5 Real Estate SEO Mistakes to Avoid

Sidestep these common SEO mistakes which can negatively impact your website's rankings, conversions, and goals.

The internet is more saturated with content than ever, especially when it comes to real estate. Getting your website to appear on the first page of Google would be great for your business’ visibility, but it’s going to be difficult to rank for real estate keywords that don’t involve your name.

We know you have a million SEO questions, so this blog is going to tackle that all too popular marketing buzzword.

SEO, aka search engine optimization, is a long-term investment that requires a great deal of ongoing work – it’s like maintaining your lawn. A beautiful, well kept lawn doesn’t grow overnight; it requires patience and frequent upkeep. In the same way, your real estate website can’t rise to popularity in a short period of time, no matter how strong your SEO strategy is.

Up until this point, most of what you’ve read online about improving your SEO has probably suggested doing keyword research, link building, improving your site speed, making high-quality content, blah blah blah.

Don’t get us wrong – all that is sound advice, but if you’ve given it a try and you’re still not ranking then something may not be working as it should.

To give you a fighting chance at showing up in “yourtown real estate agent” searches and increasing your business’ visibility, here are 5 real estate SEO mistakes to avoid.

1. Keeping default titles and meta descriptions

Most people create a title and meta description for their site when they’re first setting it up, then never think about them again. Your website title is the first point of interaction between your site and its visitors because it’s how your website shows up in Google’s search results – it’s different from the H1 title on your homepage! Don’t make the mistake of leaving your site with a default title or none at all. After all, you wouldn’t put up a business without a name!

It doesn’t have to be Hemingway, but if your title and meta descriptions aren’t unique in your own words (or even your copywriter’s) you will get zero benefit and maybe even a duplicate content penalty (more on that later).

Benefits of updating your site title:

  • They reinforce your branding or real estate niche,
  • They help search engines understand what the page is about,
  • They’re displayed when the page link is shared, making them more likely to be clicked on if they have descriptive tags.

Meta descriptions should also be unique.

Think of meta descriptions as a short elevator pitch that’s used to draw in your target audience.

If you don’t write a unique description, most content management systems will pull the first paragraph of your content to display as the description on search engines.  It may be a solid introduction to the content, but your opening paragraph likely isn’t optimized and explicitly written to catch the attention of a potential buyer or seller.

By default, your RealtyNinja website comes loaded with SEO-optimized tags for all listings, buildings and blog posts. As well, every page on your site will automatically use the name of your page as well as your contact name. Want to override these default tags on your RealtyNinja website? Follow these 5 steps!

Title tags and meta descriptions are easy SEO opportunities that often get overlooked in agents’ drive to get their site up and running. Look at every page of your website and make sure each has its own specific title tag and meta description.

2. Using the same listing description as what’s on the MLS®

Even though you wrote the MLS®listing description for your own listings, it’s now shared on thousands of other sites. When content appears in more than one place around the web, Google isn’t too pleased about it. 

In most cases, Google is able to determine which source had the content first and gives relevance to them – aka, they rank higher because they’re the original source. But this is not always the case and sometimes, in Google’s eyes, you copied the content so they won’t rank your version first and the rest of your site could be negatively impacted as well.

Luckily, this is an easy fix! Go to the copy of your listing on your site and fluff it up – don’t forget: you can only override the MLS® description for your own listings! Talk about amenities available in the community, give more context to the home’s features. Breakout your creative writing skills and make it unique! For more ways to enhance your listings on your RealtyNinja site, check out these helpful tips.

3. Little or no content

This is a big one, and also one of the most common real estate SEO mistakes.

“Content is king” is a phrase that you’ve likely heard over and over again if you’ve spent any time researching effective SEO strategies. That’s because it’s true. Pages with little or no content make it difficult for search engines to understand what the page is about and have no place to target important keywords.

You have a lot of opportunities to add content to your site as a real estate agent, from text to photos, listing walkthrough videos to buyers and sellers resources. But one of the best ways to increase your SEO rank is to add a blog – plus, it’s a great way to showcase your knowledge and expertise! Ensure your blog readers are engaged and driven to take action by leveraging this powerful copywriting strategy.

Struggling to brainstorm blog ideas? Think of all the questions your clients have, and write content that answers those queries!

4. Not using local keywords

Did you know that 97% of buyers start their home search journey online? They could be searching for “newly listed homes in [location]” or “real estate agent near me.” Since real estate services are so specific to serving a neighborhood or city, you could be missing out on valuable traffic and customers if your business doesn’t rank in local search results. In other words, local SEO could be the key to standing out and growing your business.

Ranking for local SEO keywords is all about marketing your brand and services to, well, local leads. Typically real estate businesses operate on a regional level, so this SEO best practice helps you gain traffic from higher intent and qualified leads and can increase your conversions.

Big real estate brands (with big marketing budgets) tend to focus on large areas. When you target local keywords related to specific neighborhoods, you end up with more focused marketing and higher qualified leads!

Start by including region-specific keywords in your page titles and meta descriptions. You’ll also want to include an address and local phone number on your pages, such as in the header or footer, so you’ll show up in the local results. If you haven’t already, it’s also a great idea to create a Google My Business listing.

5. Keywords, keywords, keywords

Using meta keywords to improve your website’s search ranking is no longer as important as it once was, so we’ll focus on the other type of keywords: the readable words on the page.

As much as you can use keywords, you must also know how to distribute them. 

Keyword stuffing is the overuse of key search terms throughout your content. Keyword stuffing used to be an effective way to boost your SEO, but now keyword stuffing can harm your ranking ability. Keyword stuffing can annoy your website visitors because the copy reads very robotic, so keyword stuffing can negatively impact your site’s user experience. You may have stumbled across a site before that used keyword stuffing to repeat the same word to an annoying degree. See what we did there ;) 

The bottom line is that when real estate sites practice keyword stuffing, they’re consciously optimizing a web page only for search engines, and not for the intended audience — people. Web content that ticks every technical box, possible but fails to educate or inspire, will do nothing for your organic rankings.

Focus on providing value through your content and your keywords will appear naturally. 

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