Australian Real Estate SEO – Part 3

SEO Series

This article is the third in the series. The first article introduced the concept of SEO and focussed on the initial tasks and housekeeping to prepare your website to improve its SEO and monitoring that improvement. The second article concentrated on Referral Building and how to increase the authoritative value of your website. This article will concentrate on the very important task of keyword research.

Keyword Research

keywordsA keyword is a word or phrase used to search on and extract information out of an index. In the context of these articles keywords will be search engine keywords. These are the word or terms that a web user will use to search for property related websites.

The whole context of Search Engine Optimisation hinges on your website appearing as high as possible for related search engine keywords on the many search engines. The more keywords your site returns for the more targetted traffic you will generate.

This article focuses on identifying potential keywords to implement into your SEO structure. We will leave the implementation of these keywords to the next two articles but identifying the right keywords is really half the battle.

Not enough people treat the keyword research phase with enough importance. It really is the foundation of your whole SEO work and is why I will be concentrating a whole article in the series to this.

In the next article in the series we will look at using some of these keywords to improve your existing pages of your website and then in the following article we will look at creating new pages to add to your website.

Primary Geographic Keywords

These are the keywords that will probably bring you the most traffic and should be setup for each of the suburbs in your primary trade area.

Using our agency as an example we operate in 4 key residential suburbs, Nerang, Highland Park, Carrara and Worongary but I will use Nerang as my example. Other than the agency name itself the primary keywords for a real estate agency primarily fall into two camps. “Real Estate” and “Property”.

So our primary keywords would first start with the suburb and then add that suburb to each combination so for Nerang we would have.

  • Nerang
  • Nerang Real Estate
  • Nerang Property

Repeat for every primary suburb of course and lets not forget to reverse your keywords

Many of these keywords can also be used in reverse, so “Real Estate Nerang” would also be valid. This does not work all the time but each of these below would be natural search terms.

  • Real Estate Nerang
  • Property Nerang

This gives us 5 primary keywords per suburb. Assuming  you focus on the top 4 suburbs that form part of your primary trade area  and you have first 20 keywords but lets not stop there.

Other Geographic Keywords

The exact secondary keywords you need to identify will vary for each agency depending upon the property types you sell and the services you offer.

I am going to give you a few examples broken down into sections which should highlight the need to think about the different “layers” of keywords that you can target.

At the bottom of this article I will show how you conduct some research to find the keywords for your particular requirements.

Property Types

  • Nerang Houses
  • Nerang Homes
  • Nerang Units
  • Nerang Land

Buyers

  • Nerang Property For Sale
  • Nerang Homes For Sale
  • Nerang Units For Sale
  • Nerang Land For Sale

Investors

  • Nerang Investment Property
  • Nerang Investment
  • Nerang Property Investment

Sellers

  • Nerang Property Values
  • Nerang Property Sales
  • Nerang Agents
  • Nerang Real Estate Agent
  • Nerang Real Estate Agents

Tenants

  • Nerang Homes to Rent
  • Nerang Property to Rent
  • Nerang Rentals

Landlords

  • Nerang Property Management
  • Nerang Property Managers

Valuation

  • Nerang valuers
  • Nerang valuation

lots-of-keywords-largeOther examples that could be valid for some agencies but not others could focus around  keywords like “studio” or “studio apartment”, “waterfront”, “prestige”, “acreage”, “hobby farm” and many others.

Offices operating in smaller country towns will find it worthwhile targeting keywords based on the name of the town but those in the urban sprawl of the cities will find the competition for city based keywords like Sydney Real Estate or Melbourne Property is just too high.

The same things goes for keywords based on district and regions and I would recommend that you initially concentrate on suburb based keywords. Crawl before you walk.. and walk before you run.

Secondary General Keywords

Another good thing to target is more general keywords. Although these sort of keywords can bring significant traffic it is not targeted for your specific agency or location. The traffic is still useful though as it improves your overall ratings and authoritative value on the internet which in turns pushes your results for other keywords higher and higher. Use this list as a guide only and create a list that suits your particular office.

