- A strong online presence includes a fast website, good search rankings, targeted content and high-quality backlinks.
Every real estate professional wants more organic traffic to his or her website. Why?
First, it does not cost any money; however, don’t be fooled, it does cost time. But the time investment upfront appreciates in value and drives more value over time, which is again why lots of organic traffic is the holy grail.
Second, the visitors from organic traffic are people who are genuinely interested in your real estate services.
Here is how an organic visitor lands on your website:
Direct: The user hears about your website (maybe from you). They hear what content and/or what features are on it. They want to believe their problem can be solved, so they take action and go!
Search engine: They user types in a keyword on Google, your website shows up as an option, and they click on it.
Social media: There is a post made on a social media site (maybe by you) with a link to your website, and the user clicks on it.
In all situations, these users are visiting your website with intent.
So, it’s evident that to dominate your local market and build a great online presence, you need to create useful content that is optimized for search engines and social media.
Here are six tips on how to generate more organic traffic to your website:
Tip 1: Make your website fast and mobile friendly
If you do not have skills with web development that’s fine. Go ask your developer (today!) to optimize the code for your website, and make sure that your entire website is mobile friendly.
Here’s a checklist to make your website fast:
- Complete on-page code optimization (a.k.a. “on-page SEO”)
- Leverage “caching” to speed up your site
- Optimize images for the web
Finally, you can also use Google’s PageSpeed Insight to see your site speed and possible ways to improve it. It’s a free tool from Google that really helps in getting your site fast.
Remember, no one wants to visit and browse through a slow site.
Tip 2: On-page optimization rules to boost search rankings
When it comes to SEO there are two strategies:
- Off-page SEO: All SEO efforts that are done outside of your website (backlinking)
- On-page SEO: As the name suggests, anything that you do on your website to increase search ranking (caching)
Now, if you were at ICNY 2017, you hopefully heard Rand Fishkin’s talk about increasing traffic to your website. Here, he recommended that as a real estate professional, you should be targeting niche long-tail local keywords.
Today, to quickly target for these keywords, you need to ensure that all of your pages are properly optimized, using both off- and on-page SEO strategies.
Here are some on-page SEO tips:
- Make sure that the main heading of the page is always an H1 tag. For example: if someone is viewing a property page, then the main header address should be an H1 tag.
- Link content between different pages relevantly, but don’t overdo it.
- Every image on your page must have a title tag and alt tags. Alt tags allow search engines to understand what the image is all about. However, these days, Google is also using advanced machine learning to understand the meaning behind images.
- If you are writing a descriptive neighborhood guide, make sure that you break the content into multiple pages and link all of them to the main guide page.
- Use structured snippets, or at least ask your developer to incorporate structured snippets, on your website. A good example of structured snippets is how Zillow’s search result page shows images.
- If you are targeting a particular keyword, make sure that the length of your content closely relates or exceeds the average length for the top three search results for the keyword.
Have an assistant or techy who does your SEO? Share this article with him or her to make sure he or she can tell you that all of this is being done.
Tip 3: Write content about specific neighborhoods in your target market
This is probably the easiest way to get organic traffic to your website. Basically, use Google’s Keyword Planner to find out a bunch of keywords in your local area.
For example: Let’s say you are a real estate professional in Toronto. You can quickly search for a list of neighborhoods and write a guide for each one of them.
Don’t worry if the monthly search traffic for a neighborhood-related keyword search is less than a city keyword search. It likely is. However, it will be easier to rank on the first page for this niche, neighborhood-specific keyword.
For example, if you do a school guide for Toronto and another one for Leslieville, you will rank for the latter much easier.
However, if you write 10 school guides for 10 neighborhoods, then you increase your chances for ranking for the big city-related search terms, where the search traffic is higher.
Sounds like a lot of work, doesn’t it? It is. However, you will love the results.
And despite the fact that my company automatically generates local content for my Realtors’ neighborhood websites, I still push them to write their own because it’s unique, and it shows homeowners that you really are a local expert.
Tip 4: Generate high-quality backlinks to boost your rankings
Backlinking is still one of the most important factors when it comes to ranking on Google — it’s social proof!
Here are a few tips to get high-quality backlinks:
- Comment on your favorite blogs online.
- Submit to content aggregation sites like Alltop.com.
- Link back to your website from your social media profiles.
- Write guest posts on various community blogs in your area.
Warning: Do not buy backlinks. You will be de-indexed.
Sites such as Fiverr are notorious for connecting businesses with people who can “get you thousands of backlinks” for cheap.
Unless you want to be thrown in the Google Sandbox, and literally be de-indexed so that no one can find you on Google, don’t do this.
The bottom line is there are no shortcuts to SEO. It takes time and work that either you need to do or pay someone to do. If a service sounds too good to be true, it is.
Tip 5: Disavow bad links on Google search console
Getting backlinks helps your site to gain authority. However, there are spammy sites that can link back to you without your permission, and you need to run an audit to delete all these bad links.
The best way to ensure that your site ranking is not affected is to disavow these links inside Google Search Console.
Create a text file of all the domains that you don’t want to recognize a backlink from, and simply upload the text file inside your search console.
Forward this to your webmaster if you are not familiar with Google Search Console.
So again, do not buy backlinks, and check for toxic sites on the web that link to you. Who knows, your competition could be buying bad backlinks to go to your site to sabotage you. You, or your web person, needs to stay on top of this.
Tip 6: Fix broken links on your website
What is a broken link? A broken link is when someone encounters a 404 page after clicking a link on your website.
The easiest fix is to ask your webmaster to do a permanent 301 redirect to your real estate bio page.
Another way to fix this issue is to use a tool like Screaming Frog and find all broken links to manually redirect them to updated URLs.
Broken pages negatively affect the overall SEO of your website, and you need to fix this immediately. And to let you know how prevalent this issue is, if you were my client, I’d bet you $250 that you have this problem. So talk to your SEO/web person today!
Grant Findlay-Shirras is the CEO of Parkbench.com and the Local Leader Real Estate Marketing System. Follow Grant on Instagram and Twitter@GrantFSofficial.