Local SEO for Real Estate: Ultimate Guide for Realtors

by TJ Kelly Published May 17, 2016 · Last updated Dec 23, 2017

Local SEO for real estate is really easy. If you know how to target your audience in their geographic region, real estate SEO is a breeze.

Local SEO for Real Estate.

Local real estate searches are goldmine for SEO value.

That’s because all real estate searches are local searches. This means that all real estate SEO is local SEO.

In fact, most real estate agents should only worry about local SEO. Forget about optimizing for “Boston real estate.” Zoom in a few levels and think local.

In this guide, I’ll tell you how to dominate your market for local SEO real estate searches.

Table of Contents


Local SEO for Real Estate in 60 seconds

Don’t have time to read the whole guide to Real Estate local SEO? No sweat. Here’s the 60-second primer on how realtors can dominate their local Google Search market:

Local SEO searches for real estate are a combination of multiple query classes—

  • Informational: Tell me about Boston
  • Transactional: I want to live in Boston

It’s the overlap of these two categories that matters most to Real Estate SEO.

“Tell me about life in Boston.”

This is the secret sauce for real estate agents—or any local business, really—to dominate in Google Search.

Zillow doesn’t live in your town. Be the expert, and use your website to prove it.

Now, let’s dig in and see some concrete examples.

Local SEO real estate searches combine informational & transactional query classes: 'tell me about Boston' & 'homes for sale in Boston.' The power is in the overlap: LIFE in Boston. Agents can use that.Click To Tweet


What Real Estate Local SEO is Not

Local SEO for Real Estate is not like plumbers.This is not local SEO for dentists and plumbers.

It’s not just the agent closest to your search. Customers won’t settle for whomever has the most stars on Yelp.

For local services, like dentists and plumbers, local searches are essentially a storefront. Get your sign out there and hope it brings in traffic.

Real estate is different.

No one buys houses online. Real estate purchases—and therefore the searches behind them—are bigger than any other local SEO niche.

Things like reviews and NAP citations are still important for real estate agents, but they’re just the tip of the iceberg.

It’s not enough to have a listing on Google Maps and Yelp.

Local SEO for real estate is all about local expertise demonstrated through local content.

NAPs & Reviews still matter

Name—Address—Phone data (NAP) is huge in local SEO. And they’re still important for real estate. So don’t skip that part.

Reviews are important in all local SEO. And they’re HUGELY important in real estate SEO.

[Bonus tip: Google+, Facebook & Yelp are the most important review sites. Period.]

So this is a mini disclaimer. NAP & reviews still matter in real estate SEO. Don’t skip those lessons. They’re huge.

NAP & reviews still matter in real estate SEO. Don't skip those lessons. They're huge, but they're not the whole story.Click To Tweet


More than reviews: Local Content

Local SEO: Colorado Springs example.

Andrew Fortune’s Colorado Springs area guide is the exception. His area guides are spectacular. Do what he does.

For real estate searches, the name of the game is local content.

Every agent has a “Neighborhoods” section on their website. You probably have one too. It’s not good enough.

Here’s why.

Google rewards authority. Listing a few neighborhood names, descriptions, and prices does not make you an authority.

It makes you a desperate real estate agent looking for a quick win.

So let’s dig into how to improve your Neighborhoods page.

Some SEO Background

Rhea Drysdale of OutSpoken Media spoke on Dan Shure’s amazing Experts on the Wire podcast about query classes. We don’t need to go to deep into query classes, but it’s important to know what they are.

Local SEO Example: Informational search.


Most online queries and Google searches are informational. You might search for “chewbacca mom,” but Chewbacca Mom is just the subject. There’s an implied [show me information about] in these queries.

Local SEO Example: Transactional search.


Transactional searches are very simple: “buy new Nike shoes,” for example. This search triggers an entirely different set of intents than the informational queries. You don’t need to know much more about the shoes. You just want them.

Local SEO Example: Navigational search.


Believe it or not, lots and lots of online searches are navigational. This is when you Google the word Amazon instead of typing Amazon.com into your browser. It’s the epitome of laziness and it’s extremely common. It’s also useless for SEO (most of the time).

Local SEO Example: Question & Answer search.

But wait, there’s more

But there’s an important fourth category, and one that’s often overlooked: question and answer queries.

