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SEO Guide

The Ultimate Real Estate SEO Guide

Chapter 6.

Chapter 6.

Link Building: The strategic creation of backlinks from local or authoritative websites

Welcome to the Real Estate SEO Guide

Hi Everyone,

I’m sure the reason you’re reading this guide is because you’ve heard of SEO or have a local competitor that is out-ranking your website. Either way, that’s great and I’m excited you’re taking steps to help your real estate business. I think you will find that SEO is not magic, it’s a process, a consistent moving target, and has major rewards (if done correctly).

Before we begin, I’d like to set some expectation for return-on-time involved to optimize your website. Doing SEO can take upwards of 4-6 months to really start seeing major results and is something that you must keep doing. It’s going to test your patience and if it’s your first-time doing SEO, it could be a little overwhelming. My words of advice are “don’t give up” and “keep things simple”. SEO will pay off in the long-run and it’s something you can leverage within your business in perpetuity.
Alright, let’s do this!

Chapter 1: Keyword Research

What is Keyword Research?

Keyword research is the process of scouting keywords people are searching for on major search engines. In your case, this would be keywords like “[city] real estate”, “real estate in [community or neighborhood]”, “luxury real estate in [city]”, or “Foreclosures in [city]”.

Keyword research provides a powerful view into what your market wants to see. It will help you strategize your overarching content strategy and gear content around those potential prospects. You’re also going to uncover market trends that you never knew of.

Basic Components of Keyword Research

There are three primary components to keep in mind when doing keyword research for your real estate company.

  1. Value Make sure the keywords you’re scouting provide a return in value for you and the prospective buyer/seller. The keyword content must be worth developing for your business and be a logical contribution to your website. This content must also serve the potential buyer/seller information that is useful and excellent quality. Later in this article we will dive into quality and how search engines deem “quality” through data.
  2. Authoritative Becoming an authority in Google’s eyes is difficult to do. Make sure to select keywords you feel are attainable and be realistic. Target keywords in-line with your business, some agents are “community experts” others are “city experts”, so ensure keyword selection is in-line with your business focus. That way, you can truly become the expert via keyword targeted content and achieve business focused goals.
  3. Volume Ranking page 1 for a specific keyword is cool, right? Well, it really depends if there is search volume. Some keywords have zero volume on search engines and others have a tremendous amount. As mentioned above, make sure your keywords are in-line with business goals, but have the right amount of volume to make efforts worth it. I know this is vague, but I plan to give you specific real estate keyword examples as we dig into this. It should be able to get you started and moving in the right direction (lightbulb moments).

Keyword Research Process:

Step 1: Make a list of topics around your real estate market focus

Prior to beginning keyword research, you want to map out topics in-line with your market focus. For example, many realtors specialize in specific communities, condos, luxury, and even investment properties. In other words, develop the list on your focus, desired specialty, and target markets. Then drop those topics into buckets like these examples below: Example real estate agent scenario:

  • Name: One Group – Sedona Realty Specialists
  • Inventory Type: High-end, golf communities, and retirement
  • Market: Sedona
  • Success in Communities: Oak Creek Country Club, Coyote Trails, Seven Canyons

Topic Buckets:

  • Market:
    • Sedona Real Estate
  • Areas
    • Uptown Sedona
    • West Sedona
    • Village of Oak Creek
    • Red Rock Loop
    • Chapel
  • Focused / Specialized Golf Communities:
    • Coyote Trails Real Estate
    • Seven Canyons Real Estate
    • Dorodo at Verde Santa Fe Real Estate
    • Sedona Golf Resort Real Estate
  • Inventory Types & Communities within:
    • Luxury
    • Retirement
    • Gated
    • With a view
    • Secluded
    • Private pool
    • Golf Course Homes
  • Living Experience
    • Hiking
    • Mountain biking
    • Golfing
    • Shopping
    • Dining
    • Parks
    • Attractions
    • Schools
    • Weather

This step in the process can take some time and will require some thought to strategize grouping. Making this list hierarch will help lay the groundwork for uncovering keywords and defining content creation.

