Skip to whichever topic you need to work on the most or bookmark this page and go through the whole guide at your own pace.
Strategy to help you focus on what matters and trump the competition.
Content creation that’s deliberate, smart, and effective for the real estate industry.
Link Building designed just for the real estate niche.
Outreach to the right people so you can get the most out of your time.
Real estate SEO can be a daunting task though, especially when you’re going against behemoths like Zillow.com, realtor.com, trulia.com, redfin; the list goes on and on.
They’re established, and they have monster websites that are beyond powerful. It almost seems unfair to aspiring real estate agencies.
To the untrained eye, it might appear that you are seriously behind the eight ball and attempting to work on your real estate search engine optimization seems like a lost cause.
Fear not, for you don’t need to be a real estate SEO expert!
We specialize in helping folks just like you attain high rankings in a cutthroat marketplace that’s inundated by serious competition.
We’ve decided to pull the curtains back and reveal everything we’ve picked up along our journey.
You don’t need to master SEO to stand a chance. Follow our simple real estate seo tips to get a leg up on your competition and accomplish 90% more in less time by only focusing on what matters!
This is not some watered-down SEO guide that talks about what everyone else talks about. We’re not going to bore you with on-page optimization strategies, keyword percentage, or lecture you on the importance of having a fast site.
We’re going to dive deep into actionable strategies you can use starting today that move the needle with less effort.
By focusing on the few things that matter, everything else becomes easier or unnecessary.
First, we’ll start with your basic strategy to build your foundation.
Then we’ll dive into content strategies unique to the real estate industry that set’s you up for success.
After that, we dive deep into proven link building strategies that flat out work like gangbusters specifically for your industry.
Finally, we wrap it up with outreach strategies to give you an edge over even the most daunting competitors.
Welcome to our no-nonsense, step by step guide designed to teach you how to focus on what matters and skip all the noise that overwhelms most real estate agents.
What to do about your competition.
All those behemoth sites like Zillow, trulia, etc have one thing in common.
They all have high Domain Ratings, which basically means Google considers them to be incredibly powerful websites.
They base this on the massive number of backlinks from other websites that are pointing to their site.
Because of this, they can rank for virtually any SEO real estate keywords at will.
So, the first line of business you would think is to build a massive amount of backlinks to your website.
While this is certainly a great option, it’s not the end all be all strategy.
Don’t get me wrong, building powerful backlinks to your site is incredibly important (and we’ll go over some strategies you can use to attract powerful backlinks.)
With that said, you can get a leg up with a few simple SEO real estate tips.
One of the most powerful is building links that are location oriented to the area that you’re targeting.
It doesn’t matter if your competitors have unusually high domain ratings with a ton of powerful backlinks.
If you have less backlinks from location relevant websites, you can still rank high.
Local link building is a great way for the little guy to get a head start.
Not only is this a great way to get your foot in the door and rank for highly sought-after SEO real estate keywords down the road, but it also opens up the door to a ton of backlinks.
There are countless numbers of local bloggers, journalists, & influencers in your area who are begging to link out to other local businesses. (We’ll show you how later)
The trick to it is knowing how to provide undeniable value they can’t help but link out to.
The first step in this process is creating great content they WANT to link out to.
Creating content for a specific purpose.
The first step in any good real estate SEO strategy is to create content.
Not just any type of content, but content that is aimed to accomplish 2 specific purposes.
- Building backlinks.
- Ranking for top of the funnel keywords.
By being purpose driven with your content creation, you can kill 2 birds with 1 stone.
We’ll dive deeper into exactly how to do both later in this guide.
In the meantime, here’s a watered-down version of what we’re going to accomplish.
The key to successful content creation is understanding how to craft value propositions aimed to benefit your potential customers; while also providing value to local bloggers, journalist, and local web influencers… ALL AT THE SAME TIME!
The beauty of this strategy is that while you’re building up the power of your site with location relevant backlinks, you can start marketing to leads you capture with top of the funnel keywords that are easy to rank for.
An example of a top of the funnel keyword term could be “Top 10 Chicago public school districts”. It’s not “Chicago condos for sale”, but it’s a beginning term people might look for when deciding where to live. It’s the first step in their journey.
Not only is this a great piece of content that a local blogger (or actual school websites) would be interested in linking out to, but it also solves searchers intent.
In the case of a prospective buyer in search of a house, they might be looking for the best school districts in Chicago’s surrounding areas. Why? Because that’s something people consider highly when looking to buy a house, among many other factors.
We’ll get into more specific examples later in this guide. This is only to serve as the introduction to help you further understand the power of our strategy.