Buyers

  • What happens at settlement
  • Settlement day
  • Building and pest inspection
  • First Home Buyers

Investors

  • FIRB
  • real estate investing
  • Real Estate Investment
  • Investment in real estate
  • Real Estate Investment Software
  • Real Estate Investment incentives
  • Real Estate Taxes

Sellers

  • Real Estate Commission Queensland
  • Agent Commission Queensland
  • Real Estate Commission
  • Exclusive agency
  • Selling By Auction

Tenants

  • Renting with Pets
  • tenants rights
  • tenant responsibility
  • properties for rent

Landlords

  • real estate investment management
  • real estate investment manager
  • property management
  • property manager
  • tenant screening
  • evicting tenants
  • evict a tenant
  • Tenancy Database

Misspellings

Another interesting set of keywords to consider is common misspellings. As an example Real Estate is often typed in as realestate by many searchers and Gold Coast is often combined to Gold Coast. You should consider keywords that people would often type even if they may not be technically correct. If I operated in Port Macquarie I would certainly make sure one of my keywords was “Pt Macquarie”.

An International Flavour

If a large selection of your potential market is to international clients you should also concentrate on words  they would use when searching for properties in your area. Americans would use “realtor”, “condominium” or “condo” whereas visitors from the UK would use words like estate agent, detached and semi-detached.

So Where to Next?

You have to take my examples and suggestions above and create your own keyword lists that is specifically suited for your office and your primary trade area and then you have to prioritise those keywords.

Prioritising for Quality AND Quantity

keywords (1)Thankfully we don’t have to just guess our way through the list as Google provides a fantastic tool that will provide you with enough information to make the job relatively easy.

Google runs a service called Adwords. This is when you advertise on Google with those small “sponsored by” ads on Google’s search engine and other sites. Google provides their advertisers and potential advertisers with a “Keyword Tool”. This tool allows you to enter any search term and it will return the relative traffic generated for that search term plus it will suggest a range of other keywords that you might want to consider and their relative traffic.

But please remember one major point.. Its not just about selecting the keywords with the highest traffic.  Some keywords might only attract a couple of searches a week.. but you want to come up number one every single time.

To put this in perspective lets look at two different examples. The exact keyword “Sydney Real Estate” was searched for 6,600 times for the month of July, 2009. This is certainly significant traffic but it is an ultra competitive keyword and is an unrealistic target for most agents just getting into SEO. Even if you could get a good share of that traffic your particular agency would probably not suit the majority of searchers targeting this fairly generic keyword most often used by buyers.

On the other side of the fence, 58 peoples searched for the exact term “Parramatta real estate agents” and if you were a parramatta real estate agent you would be relevant to all 58 of those searchers who on average would mostly be sellers.

When you create your keyword list I suggest that you rate each keyword you add to the list out of 5. All your primary keywords should be a 4 or a 5, but the secondary keywords will range dramatically. Those with higher priority will be your initial focus and give you a place to start as well as identify targets for the future.

Another Good Place to Identify Keywords

If you have Google Analytics or some other web analytics solution installed you can find out what search terms people are using to find your website now. that can also be a good place to start but don’t limit yourself to what is just working now.

Use your own personal experience. We have all been using search engines for quite a few years now. Chances are what you would search when looking for an agent is just what most other people would. Think how you would search for an agent in your area if you were looking to select a real estate agent to sell your home. What would you search for?

Google Keyword Tool

There are quite a few keyword research tools available but most cost money and are too complicated but because of Google’s dominance in Australia combining your own fundamental market knowledge and Google’s Keyword Tool should be more than enough to get you started.

The Google Keyword Tool is of course free to use and is your best friend when you are trying to create a collection of keywords to target. For every keyword returned the tool provides three sets of data as a default although you can turn on additional columns if you want.

Advertiser Competition is the level of competition that other companies are bidding on that keyword on Google. I will cover this a little in the next article but in simple terms the higher the competition the more it will cost to compete for that keyword. For a keyword targetted to a seller it may be worth it to pay $1.00 per click but you may not want to consider that rate to attract potential buyers.

Local Search Volume. This provides the Australian based searches for that specific keyword. For the most part this is the column with the most relevant data we are looking for.

