Maybe your real estate website is a rough “SEO diamond,” and you are unaware of this.
And you could well be just one prioritized optimization away from floods of organic Google traffic…Who knows !?
To find that out, you want to make your digital real estate the talk of the town, which you do by optimizing it for SEO.
This is where today’s article comes in.
It will discuss…
- How to assess your real estate website’s present SEO situation
- How to optimize it with technical SEO
- How to do on-page SEO
- Improving your real estate website’s user experience and, in passing, potentially increasing your conversion rates
- Improving your real estate website for local SEO
- How to optimize it without going crazy with a prioritized list
1) Assessing Your Real Estate Website’s Present SEO Situation
If you are into fitness and nutrition, you may have heard the term “body recomposition.”
It’s when you try to build muscle and lose fat simultaneously (pretty hard to do).
To successfully do that, you first need to know your daily caloric output based on your daily activity level and net weight (your body weight minus your body fat percentage).
So you first need to know where you are before calculating your daily protein, carb, and fat intake.
Oh, by the way, no worries, you didn’t click accidentally on a fitness and nutrition article.
I wanted to illustrate with this allegory that it is not much different from assessing your real estate website’s present SEO situation.
Before you optimize it willy-nilly, shooting blind at unknown targets, you want to assess your real estate website’s present SEO situation, also called an SEO website audit.
And as you will soon see, doing your “fitness-audit” involves fewer variables compared to an SEO website audit…
Because it involves checking the following:
- A technical SEO audit
- On-page SEO audit
- Off-page SEO audit
- Keyword analysis
- Competitive analysis
- User experience evaluation
- Content evaluation
- Social media presence audit
- Security audit
Let’s start with the first…
The Technical SEO Audit
This is like checking the pipes and wiring before you buy a house.
You’re looking for issues that might trip you up later.
It includes checking and looking for broken links, site speed, mobile-friendliness, XML sitemap accuracy, and whether Google indexes all your important pages.
You can check the latter via the Google Search Console when you click “pages.” There you can see which pages are indexed and which ones are not.
So the technical audit lays the groundwork for a strong SEO strategy.
On-Page SEO Audit
Doing an on-page SEO audit is rolling up your sleeves and getting into the nitty-gritty of your website’s content.
So you will have to check whether your title tags and meta descriptions are optimized and engaging.
Are your images adequately formatted and labeled with alt text? Are you using headers appropriately?
This is about ensuring every page on your site is SEO-friendly and valuable to visitors.
Off-Page SEO Audit
The off-page SEO audit entails looking at your site’s reputation in the digital community.
This involves evaluating your backlink profile – the quantity and quality of other sites linking to yours.
You’ll also closely examine your social media presence, as this can affect your overall SEO success.
Regarding social media, you want to ask yourself how effectively you’re using social media, the quality and engagement of your posts, and how well you interact with your audience.
The keyword analysis is about ensuring your pages target the right keywords and whether they are relevant to your content.
Do they match what your audience is searching for?
Keyword analysis also involves studying how well you rank for your targeted keywords and if there’s room for improvement.
This involves taking a look at what your competition is doing.
This is provided you know who it is. If not, you should first research and identify your competition.
So let’s say you know who they are.
In that case, you check how well they rank for the keywords you want to target and what you can learn from their content and site structure.
User Experience (UX) Evaluation
Evaluating the user experience involves checking your real estate website’s navigation and mobile responsiveness.
It’s also about assessing your website’s overall design, readability, and user engagement.
By the way, this ties right into CRO (conversion rate optimization), which is a huge topic but pretty important if you want to increase your real estate lead conversion rate with existing traffic coming to your website.
This goes beyond checking for keyword optimization in your content and ties into your overall real estate content marketing strategy.
You want to ask yourself whether you provide high-quality, relevant content and whether your articles and posts are long enough.
The latter often, but not always, correlates with content quality.
You also want to check if your articles are easy to read and whether they have a good mix of media – text, images, video, etc.
A secure real estate website helps protect your visitors and is a ranking factor in Google’s algorithm.
What does it involve?
Check whether you have implemented HTTPS (Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure), a secure version of HTTP, the protocol for sending data between your browser and the website you’re connected to.
Not only does HTTPS protect your users’ information, but it’s also a ranking signal for Google.
Then you want to check the server’s security and whether it is secure from potential threats.
Regularly updating your server software, managing user permissions effectively, and ensuring that your server is configured correctly are all part of this process.
Do you use WordPress for your real estate website?
