For businesses that provide services or products to a local area, ranking well in local Google searches is a high priority. This is certainly the case for Realtors. Where I live, on the west coast of Canada, real estate sales are booming. And as the market has become hotter, more and more people are becoming real estate agents to get in on the action. With growing competition to get listings and make sales, Realtors need to get an edge above the competition whenever they can, and that includes search engine optimization or SEO.
I recently performed some SEO market analysis on real estate agent websites in my region and was surprised to see how many SEO mistakes Realtors make in common. So, without further adieu, here’s my list of the 4 Top SEO Mistakes Made by Realtors:
No Google My Business (GMB) listing
My research showed that 57% of Realtors don’t have a GMB listing. Factors related to the GMB listing make up roughly 20% of what Google considers to be important when ranking a website in local searches, so ensuring that you have an optimized GMB listing will definitely give you an advantage over those who don’t have one. You can read more about SEO and GMB listings here.
Creating and maintaining a website isn’t easy, and in such a highly competitive online market as real estate sales, many companies have popped up to provide website design, building, and hosting services specifically for Realtors. These services often offer pre-designed website templates that you can easily launch with your own content. However, quite often these websites also include stock content, such as articles on “home buying tips,” or “how to stage your home,” that you can include on your website and make your life a bit easier. My research showed that 33% of real estate websites use copied content shared by other Realtors. Because Google rewards original, valuable content, copied content may be seen as less valuable, giving a higher ranking to a competitor who has all original content. So, always try to use original content on your website!
This is one of those seemly innocuous details about SEO that can cause a lot of problems. In ranking for local searches, Google wants to make sure that your contact information (name, address, and phone number, or NAP) is up to date. One way it does this verification is to compare instances of your NAP on your website, GMB listing, and other websites. These instances are called “citations.” If your citations are not consistent, Google may see your address as being out of date and give ranking preference to a competitor with matching citations. I found that 90% of Realtor websites had citations that didn’t match their GMB listing, so this is a good place to start if you want to have an advantage over your competitors in local search. You can read more about optimizing citations here.
Whether it was broken links, poorly-formatted HTML, or missing “ALT” tags on images, nearly all of the Realtor websites I reviewed in my study had some sort of technical issues in their website code that can affect SEO. Whether you maintain your website yourself, or you have someone do it for you, make sure your website is monitored regularly for technical problems.
The majority of SEO issues that I found in this study of Realtor websites are generally easy to and quick to fix. There are several tools online that will scan your website for technical errors, but for a full review of your website and online marketing, consider an SEO Audit from an SEO expert (like me!).
Rob Parker is a data-driven marketing, design and user experience executive consultant with over 20 years of experience. With his company, ACME Marketing, he helps small, medium and enterprise-level businesses gain value and customers by developing solid online and offline marketing and user experience strategies and techniques. He is a unique mix of marketing strategist, UX architect, designer, data analyst, writer, usability expert and perceiver of consumer habits and psychology. Rob combines user and market research with data analysis and his experience as a designer and content writer to make recommendations to increase your rankings on web searches and attract customers (SEO), as well as how to increase conversions on your website (CRO).