In today’s article, we will explore the unique qualities that set real estate keywords apart from other industries and discuss their impact. 

I will distinguish between SEO keywords and their counterparts in search ads. 

While they may seem similar at first glance, there’s a whole world difference between them.

With a strategic approach, my article will discuss…

  • What makes real estate SEO keywords unique compared to other industries
  • The difference between SEO keywords and keywords for search ads
  • How to do keyword research for real estate


What Makes Real Estate SEO Keywords Unique Compared to Other Industries?

Think of the vast digital landscape as a bustling city for a moment. Different industries occupy their distinct neighborhoods. 

In this metropolis of online searches, real estate stands tall, with its unique characteristics that make real estate SEO keywords truly a special case. 

So, what sets real estate SEO keywords apart from the crowd? Let’s dive into the essence of their uniqueness:

1) Location, Location, Location

Real estate is all about location, and so are the keywords that drive its online presence.

By the way, I covered this topic in my recent article, “Unlock the Secrets of Local SEO for Real Estate Success.”

Unlike many industries, where broad terms may suffice, real estate SEO keywords thrive on hyper-local relevance. 

People searching for properties or real estate services want results specific to their desired neighborhoods, cities, or even streets. 

Integrating local modifiers like city names, districts, or landmarks into your keywords will attract the right audience’s attention in the right place.

2) Fierce Competition

The real estate industry is like a bustling marketplace where countless agents, brokers, and agencies compete for attention. 

This means real estate SEO keywords face fierce competition akin to bidding wars on a hot property. 

If you want to stand out, your real estate keyword strategy must be really good.

3) The Long and Winding Journey

Buying a property isn’t a spontaneous decision like buying chocolate or chewing gum at the counter. It’s a journey. 

In contrast to many other industries, the real estate buying process is more complex and time-consuming. 

Potential buyers embark on an exploration, from initial research to property comparisons, financial evaluations, finding a realtor, and negotiations. 

That’s why your real estate SEO keywords must cover each step of this expedition. 

Defining a customer journey, as covered in this article, ties into this and, thus, knowing your target audience and ideal real estate client.

So you want to craft content addressing your potential clients’ doubts, providing guidance, and nurturing them. 

This also includes considering the different types of real estate leads.

4) Audience Diversity

Real estate attracts diverse audiences, each with unique needs and interests. 

From first-time homebuyers and investors to sellers and renters, your keywords must speak to these different groups. This depends on the real estate niche you are specializing in.

Understand their motivations, pain points, and desires. 

Tailor your real estate SEO keywords to cater to the specific needs of each audience segment. 

Again, the different real estate lead types and their product and service awareness levels come into play.

So as skilled real estate professionals adapt their approach to different clients, your keywords should resonate with the hearts and minds of your target audience.

5) Homes, Offices, and Beyond

As you well know, real estate isn’t confined to residential properties alone. 

It encompasses a rich tapestry of property types, from homes to commercial spaces, industrial properties to vacant land, depending on your real estate niche.

Each property type has its unique features, amenities, and considerations. 

Do you want to attract the right buyers or tenants? Then, your real estate SEO keywords must showcase the distinctive aspects of these properties. 

Highlight the selling points, emphasize the benefits, and help searchers find what they want in the vast real estate landscape.


The Difference Between SEO Keywords and Keywords for Search Ads

While researching for today’s article, I was shocked to see real keyword suggestions in various articles without distinguishing between keywords you can use for SEO and the ones suitable for search PPC campaigns, such as Google Ads.

Why was I shocked? Well, “shocked” sounds a tad too dramatic. 

I was rather surprised to see this.

I consider it borderline reckless to just hand out a list of real estate keywords as if they would fit your needs. No one knows your target audience and real estate niche better than you. 

I digress. Again, why was I surprised…?

To explain this, I suggest you first understand the difference between keywords or search queries you can use for search ads and the ones you can use for your real estate SEO and content marketing.

So, let’s dive into the differences…

1) Purpose and Placement:

SEO keywords are integrated into website content to improve organic search rankings and attract organic traffic. 

They help search engines understand the relevance of your content to specific search queries. 

SEO keywords are placed strategically throughout web pages, meta tags, headings, and content to optimize visibility in search engine results pages (SERPs).

And one key thing to understand is that you may target to rank for one real estate search query or keyword but will rank for adjacent terms that you even didn’t think about before and where you may get even more traffic for. 

And no keyword search tool did tell you about them.

Hence, it’s basically out of your control which keywords you will actually rank at the end and the search volume you will get. 

You can only make educated guesses in your keyword research. 

This will be even more true once Google rolls out its conversational AI for its search engine, called “Magi.” 

But more about keyword tools later.

On the other hand, keywords for search ads are used in pay-per-click (PPC) advertising campaigns, such as Google Ads. 

Advertisers bid on specific keywords, and their ads are displayed prominently in search engine results when those keywords are searched. 

This is the simplified explanation because you can configure Google Ads if it shows your ads only when your keyword is exactly typed in the search or if you also want to show your ads for different keyword variations.

The goal is to attract clicks from users actively searching for related products or services.

2) Cost and Ranking

Ranking for organic search results with SEO keywords does not incur direct costs for clicks or impressions. 

However, achieving higher rankings requires time, effort, and continuous optimization. 

This involves creating the right high-quality real estate content in a certain way to gain authority with Google. 

In this context, the cue is “EEAT” (Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness).

Keywords for search ads are used in paid advertising campaigns, where advertisers pay for clicks or impressions. 

The ads are displayed above or alongside organic search results, providing instant visibility. 

