The real estate market has changed a lot with the advent of the internet. For both sellers and buyers, it’s never been easier to put people in touch with the right buyer or moving into that perfect home. When you are looking to sell a condominium, especially in a high-end or competitive market, you need to be smart to set yourself apart from the competition. Becoming internet-savvy and letting online marketing work for you will decrease the time that your units are sitting empty, and get you right in front of great prospective buyers. If you haven’t SEO-optimized your real estate website, you are missing out on a lot of leads. Fortunately, it’s not too late to cash in on internet sales. Follow these steps to rejuvenate your site, and attract more buyers.
Make smart use of local keywords
The most popular phrase new buyers enter into their search is “[City] Condos.” (e.g., Boston Condos) Buyers – whether they are new to the area or native city dwellers – refer to work with a local realtor. You or your real estate group may service several areas, but if you are just starting out, it’s better to focus your website as locally as possible. There are several very common search terms that you can use to attract first-time visitors to your site:
- (your city) condos
- (your city) condos for sale
- (your city) condominiums
- (your city) high rise lofts
If you use these terms as individual pages for your website, you’ll attract different viewers to content that they are specifically looking for, as well as introduce them to related items. For instance, with these terms, your website might contain these different pages:
- Boston Condos Condos for Sale;
- Best Areas for New York Condos;
- New York High-Rise Loft Lifestyle;
- Reviews of Living in Miami Condominiums.
The content in each of these pages can also include local keywords that buyers are searching for, such as “Greenwich Village” or “Tribeca area.”
Your website should be a resource for more than just a list of properties for sale. For instance, a page can contain information on local schools, the neighborhood experience, median income, public transportation, or other details a newcomer might want. Although you may be tempted to use broader keywords to attract more visitors, if you don’t have the specific area they are looking for, then they won’t stay. When you are starting out, the more local keywords you can utilize, the better.
Be careful when using IDX (Internet Exchange Data) for your real estate listings. Many realtors and condo associations use these; however, they don’t impact your search engine rankings. Because these are linked with jQuery on a subdomain that appears off the main site, Google won’t “see” them as part of your site, and won’t include them as part of your site. In order to retain visitors and attract new ones, improve the content of your site with some of the tips below.
Furthermore, MLS content is duplicated, and therefore, not unique; Google wants and loves unique content! Don’t be like everyone else, be different, and be better.
Use photos and videos
Never underestimate the importance of high-quality photos and videos doe a website, especially a real estate site. Buyers enjoy a virtual property tour, and many potential leads go elsewhere if there aren’t photos of the condo in question. If you are in an especially competitive market, you may find that you lose sales if there aren’t pictures of the properties, or if the pictures aren’t very good ones. Hire a professional photographer to take pictures of the properties for your website if needed, and consider a professional videographer to film virtual tours for especially difficult to move properties.
One unique way to bring fresh content to your website is including testimonials from happy buyers of similar properties. Consider having them host a tour of their property, and talk about what they enjoy about living there. Anytime you make a sale, consider asking the happy new homeowners for a testimonial – right after you hand them the keys is a great time. Best of all, this content is completely original and unable to be duplicated.
Get listed in directories
Take advantage of the popularity of real estate apps, such as RedFin, Trulia, Homes.com, and Zillow. These sites are immensely popular – Trulia has received 277 million page views in one month, and Zillow a whopping 498 million page views in one month. These numbers are too large to ignore. By having yourself listed in these directories, you’ll be able to reach the huge user base of these sites, as well as piggyback onto their advertising. Plus, these sites generally have first-class photos and video tours of properties, so you’ll be associated with those, too.
Being listed is a must for SEO rankings. The more you are able to have your website listed and linked on real, legitimate websites, the more credibility you will have with search engines, and the higher up the search page you’ll climb. These are referred to as “backlinks” and while you can purchase these from companies like Fiverr, it’s much better to grow them organically. In fact, some companies have been penalized for artificially creating backlinks, and Google has dropped them down to the very bottom of the results. Try a quick search of “realtors in [your area]” – see how many results come up? You definitely don’t want to be dead last.
If you are in a niche market, have unique properties, or need backlinks for your website, being listed in real estate directories, especially on these sites, is a good move for you. Buyers who are looking for a niche, or unusual properties, are more likely to look at directories for those specific types of property, versus a general real estate agent list. Double check that the correct contact information is listed in the directories, as well as the correct spelling of your name. In fact, you may want to consider having a short “boilerplate” of information that you have specifically for real estate directory listings. Definitely don’t hesitate to contact the directory with questions about how to position yourself in the best manner.
Include blog entries
There are some properties that realtors are motivated to sell, out of perhaps hundreds of listings. Targeted blog entries can attract notice to those particular properties – whether it’s a detailed highlighting of the features of the property, a description of the neighborhood, or an account of interesting things to do nearby, visitors to a site will stay to read a blog entry, and pique their interest in the featured unit or units. The property address itself should be the keyword for the blog, so that users searching directly for it will find the blog, as well.
