“How to promote my real estate website?”, “How can I get more traffic to my real estate site?”, “How can I generate more leads from Facebook?” At Apartment Ocean, we provide an AI assistant to real estate agents to help them create more sales and close more deals. Interestingly, during many sales conferences, one thing I always hear from agents is that they spent a lot of money on personal websites, but their sites don’t really get any traffic.
To start solving the issue, I always ask them to show me their websites, and I find that most of them have common mistakes due to the lack of some basic SEO elements or incorrect SEO configuration. Hopefully this blog can provide useful and easy-to-implement strategies.
1. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Search engine optimization is the process of affecting the visibility of a website or a web page in a website through a typical search engine’s unpaid results. A better SEO strategy helps you get more customers without spending any marketing money because it allows your customer to discover your website by themselves when they browse the internet. It is a very important task for every website owner. This strategy gives you more business for FREE.
The goal of SEO
Everything starts with a clear goal. The goal of SEO is to rank your website competitively. Real estate marketing is a very intense. There are a lot of players in this market, including
big tech giants, top brokerage firms and millions of individual agents. It is crucial that you stand out among your competitors.
Top tier sites dominate the keywords like ‘home to buy in xxx place’. These sites are solely tech companies and there are only visible online so they had to become experts in search engine optimization.
Your individual site should not directly compete with these big players because it is nearly impossible. They have more advanced technology, more experienced teams, and a much bigger budget than you can afford to spend in SEO.
You have to have a clear idea in your mind what keywords your website should use so that it doesn’t compete directly with these top sites. It is hard to get on the first page of search results, but a 2nd or 3rd page result will still provide a decent number of users because the search volume on real estate topics is huge.
Find your keyword and set your website around it
Before moving on to any more sophisticated and technical methods, we should set up the keyword for your website. Think about the keyword as a topic for an essay or novel. What can the main topic be for your website? We will start to write content on the website around that keyword. We have to be creative here; it has to be something that not many companies are using, but the keyword potential clients will be searching.
(Tools recommendation for keyword discovering: Google Keyword Planner)
One good example of a keyword can be your name. Surprising, right? If you have met someone at an open house and handed them your business card, the chances are they will google your name. You want to make sure when people search your name, your real estate website is on the top of the google search results.
Next it’s time to implement the topic for the website. Try to put your topic keywords on some of your subjects, and you can even put a bio on your website. One small thing you need to pay attention to is that you should never over use the keywords. Usually, the rule is that the keyword should be lower than 2.5% of your total content, which means the keyword can appear within your content 2.5 times per 100 words. If you are using WordPress, tools like Yoast SEO or All-in-one SEO can easily check the ratio.
2. Targeted content
Search engine optimization is a pure content play. Good websites must have something readers want to read and share.
Write about your keyword
Each website has a topic or keyword. The content can’t be duplicate and don’t copy and paste from other places. Your content should be organic and created by you. When you need to quote an article from somewhere, provide a link with it.
I remember how I ruined my own SEO once. I published one article on my blog and it went viral; it was the first time I saw a viral effect on myself. I became too excited and immediately wrote five more similar articles with exactly same topic. Then I lost the entire ranking on this topic. So, when you create your content, make sure each article has different topics.
How many words do I need to write
Don’t be too short; try to write at least 400 words for every webpage you have or each article you decide to put on your website. Search engines usually give more attention to longer articles, but even a 100 word targeted and quality article is better than a 1000 word, non-targeted article.
Garbage in and garbage out, Google and other search engines are becoming smarter and harder to trick now. They use lots of machine learning and artificial intelligence technology to detect if an article is useful to its targeted reader. There’s no short cut in content creation, but the hard work will pay off when you get more online visitors and create more sales.
Share it on your social media
When you publish your work on your website, you should share it on all your social media, including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+… as many as you can. You never know who your reader is or who will be interested in your service and become your next customer. If your content is helpful, people will even share it by themselves.
3. Use analytics tools on your website
Do you know who just visited your website? Do you know how many total visitors you have at the end of the month? Or do you even know where your users are coming from? An analytics tool is like a radar for your website; you can easily track how your website performs and what are your users doing on the site.
