For a real estate investor or developer who has chosen to grow their business by building a website, the term “Search Engine Optimization” or “SEO” will likely come up in any initial research you have done. This concept is critical if you want your website to show up for searches entered into search engines, but the practice sounds much more intimidat- ing than it really is. In fact, just by learning the basics you can drive a consistent and year-round ﬂow of leads in the form of buyers, sellers, vendors, and even new sources of capital. This white paper will help you learn how to apply SEO techniques to your website to foster relationships with the industry players mentioned above.
The information below walks you through each of ﬁve major types of SEO for real estate investors. It is written in plain English with minimal jargon and and includes examples specific to real estate investors like yourself.
The 5 sections include:
- On-Page Basics – These help you prepare your overall website and its individual pages for the search engines, website visitors, and potential buyers. These basic techniques provide the foundation for your site.
- On-Page and Technical Mid-level to Advanced SEO – These are items that give search engines a better understanding of your business, who will beneﬁt from ﬁnding a speciﬁc page within your website, and how to increase your site’s speed a bit more.
- Attracting Sellers – Ready to use SEO to source more potential investment prop- erties? Here is where you’ll learn the important things to help attract motivated sellers.
- Bringing in Buyers – Securing an investment property and copleting renovations are exciting moments for an investor, but you still ned to ﬁnd a buyer to complete the “ﬂip” of the property. This section will help you make sure that your website is showing up when they lookf for available homes that match your investment property.
- Localizing Content – To show up in location-speciﬁc searches you’ll want to use location-based SEO to optimize your website. This is where we teach you how.
a. Events schema and locations schema
b. Mobile inputs
c. Clickable phone numbers
On-Page Basics for SEO
On-page SEO is about defining what the page is about for both the person visiting your website and the search engines. These are easy and actionable items you can implement to let the search engines know which types of queries and questions your page is meant to answer and provide more information on.
Below you’ll find a list of on-page SEO items specifically for real estate investor websites and a few examples of what are “good” and what are “bad” examples. We’ll also share with you how to analyze what is currently on an existing website, so that if you already have a website you can make sure your pages are optimized properly.
- Title tags – This is what appears in your browser and as the headline in a search engine result. It should be 55 characters or less including spaces, have the main keyword phrase of the page in it, and be descriptive about what the person will ﬁnd on your website if they click through.
- Meta description – These are NOT going to impact your ability to rank higher in search results but they can increase how much trafﬁc you get. They appear in search results below the title, should be 155 characters or less and reinforce the message of the title tag and further explain how the person will beneﬁt by visiting your page. If the Title tags serve as your “label” for the page, the Meta descrip- tion serves as your sales pitch for why someone should click.
- H1 tags – These are the header and main topic of the page and are normally the bold letters you see. They should be simple, to the point, and direct. It is important to avoid using the same ones on any two pages and there should never be more than one H1 tag per page. There can only be one H1 tag per page because Google doesn’t want to have to decide which page to show, o when there are more than one it doesn’t show either.For example, you should not have two separate pages on your website with an H1 tag of “Chantilly Virginia Single Family Home For Sale” on it.
- Internal links –– These are links from one page on your website to another page on your website. They help the search engine to know what the page you are linking to is about. You do not want to link off of the same keywords to two separate pages as this causes confusion about which is the better page or more relevant.For example, if your website features the phrase “renovated houses in Bethesda” in multiple locations within your website, be sure to not link ithat phrase to multiple other pages. Instead have one page dedicated to just youre completed projects in Bethesda and anytime you link off of a variation of “Bethesda homes” you should only link to that page.
- Copy – This simply refers to the text that is written on any page of your website. Word count does not matter any more, so instead think about how you can provide the best possible user experience with the most relevant wording. This is what search engines reward and may help you to show up, so make sure that your copy is relevant to the intended query and valuable to visitors.
Ways to answer questions and provide a good user experience that also makes the search engines happy include:
– Featuring Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about the topic
– Creating content that explains what the page is about (which could include your experi- ence in a bio or portfolio page), or about the house or condo on the property listings page (a multi-family home with 3 baths, game room, and a pool which is also close to 3 dog parks).
– The last thing to check is the copy on your pages from your phone and your desktop computer. If it is not the same, you may not be able to show up in the search engines as well. Google, for example, considers the content from your mobile site ﬁrst, and then may look at what is on the desktop. Why does this create a problem?
