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Cases 23 min read May 19, 2022

SEO for the Real Estate Niche: How Can a Regional Agency Compete With Real Estate Aggregators

SEO for the Real Estate Niche: How Can a Regional Agency Compete With Real Estate Aggregators
SEO for the Real Estate Niche: How Can a Regional Agency Compete With Real Estate Aggregators
A problem that frequently occurs when promoting a regional project in any niche is having to compete with more prominent opponents that rank higher on the search engine results page.

In this article, we will share practical tips on promoting a relatively small project and answer the main question:

How can a regional agency compete with large aggregators?

So let's figure SEO things out!

SEO Goals For Your Project

SEO specialists may work with a limited set of basic tools when performing various SEO tasks. Consequently, the final result is not as satisfying as it could be. Well, this is not our case :)

Let's take as an example a regional real estate agency in California, dive deeper into the possible ways of simplifying the SEO process, and discover tools that can increase promotion efficiency and help the website rank higher.
To obtain all the required analytics and reach our SEO goals, we will use
Serpstat — an all-in-one platform with various tools that allow us to:

  • determine direct competitors of the promoted site;
  • collect popular real estate keywords and analyze the competitors' semantics;
  • review the overall structure of rival websites in the real estate niche and pages that attract visitors;
  • analyze the link profiles of the top competitors in the niche.
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#1: How to Do Competitor Analysis

The strongest rivals to local sites are undoubtedly large aggregators. Having reviewed the US housing market, we found out that there are a lot of top companies in this industry, among which are RE/MAX, Coldwell Banker, Century 21, Keller Williams, ERA, etc.

Main competitors are the websites that rank in the TOP-10 of search results. These are the sites that we will focus on when implementing our SEO tactics.

To identify the main website's competitors, we use Serpstat SEO Competitor Analysis Tool ("Domain Analysis" → "SEO Research" → "Competitors").

In short, here you can:

  • discover your competitors' traffic sources and tap into them for your growth;
  • make a detailed domain comparison to find a ranking gap;
  • get all the top-ranking pages of your competitors and analyze what makes them so successful;
  • review all your competitors' keywords in organic search.
Serpstat's report on realliving.com competitors
Serpstat's report on realliving.com competitors
At this stage, we carry out extensive research and identify top competitors for further work on the project promotion.

It is essential to determine whether there is any point in SEO promotion at the project appraisal stage. If the website does not comply with the minimum requirements, it's going to be very difficult to promote it.

Based on search results and the preliminary analysis of competitors, we identify the crucial factors for SEO promotion. These include:
number of real estate facilities;
content uniqueness;
structural conformance and completeness of the information;
availability of navigation and information blocks;
good backlink profile.
The number of real estate facilities is the main factor. It nevertheless depends on the performance of agents and client managers. Although we don't have an impact on this determinant, we can influence other important factors:
modify and improve the current functionality;
implement new features;
create a broad site structure;
build a quality backlink profile.
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#2: How to Write a Promotional Plan

These are essential points that you have to focus on: designation of tasks and timeframes, as well as coordination of areas of responsibility.
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#3: How to Implement SEO Processes

Now let's take a closer look at the implementation of the promotion strategy.

  • Month #1

1
It’s important to start with an organic traffic analysis of previously identified competitors' sites and identify pages that get the most traffic. To do this, we use such Serpstat tools as Top Pages ("Domain Analysis" → "SEO Research" → "Top Pages") and Tree View ("Domain Analysis" → "SEO Research" → "Tree View").
How to collect semantics:
use Serpstat to find the search queries the competitors rank for;
collect keywords;
fix/remove all the inaccuracies in the keyword list;
cluster keywords with Serpstat Keyword Clustering Tool — the tool for grouping keywords with the same/similar meaning;
finish clustering and retrieve page-grouped keywords.
Eventually, we end up with keyword research necessary for building the site structure and defining the main sections, where we also leave room for potential scaling-up of the structure in the future.

Through the analysis of the most visited pages of competitors' sites, and the analysis of organic traffic they get, we can identify priorities for working with certain types and groups of pages, as well as pages we should prioritize during the promotion.
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2
It's important to analyze all the factors that affect the site's authority among search engines:
number of branches of the company;
number of branches of the company
landline and mobile phone numbers;
landline and mobile phone numbers
request forms;
request forms
reviews and accurate info;
reviews and accurate info
real-estate agents pages, etc.
example of real-estate agent page
The next step is carrying out competitor analysis and specification of all the improvements we needed to make, based on ideas that we got from competitors.
3
It’s important to conduct a site usability audit and compare it with competitors' websites. After that, you have to determine the most important navigation and information blocks that need to be implemented on the site to keep up with competitors. These blocks include:
filters and its content;
well-structured online map with listed facilities and the option to see the neighboring ones;
сharacteristics of the facilities, etc.
This is one of the most important stages, as it directly affects the visitor's attitude to the service. The convenience of the site is a guarantee that a potential client will not only use it but also recommend it to friends.
After carrying out all the above works, we draw up a detailed technical assignment for refinement of the site, including all the necessary functionality.

