It surprises me when I see search engine organic placement being occupied by national real estate brands and not by agents’ websites on local searches.
Sometimes I wonder why that is — is it that real estate agents are lazy with SEO, or are they just plain bad at SEO?
I can’t answer that, but what I can confidentially tell you is that those national brands can be outranked in search engine organic placement such as Google and Bing.
How? Because search engines such as Google give more weight to local searches that lead to local businesses and niches than national portals.
If Google gives greater preference to local businesses and niche markets in local searches, why are national brands taking over?
The national brands dominate local searches because they invest heavily in improving user metrics.
This strategy has given them a far better user metrics than agent websites.
What are user metrics?
A user metric is essentially how users interact and engage with your website.
The more they interact by spending time on your site — viewing listings without hindrance as well as clicking on internal and external links — the better the user metrics.
National brands’ websites have all this, and they invest heavily in improving this metric, not on SEO.
That is why they outrank local real estate agent websites.
Real estate agents, on the other hand, only invest heavily in lead generation and care less about improving user metrics.
How to increase user metrics
1. Avoid forced registration to view listings
Forced registration is the main reason national brands have taken over local searches. It makes for poor user metrics.
If you are a search marketer, and you are still using this method of generating leads, then it’s time to jettison it because it will take you nowhere.
Instead of using forced registration, use a pop-up to offer lead bait to generate leads. It won’t affect your user metrics.
2. Provide lots of local information
One way of increasing your website dwell time and number of pageviews is to provide lots of local information, pictures and videos of your local market.
3. Content links and navigational links
Links in content and navigational links play a huge part in increasing the numbers of pageviews. Add links to valuable local information in your website header links and in the body of your content.
Also, add links to important local information, videos and pictures on a sidebar widget on your website.
4. Use heat map to study how your visitors interact with your website
A heat map is a great tool to know how users interact with your content and to know how far they scroll and where they clicked most.
Use them to improve your website user metrics by adding links and lead bait on areas they pay most attention to or clicked most.
5. Blog about your market
Blogging about your market is a good strategy to add more posts to your website and engage your visitors.
The more interesting posts you have, the more your visitors will hang around to read. The more they hang around to read your posts, the more it improves your user metrics.
Don’t be obsessed with SEO; be obsessed with building a website that meets the needs of your visitors, and Google will reward you for that.
What do you think? Please share your thoughts in the comment box below.
Ibemere Obinna is a real estate agent and a digital marketing expert and blogger. Check out his blog realtymarketingtool.com.