Referencing, indexing, positioning, optimization … These are terms that are not simple. And who can even scare? What’s more natural than preferring to avoid them? Especially if the technical aspect of the web is not your forte.
Except that, from time to time, you have to dive into it. Put your hands in the grease. Leave to dirty them. Because it is good for your real estate agency (whether independent or franchised) or your network of agents.
Take the issue of local real estate agency SEO, for example. Even if the mere mention of the word “SEO” already gives you buttons, it would be a shame to turn your head politely when you talk about this important acquisition lever. Because local real estate SEO is a marketing weapon that you can not ignore if you hope to gain visibility, gain market share and return more mandates.
Do you still doubt it? Allergic symptoms appear when you say “Google My Business” in your presence?
It is time to ward off fate and take a close look at the possibilities of local real estate SEO.
What is local SEO?
First, a brief reminder:
Local SEO is a subcategory of the SEO family. Its goal: to position the web pages in the results of the search engines, but in response to the local requests of the Internet users.
To understand the importance of real estate agency local SEO, it is essential to see how local SEO is positioned in the current digital landscape.
The place taken by local requests
It’s a fact: more and more people are using Google (and competing search engines) to learn about local businesses, brands, products, and services. Four out of five Internet users perform this type of research, according to a Google study.
Smartphones are part of this general movement. 50% of requests made from a phone lead to a purchase on the same day or in the days that follow. And one out of two mobile users uses their smartphone’s search engine to find out about a local service provider. They are 71% looking for an address to go directly on site.
All in all, users are in favor of the possibilities offered by local search. They want to be able to find a business that meets their needs within a limited radius around their home (or their position at the time of the search).
An evolution that reinforces the interest of your local real estate agency, since your future customers may (probably?) Go through this channel to find you!
The development of voice search
There is another technical progress that is contributing to the increase in the volume of local requests: voice search.
To say that it is booming would be a euphemism. Voice interfaces are gaining ground in the daily lives of users, yesterday via smartphones, today through smart speakers, tomorrow probably by other biases that do not exist yet. The “OK Google” has clearly entered the mores.
It turns out that 22% of voice searches are local ( source: Business 2 Community ). This is quite normal, considering that these oral queries largely pass through mobile devices, smartphones or tablets.
The more vocal research develops, the more important it becomes to know how to adapt to it. The local real estate agency’s SEO makes it possible to optimize your web contents so as to appear in the results of the queries formulated orally.
Google’s interest in local
Obviously, everything that interests users is closely watched by Google, which has made it their mission to satisfy them.
Over time, the search engine has launched updates that take into account changes in user behavior. Two of them had a major impact:
- Pigeon (2014), aiming to reconcile the results of the main algorithm of Google and those of Google Maps;
- Opossum (2016), taking into account the catchment area of companies and the position (geolocated) of the user.
Without going too much into the technical aspect, we must remember that Google develops algorithms adapted to local search, in order to optimize the quality and relevance of the responses provided to users in connection with given queries. Businesses that are local-friendly are, in fact, favored by Google.
The more time passes, and the more important it becomes important to work your local real estate agency’s SEO taking into account these new features of Google.
Why is it important to work on your local real estate agency?
Then, the question that interests us closely:
What is the use of local real estate agency SEO?
With about 25% of searches having a local character (on Google), companies that aspire to make themselves known in their catchment area have every interest in getting started. This allows them to be visible to users precisely when they need them.
Which brings us to the main advantages of local real estate agency SEO:
- Increased visibility at the local level
- A golden opportunity to reach very localized prospects;
- Information that is more easily accessible to Internet users (contact details of the agency, opening hours, etc.);
- A lever to emerge from the crowd of competing companies in Google’s results;
- More qualified traffic, consisting of Internet users who know exactly what they are looking for;
- And an opportunity to reach prospects at the start of their customer journey, while they are still in the exploration phase.
That said, these benefits, however crucial, do not apply to all companies in all cases. It is obvious that a large online sales site like Amazon does not need local SEO as much as a bakery or a restaurant.
And what about real estate agencies?
Local SEO: a lever particularly well suited to real estate agencies and independent traders
Indeed, the usefulness of local referencing depends on the characteristics of the company. And this, on several levels.
First, there is competition. The only baker in a small village in the center of France does not necessarily need to optimize local SEO to find customers. On the other hand, a real estate agency confronted with a medium or strong competition is likely to profit from it, provided that its rivals are not already pros of the local real estate agency’s referencing.
Second, there is the history of the company. Since Google favors signs that have been on the landscape for at least three years, a small company just out of the ground will find it harder to reference locally. Here again, the potential for referencing is also a function of competitiveness. If an agent who has just launched is the only one to refer in his city or neighborhood, he will not encounter any problem to be the first on Google.
Third, there is the marketing history. A company that has been working on digital marketing for at least six months will find it easier to position its pages locally. This means integrating your local real estate agency’s SEO into a global marketing strategy.
This division into three levels applies to both agencies and independents, both entities having the same need to make themselves known locally.
And since a real estate professional is often faced with significant competition, needs to earn the trust of prospects to do business, and has to work on his broad-based digital visibility, we can say that the local real estate agencies referencing is particularly well suited to his case.
Also published on Medium.