Global Monthly Search Volume is the amount traffic that is generated in the rest of the world for that particular keyword.

Changing the Match type will provide more detailed results. Dont forget low search numbers may produce “Not Enough Data” but they may be still a very valid keywords to use. The Keyword Tool seems to be great for popular keywords but for less searched terms it is not quite sensitive as we would like.

The tool allows you to save keyword lists as well and is best shown in a short video which hopefully will show you how easy it is. The video is in two parts. The first I have concentrated on keywords specifically targeted to buyers  and then for general property management search terms using the Gold Coast suburb of Robina.

We are now half way through the series with the next article concentrating on improving the pages you already have on your website.

Keywords, Natural Search, Search, seo

SEO For Real Estate
Listing Leads
Agentpoint Real estate

About Glenn Batten

Glenn Batten is the General Manager at First National Real Estate Nerang and Principal at the First National Real Estate Upper Coomera office and has over 20 years real estate experience and a passion for technology. Glenn has been writing from an agents perspective on industry issues and covering a range of topics on Business2 since 2007.

2 Responses to Australian Real Estate SEO – Part 3

  1. Ryan O'Grady September 14, 2009 at 9:58 am #

    Great information Glenn.

    Over the weekend I was looking through the September edition of NETT magazine and there was an interesting article on Search Optimisation.

    The gist of the article was basically that stuffing pages full of keywords no longer offers any optimisation benefit, resulting in many SEO copywriters going out of business. However, the article goes on to say that there is still the need to use the correct keywords but they should compliment what keywords are used by other sites.

    They used the US site redsox.com as an example saying it ranked very well for the keyword “baseball” even though this word is not mentioned once on the website. The site mentions Red Soxs, players, sponsors, coaches, past games but never the term baseball.

    Quote: – “The Red Sox site was reaping the benefits of the many, many thousands of other websites that had used the term “red sox” on pages littered with the word baseball; Google had somehow absorbed the “brand building” of the century-old club name.”

    I guess if your company is big enough and you can get people to talk about your brand on their sites then your site will optimise for keywords used on these sites. Kind of scary given that everyone talks about REA!

  2. Glenn Batten September 14, 2009 at 12:00 pm #

    Ryan

    Thanks for that.. We will be getting into using the keywords we identified in the next two articles and I intend to cover the consequences of keyword stuffing.

    Using keywords is still a major way to rank for those terms but like everything it has to be in moderation. Over using the keyword is called keyword stuffing.

    Generally a “stuffed” page is not what a consumer wants to visit so Google has lead the way to ignore (and some say penalise) pages that are keyword stuffed but the other search engines seem to have caught up. As you say keyword stuffing no longer pays but using those same keywords naturally in your page content works better than ever.. The difference is the ability to use them in their natural context on the page.

    Redsox returns for baseball because of a few reasons:-

    1/ Millions of other sites link to it with the words “RedSox Baseball” and similar
    2/ It discusses topics related to Baseball
    3/ It has been identified as a major brand for baseball

    I raised the issue of
    Brand
    earlier and how it can effect search engine results.

    Your RedSox example is great and the perfect example of brand overpowering everything else but for the individual agency keywords still reign supreme as I cant see any situation that an individual agency would ever bee considered as a major real estate brand.

    We have to play in the Minor Leagues before we get to play in the Major League! 🙂

    It appears that one of the major ways to be recognised as a brand is by the number of people searching for you. Realestate.com.au has worked hard on their brand in the marketplace. In fact the number of searches for the words “realestate.com.au” has increased around 700% since 2004 and they are clearly the most searched real estate brand in Australia. In fact much of that growth has come since January 2008 where they have doubled their brand according to Google Trends.

    Whats really interesting is that according to Google Trends this has also coincided with a significant drop in Daily unique visitors (despite what their own statistics claim). Most of the drop in traffic and gain in searches were from the GFC period (After Sept 09).

    In contrast traffic for the major real estate groups have similiarly dropped off but the number of searches have remained very flat and did not follow the increase of realestate.com.au up.

    See http://bit.ly/txL6N

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