The Psychology Behind Engaging User Experience

  • Month #2-3

1
It’s important to use collected semantics and competitors’ analysis to create the site structure. It's better to promote low competition keywords at an early stage and, after that, highly competitive ones. This is how we get thousands of pages that need to be created and filled.
site structure
Site Structure example
2
To fix on-site issues and improve site ranking, you have to carry out a technical audit of the site. In terms of technical SEO, the most important point is to ensure that pages are correctly crawled and indexed.

Unfortunately, oftentimes small real estate agencies run on poorly built website platforms, which cause many of the technical SEO issues in the first place. By simply using one of the professionally built real estate website templates, can single-handedly eliminate most of the technical SEO issues.

In addition to the basic optimization inherent in all sites, such as writing unique page titles and meta descriptions or increasing site loading speed, building a high-quality internal link profile is a necessary procedure that has to be adhered to.

To carry out a comprehensive technical SEO audit, we use Serpstat Technical Website SEO Audit Tool ("Site Audit" → "Audit Summary").
Serpstat Site Audit Tool
Using Serpstat Site Audit Tool
3
It's important to create Title, Body, and H1 titles and prepare a technical requirement document for copywriters. Unique tags are better than templates in this case. 

Serpstat SEO Text Analysis Tool is a good fit for such a purpose. Here, you can perform comprehensive text analysis of any page content to optimize the text.
Important note: for pages to rank well right away, it is recommended to implement tags at the phase of the page design. All the technical tasks should be transferred to developers.

  • Month #4-12

After approximately three months, you can implement actual project changes in all aspects:
monthly semantics expansion;
further development of a structure;
technical correction of issues found;
implementation of additional functionality;
improving the quality of the pages which are not in the top 10.
All the promotion processes should conform to the peculiarities of the site. Thus, creating a wise marketing strategy is the top priority.

Serpstat is a perfect fit for your SEO processes, as it contains tools that help:

  • track changes in the visibility of the site;
  • analyze traffic dynamics;
  • research keywords;
  • monitor your site's position changes.
Visibility and traffic trends of realliving.com
Visibility and traffic trends of realliving.com
And on top of that, you can use the Online SERP Website Rank Checker Tool from Serpstat. It allows you to monitor sites' positions in mobile and desktop search results daily in real-time and accordingly have additional data to increase the site's visibility and boost the site's traffic.
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Checklist on Successful Promotion of a Real Estate Agency

We created an ultimate checklist to help you find the best possible start to your promotion journey in the real estate industry. Please find here below the main points we'd like you to focus on while promoting your site:
1
Tasks for the SEO team:

  • Preparation of the site structure based on semantics and the analysis of competitors.
  • Analysis and improvement of the main information blocks on the site, as well as the principles of their work.
  • On-page optimization: preparation of meta tags templates and technical requirements for content.
  • Building a strong backlink profile.
2
Tasks for the development team:

  • Implementation of a real estate website functionality on the optimal CMS: filters, sortation, facilities display on the map, etc.
  • Realization of a convenient and intuitive design.
  • Fulfilling technical requirements set by the SEO team.
  • Maintaining the functionality of the site.
3
Tasks for managers and real estate agents:

  • Ensuring a constant flow of real estate facilities.
  • Timely adding of new objects to the website and maintaining relevant information about already existing ones.
  • Ensuring quality service delivery and customer-oriented service.
#1 Tip
New facilities should constantly appear on the site, and all irrelevant offers should be transferred to the archive.
#2 Tip
Do not forget to update facilities' descriptions and post relevant photos.
Personal demonstration
Leave a request, and we will conduct a personal demonstration of the service for you, provide you with a trial period, and offer comfortable conditions for starting exploring the tool

Conclusion

Promoting a real estate-related project is a time-consuming process that has to be planned with great attention to detail. High level of competition, employees' low-quality work, and poor development strategy are the main factors leading to time and money loss. But if you wisely set your project's goals, properly organize the teamwork, and implement appropriate promotion strategies, you'll definitely succeed!
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