Designers tend to hide or remove copy from mobile websites because it takes up space on the smaller, more slender screen. If the mobile version does not have the same exact text, your site may not be able to rank as well as it could, and other sites will probably rank better than you. Page links in the menu and other internal links need to remain consitent as well since search engines often use these as roadmaps for your content, and if the two maps (mobile and desktop) are different, they will spot the inconsistency and decrease your rank.
- Images – Believe it or not, the images on your pages should not be high resolution and should be saved at 100kb or less. This is for page speed. The speed of the speciﬁc page (total load time) is a ranking signal and Google generaly prefers the page with the lower page speed.
Here’s an example of a good and a bad title tag/description and H1 combination for an investor who is looking for motivated sellers.
Title – The Best Place To Sell Your Home In Virginia | Arling- ton | Alexandria
Description – We’re here to buy your home quickly and with cash. Contact us today and ﬁnd out why we are the best choice to buy your house.
H1 – The Best Place To Sell Your Home In Virginia, Arling- ton, Alexandria
Title – Sell Your House As-Is in Virginia, Arlington, Alexandria
Description – Get your fair cash offer now. There’s no need to perform repairs or deal with high-pressure negotiations.
H1 – We Buy Houses in Rough Condition
Title – Sell My House for Fast Cash
Description – Looking to ofﬂoad your home quickly and for an honest cash offer? Contact us today and get an offer in minutes.
H1 – Sell Your House Fast
In the bad example it is “keyword stuffed” and all about you as the buyer and not helping out the seller. The character counts are also too high to ﬁt into a search result. In the good examples you have some of the important keywords like location covered and their copy is about meeting seller’s needs and alleviating pain points like stressful negotiations. It also has a call to action to let them know they can reach you.
At this point, with a potential customer’s email address in hand, it’s time to start weighting the balances towards your company being the answer to their problem by becoming a go-to resource for all things web design. This is commonly done via marketing emails sent out at regular intervals, whether daily, weekly or monthly.
Have you written a short ebook about making a more efficient website? Give them a link to it. Can you offer your prospect more how-to type support articles relating to web design or boosting their site traffic? Gear those posts or emails to show how your website design services can take the headache and stress out of their web presence.
This is the perfect time to send out an email to them courteously making them aware of your varied resources. This sends the message that you are an authority in your field and that you are here to help.
At this stage, as they are “considering” which avenue to go down to solve their problem of needing a website, so showing the customer exactly how your website design services can make their life better is key.
This is where the classic marketing concept of features vs. benefits comes in. A feature is what you know you do as a web designer and is usually more technical in the eyes of the customer. A benefit, on the other hand, is why the customer should care about that feature because of how it will make their life or business better.
In other words, a benefit is the end result of a feature. It is how your clients will experience the website you build.
So Instead of telling the customer,
“We can design a responsive, custom site with UI/UX in mind,”
you might say instead,
“We handle every detail that goes into creating an efficient website for your business needs, giving your customers both a mobile friendly and user friendly experience that clearly showcases your brand and your product.”
Your customer probably doesn’t care what UI/UX is. But they do care that the website you build is clean and fluid so that people can have an easier time buying their goods or services, which in turn will help them make more money.
Once a potential customer has…
- Realized their need of a new/updated website
- Researched their options
- Warmed up to the idea that you may be able to help them by giving you their email address and engaging with your content
…now it’s time to influence them towards your website design services in the decision stage.
This is where the customer will be actively comparing your services to what your competitor offers. Your promos, trial offers, ebooks and personal consultations have the opportunity to tip the scales in your favor. What are you doing for your potential customer that perhaps other website designers aren’t?
For example, if someone who has been following your emails about web design or SEO strategy gets an email about a limited time promotion you are running for the very product she has been considering, especially when some of the risk has been removed from the product (30 days or money back, limited time pricing, free personal consultation), all of a sudden you are offering a lot more to her than the others and that might be the extra nudge she needs to purchase what you offer.
All of this might seem like a lot of work, but website design services are not a common impulse buy for most people. They are making the choice to rely on you for how their business is represented on the internet and that takes a lot of trust. The good news is once you have these various customer resources set up on your website, they do all the work for you so you can go back to focusing on your current customer load. Meaningful engagement with a potential customer through each of these stages can be completely automated and still very effective.
When a marketing attempt fails, often it’s because the potential customer isn’t being given what they need from a business at the right stage of where they are at. Clients who are in the awareness stage haven’t done their homework yet on what their options are and therefore will be a lot less willing to purchase something compared to a client who is in the decision stage.
A customer will need different resources from your company in different stages and that’s where taking advantage of marketing funnel logic can help your website design business grow.