This is Part 2 in a three-part series about real estate websites and search engine optimization (SEO). More to the point, it’s about what real estate agents think and do about SEO, and how they can do some things better — and maybe do something new — to move their websites higher in search results.

Our August survey of 342 real estate agents yielded some interesting results when it came to the question, “Which of the following SEO activities have you spent time on?” Respondents could check all options that applied to them, and here’s what we found:

  • 3 percent researched keywords.
  • 9 percent created content as website articles and/or blog posts.
  • 9 percent spent time working with metatags, page titles and other meta information.
  • Approximately 15 percent built internal and external links.
  • 7 percent did some type of analysis of competitor sites.
  • 3 percent had not tried any tactics regarding SEO.

Keyword research is good, and it’s not that difficult. Just imagine yourself in your customers’ shoes and list anything and everything you’ve ever been asked about real estate and your local market. The words and phrases that pop up more than once or twice are what customers will be using in their searches as well.

The good news for real estate is that keywords stay pretty much the same over time. Metatags and page titles use these words and phrases, and we do certain things to highlight them in our text, such as bold, italic or headline text.

Where the most difficulty — and the greatest opportunity — comes into the picture is in creation of content. When asked what is most challenging about website content creation for websites and blog posts, the vast majority of agents told us they don’t know what to write about. A whopping third of all respondents said they think it’s just too big a job.

Not being up to the content creation task is certainly high on the list of roadblocks to SEO success. Best way to bust through the roadblock? Start by looking back at your keywords and phrases. Remember what questions you’re asked over and over by customers. Now picture that someone asking a search engine like Google or Bing.

When people search on “title insurance,” “restrictions and covenants” or any other real estate phrase, and particularly when they include a city or subdivision name in the search, they’re looking for content. To provide that content on your website, simply do what you do every day to answer these common real estate and local questions. How easy is that?

In Part 3 of the series, we’ll see why your local knowledge can be turned into powerful content with the advent of “localized” — and, particularly, mobile — search.

Peyman Aleagha is CEO of WebsiteBox, a Toronto-based company that offers real estate websites and tools.

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