If you’ve ever found yourself nodding and smiling whenever a tech-savvy agent starts talking about digital marketing and throws around jargon like real estate keywords, PPC, CTR, CPM, or CPL, you’re not alone. Hell, we’ve interviewed people for digital marketing positions that couldn’t even define the jargon they we’re using in the interview! Not real estate agents mind you, but digital marketing professionals. Clearly there’s a problem here.
So in order to demystify some of the jargon and strategies you’ll face when you start learning how to promote your real estate business online, we put together this in-depth article explaining what keywords are and how to find the best ones to generate leads in 2020.
Since keywords and keyword strategy is surprisingly complex, let’s start at the beginning:
What Are Real Estate Keywords?
Real estate keywords are words or short phrases that Google and other search engines use to categorize content. Generally speaking, the real estate keyword(s) used in an article will represent the main subject of the article or webpage.
What Are The Best Real Estate Keywords for 2020?
Unfortunately, finding the best real estate keywords for your farm area is going to take a lot more work than copy/pasting a list from a website. There are two very simple reasons why keywords from a generic list like this 👉will not get you any leads from your website:👈
- Generic keyword lists only show what the most people are searching for. They DO NOT mention that most of them are almost impossible to rank for. Even Zillow has trouble ranking for some keywords!
- Even if by some miracle you manage to rank near Zillow, Trulia, your local MLS, or giant chain brokerages like Keller Williams and Compass, getting traffic outside your farm area is not going to help you close more deals. Period.
Still, it’s important to get an idea of what kind of keywords rank nationally, so all caveats aside, here’s a list of some of the best performing real estate keywords for 2020.
Best Real Estate Keywords for 2020
|Homes for sale near me|
|Houses for sale near me|
|House for sale|
|Real estate agent|
|How to buy a house|
|Condos for sale|
|Townhomes for sale|
|Realtors near me|
|Cheap houses for sale|
|Waterfront homes for sale|
|Real estate agent|
|How much is my house worth?|
Understanding Search Volume & Keyword Difficulty Estimates
Since the goal of your website is to get traffic and leads, the main criteria that professional bloggers use to measure the editorial value of a keyword is the number of searches it gets per month on Google.
Search Volume: Potential Monthly Traffic
This number is called the keyword’s search volume. As you might imagine, the higher the search volume the more potential traffic you can get from writing about it, but search volume alone only tells us how many people search for a term.
As you can imagine, the higher the search volume, the more websites trying to compete for the top spots in Google for that term. The reason why is clear; if you rank No. 1 for a very high volume keyword, your site will get a ton of traffic.
Keyword Difficulty: How Hard it is to Rank For a Keyword
Luckily, SEO software companies like Moz and Ahrefs came up with a way to measure how hard it is to rank for specific keywords. This is called keyword difficulty. As we said before, generally speaking, the higher the search volume, the higher the difficulty since there will be more competition, but some keywords with relatively low search volume can have very high difficulty.
Understanding EAT Signals & Domain Authority
Before we dig into how to research and use keywords, let’s take a quick look at other factors Google uses to rank websites.
EAT is an acronym coined by Google that stands for expertise, authority, and trustworthiness—three criteria that Google uses besides keywords in order to decide which article from which website gets ranked highly. How Google measures EAT is a bit too complicated to get into here, but it’s still important to understand that Google values EAT highly. Much more highly than keywords!
Domain authority is less about the EAT of your company and more about the trustworthiness of your website. Things like age of website (older is better), the quality of writing, other high quality sites linking to yours, and low spam scores all contribute to a site’s domain authority.
Here’s a quick example: The National Association of Realtors has been online since the mid-nineties and is pretty much the most trustworthy source for real estate information in the country. Therefore, Google ranks content from NAR very highly. If NAR decides to write an article on dual agency, chances are it will rank very well and very quickly.
Why These Real Estate Keywords Lists Won’t Work in 2020.
Hopefully by now if you’ve been paying attention, you’re starting to realize that while keywords are crucial, ranking on Google is a lot harder than just having the right keywords. Believe it or not, this is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to how Google picks search results. They even use artificial intelligence, and their exact criteria for ranking remains a closely guarded and always-changing secret.
Even if you are writing for a site like Zillow or Inman, your goal for your website is not just traffic. You only want relevant traffic that has the potential to convert into leads and deals. That means ranking No. 1 for a real estate keyword in Florida might get you some traffic, but it will be useless to you if you live and work in Michigan!
Don’t worry though, luckily you know us, and we have firsthand experience building huge six figure monthly traffic sites by ranking articles on Google … In fact, chances are you’re probably reading this because you found us on Google, right? 😉
DIY Keyword Research Tools You’ll Need to Find The Best Real Estate Keywords
OK, if generic keyword lists like the one above won’t help you rank higher on Google, how can you find the keywords that will?
