Beginners Guide To Real Estate SEO Keyword Research

Learn how to conduct SEO keyword research for your real estate business with our comprehensive guide. Discover how choosing the right keywords can boost your online visibility and attract more potential clients.

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Beginners Guide To Real Estate SEO Keyword Research

Just as a real estate agent wouldn’t start selling a property without knowing its key features, location, and target market, you shouldn’t start your real estate website without a solid understanding of SEO keyword research. It’s the foundation upon which your entire content and SEO strategy will be built.

Understanding SEO keyword research can feel like navigating through a new city without a map. But don’t worry, in this article, we’ll act as your GPS, guiding you through the city of keywords, making sure you understand each turn, and help you reach your destination: a well-optimized real estate website.

What Are Keywords And Why Are They Important?

Keywords are the phrases or words that users type into search engines when looking for information. For instance, a potential client might search for “real estate agents in Toronto” or “houses for sale in San Francisco”. These phrases are the ‘keywords’ that guide users to relevant websites – much like a street sign pointing towards a property for sale.

Choosing the right keywords for your website is critical because they help search engines understand what your site is about and show it to the right users. It’s similar to how a real estate agent matches potential buyers to the right properties based on their needs.

How To Do SEO Keyword Research For Your Real Estate Business

Imagine keyword research as house hunting. You’re on the lookout for ‘properties’ (keywords) that have the right ‘location’ (relevance), are within your ‘budget’ (achievable), and offer the best ‘value for money’ (search volume).

1. Understand Your Audience:

In the real estate market, understanding your audience is akin to knowing the requirements of your buyer or tenant. Just as you wouldn’t show a bachelor pad to a family of five, you need to ensure that your website content meets the needs of your specific audience.

The first step to conducting effective SEO keyword research is gaining a clear understanding of who your audience is, what information they’re seeking, what their problems are, and how your real estate business can provide a solution.

Here’s how to delve into your audience’s preferences and needs:

1.1 Define your target market:

Your target market is the specific group of people you want to reach with your online marketing efforts because they are the most likely to be interested in your real estate services.

To define your target market, consider demographic, geographic, and psychographic characteristics:

Demographics – Think about the age, gender, income level, occupation, marital status, and education level of your ideal clients. For instance, if you specialize in luxury properties, your target audience might be high-income professionals in their 40s and 50s.

Geographic – As a real estate business, your geographical target market will typically be the areas where you operate. However, don’t forget to consider where your potential clients might be. For instance, if you operate in Florida, your potential clients might include retirees from across the United States looking to relocate for their retirement.

Psychographics – This refers to your target audience’s lifestyle, behavior, attitudes, and interests. For example, if you’re targeting first-time home buyers, you might want to consider keywords related to the home buying process or mortgage options.

1.2 Understand their search intent:

Search intent is the reason behind a user’s search. Do they want to learn something (informational intent), find a specific website (navigational intent), or are they looking to make a purchase (transactional intent)?

For example, someone searching for “how to buy a house” has informational intent, while someone searching for “3 bedroom houses for sale in Seattle” has transactional intent.

Understanding this can help you create content that meets your audience’s needs at different stages of their journey. For instance, a blog post titled “10 Steps to Buying Your First Home” might appeal to someone in the informational stage, while detailed property listings will appeal to someone in the transactional stage.

1.3 Create buyer personas:

A buyer persona is a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer based on market research and real data about your existing customers. Just as you might imagine the type of person who would be interested in a particular property, create a picture of who your ideal website visitor is.

This can include demographic information, behavioral traits, motivations, goals, and challenges. For instance, you might have one persona who is a first-time home buyer looking for affordable properties and another who is a property investor looking for commercial properties.

Understanding your audience is a crucial first step in keyword research. It helps ensure that your website content will meet their needs, leading to higher website traffic, better search engine rankings, and ultimately, more conversions for your real estate business.

2. Make a List of Relevant Topics:

Creating a list of relevant topics is like charting out the neighborhoods you’ll be focusing on in your real estate business. Each neighborhood has its unique charm, audience, and price range. Similarly, each topic you choose to focus on will attract a different subset of your audience.