Your link building sling shot
Once you’ve crafted content that can attract backlinks AND rank for top of funnel keywords, it’s time to build links strategically.
There are a number of link building strategies that do particularly well for the real estate niche.
I’ll list them later in this guide, so you can use them at your convenience.
The important thing to take away is that these link building strategies have an end goal in mind.
By crafting valuable content, and finding people actively linking out to the specific types of content you create, you’ll start building links at scale.
The more backlinks you build, the higher your domain rating will climb.
Once this happens, you’ll create a “sling shot” effect that will help you rank for tough keywords at will.
Think about it this way…
If you have a low domain rating, you won’t stand a chance to rank for keyword terms like “city + real estate” unless you build a ton of backlinks specifically for that page.
The problem is, not too many people will want to link to a webpage selling your real estate services.
By raising your domain authority, that real estate service page will rank much easier with just a fraction of the backlinks. Hence, the sling shot effect.
While you’re working on accomplishing this goal, you can build links to content that can easily rank for top of the funnel keywords.
This will help shorten the timeframe for real estate SEO to kick in and help keep you in the game long enough until your efforts pay off in a big way.
Now that we’ve covered the strategy, let’s dive deep into the actual methods we use to accomplish this effectively.
Top of funnel keywords
What in the heck are “top of funnel keywords”?
To better understand what top of funnel keywords are, you need to first understand what “bottom of funnel keywords” are.
The bottom of the funnel keywords are terms that people are typing in when they’re ready to buy. IE: “Buy a house in Denver” | “Rent a condo in las vegas”
Top of funnel keywords are terms people are searching when they’re in the research phase.
As a real estate agent, it’s easy to come up with these types of keyword terms. What would potential buyers or renters be asking you before they make a decision?
Yes, I understand there are obstacles in choosing broad topics…
- The best neighborhoods.
- Crime rate.
- The best schools.
- The best restaurants.
- The best location for commute.
- Walking score.
- Bike score.
- Fun things to do in a town.
- Number of family events taking place in a town.
The list goes on and on. Simply use your intuition, no one should know this information better than you.
Now simply create content around these topics!
Not only is the competition low so you’ll rank easier, you’ll be able to speak directly to potential prospects who are investigating certain areas to move to.
Pro Tip: Break down this information into specific neighborhoods and towns. By offering laser focused information that answers your prospects biggest questions, you’re positioning yourself as the expert. You’re helping people before they even approach you. That’s a great place to be.
After you start creating this content, link to it in a drop-down navigation header and separate the sections in the appropriate neighborhoods you offer services in.
Value propositions that drive link building
Value propositions is simply a fancy phrase that means you’re offering something of value to people in return for something.
In the case of real estate SEO services that we offer, we help create compelling and valuable content to increase your chances of earning a link.
Imagine a local website that uses a form of content creation called “resource pages”, that in this example covers all aspects of a town’s live events. We could be a prime candidate to get a link from those people.
By creating a comprehensive list detailing all the events occurring in a specific neighborhood in the up-coming year, we would greatly increase our chances of winning a link.
Pro Tip: Make introductions and build relationships with the organizers of these events. Show them you’re interested in their events and have a desire to write about them. Give without expecting anything in return, ask them how you can be of service and provide value for their events.
Or let’s say there is a local blogger that’s always looking to create and link out to great content.
Having well written, helpful, and detailed articles covering any local aspect of a town can go a long way in providing that much needed value to the local blogger.
The point is, these people have a need. You can create content that’s valuable to their audience and use it as leverage to gain links.
But often times, these watered-down link building strategies just aren’t going to move the needle when it comes to link building.
You have to get creative in order to stand out.
Infographics that the real estate SEO experts use.
Infographics is a great way to get a lot of eyeballs on your content.
They’re easy to embed on any site and easy for journalists or bloggers to get behind the concept and link out to.
It doesn’t have to be difficult to implement.
If you have $50 to $70, you can find a decent designer on freelance sites like upwork.com or peopleperhour.com that will make the infographic for you.
Creating it isn’t hard, it’s thinking up topics that will carry the day and get you the attention you need to earn links.
While creating compelling infographics could be an article all on its own, here are just a few ideas to get your mind pointed in the right direction.
First, begin with the end in mind.
You want to create an infographic that local bloggers, travel bloggers, or local businesses will want to link out to.
Let’s imagine you pick a neighborhood.
Let’s say it’s little five points in Atlanta Georgia.
You could create an infographic map of all the restaurants in the area and score them from best to worst, depending on their Google my business reviews.
