Establish Your Real Estate Site in Google Search Console, Part 1

Real Estate Technology with IDX, LLC.

We all know the importance of intentional, well thought out content and the positive influence it can have on search engine optimization (as evidenced in Tammy Emineth’s recent blog post, I Don’t Think About SEO…). So now that you hopefully *are* thinking about SEO, what can you do to take it a step further? You’ve likely heard of the Google Search Console (formerly webmaster tools) and you may be using it, but probably not to its fullest extent. If you haven’t heard of it, let me back up.

Here’s why you need it: This free suite of informative tools provides you with valuable feedback about how your site performs in Google Search results. With Search Console you can monitor which queries cause your pages to appear in search results, how said pages rank for specific keywords, and much more. This is a direct line to Google that shows you how to make your site better. And doesn’t everyone want a better website? You don’t need to ‘trick’ Google to get people to see your webpages, but you do need to be savvy and offer up content that is attractive to users and the search engine bots.


This is the first installment in a series on How to Establish Your Real Estate Site in Google Search Console (inspired by an IDX Broker Blog Post written on Dec. 15, 2016).


So you have your site, a domain name, and maybe even an IDX provider… so what’s next?  Let’s dive in!


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1)     Create a CNAME…

Before you can do anything else, you must give credit where credit is due. Creating a custom domain or subdomain (often called a CNAME) for your site is the first step to tracking your Google Search presence for both your primary website pages and your hosted IDX Broker pages. Search console cannot help you track these pages until you set up a subdomain. Check out this article for step-by-step instructions.


2)      Add your property…

In this case “property” doesn’t mean your newest real estate listing, but rather your website. Registering your site(s) to Google Search Console couldn’t be easier! Simply log into your account, click the red “Add A Property” box, and enter in your primary domain. We setup an IDX Broker example site in Google Search Console, Repeat these steps for any domains you own… this includes your brand new CNAME. That’s all there is to it, your websites have been added!


3)     Verify ownership…

Google won’t give out detailed search information to just anyone who wants to claim a site. They need to know that you control and make changes to the site content.

Once all your sites have been added, you must verify ownership for search engines to start tracking the search keywords that landed a visitor on your page(s). Click the Manage property button and Verify this property. Next, look for the option to verify by "HTML Tag", this could be in the "Alternative Methods" or "Recommended Method" tab (depending on where Google has currently decided to put it). From here, follow the Google Search Console instructions or watch this video if you need help. Once you’ve added the necessary tags, click the Verify button... You’ve successfully established ownership!



4)    Create a set…

At this point you have at least two website properties set up in Google Search Console- your domain and your custom subdomain. In the eyes of a site visitor, there is no difference between the two so it makes sense to group them into a single aggregate property. This is called a property set. Simply click “Create a Set”, edit your set name, select the verified properties you want to add, and click Save changes. Pretty straightforward, right? Now you can view collective data for all of its member properties in one place.


Now it’s time to hurry up and wait for Google to start indexing your site! Check out Part 2 to learn how to further optimize your pages.


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Liz and Bill Spear
RE/MAX Elite 513.520.5305 - Mason, OH
RE/MAX Elite Warren County OH (Cincinnati/Dayton)

I never knew about combining our IDX subdomain with the main site for Property Set.  Thanks for the tip, already completed!

Jan 25, 2017 01:33 PM #1
Allegra Williams
Keller Williams Realty - Charlottesville, VA

Great post! I also was not aware you could combine the main site & IDX subdomain. Done & I just followed so I won't miss informative posts like this in the future. Thanks! 

Jan 26, 2017 06:23 AM #2
Eileen Begley
Coldwell Banker, DelMonte - Carmel, CA
Monterey Real Estate

Nice! Will be creating sets soon!! I already use IDX Broker - good product. There is always more to learn!


Jan 28, 2017 09:41 PM #3
Alexander- Slocum
Premiere Property Group, LLC - Vancouver Washington - Vancouver, WA
Realty Team- Vancouver WA Real Estate

Our CNAME/Sub-Domain is set such that the "chrome" for those pages is blank, with search pages and forms brought into the main site via the iframe tag.

Thus, we don't want search engines to send traffic directly to pages on the sub-domain search pages.

If we do enroll the two as a set, would there be a change in how the search engine sees the sub-domain?

Thanks!  John and Kat

Mar 09, 2017 07:14 PM #4
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