Here’s how to identify the right topics for your real estate business:

2.1 Identify Your Business’ Core Areas:

Start by identifying the core areas of your business – the services or features that make your real estate business stand out. If you specialize in residential real estate in the Los Angeles area, topics might include “Los Angeles housing market,” “buying a home in Los Angeles,” “selling a home in Los Angeles,” “best neighborhoods in Los Angeles,” etc.

If your real estate business also offers property management services, topics might include “Property management in Los Angeles,” “Benefits of hiring a property management company,” and so on.

2.2 Understand the Questions Your Audience Is Asking:

Just as you’d understand the requirements of potential buyers or renters, understand the queries or concerns your audience might have. Use tools like AnswerThePublic or AlsoAsked to get a list of common questions around your core topics.

For example, queries around the topic of “buying a home in Los Angeles” might include “What is the average home price in Los Angeles?” or “What are the best neighborhoods in Los Angeles for families?” Each of these questions can be a potential topic for your website.

2.3 Look at Your Competitors:

Just like you’d keep an eye on other properties in the market, it’s important to monitor what your competitors are doing. Look at their websites and identify the topics they are focusing on. This can give you ideas for your own content and help you identify gaps in their content that you could fill.

For instance, if a competitor has a lot of content about luxury homes but nothing about affordable housing, you could focus on creating content for first-time homebuyers or people looking for budget-friendly options.

2.4 Use Keyword Research Tools:

Keyword research tools like Google’s Keyword Planner or SEMrush can provide valuable insights into what people are searching for around your core topics. For example, if one of your topics is “renting in San Francisco,” these tools might show that people are frequently searching for “pet-friendly rentals in San Francisco” or “short-term rentals in San Francisco,” which could become subtopics.

Remember, the goal is to create a comprehensive list of topics that are relevant to your real estate business and your audience. These topics will guide your keyword research and content creation, ensuring that your website caters to your audience’s needs and stands out in the crowded online real estate market.

3. Find Keywords for Each Topic:

Finding keywords for each of your topics is like inspecting each property you’re considering for your portfolio. Each keyword has its own potential value in terms of search volume, competition level, and relevance to your business.

Here’s how to find the right keywords for your real estate business:

3.1 Start with Seed Keywords:

Seed keywords are the foundation of your keyword research. They are short, generic terms that describe your topics. If one of your topics is “buying a home in Seattle,” your seed keywords might be “Seattle homes for sale,” “buying a home,” “Seattle real estate,” etc.

You can generate seed keywords using your understanding of the business and the topics you’ve chosen. Keyword research tools like Google Keyword Planner, Moz’s Keyword Explorer, and SEMRush can also help you come up with seed keywords.

3.2 Find Long-Tail Keywords:

Long-tail keywords are more specific, longer phrases that someone might search for. They often have lower search volume than seed keywords, but they can be less competitive and more targeted towards your specific audience.

For example, instead of “Seattle homes for sale,” a long-tail keyword might be “3-bedroom homes for sale in downtown Seattle” or “affordable family homes in Seattle.” These keywords might attract fewer overall searches, but the traffic they do attract will be more relevant to your business.

Again, keyword research tools can help you identify these long-tail keywords. Also, pay attention to Google’s “People also ask” and “Searches related to” sections when you search for your seed keywords.

3.3 Evaluate Keyword Metrics:

Just as you’d evaluate a property based on factors like price, location, and potential return on investment, you need to evaluate your keywords based on their potential value.

Keyword research tools can provide information on:

  • Search Volume: This indicates how many people are searching for a particular keyword. A higher search volume means more potential traffic, but it also usually means more competition.
  • Keyword Difficulty: This measures how competitive a keyword is. A high keyword difficulty means that many websites are trying to rank for that keyword, so it might be harder for your website to rank on the first page of search results.
  • Cost Per Click (CPC): This is the average amount advertisers pay for each click in pay-per-click advertising campaigns. A high CPC indicates that a keyword is valuable, which might mean it’s more competitive.

Choose a mix of keywords – some with high search volume and competition, some with lower volume and competition. This can give you a balanced strategy that drives both short-term and long-term results.