Then approach the top restaurants and tell them they made the top list and ask if they’d be interested in linking out to your infographic.
Pro Tip: Little five points is a famous neighborhood in Atlanta. By focusing on well-known areas like this and providing helpful and engaging content, you can have great success reaching out to local and travel bloggers as well. Or in the case of our infographic example, food bloggers would also be good candidates.
Another idea could be to have a map covering all of Atlanta, ranking each neighborhood and section according to school districts, crime rate, and walking score.
Not only could you approach actual schools with this type of infographic (those would be really powerful links!), you could also approach police stations, journalists, and the local bloggers in EACH neighborhood.
So long as it’s useful, entertaining, & engaging, you will have no problem building links.
You just have to get creative and think out-of-the-box like a marketer would.
This is a perfect example of a value proposition as I discussed in the earlier section.
Once you craft a good infographic, you need to actually approach people most likely to link out to it.
Otherwise it will act as an island that no one knows exists. We’ll cover how to do this in the outreach section in chapter 4.
Real estate SEO keywords
Before I list common combinations of keyword terms you’ll want to rank for, I want to stress the importance that simply having good on-page optimization will not rank you.
While it is an important factor to consider, with today’s cutthroat competition, you’re going to need a lot more than the basics covered.
With that said, I want to give you guys a comprehensive guide that is helpful to every real estate agent out there.
I created a resource with Google docs that utilizes sheet formulas to help you create your own keyword list.
It’s very straight forward.
Simply make a copy of this sheet, and type in the location keywords within the designated cells, and click “enter”
This will generate a list of personalized keywords that are common in the real estate niche, combined with your city/neighborhood keywords.
I included common keywords, plus top of the funnel keywords as well.
This way you can generate keyword combinations that can capture people doing specific location research within Google.
To date upon writing this guide, I’ve found 78 keyword combinations that have actual search volume with the test cities and states used.
Considering that the combinations of city, state, & keywords are endless, it is arguably the most exhaustive list of real estate SEO keywords for search engine optimization available on the web.
It’s like having a real estate SEO agency on speed dial for all your keyword research.
I hope you enjoy it, and please make recommendations in the comment section below if there are any other top of the funnel keywords you guys have successfully used.
How Image SEO can generate more real estate opportunities
Another content strategy you need to use is image SEO.
Google utilizes images heavily in the real estate niche.
Be sure to include all the proper on-page factors with all your images like alt text, title, keyword rich file names, etc.
Pro Tip: Let Google tell you what to focus on. If you type in a major city + real estate terms, you might see Google showcase “images for (city name) homes”. With other cities however, Google might showcase videos, or news feeds as an example. In that case, you would focus on those specific factors rather than image SEO.
Last tip I’d like to include is to host your images on your own website. The last thing you want is to show up for image searches and direct your traffic to a different web property.
Types of link building strategies for real estate agents
Event link building is the first on the list.
Many real estate agents host events in order to get their name out to the community.
While it’s a common practice, there are so many that drop the ball and don’t leverage the link building potential it can bring.
Let’s say you’re hosting a wine or beer tasting at a restaurant.
You can submit your event to all the event type websites like Eventbrite.com, but that’s what everyone does.
Why not take it a step further and let all the major news outlets and newspapers in the region know about it.
Step 1: Make a list of all the newspapers, media outlets, etc.
Step 2: Then go to Google and type in the full website address of each and put in quotations “event” or “submit an event”
Step 3: Find the exact page where you can submit an event, and voila, you have an incredibly powerful do-follow backlink from a very powerful and location relevant website.
Step 4: Partner up with other businesses for your event and ask them for a link from their site “to showcase the upcoming event”. If they want to “link swap”, kindly oblige them. Just be sure to nofollow the link back to their site and don’t tell them you heard it from me.
The goal is to create the best piece of content on the subject.
Location Location Location Link Building
If you’re doing SEO locally, I can’t stress enough how powerful it is to get a backlink from a location relevant website.
Some might think this is hard to accomplish, but only because they’re using value propositions the wrong way.
The idea is simple…. There are countless number of local businesses that are actively creating content.
This can be incredibly time consuming for them, so the perfect value proposition is to provide this content creation for them in the form of a guest blog.
I’m not proposing you actively seek other guest blog opportunities.
Instead, find local businesses who are actively blogging to cut through the noise and stand out.
Step 1: Pick a niche that is different from real estate. IE: Law
Step 2: Type in “Law” + “city name” + “inurl:blog”
Step 3: Document all the local websites you find that are actively blogging.
Step 4: Find their email address, reach out to each of them, and propose a guest post swap.