In that case, you also want to keep your platform, themes, and plugins current since older versions may have vulnerabilities that hackers can exploit.
Finally, suppose you use your real estate website to generate leads (which is actually the whole point of using one).
In that case, you will collect personal data from users like contact forms, newsletter signups, etc.
So you also want to check how secure these forms are to protect your users’ data.
Now you know the most important things to do to audit your real estate website regarding SEO.
And many of the optimization tasks that follow you could already conclude by the above.
However, I will dig deeper into each in the following sections…
2) Optimizing Your Real Estate Website with Technical SEO
Think of technical SEO as the foundation of your real estate website.
It’s the behind-the-scenes stuff that, while not immediately visible to users, can drastically affect your search engine rankings.
This includes aspects like site speed, mobile-friendliness, and XML sitemaps.
Ever heard of crawling and indexing?
Well, Google needs to ‘crawl’ your website and ‘index’ your pages to understand what’s on your site.
Technical SEO makes sure Google can do just that.
Now, what can you do to improve it?
With the increasing use of mobile devices, having a mobile-friendly real estate website is essential.
This is particularly true regarding potential home buyers starting their house hunting on mobile phones. It’s 76%, to be exact (source).
Consequently, you want to check if your site is responsive and displays correctly on various screen sizes.
Google also uses mobile-friendliness as a ranking factor, so optimizing for mobile is crucial.
Site speed is next in line, which is crucial for user experience and search engine rankings.
Slow-loading websites frustrate users and can lead to higher bounce rates.
By the way, your website conversion rate drops by 4.42% for each second of loading speed delay (source).
So your task is to optimize your website’s speed by minimizing image file sizes, leveraging browser caching, reducing unnecessary plugins, and using a content delivery network (CDN) if necessary.
If you use WordPress, you could install plugins to improve your site speed.
However, one word of advice from my experience.
The best speed plugin will not cut it if you use a crappy website hosting provider.
So this is something you may want to check first before you start comparing these plugins.
The next thing you have to do is to ensure your URLs are concise, descriptive, and keyword-rich.
A clean URL structure makes it easier for search engines to understand your content.
Use hyphens to separate words, and avoid using numbers or vague characters in your URLs.
I’ve seen so often property listing pages on realtor websites where you see an URL like this: https://realestatebusiness.com/p124; for a property, let’s say, in Brooklyn, New York, while it could be like that, https://realestatebusiness.com/three-bedroom-loft-brooklyn-new-york, which would help your local rankings.
By the way, this is also an issue I often encounter with real estate marketing suites offering website builders for real estate agents and brokers.
In WordPress, this can be easily fixed by the proper configuration in “Settings/Permalinks.”
The next one is a properly working XML sitemap.
It’s a roadmap that helps search engines discover and crawl your website’s pages effectively.
So, generate an XML sitemap and submit it to search engines like Google to ensure all your pages are indexed.
You can also submit it via the Google Search Console.
After the XML sitemap, I suggest you also implement Schema Markup.
Schema markup is a structured data markup that provides additional context to search engines about the content on your website.
And when you implement schema markup, you can enhance your search engine listings by displaying rich snippets, such as star ratings, reviews, and property details.
This can give you an increase in click-through rates on the search engine results pages.
Each page should have unique, keyword-optimized title tags and compelling meta descriptions.
Title tags should accurately describe the content and include relevant keywords.
Meta descriptions should be concise and persuasive, encouraging users to click through your website.
The next thing is fixing broken links and 404 errors.
So, regularly check for broken links and fix them promptly.
Set up custom 404 error pages that provide helpful information and navigation options to retain users.
Finally, secure your website with HTTPS by acquiring an SSL certificate for your website to encrypt data and provide a secure browsing experience for users.
Many hosting companies include this in their offerings today so you can access it already, or you may have to upgrade your hosting plan so it’s included.
As mentioned earlier, HTTPS is also a ranking signal for search engines.
3) On-Page SEO to Optimize Your Real Estate Website
You will realize that on-page SEO has some overlaps with technical SEO to optimize your real estate website.
Think of it this way: technical SEO sets the foundation to ensure your website is accessible and well-structured for search engines.
In contrast, on-page SEO builds upon that foundation by optimizing the content and HTML elements to make them more attractive and relevant to users and search engines.
Putting it differently, on-Page SEO focuses on optimizing the content and HTML elements on individual web pages to improve their visibility and relevance to search engines and users.
And technical SEO, on the other hand, deals with the technical aspects of your website that affect its visibility and accessibility to search engines.
So how can you optimize your real estate website with on-page SEO?