Step 2: Doing the Keyword Research

It’s time to dive into keyword research and start crafting your initial list. Before we do, just know there are numerous tools you can use to find keywords, but to keep things easy, I’m going to focus on using Google Keyword Planner (within Google Adwords) and Microsoft Excel.

[The below steps for Google Keyword Planner are subject to change based on Google’s U.I.]

  • First, create an account at Google Adwords, confirm your account, and login.
  • Once logged into Adwords, you will need to locate Tools and Settings > Keyword Planner.
  • Now, that you’re in the Keyword planner you can type in your initial keywords by clicking on “Discover New Keywords”.
  • To give you an idea how to do this, let’s type in the primary keyword “Sedona Real Estate”. Once the results appear, click on the download icon in the top right (it will download into a .csv file).
  • Open the file with Excel and save it as .xlsx file to make it easier to manipulate
  • Hide all columns in the file except the “Keyword”, “Avg. Monthly Searches”, and “Competition”.
  • Now create another column next to “Competition” called “Group”. We are going to use this column to assign keywords to numerical groups.
  • Go through the list and start grouping keywords how you see fit. Also, delete keywords you’re unable to target. Use the screenshot as an example to help guide you.
keyword research for real estate
  • Remember your grouping in this initial excel file.
  • Repeat this process for using all the initial Buckets found in Step 1.
  • Then merge your excel files into a single excel file and arrange by sorting the “Group” column descending.
  • Delete duplicate rows (keywords).

Now your initial keyword research is completed. Your first time may take you a few hours, especially if your excel skills are not the greatest. Think of these keyword groups as the foundational strategy for your website’s SEO.
Things to note:

Sometimes you will want to target very specific keywords (like specialized neighborhoods) and the Keyword Planner may not return results. This is still okay to create keywords if you feel strongly about targeting very specific prospects searching those keywords. Even though it may not yield leads, it still helps your perception. Let’s use “Creek Country Club Real Estate”, it has 10-100 searches per month depending on seasonality, but let’s pretend you have a listing-lead within that neighborhood. You could use your search engine positioning as a selling tactic to get the prospect to allow you to list the property.
Other tools you can use to find keywords:

  • Moz
  • ChatGpt

Step 3: Configure Keyword Tracking

Now that you have completed your initial keyword research, you can begin tracking success. Before diving in, I’d like to set some quick expectations with you on keyword performance. It can take a fair amount of time to see results, so don’t expect Google to magically rank you #1. SEO can take months to see results, even after creating content and building quality backlinks. With that said, below are some recommended tools you can use to track keyword performance:

  • Moz

Chapter 2: Content Creation

Building a Content Hierarchy Strategy

By now you’ve probably guessed that we are going to use the initial keyword research to develop your hierarchy of content. You’re one step closer to putting pen-to-paper or hiring a professional to help you curate content. However, I do want you to start identifying types of content as it relates to Real Estate.

Here are the types I personally recommend understanding:

  1. Home Page Content: This is content that goes on the home page, typically to target your primary keywords.
  2. Listing Pages: These pages really depend on your IDX website providers ability. Listing pages give you the ability to add content and drop-in specific properties representative of that content. For example, if you were writing about a specific community in Sedona, you would want to add content about the community, and drop in properties within that community. Examples of Listing Pages as it relates to Buckets:
    • Focused / Specialized Golf Communities
    • Inventory Types & Communities
  3. General Pages General pages can be used for the Education Bucket of keywords. These pages are kind of a blank canvas that allow you to add whatever you’d like. Great for content about the weather, nearby attractions, and schools etc.
  4. Blogging Pretty much everyone knows what a blog is these days, so I won’t go into the nitty gritty. However, I do want you to use the blog to propel your brokerage or agent-voice! Use the blog to write about things like:
    • Staging properties
    • How you market properties on listing sites
    • Success stories
    • Extravagant properties
    • Press releases

We now understand what the 4 page types are, now it’s time to create your overall content hierarchy! To me, this is a fun because it allows you to create a plan that is somewhat visual. This also helps create your initial menu structure of content within the website. You can use Excel or a mindmap if you’re a more visual person. Below are some quick instructions and an example:

  • Let’s start with creating some initial columns within excel
    • Home
    • Communities
    • Browse By Type
    • Experience
    • Blog
  • Now let’s create two columns to the right of each called “G” (for Group) and Type (for Content Type).
  • Identify your content type within the specific columns
  • Then drop in your Buckets for each of the columns created
  • Now assign your groups of Keywords created from your initial Keyword Research


Build a real estate content strategy for seo

Rule of Thumb for Creating Content

Congratulations! You have just made it through the initial planning phases of your SEO strategy. It’s time to start cranking out content, for some of you this will be a piece of cake, and for others you may outsource. Regardless, I want to give you a few rules of thumb for creating content that should set you up for success. Here they are:

Create quality content for the user: Even though Google is a machine, it’s closer than you think to a human. It can actually measure content quality by reading the content, understanding subject matter, and user engagement. So, when you’re writing content, don’t just focus on stuffing keywords, truly write to educate the user in a capitative way.

Use good grammar and punctuation: Grade-A use of grammar and punctuation is a must when creating content for your website. Believe it or not, Google and other search engines look at this when ranking specific pages. Please take your time and truly write as if you’re being graded by a high school teacher (at minimum).

Keyword Density: I personally prefer to randomize keyword density and focus mostly on quality. However, if you want a metric to shoot for, 1-3% keyword density is perfect. Make sure to flow your keywords naturally and spread them out organically throughout the content.
Length of Content by Page Type:

  • Home Page: 500 – 1,000
  • Listing Page: 500 – 1,000
  • General: 800 – 1,500
  • Blog: 800 – 1,500+

Leveraging AI to Create Content Just so you know, I hand wrote this playbook because Google and major search engines are very aware of what content is created via AI. Please be extremely careful if you go this route and ensure it’s quality! Below is a link to Google’s guidance about AI-generated content:

Initial Content Kickoff Alight, it’s content-time! What I would recommend is creating a large first batch of content (initial content kickoff). This content will allow you to come out of the gates with something impactful and it will feel good to see some initial results within your keyword positioning tracking tool. Here is what I recommend launching your initial content with:

  • Home Page
  • 5 communities you specialize in
  • 5 types of properties you specialize in (i.e. Golf Real Estate)
  • 5 Experiences
  • 2 Blogs

This will give you a good start and it’s a plan to shoot for. I’m excited for you and it’s an attainable goal!
Monthly Content Plans As the old saying goes “Rome wasn’t built in a day”, so you need to keep realistic and stick to a plan! Sure, if you’re feeling like an overachiever shoot for more, but I think the SIMPLE content goals outlined below are realistic:

  • 5 Community or property type pieces
  • 5 Experience pieces
  • 2 Blog posts

For some of you agents out there, you might be extremely busy in your day-to-day operations, and this still might be too much. Please don’t give up and hire a professional writer with experience in writing for real estate websites. Below are some websites to start looking for a freelancer:

  • Craigslist (if you want to hire local)

Helpful Tip: Just make sure to interview the writer and make sure they have experience writing for real estate.

Chapter 3: On-Site Optimization

Quick Introduction to On-Site Optimization

You may have already completed your “Initial Content Kickoff” [[[link to above ]]] and now you want to add the content to your website. Not so fast! You have to optimize the content in such a way to make it more understandable to search engines. Below are some simple tactics you can deploy to optimize the content and overall page structure.

URL Naming Convention

This one is missed all the time by rookie SEOs and might be one of the easiest things you can do to rank better. The URL naming convention is simply the structure of the URL in the address bar. Below are some simple guidelines and an example to help you out:

  • Use 1-2 keywords within the URL structure
  • Keep it short and simple
  • Use hyphens to separate words
  • Eliminate stop words (the, and, or, of, a, an, to, for, etc.)
  • Use only lowercase letters
  • If it’s a blog, try to remove dates from URL
URL Example Type Listing Page General Page Blog

Titles & Meta Tags

The title tags live within the header section of each webpage and is the second element search engines read when ranking a webpage. It provides the initial context for the webpage subject matter and categorization for ranking.

