As a real estate SEO professional, I have to keep a close tab on the latest search engine optimization trends.
Since I specialize in this niche, I study the impact of new SEO developments on the real estate industry and professionals working in it i.e. real estate agents, brokers, real estate investors and developers.
I have experienced firsthand how search engines – particularly Google – have evolved over the last few years. A lot of content was written about new SEO trends over the months leading to 2019. With six months already gone by, I now know for sure what is actually working and what isn’t.
Here are 5 important 2019 real estate SEO trends that real estate professionals need to know in order to improve their online visibility:
Search intent should be your primary focus when creating real estate content
Can you tell me the difference between these two search phrases?
‘How to buy a home in Austin, TX’ and ‘Homes for sale in Austin, TX’
Both search phrases are used by potential home buyers, but the difference lies in the intent behind the search.
While someone will use the phrase ‘how to buy a home’ to get educated about the property transaction process, the search phrase ‘homes for sale’ will be used by someone looking for home listings in a specific property market.
While the intent of the first searcher is to find informative content, the second searcher is trying to find a product. Both are in different stages of the buying funnel.
Understanding this difference is very important because it dictates what type of content will appear in search engine results.
Don’t believe me? Well, type in both the queries and you will know what I am talking about.
Here are the organic results for the first search query:
Here are the organic results for the second search query.
Results for the first search query are dominated by informative content while home listings dominate the results for the second query.
Once you understand this difference, you will always create content keeping in mind the search intent.
It will have a huge deal of impact on your keyword strategy also.
Instead of focusing on stuffing exact phrase keywords just for the sake of ranking high in search engine results, you will try to make sure that your content comprehensively answers questions your audience is asking via search.
AI makes on-page SEO even more important
Google and other search engines are incorporating more and more artificial intelligence in their algorithms. This has made it more important to focus on technical aspects of SEO to boost search engine rankings.
It means that you have to implement structured data market up and schema mark up properly to help search engines understand your content more precisely. It will also help you benefit from the latest search engine features such as:
- featured snippets
- answer boxes,
- client reviews
- the knowledge graph,
It is important that your real estate website loads faster. For that, you should invest in a good web hosting service. I recently wrote an article discussing the best web hosts for real estate professionals.
Your website should also be mobile responsive.
When we used to launch brand new real estate websites for our real estate clients up until a couple of years ago, it would hardly take us a month or two to rank for even the most competitive keywords.
Fast forward to 2019, we have realized that just getting the site properly indexed now takes a couple of months. No matter how many backlinks we build, it takes roughly six months before the site starts ranking for keywords.
It tells us that building brand authority is getting harder.
Backlinks are no longer the only criteria that Google takes into consideration. Some other factors that are now more important include:
- Time spent by visitors on your site
- The number of pages visited per session
- Brand specific searches (a lot of people search for ‘Zillow homes’ in Google – a branded search).
- Backlinks from high authority websites
- Brand mentions on high authority websites
- Main stream media coverage which also appears online
- Repeat visitors
What it basically means is that expertise, authority, and trustworthiness – better known as E-A-T – are the most important SEO factors now.
This new approach to SEO has paved the way for integrated real estate branding campaigns. It means that the more you make your prospects aware of your brand through other online and offline marketing campaigns, the more authority you build in search engines.
For example, you should try to become a go-to person for the journalists in your city whenever they need an expert opinion on a real estate related topic.
Real estate content just for the sake of SEO no longer works
The web is saturated with content now. Millions of blog posts are published every month. If your content is not exceptional, you can forget about ranking on top.
Instead of writing 30 blog posts a month, you should focus on creating in-depth, unique and comprehensive content regardless of the amount of time and efforts you need to invest.
Creating an editorial calendar with a proper content strategy is more important than ever.
Instead of focusing too much on keywords, you should try to understand the pains points of your target audience – property buyers, sellers and investors. You should then try to solve their problems through your content. As already mentioned, this will build trust and the people will keep coming back to your site. The repeat visits from your loyal audience will not only boost search engine rankings, but also build brand authority.
Voice search is the next big thing
Voice search will take a few more years to fully evolve, but if you have the budget and want to stay ahead of the curve, you should start investing in optimizing your content for voice search.
Most SEO professionals agree that voice search is going to be the next big thing in SEO.
If you follow SEO trends, you probably already know that video marketing, geo-targeting and visually rich and long-form content created a buzz in the SEO industry last year. While these are still some of the best SEO practices you should continue to follow, I have discussed in this article new trends emerging in 2019.
You should focus more on creating content for your audience. Search engine ranking will automatically follow. Too much focus on keywords and backlinks will only distract you from your end goal which is to help your audience sort through the complexities of buying and selling properties. In return, you will win their trust.