Real Estate SEO can be a more challenging than many other SEO verticals. There are many challenges with different types of real estate websites, but by the same token, if you get some of the best practices right, you will be off to a good start. We are going to cover some tips, tricks and best practices if you are dipping your toe into real estate search engine optimization.
There are hundreds, maybe thousands of articles on basic SEO best practices, tips and tricks, but our goal in this article is to cover things you can do that are unique to real estate search engine optimization.
But just to be thorough, we will first point out a quick list of best practices that apply to any SEO vertical – and should be observed:
Now that those basic things are out of the way, let’s go over some of the real estate specific SEO best practices that you should be implementing on your website. Before reviewing things that you can do to improve, you may want to use our free SEO audit to get an idea of the current On-Page SEO of your real estate site.
Start with Local SEO
We recommend starting your real estate SEO off by leveraging your Google My Business Account. Your Google My Business Listing will be a major factor in ranking in the Map Pack for localized search such as “realtor around me“, “top real estate agent in *your city*” and the such. You will first want to verify your GMB listing then move on to the optimizing and creating citations. Optimizing your Google My Business Listing is only one step in a full local seo campaign for real estate. You will want to fully fill out the GMB listing stating that your are a real estate agency or agent. It is recommended to frequently make Google Posts from the GMB listing and focus on getting positive reviews. For the full Guide to Local SEO for Real Estate click HERE.
Create Community Pages with IDX Listings
A community page is one aspect of Search Engine Optimization that is unique to real estate. A community page is a page on your website that has a ton of UNIQUE content on the cities and /or communities that you would like to rank for. These could be cities or subdivisions. These will simply be a page that features a Property Search and the most recent or relevant listings for the area the page is about. You will also want to include some original copy that adds value to the person searching for “homes for sale in *your area*”.
Community Pages can be any of the below and should contain active listings for the respective area:
In the SEO world, these are called “money pages”. Usually these pages will be named *city* Homes for Sale or *city* Real Estate. I can’t stress enough that it is imperative that each of these pages have ORIGINAL content; nothing that can be found elsewhere on the internet. These community pages should have at least 800 words of content, pics of the community or city, possibly a video about the city and of course, new listings for that area.
Most IDX plugins for WordPress offer the ability to display listings for a specific area wherever you need to…this is the perfect place to put them. Lastly your community page should be maximized by standard SEO best practices by making your H1 header and the meta title of the page the same as the keywords. Use H2 headers for your secondary keywords.
Add Community Pages To a Sidebar
Depending on how you have your site laid out, you will want the list of all of your community pages to be listed and displayed, using your main keywords for that area as the anchor text. If you use a sidebar on the pages on your site, that is a good place to put the links to your community pages.
If you use a full width type of display without a sidebar, you may want to put the list of community pages in your footer. Having the links to each community page, using your main keywords for the anchors, will help to insure that those pages get indexed by Google.
This is a very common practice on real estate websites and for good reason; not only does it help with getting everything indexed, it gives the end user on your site the ability to jump directly to the page about the city they wish to live.
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Add Real Estate Schema
Schema is a separate set of code that is applied to your website that tells Google what your site is about. You schema will point out your official name as well as address, phone number, social media accounts, aggregate reviews from Zillow, Realtor.com and Google as well as many other aspects of your business. For a full explanation of Schema Markup click HERE.
Avoid iFrames to Display IDX Listings
If you are on the WordPress platform, you will have many options for displaying IDX on your website. When choosing an IDX plugin, or other method of displaying listings on your website, you will want to make sure that the listings actually are ON your site. Many times, IDX solutions are simply using an Iframe to get the listings on the page.
This is not only useless, but can actually be counterproductive for your real estate SEO. In some instances, your local MLS provides Iframe solutions—DON’T USE THEM. I don’t have a dog in this race, but I have had very good results from IDX Broker, iHomefinder and Showcase IDX. We are not big fans of Diverse Solutions or Wolfnet for IDX providers.
Once you have you IDX product installed, make sure that you set up unique meta titles and meta descriptions for each search query and property detail page. How this is done will depend on which IDX solution you choose, but all give a way to accomplish this.
Use Internal Links to Move Authority
Internal links are links on your website that point to other pages/blogs on your website. The text that you use to make the link (called anchor text) makes a difference in the keywords that site will rank for. For your big Community Pages — you will want to use the keywords for that page as the anchor text you will link to it with. Don’t make all of them the same, change it up a bit.
When you blog, anytime that you mention a city or a subdivision, you should use that mention as anchor text to resolve to your community page. For instance, if you are writing about the streets of “xyz subdivision” anytime in that post when you mention “XYZ subdivision” that should be the anchor text for a link to the respective community page. Try to break it up a little bit. For instance, sometimes use the subdivision name, sometimes use “xyz homes” sometimes use “xyz real estate” all linking back to that community page.
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Avoid Keyword Cannibalization
This is one of the biggest rookie mistakes I see when people are attempting to SEO a real estate website. You don’t want to have multiple pages or even blogs that look as if they are attempting to rank for the same keywords. You should always know well in advance which pages are your “money pages” and if you have other pages on your site with similar content, you will want to canonical the duplicate page to your money page. That will let Google know exactly which page you want to rank.
Keep in mind, once you canonical a page to a different page, it will no longer show up in search results That means if you have a money page for XYZ subdivision; don’t write a blog named XYX subdivision. Instead, you will want to name the blog something specific and when mentioning XYZ subdivision in your post, use it as an anchor pointing to the money page.
Make sure that every time that subdivision is mentioned on the site – it points to the correct page.
Acquire High Quality Backlinks
Backlinks are the single largest factor when it comes to ranking your real estate website. A backlink is another website that is linking to you — using you as a reference on the web. For instance, if you are one of the top discount real estate brokers, and if USA Today were to write an article on The Modern Discount Real Estate Broker and within that article they linked to you – that would substantially help your rankings.
There are many ways to get quality backlinks, you can reach out to your Mortgage Broker, Title Company and even your home inspector. Ask them if you can write an article to be posted on their website, which will include a backlink to YOUR website. This is called a Guest Post and is a very common way to get backlinks in the real estate vertical. For more information on real estate guest posts you can click HERE.
Sharing Listings on Social Media
The last thing we will discuss is really more of a pet peeve than a best practice. Many times I see real estate agents that I know have websites, post their new listing to social media—but are posting either the Zillow listing or their listings straight from the MLS.
This drives me insane! If you are going to take the time to post your listing to social media, especially if you are going to run a paid ad, you will want that link to go back to YOUR website, not Zillow, Realtor.com or the MLS.
Tip of the Iceberg for Real Estate SEO
There are many specific SEO techniques unique to real estate. These best practices for real estate SEO should be more than enough to get you started. You may not pass up Zillow for your main keywords just yet, but that IS possible. Keep pushing, reading about SEO, taking risks…O yea…don’t forget to sell a couple houses now and then too.