A prime example of a title tag is the blue links within a Google search result. It’s the first thing a user sees and even helps entice users to click. Your title tag is not only used for SEO, but also to help improve what’s called “click through rate”.
Here are some simple title tag etiquettes to make you more successful:

  • Make sure all title tags are unique to only that specific page
  • Use 1-2 keywords max within your title tag
  • The title tag should not exceed 50-75 characters
  • Use your brand naturally where possible
  • Special characters are okay within reason
  • Use call-to-action when necessary to entice humans to click (remember “click through rate”)
Keyword Title Tag
Sedona Real Estate Explore Sedona Real Estate & Homes for Sale | One-Group
Seven Canyons Real Estate View Seven Canyons Real Estate – Some of the Best Golf Properties in Sedona

Header Tags (Known as “HTags”)

HTags are basically snippets of code to use within your page to display larger sized text. It not only helps search engines understand what parts of the page is about, but also the user. It’s a great way to break up the page and make it easier on the eyes.
<h1>Here is an H1 tag</h1>

The code above tells web browsers how to display the content. A H1 tag is most important and consecutive h# numbers are next, numerically. Think of the HTags as a great way to breakup content into parts or sub-parts. It will tell search engines and Google the level of importance. Also, allows for keyword insertion opportunities. For example, if your primary keyword of webpage is “Seven Canyons Real Estate”, then your HTag may want to flow like the example below:
<h1>View Stunning Seven Canyons Real Estate</h1>
Here is another example of how to flow a page’s HTags:

Leverage htags for real estate seo

Bolding of Keywords

Sounds super silly, but even bolding keywords naturally sprinkled throughout the webpage helps SEO. It’s a polite way to let search engines know that these are the keywords I’m trying to target. Remember our 1-3% keyword density within our content, feel free to make those keywords bold within the web page. If your website doesn’t have a simple way to make keywords bold, below is the HTML code to use:
< strong>Important Bold Keyword</strong>

If you want to bold something within text, but don’t want to target as a keyword, then use this HTML below.
< b>Just a Bold Keyword </b>

Internal Linking

What is an internal link and why is it important for SEO? Simply put, internal links are links to other pages or sections of pages on a website, linked from the body content. For SEO purposes, the best way to describe their value is “voting”. When you link from one page to another, you’re essentially casting a vote that this page is important and relevant to the overarching topic. To summarize, it spreads the page “authority” throughout the website.

Good strategy for Internal Linking: I would recommend no more than 3-4 internal links per 500 words of content. Ensure the page you are linking to is relevant, has a relationship between the pages, and adds value to the reader.

An example of good internal linking usage would be if you had a page about a specific neighborhood and you had a list of nearby attractions. Assuming you had written an information piece about a specific attraction, it would make sense to link into this page from the neighborhood content.
Link composition: Within each internal HTML link, you want to have the following elements:

  • URL
  • Link Text
  • Title Tag

Here is what that looks like in HTML: <a href=”URL” title=”Title Tag Text Here”>Link Text Here</a>

Image Optimization

Believe it or not, images play a major role in how well a specific page is optimized. As previously mentioned, Google is an AI machine that craves data and wants to give the user excellent experience. So, if you can explain to Google what images represent in relation to the content, Google will reward you will greater positioning.

What elements are important when optimizing images? Below is a list of items you want to optimize on your images and how to structure within HTML:

  • Naming convention of the Image: If your image is a drone shot of a specific neighborhood, you want to name the image briefly using keywords of the neighborhood.
  • Alt Tag: Recommended to describe the image, but less than a full sentence.
  • Size of Image: You want your images to load quickly, Google wants performance for optimal user experience. We recommend sizing-down your images for speed using tools like or Photoshop.

Example image optimization: <img src=”” alt=”areal view from neighborhood name”>

Video Optimization (Leveraging Youtube Video Embeds)

Hands down, if you’re looking to improve the overall SEO of a specific page, video is one of the best ways to do it. Video helps really drive the “authority” or “quality” of a specific page. It does this by improving user time on page, decrease bounce, and relationship between video / content.

