Local SEO Playbook for Brokers

 

Search engine optimization is about making it easy for new online leads to find your business online via search engines (like Google, Yahoo!, and Bing). It takes some strategy, but it's a great way to get new business – so we've put together this guide to improving your website's SEO.

 

Migration Activities: Map your old website’s URLs to your new Zap website

 

When moving from your current website to your new Zap website, you’ll want to continue to rank well in search engines, so that you continue to see organic search traffic. A crucial step in the success of your new website is making sure that you map your old URLs (that Google is familiar with) to your new site’s URLs.

 

 

Option 1 (More time intensive, but better for SEO, no cost):

 

Map your office & agent URLs to your new Zap URLs to allow us to rewrite your URL mapping rules.  You’ll want to complete our pre-filled spreadsheet with your old website’s URLs.  Copy the link below for your brand and insert your company's Zap ID, then press enter. This will download a spreadsheet. Once you've filled it outemail it to sitetransitions@zaplabs.com.

 

https://www.era.com/sem/redirects?companyId=INSERT ZAP COMPANY ID HERE

https://www.coldwellbankerrealestate.com/sem/redirects?companyId=INSERT ZAP COMPANY ID HERE

https://homesforsale.century21.com/sem/redirects?companyId=INSERT ZAP COMPANY ID HERE

https://www.bhgrehomes.com/sem/redirects?companyId=INSERT ZAP COMPANY ID HERE

 

Once the Zap team sets up the URL re-directs, you’ll need to work with your hosting provider or IT team to point your DNS server's CNAME to redirect.myzap.com. You will need to go into the system used to manage your DNS to change your "A" record  to "CNAME" record to be able to put in this URL.

 

If your URL was obtained through GoDaddy, you can read their instructions here: https://www.godaddy.com/help/edit-an-a-record-19239

 

If your URL was obtained through Network Solutions, you can read their instructions here: http://www.networksolutions.com/support/a-records-ip-addresses-2/

 

 

Option 2 (Easier, but not as effective, and may come with a cost):

 

Point your custom domain name to your Zap company website. Make sure to forward without masking.

 

 

Link-building Activities: Manage directories and virtual business cards

 

Updating directories is a great way to let the rest of the web know where to find your business. You’ll want to update these directories and other sites with consistent contact information for each of your branch offices, making sure that all of your branch office information is correct and consistent across all of the directory profiles.

 

What you should share

 

Your name

Use your full company name as it appears on your company’s Zap site.  

 

Your office address

Make sure you set up a profile for each of your company’s branch offices and include the distinct address for each office.  Use the same format that your Zap site uses: 

1508 21st Street

Dallas, TX 77627

 

 

Your phone number

Include the local phone number for your branch office.

 

Your website URL

You can’t build SEO without something to link to!

Copy your company’s website URL from your Company Configuration page. You’ll want to have each branch office associated with this same URL.  Don't use your vanity URL as it won't be as effective for SEO.

 

Don’t forget to verify that all of your information is identical and accurate across every major directory!  Always include name, address and phone number and website URL.

 

Where you should share it

 

We’ve identified three main directories you’ll want to keep up-to-date.

 

  • You can start with the most popular search engine out there by adding your information to Google My Business. For extra SEO goodness, you’ll want to select a category for your business (Real Estate Agency) and add your office’s business hours here too. Need help?  Check out Google’s support info.
  • You should also establish a place for yourself on Yelp – it’ll help improve your SEO, and it’s a great way to direct customers searching for real estate to your Zap site.

 

Other ways to build links to your site

 

Get your details on additional directories, like Bing Places for Business, Foursquare, and Facebook Places.

 

You’ll also want to update your contact info in all of the places you’re social: Facebook, Yelp, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram, and YouTube.  The more paths to your website, the better.

 

 

Content Activities:  Give your website something no one else has

 

Unique content doesn’t just make you stand out to consumers – it makes search engines wake up and pay attention to you, too.   

 

Local Insights

 

With Local Insights in Zap, you can share your perspective on the local cities and neighborhoods your company covers. When consumers see your insights, they get to know your company as a knowledgeable asset in the areas they’re interested in – and they get relevant information they can use to decide whether a location is right for them.

 

Property Insights

 

Encourage your agents to write Property Insights.  Agents can post comments and tags to properties they’ve shown. This markets their local activity and knowledge to buyers and sellers on your company website. 

 

Agent Reviews

 

Remind your agents to ask for Agent Reviews regularly. When clients write Agent Reviews, you get unique content on your company website that’s specific to your agents and their service. It’s sort of like crowdsourcing your SEO – and it’s easy for agents to request reviews directly in Zap via the Contact Profile.