“How big is an eggplant?” or “how tall is the Empire State building?”

These searches have definite answers. And Google is getting better and better and providing those answers without the need for a third-party resource like traditional search results.

So how does this relate to local SEO search traffic?

Local SEO searches for real estate are a combination of multiple query classes.

  • Part informational: tell me about Boston
  • Part transactional: I want to live in Boston

It’s the overlap of these two categories that matters most to SEO: tell me about LIFE in Boston.

Add some question and answer queries, and this overlap provides serious opportunity for real estate SEO.

For real estate SEO, the name of the game is local content. Every agent has a Neighborhoods section on their website. You probably have one too. It's not good enough.Click To Tweet


3. How to win at Local SEO for real estate

Google screenshot business card.What does it mean to tell me about LIFE in Boston? It means thinking bigger than Zillow.

The major players in online real estate like Zillow and Trulia have a near-monopoly on generic real estate search: homes for sale in Boston.

Their data comes from massive listing services like MLS. And their site is so big that almost none of their content is curated manually.

Obviously, this is not true of their blog, which is excellent and clearly curated.

But their blog is not what’s in your way. Your local SEO searches are not losing the search results page battleground to Zillow’s blog on how real estate agents should market themselves.

Your SERP battleground is losing to Zillow’s MLS results.

Here’s how you can beat Zillow.

When people search for homes for sale in Boston, that represents a type of query.

Yes, they want to see a list of homes for sale in Boston. But they probably also want a lot more than that.

They want to know if they should move to Boston.

Or, if they are all definitely already moving to or within Boston, they want to know how to make that move smooth and easy as possible.

Moving is hard. Buying a house is hard. The tip of the iceberg search like homes for sale in Boston represents the beginning of a very long, very hard journey.

As real estate agents, and therefore as marketers, it’s our job to recognize that searchers are asking for help. Yes, they want a list of homes for sale, but they also want answers and comfort.

Real Estate searchers are asking for help. Yes, they want a list of homes for sale, but they also want answers and comfort.Click To Tweet


Ok, great. But how do I win?

I run this town.Become the ultimate expert in your region.

I’ll admit here that if your sales region as a real estate agent is a major city or metropolitan area, this is going to be a major uphill battle for you. But if you specialize in rural or suburban areas, this is likely to be an easy win—if you invest the time.

Here’s a list of all the things you can include on your ultimate guide to [insert your town name here].

Imagine this scenario:

A couple is looking for real estate in a new town. Maybe one of them recently got a new job, or maybe they need to up- or downsize their home.

In any case, they may have some understanding of their desired new town, but they’re not experts.

They turn to Google.

They have lots of questions about their new town:

  • Where will I send my kids to school?
  • Are there any good restaurants?
  • Can I get a moving company to help me transition?
  • Do I need a car?
  • Will I feel safe and comfortable?
  • Is this right for me?

They could search individually for all of the services and products and vendors.

Or, You could give them all of these answers in one stop shopping.

The searches will be things like how to move to Boston, MA or Boston moving companies.

Want to win at Real Estate SEO? Become *THE* ultimate expert in your region. Produce website content to prove your expertise.Click To Tweet


Ultimate Guide to Local SEO for Real Estate

Local SEO Example: Ultimate Guide.Start publishing articles and detailed resources like this for your neighborhoods and towns.

Don’t publish lists.

Compile lists, yes. But then convert each bullet point to a heading or sub-heading and fill in a sentence or two of detail about that heading.

You’ll be amazed at how quickly a simple bulleted list turns into a 2,000+ word blog post — like this one for Moving to North Andover, for example.

Include photos, logos, and screen grabs and you’re well on your way to local SEO dominance for your real estate market.

In another post, we’ll discuss how to promote and distribute your resources before and after you publish them.

Here’s the list

  • Real estate agents
  • Moving companies
  • Daycare/childcare providers
  • Pet care/dog walking companies
  • Landscapers/gardening services
  • Construction/painting/contractors
  • Plumbers/electricians
  • Family-friendly restaurants
  • Family-friendly entertainment
  • Emergency services
  • Town departments
  • Schools and areas
  • Demographic data: age, gender, voting affiliation, etc
Don't publish lists. Compile lists, but convert bullets to headings & fill in a sentence or paragraph detail about that heading Click To Tweet


Leave room for LSI

Latent Semantic Indexing, or LSI, is Google’s term for “words related to your words.” These are the “searches related to” phrases that appear below Google search results, at the bottom of the results page.