Before cranking out less-than-great content, please make sure you’re producing something that provides value. Google & Youtube both look at specific metrics when gauging the quality of a specific video:

  • Number of views
  • Overall average watch time
  • Comments
  • Likes
  • Shares

Now that we know the video must be a quality and relevant to the content on the page, let’s give you some optimization tactics. Below are some scenarios:
Neighborhood style content & video:

  • Neighborhood in Sedona: Seven Canyons
  • Video Production About: Why Buy in Seven Canyons
    • Amenities of the Seven Canyons Neighborhood
    • Golf Course within the Neighborhood
    • Nearby Attractions / Landmarks
    • Nearby Schools / Shopping
    • Average price range
    • Investment opportunity
    • Call-to-action

Once you have the video created, it’s time to optimize the video for Youtube. Below are the top 10 tactics for optimizing the video on Youtube:

  1. Naming convention of the video file (using target keyword) As if you were optimizing a content page, you want to do some keyword research for the produced video. In this case, we are optimizing for specific neighborhoods, so the keywords will be almost identical to your neighborhood target page. Once your keywords are identified, use those keywords in the naming convention of the video file. For example, if your video was about “Why Buy in the Seven Canyons Neighborhood in Sedona” and your primary keyword is “Seven Canyons in Sedona”, then name the video “”. Pretty simple, right?
  2. Insert the keyword into the actual video title Now that you have done the keyword research for the video file (above), it’s time to add it naturally into the video title. Also, make sure the title has a little call-to-action or something enticing to make users want to click it. The title isn’t just the tile of the video, it’s the link users click on – so give it some appeal. Example using the Seven Canyons theme would be: “Top Reasons to Buy a Home in Seven Canyons in Sedona – Must Watch!”
  3. Optimize the video description The video description is limited to 1,000 characters mostly because the average user’s attention-span is short. Also, people are coming to YouTube to watch videos and not read a novel. Use this description area to give users a feel for what the video is about, we also recommend using the description to drop in links to your website or specific neighborhood page (in this case).
  4. Tag the video with relevant keywords What is really cool about YouTube is that you can tag the video with keywords. This is awesome because it literally gives YouTube an idea of what the video is about. Afterall, YouTube is a machine that is trying to interpret the video off of visuals and speech – this is your opportunity to take advantage.
  5. Categorize the video appropriately Within the “Advanced Settings”, choose a category… I.E. Real Estate etc. Really simple overall, but missed quite a bit for novice optimizers and content creators.
  6. Use a custom thumbnail with call-to-action Oddly enough, this might be one of the most important elements to drive what’s called “Click-Through-Rate” (CTR). CTR is important because when users scroll through multiple videos, they are judging based upon the thumbnail. So it’s important to use good graphics to really entice users to click your video vs a competitor’s.
  7. Upload an STR file for subtitles & closed captions As explained above, YouTube is a machine and uses data to understand what a video is about. If you can give YouTube subtitles & closed captions matched when you speak – it’s just like writing content and optimizing it for Google. There are multiple ways to generate STR files and even tools out there you can leverage to auto-generate.
  8. Create a playlist that is geared towards the high-level topic This is pretty easy to do and highly recommended because it gives YouTube more data about video purpose and categorization. If your video is about a neighborhood in Sedona, then create a playlist around buying real estate in specific neighborhood in Sedona.
  9. Use timestamps to breakup the video Like HTags breakup pages for Google, Timestamps make it super easy to understand video segments for YouTube. Timestamps also make it easy for users to navigate only specific sections of a particular video vs forcing them to sit through the entire thing. Remember, it’s all about experience – give the user the best experience possible leveraging timestamps.
  10. Use a pinned comment Pinned comments are a great SEO tactic for YouTube because it allows you to somewhat control the narrative and produce engagement to further conversation. Remember, the more comments your content can produce, the higher it will rank. Now, that you have uploaded and optimized your video, it’s time to embed it into your content. Using the YouTube embed feature, drop the video at the top or where it makes the most sense in your content (similar to this SEO Playbook you’re reading right now).

