by Rebecca Chandler
In a conversation I had recently with a real estate broker regarding local Search Engine Optimization, he stated, “I’m no SEO expert.” The fact is, he shouldn’t have to be – any more than an SEO expert has to know his local real estate market. But – intuitively, this broker does some really smart things to reach and engage local buyers and sellers, so – in a way – he really IS the local SEO expert – and you can be, too.
Consumers today looking for information use every media and device available to them and you can’t think of SEO as only those activities that happen on the web such as content marketing, social media, and website optimization. Those are all key components of a successful SEO campaign, but are only a portion of a really good local strategy.
So, what are some other ways to drive local traffic to your site?
The broker with whom I was speaking was doing some very smart things to create a local traffic to his site. For example, his site not only allowed an interested user to see homes available in his area – but it also gave the user a really good idea of what it was like to live in the local area. He linked to popular local activities, wrote about the traits of different neighborhoods, highlighted local businesses, and conveyed his own pride in his community. His site is not all about him or even all about listings. It’s about the local community.
According to a recent Google stat, about 20% of laptop searches are local – compared to about 50% of mobile searches. That makes sense. As you go about your day, the location of your phone aids in finding products and services nearby.
People, in general, act on mobile searches. Google also states that 3 of 4 mobile searches trigger follow-up actions and eMarketer recently estimated that mobile retail sales will approach $39 billion in 2013 – up 56.5% over 2012.
When it comes to shopping for a home, a study conducted by NCI/NewPoint Media Group in 2012 of home shoppers -residential sales and rentals –indicated that mobile shoppers are very likely to take action. Sixty-eight percent of home buyers those who viewed a property or site via mobile contacted someone directly for more information – via a phone call, an email, or a text message. And, 70% of home renters (including apartments) did. The conversion to from search to conversation is simply higher on mobile.
What can you do to reach more local mobile shoppers?
To start, make sure your website is optimized for mobile. To find out how your site appears on a mobile device, open it on your phone’s browser. If you don’t have that ability, go towww.TestMySiteNow.com to see how your site appears on a mobile phone. If you have to “pinch and stretch,” that’s a bad user experience and driving mobile traffic to a site not optimized for mobile viewing is a futile effort. Most mobile shoppers will immediately leave.
There are some simple ways to mobilize your site. Talk to your web developer about “responsive web design.” If redesigning your website is too expensive, look for other options. For example, advertisers of The Real Estate Book have a free option to for a mobile optimized site and upgraded versions are very affordable. You can even pass the code along to your web developer that will redirect mobile shoppers to your mobile version and laptop shoppers to your web version.
Use offline media to drive traffic online. Big brands do it nationally. For example, flip through any of your favorite magazines or watch your favorite TV show or sporting event and look for websites, Twitter hashtags, social media profiles, mobile apps, QR codes and text codes – or any other digital triggers. Big brands know that using offline to drive online makes sense and works well.
You can do it locally. Rather than waiting for them to search and find you – go find them. Including your website, a text or QR code, hashtags, your social media profiles, blog post references on everything from your sign riders to locally distributed print ads, targeted direct mail, local display ads – even the business cards you hand out face to face are all ways to get more local traffic.
Local SEO Goal #1 – Drive Local Traffic (Get locals to your website)
Local SEO Goal #2 – Convert Local Traffic (Get locals to do business with you)
The goal of local Search Engine Optimization is to drive more local traffic to your website to interact with more local consumers who have the ability and likelihood to do business with you – profitably. Make sure your local site focuses on your prospective clients’ needs, not yours. Focus on what it’s like to live, work, shop and play in your market and they will be more likely to view youas the local expert.