Is Real Estate SEO Dead?
Real Estate SEO has been around for a long time. When it first started you could get away with using a city name plus the words "homes for sale" and you'd start ranking, you didn't even need listings. Then IDX came along and changed all of that. Now you could iframe (back then) some lisitngs or link to it and you were on fire! Then Zillow and Trulia happened and reset the game again.
Now you're competing with the big boys yet, that same formula would work. (In case you missed it, the formula was City+Homes For Sale+Listings for the win). With a formula so simple the homes.com, realtor.com and others of the world came and muddied the playing field. Then you needed to add a blog and some links to rank. Along comes Placester, and other platforms that allow you to do just that. ...
Those days are long gone now. This strategy will work at the neighborhood level but likely only in rural and suburban areas.
You can read my case study of how I helped (somewhat shameless plug) Stan Jones take his domain https://www.atlantahomestoday.com/ from 0 organic traffic to what should be 100 real estate leads this month!
Here's the cliff notes of what I did so you can do it too.
Assess The Situation
Every good strategy starts with an overview. Stan is in the Atlanta real estate market but focuses on a niche area in the northeast. I needed to know not only the cities but the neighborhoods as well as the search patterns of the people there.
This is where a lot of Digital Marketers get it wrong for real estate. They are still stuck in the "city+real estate" mindset. While that is certainly the largest group of searched for keywords it's not the one to target.
You can do this research using a tool like semrush or Ahref or even google adwords keyword planner and get a sense of what people search for.
Pro Tip: In Real estate I'm really looking for, when buyers shop for homes in this area, HOW do they do it. In Georgia, they look for high school information, they look for homes with basements, however in many markets they search differently, by house type or by home criteria (like bedrooms and baths).
Roadmap A Solution
Once we know what is being searched for and what the area is, we develop a plan to attack that area. In our case, start with city and work our way out to neighborhoods and blogs incorporating these areas.
I did a post on SEO 101 Fundamentals that you can read (or listen to) here, but basically before you start creating a bunch of content it's worthwhile to make sure that both Google and a human can logically traverse the website. Furthermore, you want to make sure your content you planned will fit into the sites structure.
This is one of the hardest part of getting traffic to your site. You must consistently write. While I've failed at doing this here on ActiveRain, I can of course ensure that happens for clients. Creating content that people would want to read is time consuming.
You can see in the image below what Michael Perna is doing in Ann Arbor, by highlighting neighborhoods. Incidentally, he ranks very well for them.
If you need help with a content strategy check out our Future Proof Marketing Strategy post.
Link To Content From Within
Links are about the most important thing in ranking, so much so that ahrefs uses links as their only metric in determining keyword difficulty. The easiest links to get are ones you control. While they might be "worth" as much as an outside link they tell Google (and help users find content on your site) what's important on your site.
Link To Content From Outside
No SEO strategy is complete without getting links. You can do this easily as a business owner at first and get all the link you can from a real estate agent directory or from citations from sites like Yelp. After that it's a little more difficult (actually quality links are extremely hard to get) - LUCKY YOU - if you're on active rain you can get good links back to your content. It's not going to be enough on it's own, but it's well worth the money.
To put it in perspective, a link from Active Rain is worth $50 to $100 (per link) in a "black hat" market for buying links. Assuming that the AR blog is well written and not spam. Also, never ever buy fiverr gigs for links.
SEO is an ongoing process and it's not dead, but it's different. It changes pretty much every 6 months or so. One constant that's been true since Google started searching, and that's Good content, properly optimized and linked to will be mediocre content on all but the most competive keywords. This strategy works in real estate, but it also works for most businesses. A credit card processors wouldn't be able to crack top 100 google for their company, but if they focused on a local keyword, like Marietta Credit Card Processing, then you'd have a chance.