Website Sitemaps

What are Website Sitemaps? Sitemaps are hierarchy sets of links for search engines to utilize for locating new pages.
Types of Sitemaps:

  • HTML Sitemaps: are generic pages with basic HTML links to specific pages on a website. Much of the time, they are categorized and structured to provide layers of linking topics.
  • XML Sitemaps: are XML style coded pages that are used to submit to Google Console of Bing Webmaster Tools. These really great tools because it provides instant notification to major search engines.

Most real estate website providers automatically generate these sitemaps. It’s a common enough web development practice to create these for you. If you’re not on a provider that generates sitemaps of any kind, you might want to consider another provider that provides this sort of foundational SEO. Otherwise, you will either need to create these manually or use external tools to generate.

Chapter 4: Website Experience

Major search engines like Google are really after user-experience and overall website performance when judging “quality”. They will reward you with much higher rankings when you provide a superior experience. Below is a breakdown of the most important experiential elements your website can have or improve upon.

Mobile-Friendly Experience for Better SEO

To set the tone; according to in the United States, 63% of all online traffic came from smartphones and tablet devices (data based upon 2 trillion site visits). You can count on that trend being close if not more to your website. Let’s face it, when buyers are day-dreaming of their next home, more than likely, they are using their phone to browse inventory.

To optimize the mobile responsiveness and overall functionality, you first more understand “quality” in the eyes of search engines. Thankfully, Google has developed a “Mobile-Friendly Test” tool that you can scan your site through Since every site’s architecture is so unique, we aren’t going to dive into the architecture and coding styles for optimal experience. We just wanted to give you a tool and an idea of what major search engines are after.

Tip: For more background and the importance of a Mobile-Friendly real estate website.

Faster Website Load-Times = Better SEO

As mentioned, search engines love greater user experience! With that said, remember the last time you were on a website that loaded slower than a turtle? I’m guessing you felt frustrated and probably hit the “back” button.

Just like mobile-friendliness, we cannot consult blindly on how to improve code for speed, but we can arm you with tools. This will give you an idea on what you can send to your website provider or developer to improve overall website speed.

Website Security

Major search engines are also in a rush to secure the internet. It seems like every day you see a data-breach on the news and it’s time website operators button-up security. Thankfully, for the real estate industry it’s quite simple! Just install what’s called an SSL certificate onto your website. Chances are you’re already covered, most web development companies in this space do this out of the box. You can check to see if your site is secure by looking for “https” (“s” stands for secure) in the web browser address bar.

Overall Search Usability

Question: What is the main objective of a real estate website? Simple, search for real estate and find the result as quick as possible. If you’re serious about SEO and overall conversion-rates, then you NEED to find a provider with an excellent search-experience. Delivering an outstanding experience is something can’t settle on, you need to invest in a provider with optimal experience.

Chapter 5: Local Optimization

Local optimization is mission critical when doing SEO for your real estate website. You must do a lot of tedious work, ensure your data online is congruent, and focus on review reputation. These will not be glamorous or fun tasks to perform, but will pay-off big on higher search engine rankings.

Google My Business

What is Google My Business? It’s your digital directory listing provided by Google. It showcases your business name, address, phone, hours, category of business, FAQs, and reviews from verified users. Google also provides a validation process, better known as “Google Screened”. This is where Google takes you through a process of validating identity and that you’re a verified licensed realtor.

Setup and Optimize Google My Business: If you haven’t setup a GMB already, search Google to see if it already exists and claim it. If you cannot locate it, begin the process by following this link Once you’re going through this process, be as accurate and detailed as possible. Below are the top 10 things to pay close attention to when setting up your GMB account.

  1. Complete every single section of the GMB setup
  2. Ensure the contact information is correct
  3. Select the correct categories
  4. Write a detailed and enticing business description
  5. Publish posts weekly to stay relevant
  6. Answer questions as they come in
  7. Setup messaging, this is important
  8. Maintain accurate contact info moving forward

Get Screened: Want to show at the top of Google for searches like “realtors in [city]”? Then get screened by Google and validate your license. Google went down this road because there were so many spam accounts and they needed to verify accounts to start reducing the noise. It’s also really awesome because there are SO MANY realtors not doing this. Consider this almost instant value you can deliver yourself right now! Below is the link to get started on this process:

Drive Reviews to Google My Business: You really need to develop a process for obtaining reviews on GMB to enhance the SEO and even influence conversions. Thankfully, it’s not exactly painful, but does require a bit of thought. Below is what we recommend for process and ideas for getting reviews today!

