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How to Draw Home Shoppers to Your Real Estate Site… And Keep Them There

August 19 2014

online house cursorHomebuyers, more than ever, are searching for homes online. Attracting those individuals to your web site is essential for your real estate business. Keeping them there is even more essential.

Google and the National Association of REALTORS® teamed up to study digital media usage and trends among home shoppers. They learned that not only do nine out of 10 homebuyers use the Internet to look for homes, 52 percent begin their searches online. And those numbers are growing 22 percent per year.

In today's web-driven world, getting a home shopper's attention is more difficult than ever, and your real estate business depends upon it. Luckily there are a number of steps you can take to draw your audience to your web site and keep them clicking.

1. Local Focus

How do most real estate searches begin? According to the Google/NAR study, 69 percent of home shoppers begin their search by typing a local term (e.g. "Indianapolis homes for sale").

Even if your real estate business focuses on multiple cities, start at your base and work your way out. The more targeted you can be, the better. For example, if you're based in Phoenix, Arizona, populate the content on your web site with terms like:

  • Phoenix homes
  • Phoenix realtor
  • Living in Phoenix
  • Phoenix schools

Your web site should be a resource for community information that homebuyers will be looking for, like schools, jobs, parks and other neighborhood amenities. Have a favorite plumber or contractor? List them on your web site.

2. Original Content (Blogs)

One of the best things you can do for your real estate web site is to give it a blog. Blogs allow you to quickly and easily build content on your site, keeping it fresh and updated for search engines. Not only can you promote your listings on your blog, you can create original content in the form of articles and posts that show off your knowledge of your service area and the real estate process.

Have some tips on local schools? Want to share your knowledge of how to go about a home search? Do this on your blog and don't forget to use the local keywords recommended above.

3. Video and Images

Video marketing for real estate is becoming a major opportunity for agents and brokers to attract home shopper traffic and keep them there. And the overall stats for internet video confirm this fact: online video usage is expected to double to 1.5 billion in 2016.

Listing descriptions, no matter how well-written and detailed, fail to capture a home the way a video tour can. One real estate group reported more than 400% more inquiries for video listings than for those without video, and studies have shown adding a video to a page triples the traffic it receives.

Where video used to be difficult to create for all your listings, now technology has made it easier. A number of services provide the automated creation of videoautomated creation of video home tours and combine social media strategies, local SEO enhancement with mobile friendly viewing. These types of property "mini" websites that also enable you to add your own unique video content such testimonials or communities can not only increase your digital brand but act as a marketing catalyst for your website.

4. Go Mobile

Have you looked at your web site on your phone lately? You might want to be sitting down. Consumers are surfing the web more and more on their phones and tablets--89% of new home shoppers use a mobile device during the home buying process. If your site is not optimized for mobile, homebuyers might have a difficult time navigating your real estate listings and content.

If your site is several years old, you might want to consider a new template that is optimized for mobile.

5. Social Media

How fast is social media expanding in 2014? Here are some interesting stats:

  • There are 1.28 billion monthly active users on Facebook
  • 75% of the engagement on a post happens in the first 5 hours
  • 84% of women and 50% of men stay active on Pinterest
  • More than 2 users sign-up for LinkedIn every second
  • 40% of YouTube traffic comes from mobile

Social media is fast becoming an ideal marketing tool for REALTORS®, whether Pinterest, Facebook, LinkedIn or Google+. Building these social media accounts for your real estate business, incorporating them in your web site and updating them often with your listings and original content can go a long way in building brand loyalty and gathering web traffic.

6. Directory Assistance

Popular directories like Trulia, Zillow, and NestBuilder are dominant forces in the online real estate process. Make sure you have listings on these sites, which can lead to a lot of potential traffic.

7. Brush Up Your Bio

A well-optimized site will attract keyword traffic from search engines, but there's no more important search term than your own name.

Devote some attention to your bio, making sure that your name and location are listed in several places. This is also a great spot to list testimonials or real estate agent reviewsreal estate agent reviews of your practice.

Finally, remember to visit other agents' sites for ideas on how they are using new digital trends to maximize the power of their online marketing.