• James Maile

Why You Need SEO for CRE: The Complete Beginner’s Guide

If you’re in commercial real estate, it is essential that you use Search Engine Optimization (SEO) to increase your organic website traffic, gain brand awareness and get some tasty leads.






If you want to cut through the clutter in the commercial real estate industry, your website has to show up above your competitors on Google.


According to an article by Zillow, 95% of potential real estate buyers first look online to find the best property to buy. This means that without a strong SEO footprint, you’re going to miss out on some juicy leads.


Additionally, 53% of B2C and B2B website traffic comes from organic search. This means that more than half of your website traffic could come from Google, without breaking the bank.


I’m sure you’ve heard of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and understand that it’s important but knowing where to start might have you feeling more confused than a chameleon in a bag of skittles. We get it, it’s complicated.


But never fear, ATYPICAL is always here to help you with all of your CRE marketing needs, questions, and queries.


We’ve compiled a comprehensive SEO guide to help you get your website higher up those rankings and get more organic leads.


WARNING: This blog is detailed, so if you’re in a pinch, check out our short podcast episode on SEO for commercial real estate.


SEO in a Nutshell


Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is using ‘keywords’ and other clever techniques to make your website appear on Google’s search engine results pages (SERPs) when people search for your services.


This includes your website design, layout content, and other technical and non-technical aspects. The most important, however, is the content.


Content refers to any helpful information, typically blogs and articles, videos, podcasts, and graphics.


In its simplest form, Google accesses the content you upload on your website based on various factors that ultimately determine if the content is trustworthy and relevant.


The level of trustworthiness and relevance that Google bestows on your content ultimately determines how high your website will rank on the search engine result pages (SERPs).


Now that we have a basic understanding of SEO, let’s dive in and see how you can master it for CRE.

First things first, there are two sides to an effective SEO strategy:

  • On-page SEO: the aspects of your website that you directly control, like keywords, links, meta descriptions, title tags, etc.

  • Off-page SEO: the external factors from other websites that come in the form of backlinks.

On-page SEO


Like with any building, you need a strong foundation if you want it to last. The on-page aspects of your website form the foundation of a strong SEO strategy. This includes the content on the website, keywords used, content quality, mobile-friendliness, user experience, and more. It is all about making sure that search engines can crawl, index, and understand your website.


Factors That Impact On-Page SEO


Keywords


To attract your ideal prospects, your website needs to use the terms and phrases they are searching for, this is what keywords are. With keyword research, you can find the keywords your prospects are searching for and gauge the potential website traffic you can expect from using the keyword in your content.

To optimize your website with these keywords, make sure you use them in your headings, descriptions, and multiple times in the content itself. Once you find your keywords you can use them as topics for the content you create in the future (like we did for this blog).

The best ways to find your keywords are through SEO keyword tools (see below) or by using experts to do it for you...*cough cough* ATYPICAL.


Page Speed


Page speed (commonly referred to as load time) is a crucial component of on-page SEO as Google favors faster-loading sites and improving page performance can help you add more pages to Google's search index.


There are many ways to speed up a page, but starting with pictures, JavaScript files, caching, and compression is a good idea.


Mobile Friendliness


In a nutshell, mobile friendliness is a gauge of how effectively a website works when accessed and used on a mobile device.


Mobile-friendly pages can reduce in size to fit on any device's screen while preserving user navigation for completing tasks. Additionally, search engines prioritize mobile usability with responsive design, straightforward navigation, and quick page loads.


Page Title And Meta Description


The title tag and meta description are like the name and bio of your website. They're what people see when they're on Google, so they should be as descriptive and interesting as possible.


You can create a great title tag by picking one keyword phrase (that you found from your keyword research) - the main thing you're trying to promote - and using that phrase in the tag. Your meta description should be about 160 characters long, or about two sentences long.





Content Quality


Content is King when it comes to SEO. There are many ways that search engines evaluate the quality of content, but it essentially comes down to:

  • Make sure your content is well-written and easy to read (we highly recommend you use Grammarly ).

