For years agents and brokerages alike have been competing with the likes of Zillow, Trulia, Realtor.com, and many other big data aggregators for position in the search results. It seems the more Google develops it’s algorithms, the more it leans in the favor of the big brands leaving the small sites left in the dust. Aggregators know as well as we do, the internet is the go to place for consumers beginning their home search and capturing them at this beginning phase can mean a potential sale if converted properly. According to NAR, 88% of buyers start their home search on the internet and then contact an agent. Instead of paying these companies for leads and display advertising, take advantage of the many types of SEO that they do not have the ability to capture.
One of the few ways real estate agents can beat the large data sites is through hyperlocal and unique content. The key terms like “city real estate “, “city homes for sale”, etc, may not be an achievable goal for most agents trying to dominate the local search results. Where most agents should focus their efforts is creating local content that only an expert can provide.
If you look at how these companies create their pages you will start to see that the content being created is dynamic and lacking substance. Dynamic content is a sentence structure built off of MLS statistics and anchor text links to other pages (see below). Where you would write an in-depth insight into a given area, they are forced to fill it with a template of dynamic keywords and hyperlinks with no actual information to help the consumer other than statistical information. You can emulate this type of content like this site in New Jersey does on details pages in addition to the local information being provided. Create lifestyle searches, subdivisions within a certain area or zipcode, or even school district pages. Take a look at Anthony Gilbert’s knowledge of Snoqualmie, WA and emulate the type of information that only an expert in an area can produce.
Gather Local Backlinks
Agents also have a significant advantage when it comes to obtaining backlinks from local businesses and people involved in the community. The data aggregators rarely obtain inbound local links to their pages which can be very easy for someone who lives within the community you are trying to rank for. Take a look at this SEOMoz write-up on link building with local events. This is a gold mine for anyone living in Seattle, and actionable for any other areas as well if you’re willing to put together an event. Creating an event can lead to linking opportunities as can sponsoring a charity, reviewing local businesses (restaurants, boutiques, etc), or partnering with similar businesses within the community like mortgage companies, title companies, and home inspectors. All of these typically have a website up and you’d be surprised how open to the opportunity they may be.
Big data sites cannot do these sorts of localized business building and offer an easy way for agents to gain an advantage in the search engines. Traffic volumes coming from city real estate terms are often poor converting types of visitors. If you can dominate long-tail keywords and subdivisions within your community you can create a consistent stream of high quality leads that are searching with an intent to purchase a home.
Ben Fisher is an avid snowboarder and mountain biker in the resort area of Park City, Utah. When not selling real estate, he can be found spending time with his wife and his dog enjoying the mountain lifestyle. Find him on Twitter @parkcityliving