So you heard about search engine optimization at a conference or on a marketing podcast. And now, you want to push a button and attract clients to your real estate website with the magic of SEO. But the only way to get to the top of a Google search is through consistent (and strategic!) content creation.
Kris Reid is the Founder and CEO of Ardor SEO, a digital marketing agency that helps entrepreneurs and business owners build a website that drives the growth of their business for the long term. Kris has 12 years of experience helping people build an online reputation, become the ultimate authority of their niche, and increase conversions through content marketing.
In this episode of the Real Estate Marketing Dude podcast, Kris joins me to discuss why it’s crucial to start with keyword research and build your website around what potential clients are searching for. He explains how backlinks make the difference between pages that get traffic and pages that don’t. He also offers advice on using email marketing to build authority and establish your brand. Listen in for insight into picking keywords and find out why organic traffic earned through SEO is more valuable than paid traffic on Google.
What Is Good SEO?
Keyword research, relevant content, and backlinks – that’s the basis of good SEO. Naturally, there’s a lot more to SEO principles, but to better understand SEO in general, you should first grasp the basic concepts.
You need to create content people are looking for, not what you think it’s cool. Before you start doing anything, whether it’s blogging, podcasting, or something third, you have to perform keyword research. If you understand what your potential customers are looking for, you’ll be able to structure your website in the most optimal way.
When you’re doing keyword research, you need to take into account the user intent. Your target customers are people with purchase intent, not those just browsing out of curiosity. For example, when someone is searching for the term “buying a house,” the intent might be informational. The user wants to find out more about the topic and doesn’t have immediate purchase intent.
Of course, you could try to rank for keywords with informational intent. But it will be harder, you’ll have more competition, and, most importantly, you won’t get many leads from it. However, when the keyword is “buy a condo in San Francisco,” the user surely has purchase intent. This is someone who is actively looking to buy a condo. If you rank for this keyword, you’ll get a convertible lead with ease.
The whole point is to identify the problems people are having and offer a solution to those problems (which should be your business). That’s why you should aim for long-tail keywords with specified user intent and location-based keywords to reach people closer to you geographically.
Once you know what keywords to use, you’ll know what kind of content you should be creating. But to be able to rank high on Google, you need to have backlinks. A backlink is a link from an external source to your website. If your content is relevant and people link to it, Google’s algorithm will recognize your website as trustworthy and rank it higher. You’ll establish your business as an authority in your niche (in this case, real estate), and consequently, get a ton more leads.
Podcasting is a great way to get backlinks. When you guest on someone’s podcast and offer valuable insights on your expertise, you can get awesome backlinks. Get in front of your target audience, share tips, advice, and overall provide value for the listeners so you can expand your reach and get more leads.
The best backlinks are those that come from websites relevant to your business. You need to seek people in your niche and partner up with professionals. Although links from big websites are powerful, niche relevance should be your top priority when seeking links. Also, you can seek links from professionals that live in another part of the country. They aren’t your direct competitors so you can both benefit from helping each other out.
The bottom line is if you have really good articles, people will link to them. Make sure to invest a lot of time in creating relevant and useful content because that will pay off in the long term. Naturally, you want to update the most important data regularly (every year for example) to keep your content relevant.
Search engine optimization (SEO) takes a lot of investment. If you want to make it work, you need to put in the effort. Writing quality content and earning backlinks is time-consuming so you need to be patient and wait for the payoff in the long term. Traditional pay-per-click advertising gives immediate results, but they are gone as soon as you stop pumping money into ads. With SEO the payoff comes a bit later but, if done right, it will generate leads long after the initial investment.
Using SEO for Business
These SEO principles can be applied to any type of business. Of course, you need to adjust your SEO strategies in accordance with your business model, your niche, etc. That’s why researching is the first part of creating a strategy. Not only do you need to conduct keyword research, but you should check out what your competitors are doing. You want to be one step ahead so you can create the most efficient strategy.
Go for the keywords you can win. For example, you want to consider less competitive keywords to rank. You can’t compete with mega-corporations with huge marketing (and SEO) budgets. If you seek long-tailed and localized keywords, you’ll have more success in reaching potential clients and converting the leads you acquire.
Think about it like this, if people are searching for the word “smartphone” you generally don’t have an idea about what they’re looking for. Even if you rank high for short-tail words like this one and your website comes on the first page of the search results on Google, you won’t be able to convert very well!
But the keyword “how to buy an iPhone 4 on the South Side of Chicago” is really easy to rank for and it’s going to covert very well because that customer is ready to make a purchase. A rule of thumb is, the longer the tail, the better chances of conversion. Search intent is of absolute importance!
Understanding your client base is crucial in SEO for business. Mix user intent with the knowledge you have on your target market so you can find opportunities to get leads. You can even rank for informational keywords if you see an opportunity to get leads from them. A person who is searching for “how to invest 50k” might be your potential customer. You can create informative articles on this topic to target him/her.
The key is to know the potentials of your business so you can find opportunities to grow. But most importantly, you need to shift to a client-oriented mindset. Your website shouldn’t be about you! Instead, focus on your clients’ needs and amplify how your business responds to those needs. People are looking up a problem (“how to invest 50k”) and the first thing they should see is your solution to their problem. You need to establish yourself as an authority and tell them “here’s how you fix your problem” (e.g. here how you can invest 50k).