  • The content is unique – Google doesn’t like it if you duplicate someone else’s content, it could be detrimental to your website. Ensure that what you write is in your own words.

  • Make content that is useful to the user and write in a way that answers a search query.


Internal Linking


Internal linking is an important part of SEO. It helps Google know how the different pages on your sites are connected, and it can also help your readers find different pages on your website.

Every time someone clicks on an internal link on your site, it tells Google that people are interested in whatever topic those pages are about.


Upload Content Frequently


The more frequently you update your website, the better. The more you post, the more often search engines will make it a point to crawl your website, which can ultimately lead to better SEO rankings.


It is a bit easier for CRE companies to post regularly because of the ever-changing nature of the industry. There are always new properties to list, updates to property descriptions, company news to talk about, etc., so use it to your advantage.


Image ALT Text


Search engines can’t see the images on a website, but they can read the text to understand what the image is about. Without adding alt text to your images, search engines won’t know if the image is relevant to the rest of the web page. Which will reduce the potential for those images to rank.


Alt text is also used to see if the image relates to user search queries, which will help the image rank on image searches like Google Images.


Here’s what the alt text code looks like:


Good practice: <img src="atypicalimage.jpg" alt="This is the alt text">

Bad Practice: <img src="atypicalimage.jpg" alt="">


You can use your keywords in the alt text but don’t make it too keyword-heavy, Google is clever, and they will pick this up.


Rather, describe how you see the image. Here’s what we mean:


example of good and bad alt text for SEO by atypical company

The reason for the description-style alt text is not directly for search engines, but rather for those who are visually impaired. They can use the alt text to read what is in the image or have Google explain it to them.


Off-page SEO


While on-page SEO sets up your website to succeed when Google evaluates it and makes it run smoother than pudding. Off-page SEO is a set of strategies and tactics that you use to promote your content on other sites across the internet.


The idea is to get other websites to discuss and link back to your content, known as backlinking. Each time another site links back to your site, it tells Google that your website is reputable.


However, not all links are the same. Websites that have stronger domain authority have more valuable backlinks. If you get a backlink from a strong website, it tells Google that your website is highly regarded and answers specific questions that users are searching for.


Factors That Impact Off-Page SEO


Building Backlinks


Link building refers to actions taken with the ultimate goal of increasing the number of backlinks to your website. Beyond SEO, link building helps brand awareness as you receive inbound website traffic when someone clicks the link to your page.


Before you start looking for backlinks, start making high-quality content and promoting it to your audience. The more people see it, the more likely you are to receive backlinks.


Here are some ways you can actively get backlinks:


1. Guest blogging and writing


Go for websites that are authoritative and fall within your niche, contact them and request to write a blog post for them. Write them a piece of content and link back to your website. Not only will this help your backlinks but could generate shares on social sites when they promote the piece – more eyes, more shares, and more power to your website.


2. Understand your competitors’ backlinks


Identify the pages that your competitors are linking to that have the highest rank. See if they can link back to you, or even better, offer to write them a guest blog. You can use a tool like Serpstat to identify the pages that your competitors are linking to.


3. Mention influencers in your field


We don’t mean message Grant Cardone and ask him to mention your brand. Rather, create content that references their work and links back to them. We do this by commenting on the content that CRE influencers create. It encourages people to engage and share your content more, which generates more links. The influencer might also see the content, share it, and link back to you.


Social Media


Social media likes, views, shares, and comments don’t directly impact your page’s SEO ranking, but social media is still important for promoting your content. Posting on social media will help you engage with existing and new customers. Google indexes the content you post on social media and by posting consistently, you can increase your chances of ranking.


Unlinked Mentions


When someone uses your brand name and doesn’t link back to your website it’s called an unliked mention. Not everyone is going to link back to your website if they use your name in their content. It does, however, create an opportunity to build backlinks. With a bit of time and effort, you can reach out to the site owners and ask them to add links to where they mention you.