Local SEO Real Estate: LSI Keywords.

By default, Google shows up to 8 LSI keywords, but thanks to Brian Dean at Backlinko, I just learned of a tool to help discover more than 8.

WAY more than 8.

My first attempt at using this tool—LSIgraph.com—spit out 91 related LSI phrases. 91!!

I tested it all morning and I am BLOWN AWAY at how awesome this tool is. To give you an example, here’s the list that LSIgraph.com spit out for this article—

  • real estate seo services
  • real estate marketing services
  • realseo
  • real estate website seo
  • seo real estate keywords
  • real estate optimization
  • local seo expert
  • top real estate search terms
  • keywords for real estate websites
  • most searched real estate keywords
  • seo keywords for real estate
  • real estate seo tips
  • real estate search engine ranking
  • meta keywords for real estate
  • real estate investor websites
  • google keyword tool
  • seo for real estate investors
  • seo real estate definition
  • real estate meta description examples
  • real estate seo company
  • real estate internet marketing
  • real estate seo expert
  • seo for real estate websites
  • seo for real estate agents
  • real estate keywords for optimization
  • best real estate keywords
  • real estate quotes for marketing
  • real estate search engine optimization
  • seo for realtors
  • agent estate seo services
  • best real estate seo
  • top real estate marketing firms
  • best real estate marketing companies
  • real estate seo keywords
  • real estate investing seo
  • best keywords for real estate investors
  • real estate investor keywords
  • real estate keywords for search engine optimization
  • motivated seller keywords
  • seo keywords for real estate investors
  • real estate listing keywords
  • property keywords
  • keywords for real estate exam
  • seo business for sale
  • mls seo
  • toronto real estate
  • toronto canada real estate trulia
  • seo expert services mclean
  • real estate search engine
  • best home finder sites
  • real estate website
  • real estate seo marketing
  • real estate ppc
  • real estate seo consultant
  • realtor seo
  • real estate marketing expert
  • dave keyes musician
  • dave keys
  • real estate marketing
  • real estate investor seo
  • real estate seo 2016
  • outspoken media
  • what does seo mean in real estate
  • yoast seo real estate
  • seo for real estate professionals
  • real estate seo strategy
  • advertising agencies specializing in real estate
  • best real estate website for seo
  • seo arizona
  • seo best practices for real estate
  • dave keyes
  • seo marketing for realtors
  • real estate marketing agencies
  • seo phoenix az
  • seo for real estate
  • real estate seo
  • seo for real estate website
  • real estate web design services
  • real estate so expert
  • dave wychock real estate
  • marketing company for real estate
  • real estate marketing companies
  • real estaste seo expert
  • seo real estate websites
  • toronto real estate seo
  • best real estate search engine
  • websites for real estate agents
  • real estate local seo
  • what is real estate seo
  • what is seo real estate
  • realestate seo expert

The list is so long! Seriously impressive.

Some of those phrases are irrelevant, so the accuracy isn’t 100%. For example, “seo arizona” is localized, not specific to real estate. “Seo marketing for realtors” is in the right niche, but it’s not local.

And “dave keyes” brings up a full page of results for a blues musician. (Turns out it’s a typo—Dave Keys is a real estate SEO consultant. But typos count in LSI!)

Here’s what the tool looks like.

Local SEO Real Estate: LSI Keywords.

SEO TIP: Google's *searches related to* links/phrases below Google Search results, at the bottom of the results page: GOLDMINE of additional keyword variants.Click To Tweet


Better email marketing

Email Mobile.Not your typical Constant Contact junk.

Most people struggle with the challenge of cutting through the noise. How can do you provide signal—actual value—when your audience and their email inboxes are so inundated in noise?

Simple: talk to people.

Too many emails are the same [email protected] junk. They’ve full of table-layouts from 1996 and no one reads them.

Take a page out of the Backlinko and other SEO-star playbook: personal marketing emails. Not personalized (Greetings, {@FNAME}!), but personal. They come from a person. And they feel like it.

