Estate agents are experts in their own field, but there are probably things they don’t know about SEO. That’s why we, as SEO experts, have put together a list of the top five tips that will help an estate agent’s website get more visibility in search.
If you run an estate agent website, take advantage of excellent local and geographical SEO techniques and boost the chances of house-hunters looking at your properties.
Get the main on-page elements right, always
First, implement dynamic title tags, meta descriptions and H1s on property pages based on the property spec. This will ensure that those elements will always be up-to-date and relevant to the page on which they are appearing.
RightMove is a great example of what you should do. If you are on a property page, you will see that the title tag (what appears at the top of your browser) and the H1 (the big heading above the images) are describing the property. For example, if you are looking at a 2-bedroom ground floor flat to rent in Gosport, the title tag should be “2-bedroom ground floor flat to rent in Clarence Road, Gosport, PO12”. The H1 should be “2 bedroom ground floor flat to rent”.
This will all help search engines understand that the page is about a flat to rent. It also contains the location, so helps boost local visibility.
Make use of Google+ MyBusiness listings
Estate agents are local businesses, so it is crucial to have Google+ MyBusiness pages set up for each branch – in case you have more than one. That’s not all. You will also need to verify those listings and add as much relevant information about them as possible. Add opening hours and photos, then explain a bit more about your company.
Once you’ve done that, ask your existing customers to leave you a review on Google+. This information gets picked up by Google and you will benefit from having a star rating next to your Google+ listing in the search results. That, of course, attracts more eyeballs and increases the chances of someone visiting your website.
Content is the key to success
It might sound like a cliché, but content is what sells. Forget about the search engines for a moment and think about your prospects. When they come to your website and look at a property, they will need some text to explain its setup, where it’s located and will want to find out more about the local area. They will also need to be told why they should go for the particular property and why they should choose you as their agent in sealing the deal.
With this in mind, you need to make sure you present yourselves as industry experts. You can do this through keeping an up-to-date blog and/or news section, showing that you know what you’re talking about.
Decide what to do with non-existing properties
As with every estate agent, you will have properties come and go all the time. SEO wise, it is important to consider what will happen to the pages for properties that have been taken off the market. My recommendation will be to make such pages return 404 header status and provide a message saying the property is no longer available. Ideally, you should present a list of similar properties, e.g. ones in the same area within a similar price range. This increases the chance of people staying on your website and viewing more properties.
Don’t overlook the technical parts of SEO
In addition to everything I’ve said so far, there are a few other things you can do to help search engines understand your website better – and therefore return it in their search results more often.
Adding a dynamic XML is one of them. This should definitely include links to all live properties and drop those that have been removed.
Although often overlooked, structured data markup can benefit your websites by making it easier for search engines to understand that you are in the property industry. Depending on whether you offer only lettings, or properties for sale as well, you should use the implementation guides below.
Author’s note: Please, please, please add pictures to the properties you upload. As a prospective client I get frustrated when I find a property in an area I’m interested in and at an appealing price, but it doesn’t have photos. Do you know what I do when that happens? I just go to your competitors.