  • For future sales; talk to them about reviews when they are happy and plant the seed. Once the transaction is completed, ask them for a review via phone call. Then send them a link directly to your GMB listing.
  • Ask other realtors you have co-listed with to drop a review. Then do the same for them.
  • Travel back in time and ask all of your old transactions to leave you a review. Personally, I would call them and text them if no answer.
  • If you network with property managers, ask them for reviews also.
  • Shoot for good / positive reviews only, these are public.

Citation Development

What is a citation directory listing? Citation directories are nationalized or categorized directories that list local businesses and their specialty. They are kind of like your finger print on the web and send signals to Google about your business. Citations are tedious to build, but will help influence your local SEO tremendously.

What is important to list on citation directories? To keep it simple; business name, address, phone, email, category of business, and description of business.

Just an FYI, citation development is going to suck. Citation directories are one of the most tedious tasks for SEO by a longshot. There are over 80+ that will move the needle and are a manual process to obtain. Below is a list of 20 citations we develop for our customers:

Local Directories

Localized directories are super simple to get, but sometimes they cost money. It’s hard to quantify the investment you make for these type of listings, but if you’ve made it this far into SEO – spend the money. Local directories are things like the chamber of commerce or local city-dedicated websites. If you were in the city of Sedona, below are a few examples you could list on:

  • (Chamber)
  • (private city-dedicated website)

Chapter 6: Link Building

Link building is the practice of earning a link from another website to your website (like casting a vote of authority). It’s important to note; that you must do this properly and don’t pay for links. There are a lot of dubious companies out there that offer links for money. Take our word for it, “don’t do it”.

Types of Links to Start Building

  • Industry Network: Most of you agents out there have good relationships with many industry-related companies. Think hard on what business owners you know, that might be interested in linking to your website. Below is a quick list of company-types that might spark some ideas.
    • Title companies,
    • Mortgage companies
    • Interior designers
    • Junk removal companies
    • Housekeeping companies
    • Property managers
    • Remodel contractors
    • Pool builders
  • Industry Blogs: This one is a little more difficult, requires some time, and ability to overcome rejection till success. Try to find real estate related blogs you can contribute to. Many times, you can pitch them blogging ideas to create for them, in exchange for a potential backlink.

Though, link building is a difficult and time consuming task to complete for SEO – it is still Google’s biggest sign of authority. Happy link building!

Chapter 7: Google Console

What is Google Search Console?

Google Search Console is a completely free software provided by Google that gives website owners a way to monitor overall website errors and performance. If you’re looking to rank higher on Google, we recommend taking full-advantage of this free SEO tool.

How to Setup & Verify Your Website on Google Console

Setting up Google Console is relatively easy for the most part and you have multiple ways to verify. The first thing you want to do is navigate to and click the Start Now button. From here it will walk you through the four ways to verify:

  • Meta Tag
  • HTML file upload to root (might be hard depending on real estate website provider)
  • Google Analytics
  • Google Tag Manager

Once verified, you need to setup the Website Property Type. Just enter the complete domain under URL Prefix (https://www or non-www. and all).

website property in google search console

Submitting Sitemaps into Google Search Console

Why submit a sitemap to Google? Submitting a sitemap to Google Console is really going to help the SEO on your real estate website. This is literally giving Google a map to all the pages on your website and allowing them to be indexed easily. As explained in the content section above, you’re putting in all this effort, you want it to be seen. Also, new properties are added onto your site on a regular basis, it’s important to notify Google when they popup via IDX or MLS.

How to submit an XML sitemap to Google Search Console

  1. Once you have the link to your XML sitemap, simply click on the “Sitemaps” menu under the Index dropdown.
  2. submit sitemap to Google Console
  3. Enter the direct link to the sitemap XML file
  4. add sitemap to Google Console for SEO and indexation
  5. Click Submit button and you’re done!

Note: Keep in mind, it can take Google Search Console days to index all the pages submitted. So just be a little patient and wait for the results.