I start with the three overlaps: optimizing title tags, writing engaging meta descriptions, and implementing schema markup.
You can use the latter specific to your real estate listings, such as property details, reviews, ratings, and pricing.
Next, you can conduct thorough keyword research to identify your real estate niche’s most relevant and valuable keywords.
Consider using tools like Google Keyword Planner, SEMrush, or Moz Keyword Explorer for inspiration (emphasis on “inspiration”) but not to assess search volume.
In my article about real estate keywords, I outlined why I do not favor relying too much on their search volume estimations.
Next, the keywords you identify should align with your target audience’s search intent.
Again, this ties in with your overall real estate content marketing strategy and is informed by the customer journey you hopefully have worked out.
Your following task would be to optimize and use header tags, such as H1, H2, H3, etc., to structure your content and guide search engines through your page.
The primary keyword you want to include in the H1 tag and use H2 and H3 tags for subheadings and subsections, incorporating relevant keywords where appropriate.
Generally, you should create high-quality, informative, and engaging content that satisfies the search intent of your target audience.
Incorporate your primary and secondary keywords naturally throughout the body text while maintaining readability and avoiding keyword stuffing.
Focus on providing value, answering questions, and addressing your audience’s pain points.
Next, you want to optimize your real estate images for user experience and SEO.
It also ties into technical SEO aspects since you must compress image file sizes without sacrificing quality to improve page load speed.
Use descriptive file names and add alt text to provide context and improve accessibility.
Utilize relevant keywords in image file names and alt text where appropriate.
Lastly, it will help to incorporate internal links within your content to guide users and search engines to relevant pages within your website.
This helps search engines understand the structure and hierarchy of your site while enhancing user navigation and encouraging longer on-site engagement.
Do you aim for topical authority (which you should in SEO 2023)?
If yes, the correct internal linking will also help Google to identify content clusters of the same or relevant topics.
4) Improving Your Real Estate Website’s User Experience (UX) and, in Passing, Your Lead Conversion Rate (?)
Similar to on-page SEO to improve your real estate website, improving your user experience also overlaps with three earlier discussed methods.
It’s site speed (no one likes drinking three coffees until a website has fully loaded), mobile-friendliness, and high-quality content.
But what are the remaining non-overlapping things you can do regarding user experience to optimize your real estate website for SEO?
Well, first, the layout and navigation of your website should be intuitive and straightforward.
Think of your website as a house, where visitors should quickly find the kitchen, living room, or bathroom.
All essential sections should be easily accessible from the main menu, and a clear path should be provided to guide users through their journey.
Next, you want to have effective call-to-actions (CTAs).
CTAs direct your website visitors toward the desired action, whether contacting you, signing up for a newsletter, or downloading a guide. It’s what generates real estate leads.
So, make your CTAs clear, compelling, and strategically placed.
When I covered real estate landing pages, I discussed user-friendly forms already:
And if your contact form is as complex as buying a house, you’ll lose potential leads.
Therefore, keep forms simple and user-friendly, requesting only essential information, but then again, not too simple to increase your lead quality.
Since humans are visual creatures, you might find it helpful to include high-quality images and videos of properties, engaging infographics, and visually appealing design elements to make your site more engaging and memorable.
And finally, your website should be accessible to everyone, regardless of their abilities.
This means considering color contrast for those with visual impairments, providing alt text for images, and ensuring your website is navigable via keyboard for those with motor disabilities.
Have you noted something?
You may have realized that methods for user experience (UX) and CRO have a lot in common.
In fact, they’re like two peas in a pod, working together to make your website a success.
Well, actually, they are like two siblings because while they share a lot, they also can fight from time to time, as you are about to learn.
User Experience (UX) is all about a user’s overall experience while navigating through your website.
It encompasses all interactions a visitor has, from how the site looks and feels to how easy it is to find information or complete a task.
Good UX design results in an intuitive, engaging, and satisfying website, making visitors want to stick around and explore.
On the other hand, conversion rate optimization (CRO) is a more specific discipline within digital marketing.
It’s about improving your (real estate) website or landing pages to increase the percentage of visitors who complete a desired action or “convert.”
This could mean filling out a contact form, clicking a call-to-action button, subscribing to a newsletter, or even purchasing (not too relevant for residential real estate for sale).
CRO uses many of the same principles as UX – good design, clear navigation, compelling content – but with a specific goal: to drive conversions.
So, while UX focuses on the overall experience, CRO zeros in on the elements that lead a user to complete a specific action.
