Author: Sean Killian
Real estate is changing in many ways and the manner in which individuals are researching, finding, looking for help with their real estate decisions is being shaped by the web. As real estate agents, we need to be ever aware of these trends and how to setup our organizations best to succeed. Below, we’ve highlighted a few tips to improve your website’s visibility within search engine rankings.
Ensure your site is user friendly
Most importantly, make sure our website is easy to read and navigate throughout. Every page should be labeled with proper headlines and content to match. Ensure that every link within your site leads to the correct page and not a broken 404 page. Broken links are a sign to Google that parts of your site are broken, thus increasing the potential for penalties in search engine rankings.
Ensure your site is friendly on mobile devices
Mobile is becoming evermore important and search engines are putting more weight on how your site is viewed by mobile users. Do yourself a favor and check to make sure your site functions properly on a few different types of mobile devices. Have your web developer fix any issues you come across as quickly as possible. You can even use tools like Google Webmaster Tools to find errors for you that need to be fixed.
Make sure you have keyword rich title tags
Title tags are critical for search engines to understand what the content on your page contains. Several tools exist for keyword research, but on a basic level, think to yourself about what people who you want to visit your site might search. These should be your sites title tags, along with info like your city and your name. Best practice is to keep title tags below 70 characters. Equally important is to have keywords within your site’s content to match your title tag. If search engines see title tags that do not match your site’s on-page content, they may see it as trying to game the system, thus incurring potential penalties.
Optimize your Google Local Page
Make sure you setup and get your company’s Google+ page verified. This process involves Google sending a postcard in the mail to your company’s location that will allow you to verify your address via phone. Once verified, Google now will see your business as more credible, thus improving your chances of ranking higher in local search results. Other important items related to local search including building out your Google+ page with photos and info about your business, reviews from customers, and citations on business directory sites across the web. Local results will continue to become more and more important as time goes on so setup this initial infrastructure early.
Link building to your website
One of the most critical factors in SEO are the amount of links pointing at your site from other 3rd party websites. Think of links as “votes” for your site, the more you get from other websites, the higher you are pushed up search engine rankings. While this is a very simplistic understanding of how link building works, links from high quality sites are critical to anyone trying to take their organic rankings to the next level. Look for opportunities to lend your commentary or expertise to 3rd party sites in need. These can take the form of blog articles that can be submitted to certain websites in your industry or services like HARO, which connects industry experts with reporters looking to write stories based on those expert’s opinions.
Overall, improving your position in search engines takes time, but understanding the basics and getting started early will set you up for long term success.
Sean Killian is a marketing consultant for Calcagno & Hamilton real estate, serving new and existing residents in Santa Barbara and Montecito California.