No matter how good your call-to-action is, people won’t just click on a button and give you money in an instant. They need to trust you, which is why you’re doing these articles in the first place. That’s why you should have a lead magnet, something to keep them connected to your business.
The lead magnet has to be valuable, perhaps an ebook or a free 15-minute consultation. You could create an ebook with the title “Five biggest mistakes people make when investing” and share with them via email. Let your clients realize how good you are at your profession. You know your stuff and that’s why they should work with you.
Email Marketing Funnel
When you have a lead magnet, you can use it to build up your email list. Make sure to leverage that list! Email marketing can help you build strong relationships with your potential clients. As mentioned, clients need to trust you before they purchase your services.
Start showing your subscribers why you’re an expert. You can share news articles of value, podcasts you’ve been on, other customers you’ve helped. Slowly build up a path to convert these leads into sales.
The Impact of SEO on Business
When you’re thinking about SEO for business, you need to have a business plan in mind. Forget about the website traffic for a moment because that’s just means to an end. Focus on how many customers you want. Where do you want your business to be in the next twelve months? If you don’t have a vision in mind, you can’t achieve business goals and you can’t create a good SEO strategy.
Your goals should be realistic though. You can’t go from 10 leads a month to 1000 leads a month overnight. Your business growth will be slow and exponential. When you get to 1000 leads, your revenue will increase but your expenses will increase as well. That’s why you need to visualize your growth arc and maintain your exponential growth.
You also need to know how big your growth opportunities are. Market research (along with keyword research) can help you with this. You can’t increase your sales if nobody in your city is looking for real estate investments, right? But if you find out that a lot of people are searching for particular terms, you’ll be able to catch real estate trends and find the opportunities.
SEO for Real Estate Websites
Different tools can help you with keyword research so you can optimize your real estate website. Ahrefs can help you do a keyword gap analysis. List your competitors to see what keywords are they ranking for and you’re not. Use those terms to work on your content and find growth opportunities.
However, you shouldn’t just stuff your website content with keywords you found with the tool(s). Google’s algorithms don’t like that and you’ll decrease your chance to accomplish anything! Make sure to use keywords accordingly. The primary keyword goes in your title tag and H1, while the secondary keywords should be in H2s and the meta descriptions.
Having a good title tag and description will not only help you rank better but it will get you clicks. Not all articles on the first page get the same amount of attention. Metadata plays a huge role in attracting those clicks. Note that you shouldn’t clickbait people into clicking on your article. If you don’t deliver the content you introduced in the description, users will close your page leaving you with a high bounce rate.
One more thing worth noting about the SEO impact on your business is the negative consequences of competing for the same keyword with different articles. You’ll be competing with yourself and Google wouldn’t know which one of your articles to rank higher. Your entire website will rank much lower because SEO is about quality, not quantity.
Instead of making 10 weak articles about “selling a house in Naples,” you should write one good article on this topic and a couple of supporting articles. For example, you can write articles about “things to do in Naples,” “best schools in Naples,” and other topics valuable for someone looking to move to Naples and invest in real estate in this city.
Build Your Website Structure
SEO is about creating a good website. The more niche specific you keep things, the better. You have your main home page and keywords to rank for. Then, you have website categories and other keywords you want to chase. Lastly, you have the supporting content on different topics to drive traffic towards your website. Naturally, you need a strong call-to-action in your supporting content so you can lead people towards your main page.
Core pages of real estate websites revolve around your main keywords such as “short-term rentals,” “rental investments,” “rental real estate,” etc. You can find these keywords with the mentioned tools, but make sure to keep track of search volume, what’s the cost per click, keyword competitiveness, and other data. Your blog section is the base of the supporting content that helps your main page rank higher on Google.
Start building your website structure today. If you don’t have a good website, your business will suffer. You shouldn’t invest money in a domain you don’t own. It’s better to optimize and build your real estate website than lease services of other websites. Remember that you need to invest in the long term, so quick building websites are also not a great option. So if you want to play the game in the long term SEO is the thing for you.
Does SEO Really Work?
You’re probably thinking whether SEO is still relevant in 2020. Does SEO strategy work and is it worth investing in good SEO? The short answer – yes, SEO works. Just ask businesses that get huge amounts of organic traffic.
Although you can implement different strategies by yourself with various available tools, you might want to outsource your SEO efforts. Experts will find weak spots of your website and identify the perfect opportunities for growth so you can optimize your real estate website and increase your traffic.
One more reason to consult SEO strategists is the frequent changes in Google’s algorithms. Not all SEO strategies work in 2020 because Google constantly changes. You need to find an agency that keeps track of Google’s updates and modifies SEO strategies accordingly.
But a lot of agencies offer SEO services so you need to choose wisely. To find an agency you can trust, try to carefully research your options. Determine your budget and go hunt an agency. Filter from the pool of choices by using the same criteria people use for your business. Go check out their website, ready clients’ reviews, and schedule a short consultation to see their offer. Good luck in your quest for the best SEO assistance.
Connect with Kris
SEO is not dead, there are just new tricks you need to learn. Discover the Real Estate SEO services available from Ardor SEO and get a review of your website at ardorseo.com/dude.