As a real estate agent, you serve as a bridge between people who try to sell, rent, and find a property. But to connect people, they need to find you easily. How do property owners or potential buyers learn about you? People no longer buy newspapers to find real estate agents there or call friends for suggestions. Now we live in a digital world, and most buyers will look for homes as well as for real estate agents online. If you are an online real estate agent, then half of the job is done. You are using the internet to help clients buy, sell, or rent their properties, but the other half of the job is to help these clients find you.
If back in the days people browsed through yellow pages to find contact information for the businesses they needed, now they go to Google. Statistics in 2017 showed that 51% of buyers found the home they purchased from the internet.
Going online is convenient and saves time. It’s easier to see listings virtually than driving around the neighborhood searching for a house for sale. Finding an online real estate agent is much more accessible, too, as it doesn’t involve buying and reading any papers or making phone calls. But, unfortunately, designing a website is not enough for your online real estate business – it’s just a step in the process.
Why SEO Is Important for Your Website
People who start their research for online real estate agents do not know about you yet. They don’t know your website and cannot directly type your address in their browsers. People start their research with search engines and that’s where most of your potential clients will find you.
Google is the leading and most popular search engine in the world. In 2019 Google had 62.19 billion visits, and according to statistics, it receives 3.5 billion searches per day. Now you might think, well, people are searching for things online, and they must be searching for real estate agents, too. So if you have a website, you’re good to go. It’d be very convenient and simple if all you had to do is to launch a website and leave the rest to Google. Sitting and waiting for virtual traffic from Google search without optimizing a website is the biggest mistake we have seen many companies doing.
Real estate-related Google searches grew by 253% from 2008 to 2012, but so did real-estate agent websites. There are about 2 million active real estate licensees in the United States. Just like in the real world, when it comes to Google search, you need to beat your competition. Google doesn’t randomly choose websites to offer to your clients but uses more than 200 ranking factors to organize pages in search results.
SEO Helps Your Clients Find You
The primary goal of Google is to provide relevant, fresh, and high-quality content to users. Google doesn’t know or take into account how many homes you sold last year, if you have 8+ years of experience in real estate, or if you got your license at the best real estate school. Google, however, will consider your website usability, speed, up to date content, structure, and design (among other factors) before offering it in search results. By investing in search engine optimization, you help search engines understand your content better, which will increase the chances of ranking well in desired search queries. If you appear at the top of relevant search results, it means your potential clients can find you, which is essential to keep your business going.
The truth is that the competition is incredibly high when it comes to ranking well in queries related to real estate. If you type “house for sale in New York,” you’ll get about 1,410,000,000 results. If you just put your website out there and don’t rank well, no buyers will go through hundreds of pages to find you. Because online shopping is convenient and if they wanted to spend hours on finding a real estate agent, they would make that call for a suggestion from a friend or buy a newspaper to find one. And even if they invest hours in finding you, if your website isn’t optimized, there is a high chance of users abandoning it.
Market Yourself to Market Others’ Properties
Your job is to help real estate owners market their properties effectively. But to also be able to do so and stand out from millions of others in the industry, most importantly, you must market yourself.
SEO is one of the free and most important digital marketing tools that increase the visibility of your site in search engines, traffic to your website, conversion rate, and return on investment (ROI). If you don’t invest in search engine optimization, it means you are missing out on all the benefits you can get out of the online world.
SEO Increases the Quality of Your Website
SEO is a long process that involves various steps to achieve the desired results. But the best thing about SEO is that not only does it increase the visibility of your site in search engines, but it increases the quality of your site. SEO improves the usability of a website as well as user experience. It means that SEO effects last for a long time, and if you invest your time in optimization, you end up having a great website. If users have a great experience with your site, it’ll increase the chances of them doing business with you.
SEO Helps You Target Relevant Search Queries
When you optimize your website, you choose in which search queries you want to appear. People search for houses by typing keywords into Google, such as “studio apartment in New York.” If you have a listing of a studio apartment, you might simply name it as a “studio apartment.” But research may show that more people use “single-room apartments in New York” to find studio apartments. By researching keywords your potential clients use, you decide which ones you want to target based on the search volume each one of them has, as well as how difficult it is to rank for these.
SEO Leads to Higher Conversion Rates Than Paid Advertising
One might think because SEO needs an investment of time and you need to wait to see its effects, it’s more effective to pay for advertisement because you can instantly find a top position in search engines. But a paid advertisement isn’t nearly as effective as SEO is. There is no point in appearing in search results if you don’t have a high-quality website. People will go back to search results if your site takes more than three seconds to load, isn’t mobile-friendly, doesn’t offer high-quality, relevant content, and it’s challenging to interact with the site.
Besides, many users simply skip the ad section above the free search results, because they don’t trust advertisements as much as they trust organic search results. Additionally, the average conversion rate for Google ads across all industries is 3.75%, but real estate only converts at 2.47%. It means that real estate marketers are having a harder time converting leads into sales through paid advertising.
Even if you pay for advertisements, you will get temporary traffic that will stop once you stop paying. SEO effects are much more long-lasting than advertisements, and once you achieve top results, you will have consistent traffic to your site.
SEO Is Cost-Effective
Although SEO is completely free and you don’t need to pay to appear at the top of the results, you might want to pay for hiring an SEO team if you cannot perform optimization yourself. But SEO is one of the most cost-effective marketing tools, because people you are targeting are more likely to find you and you have got what they need. Besides, the traffic you get from SEO is free and long-lasting.
By having a successful SEO strategy, you will have visitors looking at your property listings. You will also create local content that is informative and helpful for your clients, which will help build relationships with them. Your site will be easy to navigate, so it’s going to be easier for clients to reach you. SEO will improve the experience of users on your website and help you be more discoverable.
If you are still debating whether or not you need to invest in SEO, we must tell you it’s the most effective way to improve your online visibility and bring traffic to your site, which is crucial for sustaining your business.
Six reasons your online real estate website needs SEO
- SEO helps your clients find you.
- It increases traffic to your website which will get you more clients.
- SEO increases the quality of your website, which will increase the chance of website users converting into clients.
- You can target relevant search queries.
- SEO effects are long-lasting.
- SEO is cost-effective.