SAN FRANCISCO — It’s no secret that Google drives an enormous amount of traffic for real estate listings, and figuring out the best way to direct that traffic has become a big moneymaker for some.

Paying to increase search engine optimization (SEO) on Google and other search engines is now a commonality, but according to a Google executive, there are multiple ways to push potential clients towards your real estate website.

Google Partner Lead John Thornton says there are two ways to approach generating search engine traffic when starting your website.

The first? “Start from the beginning and get help,” he said during a discussion at Inman Connect San Francisco. “It’s a lot of steps and there can be a lot of logistics that go in place.”

Thornton, who focuses on real estate at Google, said services like BoomTown and Zap are effective at generating leads for agents, especially those who’d rather apply their time and energy elsewhere.

The second tactic is a little more complicated, Thornton says, but could be worth it in the long run. During his talk at Connect, he told the crowd one phrase to remember: “dynamic search ads.”

Dynamic search ads (DSA) go after more serious searchers by finding keywords on your website that Google thinks would be effective in ads and searches, and then auto-targets users who searched for those keywords. By using a DSA for long-tail searches — searches that are longer and more detailed than highest searched (“head”) terms — business owners can focus on searchers who are likely more educated and ready to seriously consider buying homes.

Although it won’t reach the massive pool of searchers typing in a head term like “homes for sale,” the pool of users DSAs reach are much more likely to actively look through the websites that use them.

“Think about the user you have. You have someone that has taken the time to think for a neighborhood, specifically, already,” Thornton said. “That is already a more valuable user.”

Another plus to using long-tail DSAs, Thornton says, is that they’re much cheaper than head terms. And if you can figure out the long-tail right term to reach serious searchers, you might not even need to pay for a DSA, making it free way to generate visitors.

“Long-tail is where the money is made,” he said.

Email Thomas Mitchell

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