Troubleshooting Website SEO Errors with Google Search Console

Coverage Reports: These reports are pretty cool because they will tell you how many pages have been indexed, last crawled, crawled as, and index allowed. It will also show you how many pages have typical errors like 404s or 500s.

  • 404 Errors: Are a server repones that basically indicates dead pages (or doesn’t exist). This will let you know if pages fall off naturally or accidently deleted by you.
  • 500 Errors: More of a server error caused by coding or configuration of the server. If you happen to see these, you may want to contact your real estate website provider.

Negative Backlink Removal Tool (Disavow)

This isn’t a novice tool and we recommend researching deeper. Eventually we will create a blog post elaborating on this tool, but for now we just want to give you a high-level. The Disavow Tool in Google Console will give you the ability to remove bad backlinks to your website. Typically, you can find these links inside Console or use tools like These types of links are mostly spam or accidently built a long time ago if you tried SEO before. Having a strong and clean link profile will lead to higher rankings, but just be careful using this tool.
Here is a great article within the Google Search Console knowledgebase:


Chapter 8: SEO Reporting

When doing SEO, it’s important to track performance, understand the data you’re looking at to gauge success, and make decisions. Below are the basic KPIs for tracking SEO performance about your website.

Google Analytics (GA4) & Goal tracking

Setting up Google Analytics: To setup Google Analytics, visit this address and click on “Get Started Today”. Similar to the Google Search Console, it will walk you through verifying the ownership of the website. Once verified, data tracking should begin shortly.

Setting up Goal Tracking: This is a little difficult to walk-through because many website providers have different ways of completing conversions (newsletters, inquiries, schedule-call, and general contact forms). However, there is an incredible step-by-step guide provided by the Google Analytics team:

KPIs to Pay Attention To Once Google Analytics is setup there are some recommended KPIs to pay close attention to. These is a great deal of reporting power within Analytics, so it’s easy to get distracted or overwhelmed. Below are a list of KPIs to consider tracking:

  • Organic Traffic segmentation
  • New and Returning Visitors
  • Bounce Rate
  • Time on Page
  • Average Session Duration
  • Pages Per Session
  • Average Load-time

Keyword Tracking

Our favorite rank tracking tools are and They are both excellent options and provide valuable insights into ranking shifts. This allows you to spot trends based on algorithmic changes or potential modifications you’ve made to the website. What we like to do is track SEO tasks in some sort of a project management tool or journal, then correlate ranking shifts to the tasks performed. These tools also have keyword research modules built into them, so if you’re looking to streamline some of the other SEO tasks – these may be of value to you.

Dynamic Call Tracking

For more advanced conversion tracking, you can integrate dynamic call and form-fill tracking (assuming your website provider or CRM doesn’t already provide). This gives you the ability to correlate phone-call leads directly to organic SEO search. Ultimately, giving you better insight into SEO return on investment. Also, if you’re ever going to invest in Adwords or any pay-per-click model – dynamic call tracking is a must. The tool of choice we recommend using is (outstanding variable phone number insertion technology).

SEO Playbook Conclusion

We hope you enjoyed this Real Estate SEO Playbook and found it helpful as you embark on your marketing journey. SEO can be extremely tedious and overwhelming at times, but just remember to stick to the basics above.

If you’re feeling like you need to delegate this or perhaps just need some coaching – please reach out to our team of experts. We are here to help!

About the Author

Real Estate SEO Playbook Author: Joshua Guerra
Joshua Guerra is the CEO of Real Estate SEO, a company with a successful track record of driving high-converting traffic to realtor websites that increase buyer & seller leads. Before Real Estate SEO, Joshua founded another digital marketing agency focused on the vacation rental industry with over 600 customers. 8 years after creating that agency, it was acquired by a leading software company and later part of a technology rollup with strategic investment by Goldman Sachs. Josh not only understands the digital marketing arena, but truly understands business and people. If you ever have the pleasure of working with Josh, you will quickly understand he loves helping people – it’s why he ends his signature with “here to help”. In short, he hopes this playbook helps you on your SEO journey or give you the knowledge to assist in picking the right company.