Outreach email example:
Title: From one Denver business owner to another.
Hi (first name),
As a fellow Denver business owner, I’m always looking for ways to network.
I see that you’re actively blogging and was hoping I could help you out with creating some content in the form of a guest post.
We could do a guest post swap, and I could write an article about overlooked real estate laws.
If you don’t want to write an article on my site, I’d still love to write one for you!
Can I send you a draft?
I know what you’re thinking… You don’t want to link swap with someone.
That basically defeats the purpose in building links because both links cancel each other out. Not the mention, Google frowns upon link swapping.
A simple fix would be to just nofollow your link back to their site.
9 out of 10 times, no one will be the wiser.
Don’t have time to write content for other people?
That’s totally fine! There are plenty of people you can find on the web that would LOVE to write for a cheap one-time fee.
Check out freelancer sites, social media, etc.
Pro Tip: DON’T pay for a content creation service. It’s overpriced, and half the time you get horrible content. Finding aspiring real estate bloggers will suffice, and you won’t break the bank doing it.
Journalist Real Estate Partnership – NOT what you think
I know what you’re thinking!
I’m not telling you to reach out to reporters through HARO, and then giving them quotes for their next writing project.
Not to knock it, because I think it’s a great strategy, but there are other ways to build links with journalists.
Remember the infographic that I told you to create?
Sharing your infographic to journalists and local bloggers that write about your location are great candidates.
Here’s the trick though, nobody wants to be the 50th person to share an infographic.
It will appear as much more valuable if they have “exclusive rights” to post it first on their site.
While I don’t advocate telling them that you’ll only share it with them, you can imply it with a clever trick.
Upload an unfinished version of the infographic to https://hmp.me/.
Grab the shortened URL HMP provides, and approach journalists and local bloggers sharing the “unfinished” infographic.
Ask them in your pitch if you can share it with them once it’s complete.
This is an incredibly effective strategy that can yield a lot of high quality backlinks with very little work upfront.
Not sure how to find journalist and local bloggers?
Keep reading and we’ll cover that in full detail within the outreach strategies below.
Types of websites & people to outreach for links
I’ve already alluded to plenty of outreach potentials, but just for good measure, I want to make an official list.
Local bloggers – Your territory is their niche. It’s what they eat, breathe, and dream about. Events, interesting stories, history of the area, housing markets rising and falling; stories like this are all fair game to these folks.
Travel bloggers – These types of people NEED entertaining information about your territory. Provide them with that they need to provide good user experience for their visitors.
Food bloggers – Proximity to restaurants IS a selling factor for all walks of life in the real estate industry. Getting creative with your content can open up the doors for all sorts of food bloggers. Give their readers what they crave, an expert opinion on the quality of restaurants and reveal the hidden gems not known except to locals.
Local businesses – Network with them. Build a relationship with them. Use existing maintenance/builder networks for backlinks. Always be on the lookout for link building opportunities, and don’t forget my “location” link building strategy.
Journalists / Contributors – They have deadlines. They need content. Give them what they want, or someone else will.
How to find people and their contact info effectively
Value propositions, great content, and clever pitches won’t help you if you can’t find enough people to approach.
While this might seem like a daunting task, it’s actually really simple armed with just a few tricks.
Here are 3 strategies to find all the opportunities you will ever need for link building.
Finding unlimited journalists & contributors with the click of a button.
Discover… Buzzstream discovery
One of my favorite SEO tools I keep in the arsenal.
With just the click of a few buttons, you can instantly find journalist and well-known influencers in any niche.
Want to fork over $10K a month for a PR campaign?
Or would you rather just tap into one of the most powerful influencer discovery platforms on the planet?
And the price they ask is just a drop in the bucket compared to what the average PR agency would ask for.
Tap into the power of influencer and journalist outreach today and combine my other real estate SEO expert advice I’ve given in this guide to cover a lot of ground.
Pro Tip: Eliminate hours of research by experimenting with location specific keywords to discover the most well-known journalists in your area faster. IE for Nashville TN: Radnor Lake | Grand Ole Opry | Centennial Park
Finding local bloggers with a huge audience that command influence.
I would recommend you use an intern or someone just starting out in your organization for this.
Using Instagram, you can find a ton of bloggers that are actively engaged in your territory.
I’d recommend going to the desktop version.
Step 1: Start by searching for your city name with a hashtag.
Step 2: Then start clicking photos and looking for ones that have lots of likes.
Step 3: Click on their user profiles and find people with a large following and a website listed.
Step 4: Document the website.
