These days, if you’re searching for something, the very first place you probably look is Google. It’s fast, it’s convenient, and it almost always gives you the exact answer you’re looking for right away.
The same is true of sellers. If someone wants to sell their house, probably one of the first things they’ll do is type “how to sell your house” or “sell my house fast” in the Google search bar and click “Search.”
Of course, you probably already know this. After all, you’ve already got your real estate investing website set up and everything. You’re a tech savvy investor.
But imagine with me, for a moment, if your website was the first one they see on the Google search results page. That would generate a lot of leads for you, which would make you a very happy investor indeed.
I’m here to tell you that getting that #1 spot on Google is not rocket science, and you don’t need to do anything terribly technical to your site in order to get it there. Gone are the days of keyword stuffing and link buying. Now Google favors sites that are helpful, relevant, and well structured.
Here are 5 quick and easy fixes you can make to your real estate investing website to improve SEO and, as a result, drive more leads.
1) Make sure your site is mobile friendly. As of April 2015, mobile-friendliness affects website ranking in Google search results. And it’s gotten even more serious than that. A colleague of mine recently went to an SEO conference and his number one takeaway was: We are no longer in a “Mobile-First” age – we have entered the “Mobile Only” age. Sellers in your area are very likely to be performing their Google searches from their phones.
That means that you want to make absolutely sure that your site not only looks nice on a mobile device, but that it functions well, too. All too often I have landed on a mobile site only to find the text way too tiny to read and buttons too small to be useful with my chubby fingers.
But if you opted for a more basic hosting service and you’re using WordPress, you’re not out of luck. In fact, you still don’t even need to dig into the code of your site at all. Phew!
All you need to do is make sure you have a responsive theme activated on your site. Look for themes that say they are “mobile responsive,” and use those. If you want to test your theme out, you can go into preview mode and drag your browser window to a narrower size. You should see the elements on the web page rearrange themselves to remain usable at a smaller size.
Once you find a theme you like that’s mobile-responsive, activate it. Congrats! You’re done. You now have a mobile-friendly site.
2) Check for basic technical problems. How does Google find out about websites and catalogue them in order to show them in search results? They send Google Bot out to crawl the interwebs. No, I’m not making this up – there really is a “bot” that will go to your site and “crawl” around on it, taking notes on its content and structure.
So what happens if Google Bot runs into technical problems? Imagine Google Bot is driving along a road, taking notes about different neighborhoods. If there are a lot of potholes or roadblocks, it doesn’t matter how beautiful the houses are – Google Bot isn’t going to give this neighborhood very good marks.
Missing pages (404 errors), broken links, and other errors are all like potholes to your website, and can cause it to appear lower in search results. Luckily, your site is probably on the small side (not too many pages) and it will be easy to spot and fix these kinds of errors.
One way to find out about errors on your site is to use Google’s Search Console (formerly Webmaster Tools). It’s free to use; all you have to do is verify that you’re the site owner and you’ll have access to Google’s information about your site. If you need help getting started, you can follow this excellent guide from Moz. The part of Search Console that concerns you right now is Crawl –> Crawl Errors.
This section will show you any errors that Google found on your site, and where it found them. If you see any errors in this report, this guide is a good place to start for finding out how to fix them.
3) Optimize your site structure. When a seller lands on your site, you want it to be easy to understand and navigate. Since your goal is driving leads, you want to make sure that it’s very simple for sellers to leave you their name and email address.
In addition, Google notices your site structure, and good architecture gets you kudo points with them, as well as ensuring that your site’s authority and “link juice” are used well.
Good site architecture looks like a pyramid. Your homepage is the point of the pyramid, with clear, easy to follow links (usually in a global navigation bar along the top of the page) to major site category pages, and links leading out from each one of those pages to more specific pages.
Take a good look at your website architecture and see if it’s following this model. Even better, draw a diagram of your site and see what it looks like. If it doesn’t look something like a pyramid, ask yourself a few questions:
- Are there pages I could combine into a main category page?
- Are there pages that contain varied information that should be separated into different category pages?
- Is my site navigation clear, concise, and easy to follow?
Once you’ve figured out the answers, go ahead and make the necessary changes to your site structure to make it more user (and Google!) friendly.
As a bonus tip, if you have a contact form on your site, make sure that it has no more than 3 fields for the user to fill out. Any more than that, and users become less and less likely to fill out and submit a form.
4) Target niche keywords. Let’s be real – if you’re just starting out, you’re a small player. There’s no way you’re going to compete with the big names in the business when it comes to search engine results. But don’t get discouraged just yet. There’s an easy solution to that problem:
Just don’t compete with them.
How can you be successful this way? By targeting local, “long-tail” keywords in your website copy instead of more general keywords, you set yourself up for success. For example, instead of targeting “sell my house” or even “sell house California”, keywords like “sell house Pasadena” or even “sell my Los Feliz house fast” (Los Feliz is a Los Angeles neighborhood) are likely to bring you more success.
This is because you’re targeting a more specific audience. Sure, the total size of your audience might be smaller, but because your site specifically serves their needs, they’re more likely to put their information in your contact form. Bam, you’ve got leads.
In addition, targeting these more specific, longer-tail keywords means that there are likely to be fewer other websites competing for space on Google’s results page, which means your site stands a better chance of appearing in front of the sellers you want to see it.
So, when you’re writing your website page titles, headlines, and copy, keep your target keywords in mind. Think about a few phrases that will localize your site and make it unique. It might help to make a list of target phrases. Try to have them appear a few times on each page, but make sure not to stuff keywords unnaturally, or your page will seem spammy.
More on choosing winning keywords in a future article!
5) Add yourself to Google My Business. The last time you searched for a local business, did you notice that a placard appeared that conveniently showed that business’s hours, phone number, address, and reviews? That’s the power of Google My Business, and I’m going to tell you how to harness it.
In fact, it’s extremely easy. Even if you don’t have an actual storefront – which, as an independent real estate investor you may not – you can still list your business details on Google My Business.
All you have to do is verify your business with Google, and then sign in to your account and edit your details. Check out this handy guide to get started.
Adding your information to Google My Business is a great compliment to your own real estate investing website. When your business comes up in local search results, your information will be easy for sellers to find, and in mobile results your phone number will be right there for them to call with a tap of their finger.
If you follow these 5 tips, and take care to make sure your site is relevant and useful and has quality content, you’re on the right path to getting more traffic to your site and more leads. Are there any other basic SEO tips you’ve found useful? Leave them in the comments below!
(featured image from unsplash.com)