In the digital world we are living in, search engine marketing has become the foundation of becoming discovered on the internet. Search engine marketing has two categories Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Pay-per-click (PPC) Advertising. Since most people do not venture past the first page of the search engine results page (SERP), the goal is to take over the first page.
Use SEO and PPC together.
The easiest way to get to the top of the SERP is PPC. However, that takes money and those commission checks are valuable. The best way to use SEO and PPC together is to find high volume keywords with good intent, such as “real estate agency near me,” and use those as PPC keywords. It is very hard for a single agency to rank number one for this type of keyword because the SERP is dominated by directories with high authority. However, this keyword also has high intent for someone looking to hire a real estate agent.
Once PPC keywords are identified, move to SEO keywords. The types of keywords that a real estate agency should use to optimize their website are “real estate agencies (+your location)”. If the real estate agency is located in a neighborhood within a large city, start optimizing for the neighborhood, and then move to the larger city. The key is to focus on smaller competition first, and then go for the big time. Part of this is due to the fact that it takes time for Google to identify your page as an authority figure. One way of creating more of an authority in Google is to blog, and provide customers with quality content.
Dominate the first page.
Directories such as Zillow, Realtor.com, Trulia, and Homes.com are not only good for listings, but also are good for SEO presence. No one wants a prospect to walk into their office just to get sold by someone else. The philosophy is the same on the search engines. Dominating the first page for your agency or brand should be a priority. Google already classifies these websites as authority figures in the industry, making them rank higher. See an example below as to how you can use directories to your advantage:
Claim Your Real Estate Agency on Google:
Creating a Google My Business page is simple but has great advantages when users are searching from a certain location, or from the map. However, this does take some time due to the fact that Google sends a postcard to your location in order to verify that your business is in that location.
Combine content with structured data.
Creating a blog doesn’t only give clients good resources, but also provides quality content for SEO. There’s a saying in the SEO world that content is king and even with SEO becoming more technical, the saying is still true. Search engines will crawl your blog to see what it is about and although keywords help this, structured data (or schema) is key to identifying what type of content is on your website. Most CMS platforms have plugins for schema mark up or your webmaster should be able to add the schema. Websites such as Zillow and Trulia add listings as products since there is nothing specific for listings. The value in adding structured data is that these resources are more likely to be highlighted in the knowledge graph, on rich cards, or in Google answer boxes.
In this day and age, search engine marketing cannot be ignored. Your website should be a reflection of your brick and mortar office. If potential clients cannot find you on the internet, then you are losing business.
Start optimizing and stay tuned for more best practices on search.