3.4 Look at the SERPs:

SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages) can give you valuable insights into what content is ranking for your chosen keywords. Just as you’d check out the other houses in a neighborhood, check out the other content in your SERPs.

Are the top-ranking pages informational articles, property listings, or something else? This can give you ideas for the type of content you need to create to rank for those keywords.

Identifying the right keywords for each topic will ensure that your website content is optimized for what your potential customers are actually searching for, driving more relevant traffic to your website, and ultimately increasing conversions for your real estate business.

4. Evaluate Keyword Relevance, Difficulty, and Volume:

Evaluating keywords for relevance, difficulty, and volume is like assessing potential real estate investments. Each property might offer a unique blend of location, price, size, and potential returns. Similarly, each keyword has its own mix of relevance to your business, level of competition, and potential to attract traffic.

Here’s how to evaluate these factors for your real estate business:

4.1 Keyword Relevance:

Just as you’d only consider properties that align with your business model, focus on keywords that are highly relevant to your business and the services you provide. If you deal primarily in commercial real estate, keywords about residential real estate may not be relevant, even if they have high search volumes.

Analyze the intent behind each keyword. Are users looking to buy, sell, learn, or compare? Matching the intent with the content you create is a vital aspect of SEO. For example, if a keyword indicates a user wants to buy (“homes for sale in Miami”), ensure you have listings that satisfy this intent.

4.2 Keyword Difficulty:

Keyword difficulty refers to how hard it would be to rank well for a keyword. It’s like assessing the level of competition for a particular property. Just as a popular neighborhood might have many buyers vying for a limited number of homes, popular keywords will have many websites competing for a spot on the first page of search results.

Keyword research tools, such as SEMrush, Moz, or Ahrefs, can provide a keyword difficulty score. However, this should not be the sole factor in your decision. High difficulty keywords are often also the ones with the most traffic potential and may still be worth targeting if they are highly relevant and valuable to your business.

4.3 Search Volume:

Search volume is like the market demand for a particular type of property. A keyword with a high search volume has a lot of people looking for that information, much like a desirable property type in a popular area might have many potential buyers.

Keyword research tools can provide you with the average monthly search volume for each keyword. However, don’t dismiss keywords with lower search volumes. These can often be long-tail keywords that are more specific and may attract a smaller, but more targeted and motivated, audience.

Remember, the ultimate goal isn’t just to attract traffic, but to attract traffic that converts. So, a keyword that is highly relevant to your business, even if it has a lower search volume or higher difficulty, may still be worth targeting if it’s likely to attract users who are likely to use your real estate services.

Choosing the right blend of keywords – high volume, high competition, high relevance; low volume, low competition, high relevance, etc., can create a comprehensive keyword strategy that helps you achieve both short-term and long-term success with your real estate website’s SEO.

5. Consider Long-Tail Keywords:

Long-tail keywords are like the hidden gems of the real estate market – they might not be as flashy or as popular as some properties, but they often offer great value and potential. Similarly, long-tail keywords might not have the search volume of broader keywords, but they can be less competitive and more targeted, offering great opportunities to drive quality traffic to your real estate website.

Here’s how to find and use long-tail keywords for your real estate business:

5.1 Understand Long-Tail Keywords:

Long-tail keywords are specific search phrases with three or more words. They often have a lower search volume than broader keywords, but they are generally more specific and can attract a highly targeted audience.

For example, “real estate” is a broad keyword with a high search volume. A long-tail version might be “mid-century homes for sale in Palm Springs.” This keyword is more specific and would likely attract a very specific audience – people interested in buying mid-century homes in Palm Springs.

5.2 Find Long-Tail Keywords:

There are various ways to find long-tail keywords. Keyword research tools like SEMRush, Ahrefs, or Google’s Keyword Planner can provide suggestions. You can also use Google’s autocomplete feature – start typing your seed keyword into the search bar and see what suggestions come up.

Another effective way to find long-tail keywords is to look at the “People also ask” and “Searches related to” sections on Google’s search results page. For example, if your seed keyword is “Los Angeles real estate,” you might see related searches like “best neighborhoods to buy a house in Los Angeles” or “Los Angeles real estate market forecast.”

