What Is a Keyword and How Can Real Estate Agents Use Them?
In the whirlwind that is Search Engine Optimization and Google Adwords, industry-specific terms are thrown around like debris in a hurricane. It can feel overwhelming, but anyone can make sense of it with a little help. Beginning with “keywords”, or the specific words that tell search engines what your online content is all about, you can create and execute a real estate marketing strategy that’ll send more traffic to your well-designed real estate website — helping you get more leads and sell listings faster.
This guide, while not a substitute for a Google Adwords Certification, should give you the overview you need to understand and utilize these marketing strategies to boost your online visibility and expand your real estate business.
PPC vs. SEO Keywords
If you’ve been reading about digital marketing, then you know there are a couple of instances where “keywords” are used. The first is PPC (or Pay-Per-Click) advertising. When users perform a search, they’ll use words or phrases that contain specific keywords that tell the search engine what information they’re seeking.
For example, a potential client might search “top real estate agents in New York” or “best real estate agents in Denver.” As such, you’ll want to make sure you’re running a PPC campaign targeting localized keywords like these so your ad/landing page is more likely to appear in the ad space of the search results or spots on websites where visual ads can be shown.
PPC is also used in conjunction with organic searches, which is sometimes referred to as Search Engine Optimization (SEO). That’s when you create content using the correct SEO keywords that’s both useful and interesting to the searcher. The search engine then picks up on the nature of the content by evaluating its use of keywords and how users are interacting with the page. Pages that the search engine deems best able to answer the user’s query will likely appear higher in the search results, putting your online assets ahead of others.
Types of Keywords
Now that we’ve established how keywords relate to PPC and SEO, here's how keywords are categorized:
- Primary Keywords are typically high value keywords that you wish to rank for (e.g., “historic homes”).
- Secondary Keywords add just a touch more detail to primary keywords (e.g., “historic homes Atlanta”).
- Long-Tail Keywords are usually strings of keywords or short phrases (e.g., “historic homes for sale Atlanta”).
Did You Know?
Search engines, their algorithms, and your competitors all change like the seasons, meaning it’s important to monitor and improve your campaigns over time. Whether it’s through a Google Ads campaign or a carefully curated SEO content strategy, executing a search engine marketing campaign requires constant tweaking and content optimization to be truly successful.
Factors to Consider When Choosing Real Estate Keywords
Running PPC campaigns or creating quality real estate SEO-focused content is a sizable investment, and one that you’ll want to maximize. With that said, here are some things to consider when choosing keywords:
- Search Volume: Search volume is essentially the number of searches for a certain keyword. Of course, you’ll want to choose keywords that people are actively searching for, but you should also keep in mind that keywords with high search volume will be more competitive. There are several tools, like Keywords Everywhere, that will show search volume.
- Real Estate Competitors: To perform a competitor keyword analysis, use a search engine marketing tool or platform to compare your digital marketing efforts to your competitors. Not only can you see which keywords they rank higher (or lower) for, but you can also see how close you are to overtaking them.
- Relevancy: You should always strive for relevance in your PPC campaigns and SEO keyword content. For instance, you don’t want to blog about your new car if you’re trying to rank for historic homes in your area. Using various keyword analysis tools, like SEM Rush, you’ll be able to determine how relevant your content is.
- Negative Keywords: Negative keywords tell the search engine the search terms for which you don’t want to rank. For example, if you want to rank for “residential real estate”, setting “commercial real estate” as a negative keyword could be a great move. Negative keywords can be set up through your AdWords account.
25 Keyword Ideas for Real Estate Agents
Here is a list of keywords that you might want to research, and depending on your budget, implement into your campaigns:
- Real estate agent
- Best real estate agent
- Top real estate agent
- Homes for sale (your city)
- Selling a home
- Buying a home
- REALTORS® (your city)
- Real estate investors (your city)
- First-time homebuyers
- MLS listings (your city)
- Luxury real estate (your city)
- Townhomes for sale (your city)
- Real estate Broker(your city)
- Best REALTOR® in (your city)
- Real estate companies
- 18. New homes for sale
- Real estate listings (your city)
- Best real estate Broker
- Top real estate Broker
- Real estate agent near me
- Local real estate agent
- Realty (your city)
- Real estate market (your city)
How to Find Real Estate Keyword Opportunities
Finding the right keywords to target can be half the battle. Luckily, there are many tools and platforms you can use to do your keyword research and monitor their progress (or regress), including:
- Ahrefs: Ahrefs is fantastic for beginners and professionals alike. Their Keywords Explorer tool (which can be tried for $7) is a great way to gauge search volume for various keywords, perform a site audit, and track keywords. Subscriptions range from $99 per month for “lite”, to $179 for “standard”, and $399 per month for “advanced”.
- SEMRush: SEMRush brands itself as an “online visibility management platform” because it helps users create and execute a keyword strategy that’s more sophisticated than just picking keywords. This tool allows you to research your competitors, figure out what kinds of content to produce, and determine whether or not you’re ranking in searches. SEMRush allows you to complete a free trial before choosing from tiered pricing. Charged on a monthly basis, their Pro tier costs $119.95, Guru tier costs $229.95, and Business tier costs $449.95.
- Wordtracker: While Google’s Keyword Planner is used predominantly for SEO Keywords, Wordtracker specifically focuses on keyword value as it pertains to PPC campaigns. Wordtracker grants its users insights into search rankings, competitors, and trends. Plans start at $27 per month for bronze, $69 per month for silver, and $99 per month for gold.
Of course, each offering has its own nuanced differences and limitations as far as how many keywords can be analyzed. Larger brokerages with an in-house marketing team might favor the SEMRush platform, whereas a smaller brokerage might be better suited with one of the less expensive, less sophisticated platforms. Those who don’t have the time or desire to manage their own campaigns could consider hiring an agency for a year. Oftentimes, PPC and SEO campaigns take some time before their gains can be realized or measured.
Tracking Real Estate Keywords and Setting Goals
Once you’ve used your tools to hone in on the best real estate keywords, it’s time to set goals. Potential benchmarks include getting on the first page of Google, boosting your lead generation figures, or surpassing a competitor in terms of real estate SEO keyword rank.
Just keep in mind that many large companies in the real estate industry spend hundreds of thousands of dollars each month trying to rank for keywords with high search volume or to be on the front page of a Google search. That doesn’t mean that you won’t appear in ad spaces or search results — especially if you’ve got a great, relevant blog — but it means you should be reasonable with your goals. Then, once you’ve set your goals, you can use your keyword tools to track your progress for a comprehensive, sophisticated approach to marketing your business.
If you want to dive further into digital marketing strategies to grow your business, check out our Agent Essentials content hub. We’ve created over 1,000 pieces of free resources to help real estate professionals succeed long-term in this ever-changing industry.