With the thousands of providers out there selling SEO services to real estate agents it's somewhat difficult to choose the right one.
Here are a couple of ideas to tackle the problem:
1) Get referrals from someone you know and trust that had an SEO provider improve their website traffic and leads.
2) Look at the SERPS (Search Engine Results Pages) and find websites of agents or brokers that rank on page one. If they rank above Zillow, Realtor.com and Trulia, even better.
Search for long tail real estate terms not in your service areas, for example:
- condos for sale in [city/area]
- ranch homes for sale in [city/area]
- victorian homes for sale in [city/area]
- homes for sale with inground pool in [city/area]
- waterfront homes for sale in [city/area]
- lakefront homes for sale in [city/area]
These are just examples, but you get the idea.
Don't simply search for "homes for sale in [major city]" or "real estate in [major city]", because, most likely, you'll only see the big real estate companies ranking for it.
When you find one of these websites, check if they rank for other long tail terms they target. You can find these by visiting the websites and looking at what webpages they link from the navigation, from the home page, and from the communities/neighborhoods page. These are usually what they are trying to rank for.
You could always use a service like Spyfu.com or SEMrush.com to find out what a website ranks for, but these cost money. You can pay someone on Fiverr.com to run a Spyfu or SEMrush report for you for $5.
Don't include in your list major websites like Zillow, Trulia, Realtor.com, Redfin, or websites of major RE brokerages like Remax, KW, Weichert, Century 21, etc.
Once you have found 5-10 of these websites, contact the agents by phone and tell them that you are a fellow agent in another part of the country and are impressed with their rankings and would like to know who they use for their SEO.
I'm sure some will say they do it themselves, but some are using SEO professionals.
Once you have a few of these SEO providers' information, contact them and express your interest in hiring them.
Ask each of the ones willing to work with you to give examples of a couple of their real estate customers and what they rank for. Then, go and double check if the rankings are true.
Also, if they give a website different than the agent sites you initially contacted, contact the website owners to verify the SEO company in question is indeed the SEO they use.
It would be too easy for an SEO provider to pick a website from the SERPs and say they SEO'd the website.
Once you have a few verified SEO providers, choose one according to your budget and preference.
A few important Points:
- Do all your searches in incognito mode if you can, or clear all browser cache and cookies.
- Don't expect immediate results, SEO takes time and patience.
- Don't sign long-term contracts.
- Don't pay more than one month in advance.
- If possible use a Paypal subscription that can be stopped by you at any time, or a prepaid credit card.
- Ask for monthly reports of work done.