5.3 Leverage Long-Tail Keywords:

Long-tail keywords can be incredibly valuable for a real estate business for several reasons:

  • Less Competition: Because they’re more specific, long-tail keywords often have less competition than broader keywords, making it easier for your website to rank well.
  • Highly Targeted Traffic: People searching for long-tail keywords often know exactly what they’re looking for. If your website provides the answer, they’re likely to stay longer, engage more, and have a higher chance of converting.
  • Voice Search: With the rise of voice search through digital assistants like Siri, Alexa, and Google Assistant, more people are using natural, conversational language – i.e., long-tail keywords – in their searches.

Incorporate these long-tail keywords into your website content, blog posts, property descriptions, meta tags, and more. Remember to use them naturally – search engines are smart enough to recognize and penalize keyword stuffing.

Just like a diverse property portfolio can help ensure steady returns, a diverse keyword strategy, including long-tail keywords, can help ensure a steady flow of targeted traffic to your real estate website.

6. Regularly Review And Refine Your Keywords:

Just as the real estate market evolves over time, the landscape of SEO and keyword usage changes too. Therefore, consistently reviewing and refining your keyword strategy is an essential step in maintaining a successful real estate business online.

Let’s delve into how this ongoing process works:

6.1 Monitor Your Keyword Performance:

Use SEO tools and your website’s analytics to track how well your chosen keywords are performing. Tools like Google Analytics and Google Search Console can provide detailed information on metrics like organic search traffic, bounce rate, and conversion rate for different keywords.

If you see that certain keywords are driving a lot of traffic, it may be worth investing more in those keywords. On the other hand, if certain keywords aren’t delivering the desired results, it might be time to reassess their use or replace them with more effective ones.

For example, you might find that “luxury homes in Vancouver” is driving a lot of traffic, but “Vancouver real estate” is not. You could then consider focusing more on luxury real estate in your content.

6.2 Stay Up-To-Date With Market Trends:

The real estate market is continually changing, and so are the keywords your potential clients use. Stay informed about market trends, and adjust your keyword strategy accordingly. For instance, if there’s a surge in demand for sustainable homes, you might want to start targeting keywords related to green home buying.

Regularly check your keyword research tools for changes in search volume or competition for your keywords. Also, use tools like Google Trends to see if new keywords are gaining popularity or if interest in certain keywords is declining.

6.3 Test and Iterate:

SEO is not a one-size-fits-all, and what works for one real estate business might not work for another. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different keywords, and monitor the results closely. Remember, SEO is a marathon, not a sprint. It may take time to see the results of your changes, so patience is key.

For instance, you could test out different long-tail keywords in your blog post titles to see which ones drive more traffic. Or, you could experiment with using certain keywords in your property descriptions to see if they increase engagement.

6.4 Consider Seasonal Keywords:

Just like there are seasons in real estate, there are also seasonal trends in search behavior. For example, there might be an increase in searches for “homes with pools” during the summer or “homes with fireplaces” in the winter. Incorporating seasonal keywords into your content can help attract traffic during these peak times.

Regularly reviewing and refining your keyword strategy is a vital part of successful SEO. It helps ensure that your website stays relevant and competitive, and that you’re effectively reaching your potential clients with the information they’re searching for.

In the same way that a successful real estate agent continually monitors the property market, a successful website owner understands the importance of SEO keyword research and continually refines their strategy based on market trends.

Keyword research is a crucial first step in optimizing your real estate website for search engines. It helps you understand what potential clients are searching for so you can create relevant content that meets their needs. And much like a well-located, well-priced property attracts buyers, a well-optimized website attracts visitors.

At ThriveByWeb, we’re here to help you navigate the complex world of SEO. If you’d like to learn more, contact us for personalized advice and strategies.

Travis Christianson
About the Author: Travis Christianson
Travis Christianson is the founder behind ThriveByWeb, a cutting-edge digital marketing platform tailored specifically for the real estate industrry in the United States and Canada. With over two decades of experience in graphic design, web development, and internet marketing, Travis embarked on a mission in early 2020 to assist families, homeowners, and small businesses in maximizing their online presence.

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