With 2021 starting to take shape, we are spending a lot of time talking about real estate SEO (search engine optimization). Specifically, when/if it is a good investment for Realtors, as compared to GoogleAds (formally AdWords, A.K.A Pay-per-Click, A.K.A. PPC), or other lead generation. In this blog I will demonstrate Real Estate SEO or Real Estate PPC.
Real Estate SEO (real estate website search engine optimization) works best if you already have an aged domain with some authority. If you have an aged (year or more since you purchased, with a landing page up, or previous website) domain that ranks somewhere, this is a far better spot to be in for SEO than a brand new real estate domain name, just purchased, as it takes time to build up trust/authority and PageRank.
Real Estate SEO or Real Estate PPC: The following screenshot shows the traffic growth (organic search traffic only) in the last 60 days – note the date of December 1, 2020 through Jan 24, 2021:
Please note the steady climb of traffic (clicks) that really accelerates after the first 30 days – from around 30 visitors a day to doible, then 3x that within the second half of the experiment. We’ve gone from about 25 clicks a day to almost 100 clicks a day.
I should note that, statistically, we expect 1/10 visitors to convert to a lead.
In regards to Real Estate SEO vs. Real Estate PPC, we have generated more than 250 real estate leads from this WordPress IDX Real Estate Website SEO campaign in the last 40 days. This would have cost us $2500 in Real Estate PPC leads.Stu Hill – Jan 24th, 2021
How Did We Use Real Estate SEO To Generate Traffic?
All of the traffic was generated by developing content on a WordPress IDX Real Estate Website. The SEO work following the build of the website included programatically scripting the IDX details pages to mesh best with the rest of the real estate website SEO programming.
We likely spent about $2500 on the build of the website, and it will likely require about another $2000 per month in ongoing SEO to continue to build at an exponentially accelerated rate.
So the first thing that should stand out is that SEO is EXPENSIVE!
If your real estate marketing budget doesn’t have >$50k slated for online, then it’s probably best you start with a GoogleAds PPC Real Estate Leads campaign.
Here are the mathmatics of Real Estate SEO vs. Real Estate PPC
In the first month (January – not December, month 0), the results are great: 1,000 visitors per month.
This traffic at $1 per click on Google Ads (real estate PPC) would have cost us $1000.
The difference: we can expect more than 1,000 visitors next month, and everymonth herafter from this initial spend of $2000 in SEO work we put into this test website in the first month.
That work is ALREADY DONE, the programming does not need to be done again. So if we factor in just this traffic over say 36 months, an extra 1,000 visits per month is 36,000 visits. Use the same $1 cost per click and that would have cost you $36,000 to buy via a real estate PPC campaign.
You got these 36,000 visitors (>3,600 real estate leads generated) for $2000, as opposed to $36,000.
All of a sudden SEO is not sounding so bad, including the website, thats $5k as opposed to $36,000 for the same amount of traffic?
Remember: This is just the first month of Real Estate SEO
Remember: This is just the first month – this is just the foundation. There are still gains to be had from this initial heavy-lifting we’ve done. We anticipate a further increase of 3-5x as the domain name – remember, I mentioned that seasoned domain name, begins to gain authority, people start to link to the website, we build out further content, and content begins to settle in as relevant.
We anticipate 3,000 – 5,000 visitors per month coming from these pages we have developed. Over the next 36 months, this is a median of: 144,000 visitors (equating to about 14,500 real estate lead).
Over the next 36 months, we will continue to develop content, write pages, tweak keywords, start writing blogs, build backlinks, develop authority etc.
The monthly traffic will “compound” much as interest does, and we can end up with tens of thousands of visitors. And who does not love compound interest?
A Real Estate SEO Warning
If you are a single agent you can only handle so much business. As such, you may only need 2-4 deals per month (and that is likely all you can handle) as such, you might only need to pay $1,000-$2,000 per month (average $1,500) for those deals if you work your CRM well.
So if that is your case (and you don’t want to grow) don’t let the appeal of massive traffic lure you, because unless you have referral partners or are planning on growing a team can mean a lot of extra overhead and even hurt your reputation if you don’t follow up with all the leads. So “too many” leads is not always good.
The math on that: $1,500 a month x 36 months in PPC is only $54,000 (instead of the $150,000 in SEO from this example) so if I’m a single agent and I don’t want to grow past that, I’m actually PPC all day long.
What Real Estate SEO is NOT
Real Estate SEO is not a way to rank #1 for the most competitive keywords such as “area real estate” those keywords are generally dominated by portals such as Zillow and those rankings cannot be taken from them, not because we can’t do the job in terms of on-page SEO, but because the disparity of authority (PageRank, inbound links etc) that those sites have (not to mention multi-million dollar SEO budgets) means that it is not a great strategy to try to go after those top terms.
How we overcome this: we go after the “long tail”
The fight we want to fight is over keywords that have less traffic and competition but are actually much higher in value because they are far more “targetted”
“Tybee Island Real Estate” – I have no idea what kind of buyer this is. It could be a luxury buyer, a mobile home buyer, it could even be a newspaper doing research on stats. This is not a very targeted search phrase.
Compare to “Tybee Island Lakefront Homes For Sale” – I automatically know they are actually looking for “home for sale” and because it’s Lakefront the likelihood it is a high price point buyer is much better.
I’ll take less traffic with GREAT leads, vs. more traffic with generic leads all day long!
Long Term Real Estate SEO Strategy
And over time we go after THOUSANDS of these phrases (that is why SEO is so expensive) our professional writers create content for all the little nooks and crannies. We do the research that the big portals will not. We ask the clients what is good to sell, and where do folks want to sell it.
Real Estate SEO Keywords – Tybee Island, GA
These are phrases we already rank for, and it’s just a sample of over 1,000 phrases that are already bringing organic traffic.
If you were a a Realtor on Tybee Island, GA Would you want traffic from these searches?
Waterfront home with dock tybee island
Waterfront for sale tybee island
Tybee island waterfront property for sale
Tybee island waterfront
Waterfront Tybee island homes for sale
Conslusion: Real Estate SEO or Real Estate PPC
It’s safe to say that doing Real Estate SEO vs. Real Estate PPC is a highly valuable exercise. However, it is expensive, takes time to build up your organic rankings, and won’t get you the big keywords, like homes for sale in New York.
Real Estate SEO on Google 2021
On Google in 2021 there is still a lot of opportunity to be had by savvy Realtors/Brokers. It’s also easier than it has been in the past because so many brokerages have pulled back their SEO programs, thinking they can’t beat Zillow.
The Time To Build Your Real Estate SEO Website, Is Now.
This is your opportunity to drive huge amounts of traffic to your real estate website.
My Question To You
Is organic SEO part of your strategy? Is it going to be now? Should we set up a time to talk? If so, please contact us.