Search engine optimization is about making it easy for new online leads to find your business online via search engines (like Google, Yahoo!, and Bing). It takes some strategy, but it’s a great way to get new business – so we’ve put together this guide to improving your website’s SEO.
Migration Activities: Map your old website’s URL to your new Zap website
When moving from your current website to your new Zap website, you’ll want to continue to rank well in search engines, so that you can keep getting plenty of organic search traffic. A crucial step in the success of your new website is making sure that you map your old URL (that Google is familiar with) to your new site’s.
To do so, point your custom domain name to your Zap website URL. You can find this URL (your Lead Generation URL) here. Make sure to forward without masking.
The steps to complete this process can vary a bit depending on where your URL is hosted.
- Go to your URL provider (for example, GoDaddy) and change the settings for your URL.
- Look for the option to have your URL forward visitors to a different website.
- Use your Lead Generation URL as the address you’d like to forward customers to.
Link-building Activities: Manage directories and virtual business cards
Updating directories is a great way to let the rest of the web know where to find your business. It’s important to make sure that all of your contact information is correct and consistent across all of the directory profiles.
What you should share
Use the name that appears on your Zap site.
Your office address
Use your local branch office’s address.
Your phone number
Make sure you’re including the same phone number listed on your website.
Your website URL
You can’t build SEO without something to link to!
You can grab your agent website’s URL from the “My Website” page under “Referral Links.”
Don’t forget to verify that all of your information is identical and accurate across every major directory!
Where you should share it
We’ve identified three main directories you’ll want to keep up-to-date.
- You can start with the most popular search engine out there by adding your information to Google My Business. For extra SEO goodness, you’ll want to select a category for your business (Real Estate Agents) and add your business hours here too. Need help? Check out Google’s support info.
- You should also establish a place for yourself on Yelp – it’ll help improve your SEO, and it’s a great way to direct customers searching for real estate to your Zap site.
- Add your details to Yellow Pages online (yp.com). When search engines see thorough information associated with your website on Yellow Pages, they know you mean business.
Other ways to build links to your site
You’ll also want to update your contact info in all of the places you’re social: Facebook, Yelp, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram, and YouTube. The more paths to your website, the better.
Content Activities: Give your website something no one else has
Unique content doesn’t just make you stand out to consumers – it makes search engines wake up and pay attention to you, too.
With Local Insights in Zap, you can share your perspective on the local cities and neighborhoods you cover. When consumers see your insights, they learn that you’re a knowledgeable asset in the areas they’re interested in – and they get relevant information they can use to decide whether a location is right for them.
You can talk about properties you’ve seen with Property Insights, and they’re a great way to market your local activity and knowledge to buyers and sellers on your website. When consumers see your insights, they get to know you as more than just an unfamiliar face on their screen – and they get information that they can’t find anywhere else to help them determine whether a home might be right for them.
Ask for Agent Reviews regularly. When your past and current clients write Agent Reviews for you, you get unique content that’s specific to you and your service. It’s sort of like crowdsourcing your SEO – and it’s easy to request reviews directly in Zap via the Contact Profile.
Optimizing your content for search engines
From a search engine’s perspective, Local Insights and Property Insights are full of keywords that consumers are familiar with – if you’re doing them right.
Here are a few of our top tips for search engine friendly content:
- Always use your own words. If Google thinks you’re posting duplicate content, your SEO takes a big hit – so make sure you’re writing original content.
- Use words and phrases that mean something to your consumers. Locally focused keywords, like names of the local city, the neighborhood, points of interest, and street names can all make it easier for potential visitors to find you on search engines.
- Post widely and often so that search engines can see that you’re consistently providing something consumers value and can’t get anywhere else.
Ready to get to creating some content?
Social Media Activities: Share and drive traffic to your site!
If you’ve got Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Yelp, YouTube, or Pinterest, you’ve got plenty of opportunity to drive traffic to your website – and to show search engines that you mean business in the process. And if you don’t have any of those, you might want to join the party!
The hidden benefits of social media
Social media can be great for your business in general – it keeps you connected to your customers, familiar with what matters to them, and communicating with them where they feel at home.
But your social media strategy can also make a huge difference when it comes to your search engine rankings.
Linking to your Zap site on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and other outlets doesn’t just get your name out there to customers – it also gets the behind-the-scenes wheels turning for search engines. When there are plenty of links back to your Zap site, search engines recognize your name, too – and they’ll be more likely to promote your site to visitors.
Don’t just think “followers” – think “deals waiting to happen.”
If you’re already on social media and your followers don’t know that you have a website, it’s time to start spreading the news.
Think of all of your social media followers combined – even if just a small portion of them sign up on your website, that’s a significant increase in traffic waiting for you. You’ll increase your website’s relevance in the eyes of search engines – and you’ll leverage the business opportunities waiting for you within your list of followers.
Don’t have many followers? Get some! Tell all of your current and past clients, as well as friends and others you do business with that you’re social. Friend them on Facebook, connect with them on LinkedIn, and follow them on Twitter.
So how and where should you share?
Knowing your platform is just as important as being active on social media! Here are our top three places to link back to your Zap site – and what kind of links to post.
Yelp – for reviews and to show off what it’s like to work with your business, this is the place to be.
- Get reviews! Let your customers know you’re on Yelp and ask them to review you.
Twitter – for timely updates, hashtag campaigns, and quick real estate goodness!
- Share open house dates and times – and include a link to the property’s home detail page in your tweet. Get ready to meet some new faces!
- Got an appealing new listing that hit the market today? Share it.
- If you’ve posted Property Insights on a listing, get it on Twitter!
- Twitter is a great spot for sharing your Local Insights, too.
- Just got a new review? Tweet it.
Facebook – for content that’s relevant to your local community
- People get a sense of others’ lifestyles on Facebook – and your Local Insights might entice potential new residents to check out a neighborhood! Share a snippet of what you wrote and link to the search results pages for cities and neighborhoods you’ve posted about. That way, you’ll link to a content-rich page that search engines have their eyes all over.
- Share properties you’re touring, with links to the home details page with your Property Insights.
- Facebook is all about people, so keep it close to home and personal by putting a human face on your service.
- New listing? Share it! Having an open house? Share it!
- Got a stellar review? Post it on Facebook with a link to your Zap site, and enjoy your well-deserved bragging rights.
- Want a stellar review? You can ask your past clients to chime in with a review, and link back to your Zap site to get them started.
Pinterest and Instagram – a haven for all things visual
- Got a picture-perfect listing? Pinterest and Instagram are great places to show it off. Their platforms thrive on enticing photos, so find one that stands out. If you’re posting on Pinterest, you can have it link straight to the home’s detail page on your Zap site.
- Try applying the same strategy to neighborhoods and Local Insights. If there’s a great photo that captures something about a neighborhood you work in, post it on Pinterest with a direct link to a search results page.
- Instagram is a great way to show off all the visually appealing real estate listings you get to work with each day. You won’t be able to direct link to a listing from a post, but you should be able to garner some interest in your listings, and a common way to drive traffic is to place a link in your Instagram bio to your website.
Don’t forget to get your credit!
If you’re making the effort to drive traffic to your website, you’ll want to make sure that all leads you generate are attributed to you. To do that, make sure you follow these important steps when sharing a page from your website on social media.
Create a shareable URL
Whenever you’re sharing a link to your website, always remember to follow the steps above so that new visitors you generate via social media count as your leads.
Social media might take some getting used to if you’re new to it, but the best way to learn it is to get started! Remember, even the experts learn from watching how other users engage with social media and keeping their eyes open for what gets results.