Simple. With a lot of research, a lot of analyzing Google search results pages (SERPs), and a little luck, you’ll come up with a list of relevant and targeted keywords that you can use to plan the content you’ll create for an entire year.
Unfortunately, effective keyword research requires proprietary tools in order to get the best data quickly. Since Google doesn’t really publish their search criteria and only offers search volume for customers who buy their PPC ads, a handful of SEO software companies have swooped in to fill the void.
Here are the top three keyword research tools we use every day in order to plan our evergreen (traffic comes mostly from Google searches) content for the Close.
What it does: Search volume & difficulty, site audits, rank tracker + more
Cost: Starting at $99 per month
Ease of Use: Medium
Our first go-to tool for keyword research is Ahrefs. Ahrefs has very similar tools that competitors like Moz offer, but its data is a bit more accurate (according to our own research, that is). It also gives you questions people ask along with keywords.
What is does: Search volume & difficulty, domain authority, page grader, local market analytics + more
Cost: Starting at $99 per month ($79 per month paid annually)
Ease of Use: Medium
One of the earliest SEO tools, Moz actually invented its own domain authority metric which is widely used in the industry. You can also use Moz to find what other sites are ranking for, as well as who is linking to them.
What it does: Competitor research, keyword analytics, backlink tracking + more
Cost: Starting at $99 per month
Ease of Use: Hard
SEMrush is the go-to tool in the SEO industry for spying on your competitors’ websites to see and track what keywords they rank for as well as getting lists of other sites that link to your competitor’s site. You can even set alerts, audit websites, and more.
Frugal Alternative: Hire a Freelance Keyword Researcher on Fiverr
Why it might make sense: SEO software is expensive and takes time to learn and use
Cost for keyword research: $5-$150
Of course since writing evergreen content and optimizing it for Google is not your main gig, shelling out for expensive SEO software you don’t really know how to use might not make much sense. There’s also the fact that even once you’re an expert at the software, finding great keywords still takes a lot of time and effort.
By hiring someone on Fiverr to do your keyword research for you, you can get a simple spreadsheet of keywords and article ideas that will give you a road map for the year for less than the price of a month of SEO software. More to the point, the person you hire will probably find the good stuff much faster than you can.
Just make sure to ask them if they’re using the software listed above, and get a list of keywords with search volume, keyword difficulty, and maybe some lists of what keywords your biggest competitors already rank for.
Click below to head over to Fiverr and find someone to do your keyword research starting at just five bucks.
How to Research & Find The Best Real Estate Keywords for YOUR Farm Area
OK, now that you have a better understanding of why generic lists won’t work and the tools you need, let’s take a look at finding and evaluating keywords to use for your blog.
1. Understand That The Days of “Tricking” Google are Long Gone
Before we get started, we have one more important caveat for you. While it might have been possible to “trick” Google by stuffing a bunch of keywords on one page, or ranking for keywords that are not real estate related, those days are long gone. Instead, focus on finding keywords that will get you local traffic, and will also be of interest to your potential leads.
2. Research Keywords Your Competitors Already Rank For (DIY or Freelancer)
The first step to doing keyword research is the research your local competitors. Are they ranking on Google for local keywords? You might be surprised to learn that many real estate companies, even very successful ones, don’t bother trying to rank on Google.
While you can always gather a list of keywords and run Google searches to see who ranks for which keyword, there is a much easier way to figure out what your competitors rank for: SEMrush.
All you need to do is plug your competitors domain name into SEMrush, scroll down to the ‘Top Organic Keyword” section, then click on “View Full Report.”
Now you have a list of all the keywords your competitors rank for on Google. You can even sort by an estimate of how much traffic they get from ranking certain keywords, the article that ranks, and of course the search volume and difficulty rankings.
Once you have lists run for your competitors, you can either save as a spreadsheet or save in SEMrush. If you’re working with a Fiverr keyword researcher, be sure and ask for a spreadsheet like this from competitors.
One caveat here is that SEMrush’s search volume and difficulty ratings are not quite as accurate as Ahref’s or Moz’s. Since most hyperlocal keywords will only have a handful of searches per month, accuracy is pretty important.
3. Research All the Keywords You’ll Need for One Year of Content (DIY or Freelancer)
Fire up Ahrefs Keyword Explorer and start plugging in some general search terms about real estate, then try and drill down to local and hyperlocal searches.
Ahrefs will of course give you pretty accurate search volume and keyword difficulty, as well as an estimate of cost per click for social media advertising, parent topic, related questions, as well as keywords using similar terms and SERP features.
Once you find keywords or groups of keywords that have relatively high search volume and relatively low difficulty, then save as a spreadsheet to use in Excel or Google Sheets, or save to Ahrefs as a keyword list. Just remember that hyperlocal keywords with search volume of only 20 or 20 searches per month might only get you 10 page views, but since these will be “down funnel” results (people who are closer to making a purchasing decision) that traffic will be worth its weight in gold. Even better, difficulty should be low enough that ranking quickly is possible.
