Everyone with a website has the potential to get found. 88% of Homebuyers use the internet to search for homes (NAR survey). With such a competitive market how can you stand out in the crowd? Search engines decide who gets found based on what people are searching for. Keeping in mind that search engines such as Google, Bing and Yahoo are businesses and make money off of providing people with search results that are relevant to what they are looking for.
You have probably heard the term Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Essentially, SEO is the process of improving the visibility of your website in search engine result pages. The higher up you are on the result pages the more visitors you will have coming to your website. There are two types of SEO strategies Paid Search and Organic Search.
Paid search such as Google Adwords allows you to buy a place in search engine result pages for certain words or phrases (i.e. Homes in my town). Typically the amount that you pay is based on how many people click on your ad (pay per click). Paid search is great if you currently are not ranking very well, perhaps you are newer in the industry or are working in a very competitive area. However, keep in mind that being found organically is something that everyone should strive for. According to Hubspot “most searchers click on the organic result – in fact, over 70% of people click on the organic search result, while only 30% are likely to click on paid links”. Typically you can tell which links are paid as they appear at the very top or right hand side of the search engine result pages in their own box.
Organic search is a term to describe your website being found because it has been deemed relevant in the eyes of the search engines to what the consumer has searched for. How can you get found organically? Content is King! The most important thing you can do to get found organically is by having content on your website that is updated, local, and relevant to what you are trying to be found for. Keeping in mind that search engines are a business, the more pages you have relevant to what people are looking for the higher they will rank you on their result pages. If there is a particular area you work in and are trying to get found for make sure you have a few pages about it. Anything from local events, restaurants, businesses, neighbourhood information etc. Any page that you think your clients can benefit from and even share with their friends.
Make sure you keep it updated. If you build a website and then it sits with nothing new ever being added the search engines will begin dropping you lower in the result pages. They want to see that you are constantly updating and providing people with new relevant information. Imagine going to your favourite clothing store and they kept the same selection year after year. Eventually you would get bored and venture elsewhere for something new and updated. Create a website that becomes the go to resource for your area. A tool you can share with your buyers and sellers to go to for information about the community and real estate. If they find it useful I guarantee you they will share it with their friends. If you don’t enjoy writing, video is a fun and easy way to keep your website fresh. Google owns YouTube and as a result loves when you have videos on your website. Walk through your home town, interview local businesses, and capture testimonials. It is much more likely for a consumer to watch a video than read a chunk of text.
Which one should you focus on? A mixture of both is always best. Organic being what you should ultimately strive for. A website should never replace going out and shaking someone’s hand. Think of it more like a valuable resource you can provide to your community with local information combined with your expertise as a real estate professional. We are living in a world where people have computers in their pocket and when they have questions they are searching online. Start updating, get found and generate business!