The online housing market is highly competitive due to the volume of aggregator sites and portals that have very high DA (Domain Authority) and put up a sturdy battle to maintain Google’s top search positions. However, since at least 90% of new home buyers are likely to start their buying journey online, you need to do all you can to boost your website’s visibility and drive footfall to your show homes. As specialist marketers for the residential sector, we’d like to share some of our top tips on how we help our clients do exactly that.
1) Make use of regional Google My Business listings
This is your opportunity to boost your local online presence and improve SEO performance across all areas where you sell homes. Your GMB listing if completed correctly, will feature in a prominent page one position and dominate the search results on the right side of the screen in desktop search, picking up vital clicks from searchers with high intent to buy. Keep in mind that everything you add must be in line with the information you provide on your site. Inaccurate information impacts your listings and rankings negatively.
2) Invest in video
Having video on your site will improve your page rank, and video drives a 157% increase in organic traffic from all SERPs. According to Word Stream, having a video on a landing page makes it 53% more likely to show up on page one of search results. Not only will video boost your visibility directly in SERPs, but it will improve your on-site engagement, as the average user spends 88% more time on a website with video. In addition, having your videos on your own YouTube channel will drive traffic to your site as YouTube is now the web’s second-largest search engine. This is an excellent opportunity to increase the chances of engaging searchers by showing them persuasive video content about their new home and neighbourhood.
3) Define your national and local search strategy
For housing developers with a national presence, it’s really important to undertake detailed, keyword research to ensure you have a clear strategy to attract search from broad national and brand terms as well as regional terms. Ranking well for local and area-specific searches will impact your conversion rates positively as searchers will find relevant content, and in turn, Google detects positive behaviour and high retention on your site which impacts rankings positively. A site with no keyword strategy or a vague one, will rank for certain terms and get traffic, but it’s likely to not be very relevant traffic and will bounce away invariably.
4) Improve citations and directory websites listings
Again, to improve your local search results, which are important to increase the footfall to your show homes, improve your local citations and get listed on high-quality local directories. It’s really important to ensure that these listings contain correct and consistent NAP (name, address and phone number), plus details with your GMB and website. Some of the most important ones include Mapsconnect.apple.com, www.yell.com, www.thomsonlocal.com, www.yelp.co.uk, www.tripadvisor.co.uk and www.scoot.co.uk. These listings count as valuable backlinks to your site, which are considered as a high ranking factor by Google.
5) Optimise for mobile
It’s likely that around 60% or more of your potential clients are searching for a new home on their mobiles or tablet devices, so your mobile experience needs to be optimum. Google switched to mobile first indexing in 2018. This means that your rankings are determined solely on your mobile site performance (as opposed to desktop). Lightning-fast page load speed amplifies visitor engagement, retention, and boosts sales, and instantaneous website response leads to higher conversion rates. Aim for sub two to three second load times ideally.
6) Make the most of Google Analytics (GA) tools
Make sure you have GA set up properly and linked to your Google Search Console (GSC), as the information that it provides on your site’s traffic and visitors is invaluable. Make sure that GA Goals are configured to track conversions on your site. Use the tool to gain insights on your audience - where they come from, what devices they use, how they behave once on your site, and use this information to identify ongoing optimisation possibilities. In turn, investing in CRO (Conversion Rate Optimisation) specialist services will help you to improve the user experience for your site visitors and increase your site’s conversion rates.
7) Add Structured Data to your website
Structured Data is a code in a specific format that is written in a way that helps search engines to fully understand your content. Search engines read this code that tags up certain details on your site’s pages, and use it to display search results in a clear and specific way. Adding structured data to your site to include details of your local developments, show home names, addresses and phone numbers for example, will really help improve your local search results.
Author: Sarah Galli – Search Engine Marketing Manager at Aylesworth Fleming.