real estate

Real Estate Marketing, SEO, IDX, Tips & Advice

Save this post, bookmark this article. Here I will describe what Real Estate Agents and Brokers can do to increase their search engine traffic and Organic Search Engine Results.

What I advise in this post is what I recommend to my clients. I don’t recommend any tactics that could jeopardize your websites future seo potential with short term gains. I do recommend that you rethink your marketing strategy and realize that Real Estate is now more than ever, an online game. Either you evolve and prosper or you choose to let others generate the leads that are now more than ever, found online.

The Truth about Real Estate SEO

It’s hard. It doesn’t come easy. Google only shows at most 10 results on page 1 and a bunch of ads. Research has shown that people don’t go past page 1 of the search results. Research also shows that Pay Per Click doesn’t generate the same amount of leads as Organic Search Results do.

Organic Results vs Pay Per Click

Roughly 86% of web visitors click on the organic search results and only 14% click on those ads that might be on top or on the side. Also, you need to be mindful of the fact that some of the clicks that the Ads get might actually be from your competitors just clicking away and wasting your money.

So of that 14%, it is quite possible that as much as 80% are not people who are actually potential clients. If 100 people search for real estate in your market 86% will click what they trust. Thats 86 people. 14% will click the ads, that’s 14 people but remember, that means that probably 11 people are your competitors.

Of course it is advisable that you monitor your Pay Per Click Campaigns and if you see suspicious activity and clicks you can then report it or block it from happening. That means you would need to continuously monitor the activity. Hence why there are companies that will charge you a significant amount of money to manage your Pay Per Click Campaigns.

So if you are a Real Estate Agent just starting off your career or if you have not been getting the leads you need to sustain yourself and your family then you need to rethink your strategy.

First lets take a look at what it costs to be a realtor.

Real Estate Agents Typical Budget

Getting Started

  • Classes & Continuing Education – Typically around $150 to $500. Depending where you live and if you take the classes online or in person.
  • State Licensing Fees – Varies based on your State
  • Realtor Fees – Also Varies but generally is around $500 per year.
  • Office Fees – Most agencies will either charge you a Desk Fee or a monthly Technology/Office Fee. Can vary from $50 to $1,000 per month. Some offices don’t charge you a monthly fee but take a larger percentage of your closings. Some offices have a 50/50 split, 70/30 split and some will give you 100% of your closings but you’re paying a larger monthly desk fee of up to $1,000.

Marketing Expenses

  • Yard Signs – If you get listings you should be putting up a yard sign
  • Business cards – Networking is important. Always carry your business cards
  • Direct Mail – Very Expensive and to do it properly will require you to not do it blindly. This is where you use software like Coles Directory or the Red X.
  • Online Advertising – Third party vendors like the giants in the industry can dominate the search engines and get millions of visitors. That is why agents feel as if they need to advertise on those sites. Advertising can be effective especially if you’re spending a lot of money to buy up zip codes. But the cost can easily reach Thousands of dollars per month. Think about it this way. Grab the Yellow Pages.  Those who spend the most get the largest ads and those who spend the least get the smallest ads. Who will generate the most leads?

Now let me talk about the strategy that is often overlooked or forgotten by Agents

Real Estate SEO

I’m not going to tell you that this is easy, I will not pretend as this is something that can be achieved overnight. I will not lie to you and tell you that you can automate this process. The reality is that Real Estate SEO is hard work. It is for the agent that is committed to evolving and focusing their marketing strategy. It requires you to redefine what you do. I recommend that you no longer consider yourself a Realtor, you must consider yourself a Real Estate Marketer. Ironically it is the most cost effective way to generate a profitable business.

Tools of the Trade

Domain Name

Picking a Domain name isn’t easy. You need to think long and hard of what your name is going to be. You need to decide what domain extension you will use. There are .coms, .realtor and other .extensions.

You should pick something local. Something memorable. Keep it short and understandable.  Typical cost is $10 per year. You can buy a domain name with us Click Here

Hosting

Hosting your website is another basic cost. You should prepare to pay anywhere from $5 – $30 per month, depending if you’re looking to manage your hosting yourself or have someone manage it for you.

Website Platform

We recommend WordPress since it is extremely user friendly and allows you to own your website vs renting it from a third party. You can spend anywhere from $0 – $thousands of dollars. Depending on your goal. View our Themes

IDX

This is a crowded space. There are a lot of IDX Providers out there that promise you the world in functionality but often don’t live up to the promise. After spending time looking at various providers I finally chose IDX Broker since they provide a wealth of tools that allow you to differentiate your website from others and provides the tools required to get you started. Here is my Developer Link that saves you $99 on their setup fee. Monthly fee ranges from $39.99 – $59.99  Click Here

Remember, you get what you pay for but don’t need to pay a fortune!

