At a first glance, local SEO or Search Engine Optimization and local real estate promotion are quite similar. After all, if you know how to sell a house, it’s absolutely important that you understand how local SEO works.
But what exactly is SEO practiced at a local level?
Well, when you are creating marketing campaigns for your surrounding businesses and possible customers, you’re no longer targeting people from all over the world – the location and local benefits are more important. When people are performing a local search, Google shows them a map, with businesses close to them and their profile.
Therefore, the location becomes the most important factor in local SEO – just as it is in real estate in general. However, when you take a closer look, you will also notice some differences. These are important because many beginner realtors tend to ignore them, which can lead to unfavorable results.
So, to make sure everyone is armed with the necessary knowledge to avoid such misfortunes, we drew a parallel between the two concepts and found seven differences that must be taken into account.
#1: Location, Location, Location
As we already mentioned, your customer’s awareness of your location is important both online and offline, but most realtors service at least two or three regions which means you can’t focus on just one location when you’re building the business website or online presence (as it happens with local SEO).
So, for local SEO, it is of paramount importance to find the keywords that attract people to your site.
For instance, over 80% online searches for a local business are similar to this format: [city name] [business name]. So, given the topic of this article, a search for local real estate businesses in Glasgow, Kentucky will be “Glasgow Realtors” or “Realtors in Glasgow” or “Realtors near me”.
Of course, the first three results are the ones that take most of the traffic, so the competition is more than fierce.
If your business, regardless of niche, doesn’t have exposure, you don’t exist. But, a Realtor® must approach this factor from a different angle than a marketing person.
In real estate, if you want people to know about you, there are several steps to follow. First, you have to be aggressively active with distributing flyers, brochures, placing posters and other imagery around town, so your target audience will continuously have the image of your business right under their noses.
Next, a realtor should be active online by posting on local forums and chat boards, following local groups on Facebook, using Instagram, and sending emails to all possible customers. Finally, another way to gain exposure (quite an important step) is to throw parties for the community, participate in local events, and be there for the community.
All these require effort and money, but if it’s done right, the exposure you gain is worth it. On the other hand, if you follow the local SEO rules, it’s enough to just do the online work and create a Google My Business profile.
As you can see, if you were to only focus on local SEO, you would lose a series of opportunities that can create a good exposure.
#3: Word of Mouth
Did you know that 92% of consumers take into consideration the recommendation received from a friend or family over any other type of advertisement? That’s how effective Word of Mouth is!
Now, the difference between real estate and SEO is just the context of what Word of Mouth means. In real estate, we call it buzz, while in SEO, it comes as online reviews. While online reviews are not easy to start, the ball starts rolling if the process is well-designed.
#4: Specificity in Targeting Clients
While local SEO teaches us that it’s OK to target a wider range of prospects, in real estate, it’s very important to be specific. Each region has its own perks and only relates to certain types of people. Plus, the competition is so strong that you must put the work in to find possible buyers.
#5: Local Business Directories
One good strategy for local SEO is to list your business in powerful online directories such as Yelp or Google My Business. While this is important and can be of great help to a local Realtor®, it’s more of a general approach.
So, a real estate broker or agent should also find directories that are designed specifically for realtors like Better Business Bureau, Merchant Circle, or Whitepages. In conclusion, it’s great to apply some general SEO rules, but you always have to think like a Realtor!
#6: Statistics & Useful Information
A good SEO practice is to have a list of clients’ emails and send a regular newsletter with offers, sales, and other interesting information. But the content should always be light and easy to digest.
Now, Realtors® can also benefit from sending newsletters, but you have to be smart about the content. Usually, the listing is not changing from one week to another so you can’t send the same offer over and over again.
Try presenting interesting statistics on house prices, property maintenance costs, new developments, crime rate, median household income, and more. These are attractive for possible buyers or sellers and it’s important to show you are knowledgeable about the area you represent.
#7: A Complementary Relationship
As you can see, local SEO is an integral part of any real estate advertisement campaign, so the difference stands mostly in the effort and use of the available tools. As long as you know your business and region, you can grab market share from integrating local SEO into your marketing campaign.
About the Author
Dan Boyle is a real estate agent in Florida, specializing in Marco Island real estate . He is the team leader of The Boyle Team and has authored several in-depth guides to buying Florida real estate and second homes.