the people. The right audience can become promoters who help you expand your reach. Repeat that process and your reach will continue to grow.
SEO Outreach for Real Estate
In the content marketing world, this is referred to as outreach—researching audiences, locating them online, establishing communication, and recruiting them (overtly or covertly) to become promoters of your website and your brand.
In SEO outreach, an audience is not necessarily your brand’s target demographic. Promoters don’t have to be customers. They just have to influence customers. In many cases, that could mean journalists, local business owners, or local community bigshots.
Want more links to your EAP LeadSite? Get in touch → Get me more links!
We call it length, but it’s more than that. It’s value. Google wants comprehensive content. They aim to rank content that fully answers a searcher’s question.
Every day, Google gets better at machine learning and AI. But they also understand that, for now, people are still better than computers at subjective analysis.
So when they want to test their results again quality guidelines, they use people. They rely on 10,000+ Search Quality Evaluators to review their search results. These “raters” are given actual searches to conduct and they rate the quality of pages that appear in the top results.
By the way:
This one of the few times that the SEO industry has a straight, unambiguous answer from Google. There’s no guesswork here. We KNOW what Google wants in this case.
Google’s raters use a 157-page guide, which is—believe it or not—available to the public, instructing them on how to assess website quality and whether results meet the needs of searchers.
It’s worth pointing out, before you break out your pitchfork and cry ‘conspiracy,’ that quality raters cannot alter Google’s results directly. A rater marking a particular listing as low quality will not cause that page to be banned or lose ranking.
Instead, raters’ judgements are used to improve Google’s search algorithms. Over time, the raters’ data may impact low-quality pages that get flagged, but the algorithm will also impact pages weren’t flagged. It all comes back to the algorithm.
Fascinating. What does it mean for me?
It means that Google is giving you the answer key. In order to rank #1, you MUST publish long, in-depth content that covers 100% of your topic.
We’ve written about this before, specifically as it relates to Local SEO for Real Estate: it’s not enough to just publish listings in a neighborhood. Anyone can do that, so competition with Zillow et al. is a tall mountain to climb.
But more importantly, it doesn’t answer ALL of the user’s question.
If a user searches for “homes for sale in Bakersfield,” that search reveals something about the user. They’re considering buying a house there, obviously. But this is real estate. Every agent knows there’s A LOT more to it than just purchasing a livable structure.
The user is considering uprooting their life and replanting it elsewhere. They are guaranteed to be thinking about a whole host of tangent questions.
It’s the same list you’ve seen a million times:
- Vendors & services
Let’s be clear
Google is giving you a direct order. If you want to rank #1 for “homes for sale in Bakersfield,” you need to publish information that covers ALL of those questions.
Listings are not enough.
Publish a neighborhood page with IDX listings, yes, but also a few paragraphs, lists, photos, screenshots, maps, links, and ratings/reviews for the rest of the info listed above.
Make it a COMPREHENSIVE guide. It’s not just buying in Bakersfield. It’s living there.
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All the links and length in the world are useless if no one uses your website. Google tracks User Experience metrics to gauge whether your pages are delivering value.
Google is watching you. That’s kinda their business model, actually. And they’re really good at it.
They’re watching to see how, when, how often, how long, and how intently you interact with their SERP results.
As with so many things in SEO, this one is a bit of a gray area. Google does not explain exactly which User Experience metrics they track or to what extent those metrics factor into the ranking algorithms. So the best we can do is test and infer.
We do know that Google owns a patent allowing them to read video content’s watch times. Interestingly, this watch time also extends to articles that contain embedded YouTube videos.
That means that anytime you embed a YouTube video on your page, you’re giving Google a crystal ball to monitor your visitors and their interactions with your pages.
The other UX factors we expect Google to monitor are as follows:
- Click-through rate — How many people click on your result, divided by how many people see your result. The more clicks, the better.
- Time on page — This one can be tough for Google to measure, but if you have Google Analytics running, they’ve got all the data they need.
- Bounce rate — If a user clicks on your result from a Google search, but quickly hits the Back button, Google can tell that the user didn’t find what they wanted.
- Navigation path — Like Time on Page, this can be tough to measure, but if Google Analytics can follow a user through your site, they’ll see how many pages they visited.
- All of the above — Results don’t exist in a vacuum. For you to move up, someone else has to move down. Google compares these UX metrics the the others on the results page, especially if a user returns to the same results page several times.
Google is tight-lipped about if or how these metrics affect rankings, but we know they’re watching. And if they have the data, they can use the data. So it’s safe to assume these factors could affect ranks.
Lastly, Google’s stated mission is to connect users with the right answer and the right time. Google is user-focused. And anytime we as authors can align our goals with Google’s, it’s smart to do so!
Fascinating. What does it mean for me?
It means that User Experience matters. For too long, web authors have typed a few sentences into a New Post screen, declared “good enough!” and hit publish. But now we know:
Good enough never is.
To compete in organic search in 2018 and beyond, your web pages have to provide value and enjoyable experience.
The good news
Easy Agent Pro LeadSites already have great design and web usability built in. They’re attractive, mobile-responsive, and quick to load on all platforms. Those are crucial factors for both UX and SEO.
The last piece for real estate agents and LeadSites users thinking SEO is to ensure the content on your pages uploads that user experience. It’s not just the look and feel of the website. It’s the value and quality of what’s on the website.
There are plenty of tactics a savvy author can use to keep users on the page longer, and we include them all.
Some of our favorites:
- Bucket brigade-style writing — short transition phrases like “look,” “check this out,” and “here’s how.” They keep the user scrolling and skimming easily.
- Light-hearted images — you’ll notice we make heavy use of emojis on this page. That’s on purpose. They’re ubiquitous on the web and that’s a good thing.
- Comedy & funny visuals — typically this comes in the form of animated gifs, as seen on our blog. They bring a smile to the user’s face!