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 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.
1. What Real Estate Local SEO is Not
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. Do not skip those lessons. They’re huge.
2. More than reviews: Local Content
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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 living in Boston.
Add some question and answer queries, and this overlap provides serious opportunity for real estate SEO.
3. How to win at Local SEO for real estate
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 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.
Ok, great. But how do I win?
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, Mass or Boston moving companies.
Ultimate Guide to Local SEO for Real Estate
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.
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
- Family-friendly restaurants
- Family-friendly entertainment
- Emergency services
- Town departments
- Schools and areas
- Demographic data: age, gender, voting affiliation, etc
Better email marketing
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, [email protected]}!), but personal. They come from a person. And they feel like it.
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?
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.
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.