The building blocks of any search marketing strategy are the keywords that you are targeting. Keywords are essential parts of your website domain name selection, SEO content pages, and sponsored search engine advertisements. Picking out what phrases you wish to establish your company and its online brand as an authority on is an important decision; it can make the difference between getting the correct demographic to visit your site and flushing your money down the drain by attracting irrelevant impressions and traffic. We’re here to provide you with a basic guide for researching keywords and selecting the best ones for your real estate business.
Reflection On Relevancy
“Real estate” is a very general keyword. What you need to determine is what specific keywords that include, or are related to this term apply to your real estate business. Some questions that will help you narrow down your focus:
1. What are your primary geographic markets? Start at the smallest geographic unit (neighborhoods in densely populated urban areas, county in extremely rural areas where individual towns are not considered entities of their own by those who live there), and then work your way up. These geographic identifiers can be used as modifiers of main real estate related keyword themes.
2. What do people call “real estate” in your market? Think of all the ways that people who live in your area refer to their homes. Common types of real estate include homes, condos, townhomes, villas, estates, and properties.
3. What types of real estate are in your market? This is where we drill down even further and narrow down the specific types of properties that you work with as a real estate professional. Acreage homes, oceanfront property, bank-owned real estate, midrise condos, luxury estates… they are all unique types of real estate that a specific kind of client prospect is going to be looking for through the search engines.
Check Out The Competition
Why should you have to do all the work when figuring out what keywords to target? There’s a good chance that your competition has already put some time and effort (through trial and error) that you can benefit from right now. Here two great ways to steal keyword ideas from your competitors:
1. What is your competition ranking for in the sponsored results? Take the “keyword brainstorming” list that you assembled using the first part of this post and simply search on Google, Yahoo, and MSN for these phrases. Which ones are the top agents in your market advertising using? Mark these down. Also consider any phrase that they are not aggressively marketing towards, as that might be an opportunity for you to brand your business and gain a competitive advantage for those quality impressions.
2. What keywords are in the the domain name, TITLE tage, META keywords, and META descriptions of the websites of your competitors? Write down the top ten competitors in your market and simply scour their websites for keywords. Make sure you use the criteria in the first part of this post so that you can narrow down your focus upon specific keywords that are going to be helpful.
Cross-Reference Your List Using Available Keyword Tools
By the time you’ve gotten to this step in the process, you probably have a very lengthy list of keywords. There’s no sense in aggressively marketing around a list of 200 phrases; it will cost you a fortune because it’ll be a lot like throwing a ton of words to a wall and seeing what sticks. Freely available keyword research tools will help you strategically pick the top 10-15 relevant phrases to base your online marketing around.
Here are a few we highly recommend:
The Major Search Engines
Google, Yahoo, Microsoft Live… you can get a feel for what keywords are going to be difficult to rank for by seeing how many relevant results show up on the major search engines. We recommend not targeting any phrase with over 500,000 results as you start your initial SEO campaign. You can also see how many people are advertising in the sponsored results using the search engines; make note of which phrases have more competition in the sponsored results. You may want to target phrases that have less competition if your sponsored ad budget is modest. And you can get a feel for the “top phrases” to gun for if you want to go all out as well!
Google Adwords Keyword Tool
Google provides this keyword research tool and it’s excellent. It gives you estimates for monthly impressions based on keyword phrase and gives you almost countless ways to search for and filter keyword searches.
SEOBook’s Keyword Suggestion Tool
– Aaron Wall’s great website serves up this tasty keyword tool that pulls search data from a variety of reliable sources, and can be a great cross-referencing tool.
adCenter Add-in (for Excel)
This keyword tool, provided by Microsoft, has limited utility as it only pulls from MSN and Microsoft Live Search, but it can still give you some interesting insight and help you guide your keyword strategy.
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