Mar 5
2012

DIY REALTOR SEO Guide #1: How to Pick the Right Keywords

Written by Chris Adams | posted in DIY SEO Guide, SEO | 1 Comment

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Don’t be fooled, keyword research may sound boring it is VERY critical. Getting this right will make all your future SEO efforts much easier to plan and implement. But if you get this wrong you’ll realize 6-months down the road you need to start all over.

Are there such a thing as ‘good’ and ‘bad’ keywords? Well, not in the sense of good vs. evil, but you can certainly make good decisions and bad decisions when it comes to keyword selection.

  • A ‘good’ keyword is one that brings in transactional traffic, that is to say it brings in traffic that results in a higher rate of conversions, leads, clients, customers, etc.
  • A ‘bad’ keyword is one that brings in research traffic, that is to say traffic that isn’t interested in making a transaction but is still in the research phase.

Action Steps

  • 1. Brainstorm: create a list of keywords you think people might use to find your website
  • 2. Get the Spreadsheet Ready: compile all of your data into a spreadsheet
  • 3. Run the Numbers: estimate the traffic for each keyword using Google’s Traffic Estimator Tool
  • 4. Filter Your Data: rearrange your keywords to those with the highest ‘Estimated Global Search Volume’ and cut the keywords that fall under the 100 searches per month mark

Action Steps EXPLAINED

1. Brainstorm

  • Using a pad of paper, whiteboard, or Excel spreadsheet create a giant list of keywords you think people might use to find your website. By giant we mean more than 100 keywords.
  • Include short-tail and long-tail keywords, for example: “Phoenix real estate” “Luxury Phoenix real estate in the Biltmore district”
  • If you’re having trouble thinking up keywords then try out Google’s keyword tool (click here)

A few things to remember:

  • Don’t shoot down any keyword ideas until you’ve ran some numbers (see Action Step 3)
  • Rearrange your keywords for new keywords (i.e. “phoenix real estate” is NOT the same as “real estate in phoenix”)
  • Don’t be afraid of long-tail keywords (i.e. keywords with more than 4 words in them) like “real estate agent in Phoenix AZ”
  • It’s tempting to want to rank for a term like “real estate” but for 99.99% of real estate agents that would be a great waste of resources
  • Don’t forget to geo-locate your keywords as well – often these have higher conversion rates (i.e. become clients/leads), and are easy to rank for, one examples would be “Realtor in Scottsdale AZ”
  • It’s not a bad idea to use adjectives in your keywords like “best Realtor in Phoenix AZ”

2. Get the Spreadsheet Ready

3. Run the Numbers

  • Once you’ve compiled your list of potential keywords, click here head over to Google’s Traffic Estimator Tool (You might need to log in to Google first; if you don’t have an account, click here to set one up)
  • Copy and paste your keywords from your spreadsheet into the first box “Word or phrase” – enter the “Captcha” code – then click “Estimate”
  • Once the data populates below you want to copy down the following number, ‘Global Monthly Searches’ and place that number under the ‘Estimated Global Search Volume’ column in the spreadsheet
  • Chances are high that many of your keywords won’t have any corresponding monthly search volume, instead it’s just a dash (-) mark or it says “no data”. When you see this that’s Google’s way of saying “more or less 0” searches occur every month for that keyword

Why does it say ‘estimated’ ?

  • It would be nice to think that these numbers are 100% accurate – but they’re not and even Google admits that. So take these numbers with a grain of salt.
  • In our experience we’ve found the numbers to be good approximations, roughly +/-30%
  • How can the numbers can be so off? Part of that question has to be answered by Google but one reason might be due to seasonality (i.e. Certain keywords are searched more often during certain times of the year).

4. Filter Your Data

  • Rearrange your keywords to those with the highest ‘Estimated Global Search Volume’ and cut those that fall under 100 searches per month (unless you suspect the number is low due to seasonality or is a keyword you think will be highly searched in the future).

Extra Credit

Another way to find out if a keyword is worth targeting is to run a Pay per click (PPC) campaign because it will give you the most accurate search numbers possible. Once you’ve created the list of keywords, place them in a Google Adwords campaign. Because you’re just testing you only need your “average position” to be around 4 or 5. Which will mean you show up on the front page but aren’t clicked as often. This method will certainly cost you some money, but is the most accurate in telling you how many people truly search a certain term each month.

Awesome Tools

The methodologies and tools outlined above all fall under the “free” category which is great, but for those looking for more advanced tools check out the tools below.

  • SEMRUSH: There’s a keyword research tool called SEMRush (click here) that gives you some great insight to the keywords your competitors are ranking for – while this can be invaluable it can also lead you down a fruitless rabbit trail if your competitors are targeting the wrong keywords. Nonetheless this is a great tool to spy on your competition.
  • SEOMOZ: SEOmoz.org (click here) has a great tool as well called the “Keyword Difficulty” tool. It answers the question, “how hard will it be to rank for keyword-x?” by giving you score from 0-100, 100 being the hardest to rank for. In the real estate profession you’ll generally find that most keywords fall in the same difficulty level, but certain terms like “new york real estate” or “real estate” will be anything but easy to rank for.

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