 

Optimizing your content for search engines

 

From a search engine’s perspective, Local Insights and Property Insights are full of keywords that consumers are familiar with – if you’re doing them right.

 

Here are a few of our top tips for search-engine-friendly content:

 

  1. Always use your own words. If Google thinks you’re posting duplicate content, your SEO takes a big hit – so make sure you’re writing original content.
  2. Use words and phrases that mean something to your consumers. Locally focused keywords, like names of the local city, the neighborhood, points of interest, and street names can all make it easier for potential visitors to find you on search engines.
  3. Encourage your agents to post widely and often so that search engines can see that you’re consistently providing something consumers value and can’t get anywhere else. 

 

Ready to create some content?

 

Learn more about Local Insights

Learn more about Property Insights

Learn more about Agent Reviews

  

 

Social Media Activities: Share and drive traffic to your site!

 

If you’ve got Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Yelp, YouTube, or Pinterest, you’ve got plenty of opportunity to drive traffic to your website – and to show search engines that you mean business in the process. And if you don’t have any of those, you might want to join the party! Your social media strategy can also make a huge difference when it comes to your search engine rankings.

 

Linking to your Zap site on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and other outlets doesn’t just get your company’s name out there to customers – it also gets the behind-the-scenes wheels turning for search engines. When there are plenty of links back to your Zap site, search engines recognize your company’s name, too – and they’ll be more likely to promote your site to visitors.

 

If you’re already on social media and your followers don’t know that you have a website, it’s time to start spreading the news.  You’ll increase your website’s relevance in the eyes of search engines – and you’ll leverage the business opportunities waiting for you within your list of followers.

 

Don’t have followers?  Get some! Tell all of your current and past clients, as well as friends and others you do business with that you’re social.  Friend them on Facebook, connect with them on LinkedIn, and follow them on Twitter.

 

So how and where should you share?

 

Knowing your platform is just as important as being active on social media! Here are our top places to link back to your Zap site – and what kind of links to post.

 

Yelp – for reviews and to show off what it’s like to work with your business, this is the place to be.

 

  • Get reviews! Let your customers know you’re on Yelp and ask them to review you.

 

Twitter – for timely updates, hashtag campaigns, and quick real estate goodness!

 

  • Share open house dates and times – and include a link to the property’s home detail page in your tweet. Get ready to meet some new faces!
  • Got an appealing new listing that hit the market today? Share it.
  • If you’ve posted Property Insights on a listing, get it on Twitter!
  • Twitter is a great spot for sharing your Local Insights.
  • One of your agents just got a new review? Tweet it.

 

Facebook – for content that’s relevant to your local community

 

  • People get a sense of others’ lifestyles on Facebook – and your Local Insights might entice potential new residents to check out a neighborhood! Share a snippet of what you wrote and link to the search results pages for cities and neighborhoods you’ve posted about. That way, you’ll link to a content-rich page that search engines have their eyes all over.
  • Share properties your agents are touring, with links to the home details page with their Property Insights.
  • Facebook is all about people, so keep it close to home and personal by putting a human face on your service. If you’re a company, you can put your agents in the spotlight – maybe even tag them and link back to their Zap website. Better yet – share their recent reviews!
  • New company listing? Share it!
  • Having an open house?  Share that, too!

 

Pinterest and Instagram – a haven for all things visual

 

  • Got a picture-perfect listing? Pinterest and Instagram are great places to show it off. Their platforms thrive on enticing photos, so find one that stands out. If you're posting on Pinterest, you can have it link straight to the home’s detail page on your Zap site.
  • Try applying the same strategy to neighborhoods and Local Insights. If there’s a great photo that captures something about a neighborhood you work in, post it on Pinterest with a direct link to a search results page.
  • Instagram is a great way to show off all the visually appealing real estate listings you get to work with each day. You won't be able to direct link to a listing from a post, but you should be able to garner some interest in your listings, and a common way to drive traffic is to place a link in your Instagram bio to your website.

 

Don’t forget to get your credit!

 

If you’re making the effort to drive traffic to your website, you’ll want to make sure that all leads you generate are attributed to you. To do that, make sure you follow these important steps when sharing a page from your website on social media.

 

  1. Find the URL for the page you’d like to share in the URL bar at the top of your screen. Highlight the URL, and right click to copy it.
  2. Tack this string to the end of the URL: ?referredByCompany=ZapID
  3. Replace “ZapID” with the three or four digits found out the end of your Zap website’s URL (found on your company configuration page).

 

Whenever you’re sharing a link to your website, always remember to follow the steps above so that new visitors you generate via social media count as your company leads.

 

Social media might take some getting used to if you’re new to it, but the best way to learn it is to get started! Remember, even the experts learn from watching how other users engage with social media and keeping their eyes open for what gets results.

Marissa Azzara August 22, 2018