Advertisers bid on keywords, and the highest bidder often achieves higher ad placement provided they also have a high Ad quality score (in the case of Google Ads).

3) Intent and Competition

SEO real estate keywords aim to align with users’ intent and product and service awareness levels to search for specific information, products, or services about real estate. 

The competition for organic rankings, especially in real estate, can be fierce, as multiple websites vie for visibility on the first page of search results.

So it is never guaranteed that you will beat the first position; thus, you have less control over the results.

Keywords for search ads usually focus on targeting users with purchase intent. Depending on your strategy, they don’t have to, so you can bid on lower-cost keywords. 

Advertisers select keywords that match the intent of their target audience, aiming to display ads when users are more likely to convert. 

Competition for ad placement depends on bidding strategies, ad relevance, and quality score.

However, in the case of keywords for search ads, you will have more control over the results, which are almost instantly visible.

4) Longevity and Flexibility:

SEO real estate keywords are typically chosen for their long-term value and relevance. 

They are part of a sustainable, ongoing strategy to attract organic traffic and improve website visibility over time. 

These keywords can be adjusted and optimized based on data and performance analysis.

Keywords for search ads can be adjusted more dynamically based on campaign goals, budget, and performance. 

Advertisers can experiment with different keywords, bid amounts, ad copy, and targeting options to optimize ad performance and achieve specific campaign objectives.

Again, the key is that you can better get short-term results depending on your ad budget.


How to Do Keyword Research for Real Estate

You may now wonder how to do real estate keyword research.

The key is whether you want to do this research for a PPC search ad campaign or a real estate SEO campaign/ strategy.

Each serves a different purpose and requires a unique approach. 

Let’s delve into the step-by-step process of conducting keyword research for both:

1) Real Estate SEO Keyword Research

Brainstorm relevant real estate topics:

Provided you already know your target audience, including their customer journey and your real estate niche, begin by brainstorming a list of broad real estate topics and themes. 

Consider your real estate services, property types, locations, and other relevant aspects.

Expand with seed keywords (a short-tail keyword, usually with one or two words): 

Identify seed keywords From your broad topics that encapsulate each topic’s essence. 

These are general terms or short phrases related to your real estate business.

Utilize keyword research tools with two grains of salt:

To expand your list further, leverage keyword research tools like Google’s Keyword Planner (free), SEMrush, or Moz Keyword Explorer (partially free), Answer the Public (partially free), and Google Autocomplete

Enter your seed keywords to generate additional keyword ideas. And ignore the search volume data that is displayed in the tools. The reason for that I am about to explain in the next step…

Analyze search volume and competition: 

Assess each keyword’s search volume and competition level with common sense and not with the tools. Why? Because they are wrong most of the time for SEO keywords. When they are right, it’s like a standing still clock being right twice per day.

They are especially wrong regarding long-tail keywords with supposedly low search volumes.

Since Google has a monopoly on the data regarding search volume, they get their data about the search volume related to keywords used in search ads (source).

This article covered this issue more in-depth, should you want to dig deeper.

And as I pointed out earlier, these tools can’t know which adjacent keywords and queries you produce content for may rank in the future, bringing in additional traffic.

So instead of relying on search volume data, you want to use these tools as helpers to prioritize the keywords.

This means you use the search volume data to compare keywords but not to determine actual search volume. 

Focus on local intent:

Since real estate is often location-specific, include location modifiers in your keywords—target specific cities, neighborhoods, or landmarks to attract local searchers.

Long-Tail keywords:

Don’t neglect long-tail keywords – longer, more specific phrases that address niche search queries. These keywords can have lower competition and higher conversion rates.

And again, the search volume data of the tools about them is wrong, anyways.

Prioritize relevance and user value: 

Choose highly relevant keywords for your real estate offerings and align them with your target audience’s needs. 

Focus on keywords that provide users value, answer their questions, or fulfill their search intent.

2) Real Estate PPC Search Ads Keyword Research

Understand campaign goals: 

Determine the specific objectives of your PPC search ad campaign. 

Are you aiming for lead generation or brand awareness? 

Clarifying your goals helps you choose the right keywords.

Build on real estate SEO keyword research: 

Some of the SEO real estate keywords (often not the long-tail ones) you have researched earlier may also use for your PPC search campaign. 

These keywords are likely relevant and can provide a solid foundation.

Use keyword planner tools:

Now it can be a good idea to rely more on tools like Google Keyword Planner or Bing Ads keyword research tools to discover additional keywords with high search volume and commercial intent.


Because as mentioned before, the search volume data comes from search ads and is thus more accurate.

Competitive analysis:

Analyze the keywords your competitors are bidding on and identify any gaps or opportunities where you can differentiate yourself.

Negative keywords: 

Identify negative keywords to exclude from your PPC campaign. These are keywords that are irrelevant or unlikely to result in conversions. 

By excluding them, you can focus your budget on more qualified traffic.

Group keywords and create ad groups

Organize your keywords into relevant groups based on themes, seed keywords, property types, or user intent. 

This allows you to create targeted ad groups and tailor your ad copy accordingly.

You may want to read my article about how to run Google ads for real estate in this context.


Final Thoughts

I hope I did bring the point across, and you understand now why I didn’t just give you long lists of real estate keywords for different target audiences, such as ones to find buyers, sellers, realtors, luxury keywords, keywords for investors, etc.

Your target audience and goals may vary widely depending on the real estate niche you serve and your locality.

The key point to remember is that real estate keywords for search ads and the ones for real estate SEO are two different kinds of beasts. 


This article has been reviewed by our editorial team. It has been approved for publication in accordance with our editorial policy.

Tobias Schnellbacher