These days, we search for everything online – from goods to services – and that extends to homes and real estate agents as well. If you want your business to stand out during an online search, you need to develop a search engine optimization (SEO) plan. SEO is a set of strategies that improve a website’s rankings within search engines, which in turn increase the amount of traffic to the site.

“By implementing SEO strategies to your business, you are able to position yourself and your brand in the best possible way to thrive,” KWRI digital marketing analyst Brandon Obregon says. “Everyone is using search engines these days, so a sound SEO strategy is necessary to show up at the top of searches, grow your web of incoming traffic, and get ahead of your competition.”

Leading with SEO 

Matías Bulox

It’s also a solid strategy for lead generation. Just ask Matías Bulox of Houston-based Tamborrel Real Estate, whose focus and investment into SEO tactics has elevated the performance of his business’s two websites, https://www.tamborrel.com/ and https://www.woodlandsnewhomes.com/, in turn generating quality leads for Bulox and his team. In the past year, Bulox generated 704,409 organic visits. One lead that resulted from search traffic, he shares, ended up turning into a $1.3 million transaction. “The end of the game is lead generation,” Bulox says. So, as content is being created for his websites, that end goal is always top of mind. 

While SEO strategies can be integrated into a website fairly quickly, the results are a long game. According to a study conducted by Ahrefs.com, the average age of a top-ranked page is nearly 950 days (more than two-and-a-half years old). Since slow and steady wins the race, it’s best to get started right away. Here are five SEO best practices for real estate to consider implementing today.

Five Steps to Stronger SEO

1)    Create your own content. While the speediest route might be to copy content directly from other sites, that strategy will end your SEO efforts before they’ve gotten out of the gate. To gain credibility with the search engines, you need brand-spanking-new content. “Generating new content is always a good way to stay top of mind with the algorithm,” Bulox says. “Every algorithm has a spider. That spider is going to crawl the web, basically, and it’s always going to be looking to update content and find new content that wasn’t there before. So that spider is always hungry for new information because people keep asking questions and the spider is responsible within the algorithm to present that content,” he explains. In other words, novelty wins out when it comes to web content, so make sure to update your website’s text often.

2)    Know your keywords. By using and repeating certain keywords in your website’s content, search engines begin to associate your website with searches for those specific terms. The first step is figuring out what those keywords are. “Oftentimes, there are certain keywords and phrases that your consumer may think about that may have never crossed your mind,” Obregon says. “A strategist must put themselves in the shoes of who they are trying to target. What are they thinking when they are searching for a company that you embody?” Next, take those keywords and make them longer. Long-tail keywords are strings of words that narrow down in specificity and make it more likely search engines will rank your website. For example, it’s more difficult to compete for a top position with the keyword “iPhone” as opposed to “iPhone compatible chargers.”

3)    Learn the lingo. To fully gain the benefits of SEO, your website needs more than thoughtfully curated keywords. “Meta elements” or “meta tags” are words featured not in the content itself but within the HTML source code and offer another opportunity for search engines to notice your website. “Alt tags” or “alt text” are text-based descriptions of images used within your website and give search engines more relevant content to pick up from your site. “If you’re going to write about a certain area and your alt tags are empty or have information that is not related to the content, that page is basically going to be trashed by the spider, and then it’s going nowhere,” Bulox says.

4)    Lean local. Just as you establish yourself as a local expert, your website should offer local expertise as well. Not only will your clients find this useful but search engines will too. “What I don’t want is big nationwide portals competing with me,” Bulox says. “The only way I can compete with them is if I go local. They have the MLS properties, but they don’t have the local insight, the local information I might get from a neighbor, or a local magazine or from a school.”

5)    Speed your success via social media. It can take years to land your site on the first page of search results, so if you’ve got a need for speed, employ SEO strategies on social media platforms like Instagram and TikTok, which can net quicker results. “Social media is different from search engines,” Bulox says. “It’s all about the action on the user side. It’s all about the likes and comments. About three years ago, I started trying to understand the Instagram algorithm, and I went from a hundred followers to close to 47,000 followers in just two months. The TikTok algorithm makes it so easy to generate content and get a bunch of views and followers, and get a lot of action and traction on that content. It’s a more playful approach – the information, the images, the videos, the community.”