No Google algorithm update had as much impact on real estate SEO as Pigeon.
Pigeon specifically targeted local SEO that had been the primary focus of the real estate industry for years.
Those who weren’t prepared for the change saw their brand’s search engine ranking plummet overnight.
If you haven’t heard about Pigeon, here are some basic details:
The algo update was pushed out in July, 2014 with a strong emphasis on local SEO.
Before the update, map search and web search would show different results for the same search quarry. This isn’t the case now. Besides, local business listing directories rose to prominence in search engine results including Google’s own Google My Business.[optinform]
Many studies were conducted and some patterns emerged. It was obvious real estate industry professionals now have to focus on local SEO by ensuring that their brand’s presence is consistent and strong across the web.
Read the following article to know why your business details need to be consistent across the web:
The guidelines are out there, but most real estate agents are still doing local SEO the wrong way. In this article, let’s discuss some common mistakes committed by real estate professionals in the post-Pigeon era of local SEO and how to fix them:
Mistake#1: Still focusing too much on city-specific keywords
Take a guess why Pigeon was introduced in the first place.
Well, an increasing number of people were using location-specific keywords while searching for information on Google.
And these locations were not cities, but neighborhoods within these cities.
People weren’t using keywords like ‘real estate agents in Seattle’, but instead they were typing in keywords like ‘real estate agents in Capitol Hill’.
So Google redrew geographic singles, dividing a city into prominent neighborhoods within it. Keywords that specifically targeted those neighborhoods were rewarded with higher ranking in search engine results. It also affects the possibility of your brand’s appearance in local packs.
Businesses targeting wrong neighborhoods also suffered in rankings.
What does this mean for real estate agents?
Well, too many real estate agents still focus on city-specific keywords and by doing so, they fall out of line as far as the Pigeon guidelines are concerned.
If a page on your real estate website is targeting city-specific keywords in the title tag, meta description and content, then it’s not supposed to rank high in search engine results for hyper local keywords.
A few warnings:
- Don’t play around with NAP (your real estate business’s name, address, phone number and other details). They should be consistent across the web. Don’t go after different keywords in NAP (like changing the spelling of your neighborhood name in different business listing directories).
- If your target neighborhood is known by different names, make sure you use keywords for each neighborhood name in your content. You can produce plenty of pages with unique content targeting each neighborhood name.
Mistake#2: Using old local SEO technique of directory submission
Don’t get your business listed with every business listing directory you come across on the web. Instead focus on building your credibility on prominent directories which have authority in the eyes of search engines. Read this article – 5 Apps to Skyrocket Local SEO for Your Real Estate Business to know some of the most popular options.
Some of the directories for real estate agents are quite obvious:
Focus on building credibility by collecting positive reviews for your real estate business. How your serve your client off-line will go a long way in building your brand’s reputation online.
Use testimonials and reviews to spice up your business listings on these popular directories.
Don’t buy real estate reviews, earn them.
In order to boost local SEO, you need to produce content, not just to target neighborhood specific keywords, but also to solve problems of your prospects. Try to find out the biggest challenges they face while buying or selling homes. Address these pain points from your own perspective.
You may question: what does it have to do with local SEO?
If people stay on your website longer, browse multiple pages before leaving and interact with your brand on social media and through comments on the site, the search engines will definitely reward you with higher rankings.
You can’t now have a short-gun approach while doing local SEO for your real estate business. You will have to be patient and let your domain age while consistently building links and producing high quality content.