Using the property as the keyword means incorporating it correctly into the SEO metadata: title tag, content, photo tags, and photo filename. Your blog should be unique, and around 500 words with a description of the property at the beginning. To increase your ranking, make sure that you have different content.
Use a responsive design and go mobile
Did you know that 89% of home buyers use their mobile devices (tablets or smartphones) when house hunting? If you haven’t considered making your webpage mobile-friendly, or even developing an app, you really should. The easier you are for busy condo shoppers to access on the go, the more likely that they’ll bookmark and return. Tablet searches of real estate have increased 300% this year over last year. With many buyers making their shortlist before they’ve even seen a realtor for an appointment, mobile marketing is the way to position yourself at the top of a buyer’s mind.
If your website doesn’t have most of this information -even if it’s just linked to preferred mortgage brokers and lenders – then these buyers simply aren’t finding you. Some of the common search terms and follow up information for condo buyers are:
- How to contact a broker
- Comparing prices between different units
- Google Maps or Waze for directions to the building
- Details about the neighborhood and general information
- Reviews of the property, the area, and even different realtors
- “listing agent” also “buyers agent” and “real estate agent”
research for a mortgage broker and home loan information
- Watching videos and virtual tours of properties they like
IN order to make your website mobile, you will need to utilize Responsive Design (Google’s preferred configuration). There are other, “off-site” ways to drive traffic to your website, such as cross-marketing. Consider optimizing your biography page on your home agency’s site, being listed in real estate directories, and targeted, precise use of social media platforms. These things are very important, as multiple presences on the web can create important backlinks to your site, which, in turn, will increase the SEO optimization and make its ranking higher.
Optimize your bio on your broker’s site
If you are a part of a larger brokerage agency, you will have a biography page on the agency’s website. This will contain a nice, professional headshot, as well as a quick synopsis of your education, qualifications in the real estate market, and any professional certifications that you hold. Your license information will be on that, too. You will want to present yourself in the best light possible, and highlight things in your skill set that buyers are looking for ina real estate agent.
While this page may not give you direct results for ranking, due to its positioning as a sub-domain, it can get your name out there, and allow potential buyers to familiarize themselves with you. They may even google your name, and discover this page. Use your full name in the “title” tag, as well as in the metadata description. While you may not have complete control over what you can change in this regard, ask the owner of the domain for the permissions you will need to make these changes. Along with ranking your name, you can also cross-promote your personal website by providing a link to it on your bio page.
Incorporate social media
Social media is hands down the best way to meet people and foster relationships. Everyone is tweeting, Facebooking, or doing it for the ‘gram. By positioning yourself to make as many connections as possible, you will appear to be a known, trusted face when these friends and followers are ready to buy or sell a condo. Best of all, while your new friends may not be in the market themselves for a new home, they may know someone who is, and can refer them to you.
With active social media accounts, you can interact with clients daily, and provide real-time engagement. You can answer questions, and even share insider tips and insights to followers.
The more platforms that you have an active presence on, the more people you’ll be able to reach. In addition, each social media platform: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, even Snapchat, all have features that make them unique. Certain things lend themselves better to different social media platforms. Just make sure that you have the time to keep up with all these – it’s better to just do one or two social media accounts really well, with daily updates and fresh posts than it is to have several accounts languishing because posting takes up too much time.
Realtors benefit a lot from Instagram and Pinterest because of those platform’s ability to show videos and photos. Definitely, select at least one of these for your professional social media account. Some things to keep in mind about using social media to promote your own personal brand are to make sure that your professional accounts are just that – professional. Keep it G rated, and controversy-free at all times. While you’re at it, scrub your personal social media accounts, as well. If someone wants to friend you or add you or follow you back, they may find your personal account first, instead of your business one. You would be very embarrassed if am indiscreet post is the first impression someone has of you. Use social media intelligently, and make sure to incorporate appropriate hashtags, especially when listing properties.
Use your networking Skills
If you’ve done all of these and still see yourself lower in the rankings that you’d prefer, it may be time to directly ask for satisfied clients to help you rise. Independent clocks give your website a boost and more traffic. In addition, if there are real estate blogs that you like, as to do a guest post, or ask them to guest post for you. You can grow backlinks organically that way. Many realtors have preferred vendors that they use, such as photographers, home inspectors, and handymen. Ask to link to their pages, and have them link to yours, as well. Perhaps they could guest blog about how their trade relates to real estate, and then their followers can visit your site for more unique visitors, as well. You won’t get to the top without working for it, that is for sure.
Making your website SEO optimized and SEO friendly is a must if you are going to attract the attention of condo buyers. With so much research being done on the internet for real estate purchases, the only smart move is to make sure that you are right there, virtually in front of prospective clients. The more you put your professional self out there, the more hits you will receive, and the more traffic you can drive to your website. Clicks become leads; leads are qualified, and before you know it, you have a steady stream going into your sales pipeline from your real estate website.