Think of it like this: UX is about getting visitors to tour the house, while CRO is about getting them to sign on the dotted line (it’s actual sales and ties into copywriting too).
So while UX and CRO do overlap in many areas, they each have a distinct focus and goal.
Nevertheless, like siblings, they can fight from time to time. Why?
Because there can be situations where UX and CRO may seem to conflict.
For example, a CRO strategy might suggest adding more calls to action or forms on a page to increase conversion opportunities.
And tests and tracking confirm that these additional CTAs indeed have increased the conversion rate.
However, from a UX perspective, too many CTAs or forms could clutter the page and overwhelm the user, leading to a poorer user experience.
Similarly, a UX designer might prioritize a clean, minimalist design with lots of white space.
At the same time, a CRO expert might argue that valuable real estate is being wasted where persuasive, conversion-focused content or elements could be placed.
These are classic cases of potential UX/CRO conflicts, and I touched on this already in my article about real estate branding.
But here’s the key: the best strategies view UX and CRO not as separate silos or adversaries but as partners working towards a common goal.
What you can do to help balance UX and CRO is use hard data, not opinions of two conflicting factions (the UX designer vs. the CRO and copywriter).
So it’s worth exploring the use of analytics tools to analyze user behavior on your site.
Look at metrics like bounce rates, time on page, click-through rates, and conversion rates to identify what’s working and what’s not.
You can run A/B tests to compare different designs or elements and see which performs better regarding UX and conversions.
Sometimes crazy things may be revealed, such as a more ugly version of a landing page from a UX standpoint will have a longer time on the page, better click-through rates, and conversion rates. You never know…and not too many designers like this.
Remember, the ultimate goal is a user-friendly and conversion-focused website.
However, I would always lean more toward conversion-focused since user-friendly doesn’t pay the bills. A great UX could be the icing on the cake, though.
5) Improving Your Real Estate Website for Local SEO
I discussed local SEO for real estate more in-depth in a past article.
Therefore, in this section, I will briefly summarize what you can do to improve your real estate website with local SEO methods.
1) Google Business Profile (GBP) Signals:
Claim and optimize your Google My Business profile, incorporating local keywords in your description and business name, selecting relevant service categories, and providing accurate local contact details.
2) On-Page Signals:
Enhance your website’s on-page elements with local keywords and create location-specific landing pages.
Use local schema markup to give search engines location-specific data.
3) Review Signals:
Promote customer reviews on your GBP profile and other local platforms. Promptly respond to these reviews to show community commitment.
4) Link Signals:
Develop local backlinks through local partnerships, collaborations, and event sponsorships.
5) Behavioral Signals:
Optimize your website’s load speed and mobile-friendliness and create local, relevant content (again, an overlap to previously discussed tactics).
6) Citation Signals:
Ensure consistent business information (name, address, phone number) across local directories and secure listings in local and real estate-specific directories.
Customize content and user experience based on local preferences using website integration tools like Roof AI.
Also, use location-based digital advertising targeting to reach potential local clients.
Bonus: Optimize Your Real Estate Website With This Prioritized SEO Factor List
All the above may make you feel overwhelmed because everything sounds equally important.
But there is no reason to hit the reset button.
Well, if you treat the more than 200 ranking signals from Google equally important, you definitely have a good reason to hit the reset button.
But you can approach it with the 80/20 principle and align the above tips and tactics with the identified most important ranking signals in 2023.
According to this source which used data from several studies and surveys, you want to align the above methods and tasks for your real estate website improvements to the following (I filtered everything out that was not relevant for website improvement):
- Content quality & depth
- Searcher intent
- Topical authority
- Internal links
- Keyword optimization
- Page experience signals
- Core web vitals (e.g., website speed, etc.)
- Other technical factors such as HTTPS, mobile-friendliness, proper indexing
And if you want to dig even deeper into what is most important regarding content marketing and rankings, you may also consider watching the below video.
I know that was a mouth full of tasks and methods to improve your real estate website for SEO.
However, it can be worthwhile for your real estate lead generation results.
Consider not doing all of them simultaneously since it may drive you crazy.
You also want to prioritize the tasks using the above-prioritized SEO factor list.
I also suggest you remember to track the marketing performance using analytics since they provide data-driven insights into user behavior, measure SEO success, identify keyword opportunities, track conversions, and monitor website performance and can mess with UX designers’ heads if the ugly landing page version converts better.
This information lets you make informed decisions, improve user experience, and drive higher organic traffic and conversions.
This article has been reviewed by our editorial team. It has been approved for publication in accordance with our editorial policy.