By its very nature, the estate agent industry is reliant on local search. We’ve worked with some local estate agents in the home counties, and noticed that, in fact, the vast majority of the traffic through their websites comes from local, organic searches.
It couldn’t be more important to optimise for these potential customers – even larger organisations shouldn’t underestimate the collective impact of optimising their individual branches.
Whilst the property industry might be going through some unsettling times, with many transactions paused due to social distancing rules, there are ways to make sure you’re in the best possible position for when things return to normal, and better still these are straightforward actions you can undertake yourself without a marketing or technical background.
Understand what people are searching for
In order to make your website more visible for certain key phrases, you first of all need to research what these queries actually are.
There are a number of keyword research tools available, but a free and accessible one is Google’s own keyword planner. Set up a free Google Ads account here, or log in if you already have one, and click on “get search volume and forecasts” to see how many people per month search for any given phrase, as well as find suggested queries.
Optimise your website using these keywords
When you’ve identified a couple of phrases that are both relevant to what you do, and have a good number of monthly searches, you want to make sure you’re using them on your website. It makes sense that you can’t rank for what you don’t talk about. If you picked the phrase “estate agents in Chelmsford” for example, then be sure this phrase is mentioned on your website.
It’s also a good idea to add it to some of the code behind your page. By logging into the back end of your website and visiting the page you want to adjust, you can find the “page title” and “meta description” boxes where you can add your phrase – just make sure it reads as naturally as possible.
You may even choose to create some new content around your phrase. For example, your “estate agents in Chelmsford” keyword might lend itself nicely to some information on the local area, your experience in buying or selling property in this region, and a case study or two.
Google loves original and informative content, and it can provide a better user experience for your visitors too, so it’s a win-win situation.
Set up your Google My Business Listing
If you don’t already have a Google My Business listing, it’s the panel on the right-hand side of the search results you sometimes come across when searching a company name. It’s free, and an easy way of providing information about your business, such as your address, opening hours, contact details, services and a link to your site.
Simply “claim” your listing online, and Google will send a postcard-sized slip of paper to your office with a verification code on it. Enter that code in, and begin filling in your account.
Ask your customers to leave reviews
Good reviews are so essential for local businesses, but most people don’t think to leave a review unless you ask them. Reach out to your clients asking them to leave you a short review on Google. Make it as easy as you can for them, including a link to where they need to leave their review, and a couple of tips for what to write about.
The collective impact of a few relatively easy actions can have a big sway on your local search positions, helping you become more visible to those around you in need of your services.
By Danny Hall, owner and director of FSE Digital, a marketing agency specialising in the property sector