Some examples:

Amherst SEO by Mxt Media: Drum Major Academy — Email example #1: Brian Dean.

Brian Dean of Backlinko has the personal email marketing method perfected.

Note the subject and first few lines. The email is supposedly about Star Wars, and it starts off sounding that way.

This is an email newsletter with 100,000+ subscribers from an SEO legend. I *KNOW* this email is not gonna be about Star Wars. But I’m intrigued. So I open and start reading.

It only takes a few lines, but Brian shifts the topic seamlessly from his youth and George Lucas’ ROI with the Star Wars franchise relaunch to his own SEO strategy. He hooks me with a relatable story and sucks me into his message.

He’s awesome, of course, so he delivers huge quality and value to his subscribers. But MAN, what a great marketing email.

It makes me want to read his stuff. Isn’t that every marketer’s dream?


Another example: Dan Shure @ Evolving SEO.

Amherst SEO by Mxt Media: Drum Major Academy — Email example #2: Dan Shure.

Worcester, MA SEO professional Dan Shure uses the same personal feel. And he’s great at it.

Dan gets right to the point here: ordinary marketing emails bad; these marketing email examples good. And bonus: be name-drops Louis CK: undoubtedly the king of stand up comedy right now.

Again, Dan is emailing hundreds and thousands of SEO nerds about digital marketing. I know we’re not here to discuss Louis CK.

But the system works. I can relate. I’m interested. I keep reading.


One last example, someone NOT in the SEO niche

Tyler Zey of Easy Agent Pro.

Amherst SEO by Mxt Media: Drum Major Academy — Email example #3: Tyler @ Easy Agent PRO.

Tyler sends these emails on behalf of his real estate marketing software, Easy Agent Pro. The emails go to newsletter subscribers, not necessarily his customers. I know this because I’m not his customer. But I did sign up for his emails—and they’re outstanding.

The subject is almost alarming: your emails? complete with all-lowercase, personal-feeling voice.

Then he hits you with “Don’t you hate that feeling…?” and WE ALL DO! Instantly relatable.

But one of my favorite tricks here is the second paragraph: “Here’s a sneaky productivity hack…” Tyler makes full use of modifiers to illicit a reaction in his readers. Definitely works on me!

Make your email campaigns look and feel like these 3, and you will absolutely get better results than the average canned junk.

How can do you provide real value when your audience & inboxes are inundated in noise? Talk to people.Click To Tweet


Lastly: local and social

Selfie!At the end of the day, most of what realtors deal with in online marketing boils down to a popularity content. We’ve all seen it a million times.

The rich get richer.

These mega agents just attract new business with the gravitational pull of a neutron star. People flock to them.

And the worst part is: clients seem to flock to them because clients seem to flock to them.

It’s perceived value.

If your brand matches that perceived value, you can beat them at their own game.

Gary Vee coined the term “digital mayor” in 2014 on #AskGaryVee episode 36.

If I were a realtor, the thing I would do more than anything else would be to review the establishments in my area. If I’m selling homes in Millburn, NJ, I’m putting out a daily piece of content featuring the the school, then I’m interviewing the individual teachers.

I’m reviewing every single local shop: The wine store, the sandwich shop. I’m interviewing people who have lived in the neighborhood for 50 years. I’m putting out content to make you romantic about the area.

People pick where they want to buy a home for a lot of reasons. Some of them are practical: Public transportation, distance to schools.

But how about making it a little warmer and interviewing Mrs. Robinson the 3rd grade teacher? I remember a realtor telling me that someone moved to Short Hills because of Wine Library (That was such a cool feeling, by the way).

So I’m doing daily content about the 20-mile radius around the area where you’re selling homes. I’m finding the stories tucked away around the neighborhood, and all the iconic things that make your area what it is.

Those stories are what will create the emotion that could be the tipping point in selling someone their next home.

You want to be perceived as THE local expert and authority on your real estate market—in SEO terms or any other channel—this is how you do it.

The ultimate guide articles are a perfect set-’em-up, and local reviews and interviews are the knock-’em-down.

And hey—

If Gary Vee recommends it, it can’t be all bad.

If I were a realtor, the thing I would do more than anything else would be to review the establishments in my area — @garyvee Click To Tweet


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