Step 5: Then go deep and get creative with your research.
As you can see, after clicking on the photo, there is a geo location tag located below the username.
I’m using Chautauqua Park as an example because it’s a famous park in Boulder Colorado.
Step 6: Click it, and it will show all the “top posts” where photos have been taken while at that specific location.
Continue your search looking for influencers that are actively posting information about your real estate territory.
Get creative by looking up your own attractions, restaurants, events, etc.
You’ll be shocked at how many people have sites and are blogging about your area.
Once you have a nice list of influencers blogging in your area, use an email finding service like VoilaNorbert and quickly find the best contact information.
Bottom line, these are the people you need to get your content in front of.
Remember the content you could make with top of the funnel keywords? These people want to hear about it and link out to content like that!
If your content is relevant, engaging, unique, and entertaining; you will build tons of links that are power and relevant.
Not to mention, if you reach out to enough influencers, the referral traffic to your site can be staggering.
Whether you’re reaching out to resource pages, participating in link roundup link building, reaching out to contributors, or finding influencers; you need to streamline the outreach phase.
How to streamline the outreach phase and skyrocket your results.
Once you’ve made a big list of people to reach out to, now it’s time to build those links!
Outreach can be very time consuming if you’re manually crafting each email and sending them out one by one.
There’s two ways you can go about this.
Speed up the process while doing it manually
Using the tool I mentioned earlier called Buzzstream, you can do it manually.
You can take your list of websites, influencers, journalists, and manually email them.
Buzzstream helps you stay organized, and it’s a great tool for any real estate SEO specialist to have.
You can also leverage a free tool Gmail offers called canned response.
It’s very useful when you have pre-built templates for certain link prospects.
Simply choose the templates you’ve written and fill in the blanks to personalize the message a little.
Totally automate your outreach tasks
If you’re busy, and your interns are acting up, leverage other tools to automate the outreach process.
I’ve had good success with Saleshandy.com
They’re a younger company, so you’ll save some money.
If you want to take all the guessing work out of the equation and have the money to throw at it, I’d recommend using Pitchbox.
They’re a bit pricier, but they are really good at what they do, and provide incredible insight with all outreach factors considered.
So that’s it for the outreach strategy.
Before I wrap up this guide, there are a few important words of advice you need to consider before checking SEO off your list of things to do.
Technical SEO tip you must not forget
As a real estate agent, you want to take advantage of MLS listings.
With MLS listings however, comes a lot of duplicate content.
Google frowns on duplicate content.
What will happen is Google bots will crawl your site and deem these listings as unimportant.
This will hurt your crawl rate. In other words, Google won’t visit your site as often.
This in turn can hurt your rankings.
In order to get around this, you must block Google from the crawling these pages in your robots.TXT file.
Standing out from the crowd.
When you’re link building, often times doing something completely different can go a long way.
Some people are bored of the infographics, the articles, the events; they’re looking for something different.
One creative way to stand out would be to produce interactive maps.
There are plenty of sites out there like map hub that can help with this.
Try one out, make your first interactive map detailing all the interesting things about your territory, and reach out to other actively blogging about your area.
Timing, Timing, and Timing
In real estate, it’s location, location, location. In my business… You get the idea.
Always be on the lookout for news related to your territory.
It is all link building gold once you develop an eye for it.
A natural disaster hits your location. You create an infographic on how it affects the local economy.
A new manufacturing plant comes to town. Create an infographic detailing all the positive (and negative) effects it will have on your town.
A new damn is expanding. Detail who it will help, how it will help, why it will help, and when it will help specific people. And then give the other side of the argument in the form of a side by side “versus” infographic detailing the facts.
Point it, there is always an opportunity to create engaging and relevant content.
You just have to know where to look and jump on it fast before others write about it.
I sincerely hope this guide has provided you with information that actually helps.
Not just some watered-down strategies from an echo-chamber designed to catch your attention and earn your business.
To drive the point home, just focus on the activities I taught above and you’ll be competent enough to do some serious damage in your city.
Just break it down to 4 simple stages and dominate your market.
1. Develop a smart strategy that encompasses every type of opportunity.
2. Create content with the end goal in mind.
3. Build backlinks with strategies specific to the real estate industry.
4. Find the perfect audience & connect them to your irresistible content.
As a shameless pitch, we’d be happy to simplify your efforts.
Our agency is knowledgeable and proficient in everything I laid out.
If you don’t want to take us up on our services, this guide might be all you need to give you that edge you need.
You don’t need to learn complex strategies.
Stick to the actions that get the most results and create huge momentum with your real estate SEO.