What to Search Ahrefs for
One of the tricky things about Ahrefs is that the results you get back are only as good as the information you plug in. Here’s some tips for what to look for to get better results:
- Hyperlocal keywords
- Keywords that offer specific types of local property (waterfront, Victorians, etc.)
- Common questions your leads ask
- Real estate search terms + your farm area name
- Instructional keywords (how to buy a house, how to get approved for a mortgage etc.)
- Questions about your farm area
- Questions about working with a Realtor
- Questions about types of homes
- Questions about common home repairs
- Questions about home values and what affects them
If you’re working with a keyword researcher, ask them for keywords using similar criteria.
4. Research SERPs for Your Keywords (DIY or Freelancer)
While you should get this automatically when you run keyword searches in Ahrefs, sometimes you might want to check for yourself. One reason why checking the SERPs yourself is important is that Google changes its algorithm regularly, which might change who ranks for your keyword, or what SERP features there are like snippets, local pack, “People also ask” drop downs, videos, and more.
One thing you should pay particular attention to when looking at SERPs is trying to figure out what the search intent is for people searching for those keywords. For the most part, Google will try and rank articles, videos, or other content in order to provide the “best” answer to the question searchers are asking.
For example, if someone searches for “How to Market My House,” and you find lots of how-to guides on the front page, then it’s likely that searchers are clicking on how-to guides. If someone searches “Best Realtor in Los Angeles” then you’ll be more likely to find list posts. Take note of what kinds of articles rank well for your keywords, and remember to bookmark the top five to take a deep dive into later.
4. Plan Your Content For the Year (DIY)
OK, by now if you’ve followed along with our keyword research strategy, you should have a list of keywords with search volume and difficulty from Ahrefs, a list of what your competitors rank for and an estimate of how much traffic they get, as well as a basic overview of what kind of content is ranking for those keywords.
The next step is to sit down and prioritize the content you think will have the biggest impact on your audience. There are two main strategies for prioritizing content. Prioritize the content that has the highest search volume and lowest difficulty, or prioritize the content that is most important to your audience.
For beginners, we recommend prioritizing content that is important for your audience. You will probably not rank right way, but you can also blast this content out via email, social media, paid ads, etc.
How SEO Experts Use Real Estate Keywords in Their Content in 2020
Of course even if you spent a ton of money or time finding amazing keywords, they will be useless for your business unless you know how to use them. While this topic will be covered in more detail in later articles, here’s a quick best practices guide for using real estate keywords in 2020.
Yoast WordPress plugin
What it does: Keyword optimization, schema data, robots.txt + more
Cost: $89 one-time cost for premium version (recommended)
1. Write for Your Audience First, Google Second
Always remember that your main goal here is to educate your reader first, and show up on Google second. In fact, if your article is spammy, it won’t rank on Google for long as Google regularly tests how many people click on articles on the front page and even how long they stay on the page. If everyone bounces from your article right away, Google will rank other articles above it.
2. Pay Specific Attention to Titles, Meta Descriptions & H2s
There are three key places you want to add keywords to your blog posts. In order of importance: The title, the meta description, and the H2s of your article. Try to use the keywords naturally in all three places. Don’t jam them into sentences or articles that don’t match the search intent of the reader you spent so much time researching in step 4!
3. Don’t Use a Real Estate Keyword For More Than One Blog Post
If you download the Yoast plugin for WordPress, this is one of the first warnings you’re likely to get. Generally speaking, it’s a bad idea to write more than one article targeting the same keyword. Even worse, NEVER try and rank subtle variations of the same keyword in different articles thinking you’ll trick Google. You won’t.
4. Avoid Keyword Stuffing
The idea here is to use keywords naturally in your articles which should give you something like a 1% keyword density. In other words, if your article is 100 words long, you should use the keyword one time in the body copy. As long as you have the keyword in the title, meta, and H2s, then you don’t need to worry about how many times you use the keyword in the body copy. Just use it whenever it’s natural to use it in a sentence or paragraph.
5. Remember to Include EAT Signals
Since you want your articles to signal EAT to Google, you should always include EAT signals in your articles. At a minimum, your WordPress author bio should have your credentials including designations, and you should quote and link to other real estate experts in your articles.
6. Link to Your New Blog Post From Older Blog Posts
Linking to your new blog post from other blog posts can help you rank better as it helps Google “read” and categorize the content on your site. This is another thing the Yoast plugin will recommend.
7. Review Keywords & Update Your Blog Post Once per Year
Finally, if you want to rank on Google long term, you’re going to want to update your blog posts at least once a year, more often for important pages. Go back and change the date, add relevant new information of news, and try and make your article more readable and useful for your readers.
What did you think of our guide to researching and using real estate keywords? Let us know in the comments.