December 6, 2022 8 minute read

SEO (search engine optimization) can be hard to wrap your brain around because it's something you never really see but that has a huge impact on your success online. Your website needs to be fully optimized for your brokerage to reach its full digital potential, both in 2023 and beyond. In fact, SEO is just as important as good design and images. It’s the brains that powers your website and lets consumers find you simply by searching for "homes for sale" in your area. 

When it comes to SEO, there's no one thing you can do for your website to rank higher. Real success is the result of many compounding, ongoing, and ever-evolving tasks. If you don't have full-time support, these can feel overwhelming and impossible to manage. But with the right partner, you can entrust difficult SEO work to an expert and spend your time focusing on what you do best—selling real estate. 

To give you a better idea about SEO and what makes an award-winning website stand out from the competition, I’m going to answer some of your most commonly asked SEO questions below and share my tips on how to rank higher in 2023 and for every year after! 

What is search engine optimization? 

Search engine optimization, or SEO, is everything you can do to help your site perform better on search engines, like Google and Bing. Search engines use complex (and top-secret) algorithms to gauge whether a site is useful to searchers. In a nutshell, SEO comprises all the steps you can take to help these search engines find your website, determine its content is useful, and as a result, display your site as high up as possible in search results (if you work hard and do things right, somewhere on the first page—or even the very first spot!).  

Why is SEO important for real estate websites? 

SEO is the not-so-secret sauce that drives consumers to your website, turning it into an organic lead generator and keeping your funnel full. 

Search engines use crawlers to identify websites and updated website content on the internet. Once crawlers find a website, they add it to an index, i.e., a huge database of all the URLs they deem worthy of showing to searchers in search results. Therefore, the logical first step in SEO is getting crawlers to find your site, and the second is convincing them your site is both trustworthy and useful, so they keep sending searchers back again and again.  

To complicate things a little bit, SEO best practices are constantly evolving because search engines are constantly changing (and improving) how they determine what qualifies as consumer-worthy content. It’s next to impossible to keep up to date with all these changes without full-time help. Does your team have time to add SEO to its list? Most brokers we talk to say, "no way, my team is busy already!" That's why working with an SEO partner can be so valuable. 

Graphic showing real estate website platform and a happy agent 

How can you make your website SEO-optimized ? 

Truth be told, SEO isn't sexy. It involves tracking hundreds of tiny details that over time can add up to big rewards. If you are thinking of your website like a house, SEO starts right in the foundation and the structural level that eventually becomes a beautiful home. SEO is the fuel that powers your website, turning it into a lead-generating machine and providing measurable ROI. That means it involves a lot of work behind the walls, under the floorboards, and on content and pages your visitors might never see so crawlers index and rank your site first. 

What are the basic building blocks of SEO?

At a minimum, your site needs to cover certain basic elements to be optimized for search engines. As simple as they are, they’re crucial to get absolutely right. Let’s look at three of them: 

1. Website design and code 

The first element for optimizing a website is its literal foundation: the design (its basic information architecture, structure, and page hierarchy) and the actual code used to make it appear in a browser. Websites have to be designed and coded with SEO in mind and every piece specifically crafted to ensure optimal search engine performance. These include the HTML and CSS markups, canonical text, everything that affects page weight and load time, crawl paths, linking structures, and more. Does this sound like a lot? Because it is!

2. Customization  

The second SEO building block is customization.  

The best homebuilders (web developers) in the world can build your house (website) on the finest foundation (code), but it won’t start to feel like it's really yours until you've added your own finishing touches. That’s where customization comes in. 

Search engine algorithms use many different metrics to figure out whether your website is useful (and therefore, worthy of a high ranking). One metric of website quality is uniqueness, the degree to which your site's content resembles that on other websites. This is considered a reliable way to determine whether your site provides relevant information visitors can’t find anywhere else. This is why customization is important: For example, if you’re trying to sell houses in Houston, but your website doesn't mention the city's diverse neighborhoods or its amenities, or copies blocks of text information word-for-word from the Chamber of Commerce website (or, gasp! Wikipedia), then Houston, we have a problem. 

3: Content  

The third SEO building block is content.  

Quality content is another way to demonstrate your site is useful, leading to higher search rankings. The more recent and relevant (unique) content you have, the better. If you change and update your content frequently, it shows you’re maintaining your site, so search engines believe it's more up to date (and therefore more useful). The more useful your site seems to search engines, the higher your ranking. 

These are just three of the most basic SEO considerations you need to think about. How often are these on your to-do list? 

Learn more about Constellation1 Websites 

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What makes Constellation1 Websites so good for real estate?

For SEO, the devil is in the details. The real beauty of Constellation1 Websites is actually the brains behind the scenes. Our experts handle all these SEO basics and more for our customers, and our attention to detail is what sets us apart. 

Let me take you on a tour of Consetllation1’s approach to SEO and how we differentiate our websites from the our competitors. 

Young broker smiles, happy with the ease of use of her new real estate software.