If you’d like to make sales to non-referral customers, the analytics tool is very important and you need to have and know how to use it. Although there are hundreds or maybe be even thousands of analytics tools on the market, and some of them are expensive with a ton of sophisticated features, based on my experience, a simple tool that can track KEY metrics is more than enough in the beginning. Once your website can attract more than a hundred thousand visitors every month, simple analytics is all you need.
Google analytics is the best free web analytics tool to start with. It’s very user friendly and easy to install. It is supported by most of the real estate website builders too: Placester, Boomtown, wix.. To start with Google analytics, you only need to copy and paste a short snippet of text on your website.
The main feature of Google analytics is to count how many website visitors you have and how many pageviews you have. The picture below is the dashboard of Google analytics; it shows the AUDIENCE section, which contains the most important data you should know.
Users —The total number of users on your website. Each person is automatically assigned with a unique user id when they first visit your site (after you install Google analytics). The user number is counted when they hit your site.
Pageviews—The total number of pages viewed. A single person may click on single webpage for several times and each view is counted.
Bounce Rate— It is the percentage of single-page visits. It means the percentage of users who leave your website after viewing only one page. If you have a nice-looking website, you want the user to stay on your website as long as possible. If the bounce rate is high, you should improve the wording and your design to make the site more attractive. Keep testing!
Always be data driven
Google analytics has other useful sections, such as REAL-TIME, ACQUISITION, BEHAVIOR, and CONVERSIONS. If you have more time or would like to explore more, these parts are very straight forward and if you have any questions, please leave a comment below.
Other useful tools when your site has big traffic
Google analytics is a great starting point to get familiar with data analytics. Other popular tools, like Mixpanel and Heap, are great, but they require a little bit more knowledge about data analytics and they work better when you have a bigger traffic.
4. Use a Facebook group to boost your real estate business
Are you using any Facebook groups?
Group is a feature Facebook launched a few years ago and now it’s one of Facebook’s most popular features. It is popular not only because it is a way to share hobbies or interests; a lot of business owners use it to find clients and get more business. The group can be used to sell second hand products, promote new products, and, of course, find home renters or buyers. This is a brief guide about how to utilize Facebook groups if you are a real estate agent.
Join an existing group
The easiest way to start is to join existing groups. For example, the picture below is a screenshot of a few real estate groups. Each group has one or more group administrators responsible for managing the group and making sure everyone in the group follows rules. Admin group members have the right to moderate any posts. So, when you join the group, the first thing to pay attention to is that you should participate in the group discussion, not immediately start selling houses and marketing your business; that’s considered as spam.
To join the group is very simple. You start a group search by typing real estate related keywords, like ‘apartment rental in new york’. Then you will see a list of groups. Click the ‘+1 join’ button to join the group; sometimes the administrator has to approve your request to join the group.
Once you are in the group, you can start commenting and join discussions. The simplest way to find potential renters or buyers is to promote your listings. Just put some pics of the listing and a short summary in the post. If someone likes your post, he or she will send you a private message. You should pay attention to your pending requests because Facebook blocks people who are not your friends from sending you messages.
There are more ways to be active in the group and generate business. For example, people also share their blog post or product landing pages in the group. Some people cross-share the same post among groups. I can write more in the future, but the key is first join some groups and be familiar with the Facebook group.
Create your own group
It is always good to have your own group because you have the control: you can decide what can be posted and who can post in the group. If you have a large number of Facebook friends, it is easy to start your own group by inviting your friends and forming the initial base of group members. If your group has interesting topics, friends of your friends will join the group; just keep inviting people to join the group.
To add new members to the group, go to ‘ADD MEMBERS’. If people you’d like to invite are your Facebook friends, they can be added directly to the group. You can also put in your friends’ email addresses and then send them an email invite.
Once the group has a fair number of members, new members will come automatically by group discovery. People search for groups and most likely they will join several similar groups at once. So, your new group will be discovered by user search keywords too.