The Truth About IDX

IDX is how you get to feature Homes for Sale on your very own website. It is a very powerful tool that if used correctly can elevate your Real Estate Business to new heights. But simply having a WordPress Based Website with IDX Integrated on your site will not be enough.

Remember, there are only 10 spots on the first page of Google. What if everyone in your market has IDX? How do you separate yourself from the pack? Keep on reading.

What’s the point of owning a Ferrari if you’re not going to drive it? The same can be said about your website with IDX. If you make the investment and buy a Domain Name, hosting, Premium WordPress Theme setup by a pro and then IDX; you should make sure it doesn’t collect dust. 

In a previous post I spoke about SEO and Social Media. You should take a look at that. A while ago I also wrote a post about 50 Real Estate Blogging Topics, take a look at that too. The reason I mention those articles is because you need to start writing about your local market. You need to create various topics that will interest people. Become the website that people go to for more than just Real Estate.

Be different

Think about writing about your local neighborhoods, events, local economy and more. Provide valuable information that people can use in their daily lives. Put a calendar of public events taking place in your community. Be different. This is how you separate yourself from the pack and find yourself climbing the search engine results. You will also find that you will be getting visited from search terms other than real estate. This is helpful because someone may not be ready to buy or sell today, but eventually they will be and your website will be their first stop.

DON’T DO THIS!!!

What ever you do, don’t pay for links. Don’t hire some obscure self proclaimed seo specialist to get you ranked higher in the search engines. Yes there are tactics that might work temporarily but they will eventually catch up with you and potetntially get you blacklisted by the search engines.

Get Listed

You should make sure you can be found on some of the places online that are reputable. Here is a quick list:

  1. Yelp    https://biz.yelp.com/
  2. Foursquare    http://business.foursquare.com/
  3. Angies List      https://join.angieslist.com/welcome
  4. Manta  https://www.manta.com/ng?rl=addacompany-footer#!/member/company/add
  5. Yellow Pages http://adsolutions.yp.com/advertising-solutions/local-business-listings
  6. Better Business Bureau http://www.bbb.org/
  7. Superpages http://claimlisting.superpages.com/spportal/quickbpflow.do?&tsrc=SP&campaignId=SP_FT_AddEditaBusiness
  8. Merchant Circle http://www.merchantcircle.com/corporate/learnMore.html
  9. Acxiom https://mybusinesslistingmanager.myacxiom.com/
  10. Hotfrog http://www.hotfrog.com/AddYourBusinessSingle.aspx
  11. Bing Places https://www.bingplaces.com/
  12. White Pages http://www.whitepagescustomers.com/how-do-i-add-a-business-profile/
  13. City Grid https://signup.citygrid.com/cyb/find_business
  14. Mapquest https://listings.mapquest.com/pl/mapquest-claims/preview.html
  15. Local http://www.localcorporation.com/claim-your-listing/
  16. Business Directory http://businessdirectory.bizjournals.com/advertise
  17. Kudzu https://register.kudzu.com/packageSelect.do

Getting your website listed on these sites will help you get found. Yes, some of them are not visited often but it’s free and provides a way for you to get found online. Even if one person finds you on each of the above mentioned sites per year, that’s 17 people.

Your Listing should be consistent. Provide your accurate up to date information and as informative as possible.

Social Media for Realtors

If you stayed with me for this long then congrats. Most people won’t read this much information. Social Media is a great way to get yourself noticed fast. In the previous blog post I wrote it highlights things you can do and where you should be online. Just make sure wherever you decide to focus your attention, that you engage. Make sure your profile has all your vital information. You’d be surprised how many people’s about pages lacks the basics.

  • Full Name
  • Telephone Number
  • Website Address
  • Company Name
  • Email Address

My Recommendation

It is my belief that Real Estate Agents and Brokers should take charge of their business by making sure they have a solid foundation with a quality website. Now days you don’t need to spend a fortune creating a website but you should always remember that you get what you pay for. If you want to chat about how we can get you started then feel free to touch base.

Also remember, your website is an extension of you and your business. Make sure you take care of it by blogging often and providing valuable information to your readers. Don’t make the mistake of creating it and then letting it sit there doing nothing.

A race car can’t make it to the finish line if there’s no gas in the tank! Words are your gas and your finish line is Page 1.

Conclusion

This is quite possibly the longest post I’ve ever written. I’ve actually cut a lot out of it since this topic can be covered by a book. Use the information in this article wisely and you will find youself dominating the online market and generating a substantial amount of new business.

Resources:

Thank you for taking the time to read this long post. Feel free to share.

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