Your SEO bases completely covered 

Optimimal structure 

Our expert team starts from the ground up to design and code all our Constellation1 Websites with SEO (specifically for real estate) in mind. Everything, down to the shortest line of code, adheres to best practices for HTML markup, tagging, and more. 

Let's take an Open House page on a broker website as an example. We use specific HTML tags on the page and structure it optimally so crawlers can find it, index it, and display it prominently. This helps drive traffic to your site, which eventually starts to snowball into even more traffic and a better ranking.  

When crawlers scour the web, they’re looking for specific things. We not only know what these are, we’ve developed our own unique structures and tools to ensure crawlers index your site quickly. 

Tools to tailor your site 

Constellation1 Websites harness our own unique content management system that lets you to customize every important detail of your webpage without affecting the meticulously build framework we’ve created.  

All customizable elements are laid out in simple, intuitive templates, so you know where your content needs to go. You can write it yourself and update it regularly for the best results. We also provide key content for you, like information on community pages, so parts of your site never look blank and update themselves automatically.  

Graphic showing real estate website platform.

Community pages with demographics demonstrate to search engines your site's content is local and relevant to your potential customers. This data might include stats like population, climate and weather, school information, crime data, and more. We've created dynamic elements for this content that update monthly automatically, so your content is always fresh. Your own team can even take it a step further and help you rank higher by re-writing the content and making it your own (our top tip: unique, keyword-rich content is gold for SEO!). 

In some instances, we provide multiple fields in our templates, so you can enter multiple versions of the same content element. We then rotate that content periodically and automatically, so crawlers read it as new (read: more useful). This can help you rank higher. 

Built-in SEO strategy 

“Rank higher” is a great goal, but how do you intend to get there? With the right strategy in place, you'll be there in no time. But it can be hard to develop a strategy when you don’t know what you’re doing. Did you know you might have unintentionally been doing things that made your site ranking go down, like using a dubious backlinking strategy? If you're always chasing trends and tips without a long-term strategy, you might lose the foundation or skip the basics, and your strategy will fail. 

Plus, what worked 10 years ago, and maybe even 10  months ago, might not work as well anymore, because search engines are always changing. Keeping up is a full-time job!

We use our SEO expertise to tailor a winning strategy to your goals, then partner with you to put it into action. We teach you what bad practices to avoid while leveraging the benefits of social media, fresh content, and more for the best possible results. Our SEO approach has two prongs: we provide the tools and technical expertise and teach you how to leverage them to their fullest potential. We test, we analyze, and we figure out what is and isn't working. We also track your analytics every month to detect the effects of any algorithm or website changes and use data to drive your strategy further. We're a true SEO partner, not just a website provider.  

Ongoing improvement 

We are always striving to be better, and we keep up-to-date on the latest SEO best practices, so you don’t have to. We use that information to make continuous website improvements. 

We also partner with our own SEO experts who audit the code underlying our websites against the latest algorithm trends. We then make continuous enhancements and updates on the backend based on . That way, you don’t have to take precious time to track Google’s core updates, which can impact how you rank.  

And since everything is hosted in a private cloud, we push updates for you automatically. Instead of stressing about you website, you can focus on what you do best instead.  

Learn more about Constellation1 Websites

Download the Guide

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What can I do so my real estate website ranks higher? 

As you can see from this article, there's no one thing you can do so your brokerage's site ranks higher on search engines. A high ranking is the result of a concerted strategy involving many ongoing tasks and tiny details that really add up. Every website and market is different. That said, there are some steps you can start taking right now to put your website on the right path.

Here are three quick tips for getting a better SEO ranking:

1. Update and improve your website content 

If your website foundation is already strong and your content is tagged properly (headings, meta descriptions, etc.), you can start improving your ranking a lot by updating your pages and adding the kind of content crawlers are looking for. These include popular real estate keywords, demographic information, neighborhood data, and “community marketing” (what you’d want to know if you were looking for a home in your area…). If your content isn't properly tagged, start there first.

2. Update and improve your links 

The worst thing a visitor could find on your website is a dead end—a page where there’s nowhere to go, so they leave. Search engines do not like these dead-end pages, also called orphan pages, because of the bad user experience they create. 

Check your website for dead-end pages (you can use a tool like the User Flow reports on Google Analytics). If you find any, add outbound links, social media widgets, or link back to other high-value pages on your website so you are no longer penalized for these pages. 

3. Get a free SEO consultation 

Not sure what the best next step is for a better ranking? We can help!  

Book Your Personal Tour of Constellation1 Websites

Read how one company’s organic web traffic skyrocketed
by over 2,000% after switching to Consetllation1 Websites

Our customer Vylla Home increased its organic website traffic by more than 2,000% after switching to a Constellation1 website. This was thanks to a concerted effort by both sides: we provided the tools, and Vylla ran with them. We always make sure to go a step further, and it shows in our customers’ results. 

Read About Vylla Home

Learn more about Constellation1 Websites 

Our websites are a winning combination of beauty and brains. To learn even more about how a Constellation1 website could take your brokerage to the next level, get in touch with us today. 

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Steve Thomson is Vice President of Software Development at Constellation1. He was recognized as a 2021 Newsmaker by RISMedia.