If you have a real estate website and want to find your online competitors all you have to do is research google and yahoo to find who is listed under the keywords or phrases that are related to your site. If you own a California real estate office you would start with major keywords such as California real estate, Southern California real estate, California Realty, California realtor etc. Then you could go more specific with city names such as LA real estate, Burbank real estate, Hollywood real estate, Beverly Hills realtor etc.
How many real estate sites are competing for each keyword?
When you conduct searches you want to keep track of how many websites show up under each keyword by noting the info in an excel spreadsheet. You could also write it down on paper too if you want. Examples shown below. Notice the difference in numbers between Google and Yahoo.
The number of results are how many sites you will be competing with to get to the top position. In reality though you will only be competing with the top three sites listed because it is your goal to be in the top three.
Once you've completed the first search start looking closer at each of the sites. You will first see site titles which usually contain the keyword you searched for. You will also notice the description under the title of the site. Make note of this as the title and description plays a role in why these sites are listed first.
Ok, so you are now studying the #1 listing. To get a quick overview of what's going on behind the scenes you will need the Google toolbar installed on your browser. It makes things a bit easier when researching Google. Check the sites Pagerank. That's that greenbar that is a rating from 0 – 10. Pagerank is Google's way of rating sites. If you don't want to install the Google toolbar you can check any sites backlinks by using this method in your search.
link:url or link:http://www.url.com/ – replace www.url.com with the domain you are researching.
How many links a site has plays a great part in determining how popular a site will be in the search engines. The higher quality of links you have the better. More is not necessarily better. It's quality over quantity. I will go into that more later.
To beat out the #1 site you need more high quality links and you need to optimize your sites on-page factors which will also be covered later.
You should have a good idea of the keywords that people use to search out real estate when doing research. The major keywords come to mind such as real estate, realtor, realty, home, homes, MLS, MLS search, housing, house, property etc. Keep in mind there are a lot of smaller keywords that you can optimize your site for that when added with major keywords can bring you even more targeted traffic. You will be using variations of each keyword with different keyword combinations such as, California homes, CA. MLS, Southern California properties.
Do some initial keyword research to find variations of keywords. Overture and Google's keyword tools are the most popular. Overture's keyword tool will also give you an idea of how many searches were done in the prior months so you can see how popular the keywords are. Wordtracker is a paid tool you can use that gives you some more features that are usefull.
Doing the initial real estate keyword research and finding your competitors is absolutely necessary to a successful real estate SEO campaign. Once you gather that data it is time to figure out your plan of attack.
If you are an agent and are looking to build a successful real estate website, looking to finally rank in the top ten for your major (and minor) keywords or need help marketing your current website please contact me. I have years of experience with design, SEO and online marketing and have helped dozens of businesses with their online marketing goals. Learn more about real estate web design.