SEO as a Marketing Strategy for Real Estate

So, would you like to know more about search engine optimization (SEO)?

Not sure? Not sure you should even care?

Well, let me ask you this: when someone searches for homes in your area on the Internet, would you like your website to be the first result to show up? In a nutshell, would you like to drive more traffic to your website?

If so, then this post is for you. Furthermore…

In a recent post I wrote an extensive article about creating a real estate marketing plan and…just recently realized that I failed to mention SEO in the web marketing portion.

Here’s why SEO is important to you and your website and SHOULD NOT be a strategy left out of your marketing plan:

In 2005 the NAR reports that nearly eight out of ten home buyers start their home search online. More importantly, as noted in an earlier study, 76% percent of people used the first agent they contacted.

That means if you can be the top agent on Google for home searches in your area, then you’ll hog all the business. Which means a lot in our 2007 belt tightening market.

Before you get started, however, the first thing you need to decide is whether you or somebody else is going to optimize your site.

You might be the type who likes to tinker with your website or you might be someone who doesn’t. If you don’t, then choose a seo company or consultant. (I don’t have any recommendations at the moment, so you’re on your own.)

After that, get to work…and keep some of these the following ideas in mind as you pursue your seo marketing strategy.

Eye tracking studies have shown that searchers scan a search results page from top to bottom and left to right, looking for a relevant result. Placement at or near the top of the rankings therefore increases the number of searchers who will visit a site. Cool, not-to-be-missed heat map stuff.

However, more search engine referrals does not guarantee more sales. SEO is not necessarily an appropriate strategy for every website, and other Internet marketing strategies can be much more effective, depending on the site operator’s goals. You make the decision, but my feeling is that every agent website should be optimized. This article is just to make you aware of those OTHER things, like viral marketing, out there to drive traffic to your site.

A successful Internet marketing campaign may drive organic search results to pages, but it also may involve the use of paid advertising on search engines and other pages, building high quality web pages to engage and persuade, addressing technical issues that may keep search engines from crawling and indexing those sites, setting up analytics programs to enable site owners to measure their successes, and, most importantly, improving a site’s conversion rate.

SEO also should, obviously, generate a return on investment. However, search engines are not paid for organic search traffic, their algorithms change, and there are no guarantees of continued referrals. Due to this lack of guarantees and certainty, a business that relies heavily on search engine traffic can suffer major losses if the search engines stop sending visitors. That’s why SEO should be one strategy among many that drives traffic to your site.

In addition to paid search listings, websites also often receive search traffic from free, so-called organic listings. These visitors are obviously no problem, except that you can’t count on them as a sustainable strategy, since organic listings can change without notice.

According to notable technologist Jakob Nielsen, website operators should liberate themselves from dependence on search engine traffic because of this fact. That is, don’t put all your eggs in one basket.

And remember this: three or four months down the road, when you’ve got some mileage on your seo strategy, let me know how you are doing. Okay?

Here’s to your SEO success!

If you haven’t done so already, subscribe to the Real Estate Marketing Blog today!