Google My Business (GMB)


Google My Business (GMB) is the most straightforward way to provide Google with information on your business. This includes your location, where you operate, your trading times, contact information, and a link to your website.


Google uses GMB to add businesses to Google Maps and the Google local pack (what shows up when someone searches “near me”) search results. GMB will help any business that relies on web traffic from a specific geographical location, like most CRE businesses. So, add your business to GMB and take advantage of this local SEO strategy.


Tips On How to Improve Your CRE Website For SEO


So that seems like a lot but the better acquainted you get with it, the more it will feel like second nature. Think of it as a gradual process, so take your time. With just a few changes that you can make now, you can easily set yourself up for success in the future.


Google wants its users to have a seamless user experience and all of the factors that impact SEO are largely based on this core concept. They essentially want people to find the answers to their search questions as easily as possible.


This means that your website needs to load quickly, have the correct and relevant information, and effectively guide the user to what they are looking for. Based on this, your CRE website should have the following:


Use Original Images, Videos, Graphs, and All That Jazz


Stock images and videos make your website look generic and unoriginal. While stock images can be optimized for SEO, you won’t get the same benefits as an original.


Google deems pages with more original images/videos as having a better user experience, which increases your chances of ranking.


Although there is no specific number of images you should include in your videos, consider using one image after every 150-300 words.


For property listings, the more the merrier. Have at least 6 high-quality images per listing and don’t forget your alt text! Videos are also a double thumbs up, so do a virtual walkthrough. Have a look at our guide to creating video content if you need some inspiration.


Keep Churning Out and Updating Content


As we have said before, CONTENT IS KING. Write blogs and articles, add new property listings asap, talk about company updates, CRE news, and everything else That is relevant you your industry and market.


If you add new and relevant content regularly, you will increase your chances of ranking for SEO. Not only that, blogs and articles have great branding and marketing value. You can create a lot of short-form content from your long-form written pieces.


You should also continually update older content that performed well. This is a sneaky way to make Google think old content is new. Updating your old content takes less work and arguably delivers faster results.


Content degrades over time, so keep it fresh by adding new images, videos, or infographics, ensuring certain facts are still up-to-date, adding new and removing old links, etc.


Reduce Your Page Load Time


Google does not like pages that load slowly. Use Google’s site speed test and see how long your website takes to load. If it takes too long, try compressing the size of your images, videos, and JavaScript. It will also help the mobile version of your website, which is very important.


Use As Much Detail as Possible for Property Listing Descriptions


When someone searches for a property, a lot of different options will come up for them. To show up first, your descriptions need to be more in-depth than the others. Along with a detailed description, your listings need to have supporting multimedia (images and videos).


Okay, we’ve covered a lot of fairly complicated considerations and terminology that I'm sure is making your brain hurt.


SEO is one of, if not the most important investments you can make from a commercial real estate marketing perspective. If you get your SEO right, no other marketing campaign will ever be able to drive the same level of website traffic.


If you have authority on the world’s largest search engines, SEO can drive hundreds of people to your website daily. Imagine how many properties you will sell and lease, how many demo downloads you will get and how high your conversions will be. That’s a lot of $$$ rolling in.


There should be no cutting corners when it comes to SEO, the possible rewards are too high. Thankfully there are a lot of tools that can make things a bit easier to manage your SEO journey.


The Best SEO Tools For Commercial Real Estate (CRE)


1. ATYPICAL COMPANY


Okay so we’re not a tool, well at least most of us aren’t... but we have SEO specialists and strategists equipped with all the knowledge, bells, and whistles to get you ranking faster than a toupee in a hurricane.


Creative writing and strategy services for SEO by atypical company

We offer a full SEO service, including actually creating the content.


2. Ahrefs


Ahrefs homepage reference image ATYPICAL COMPANY

Ahrefs is an all-in-one SEO tool that is free to use on a limited daily-use basis for your Google rankings research, content ideas, keyword research, and backlink performance. You can use it to analyze both yourself and your competitors.


3. Google Search Console


google search console homepage by ATYPICAL COMPANY

Free for everyone with a website, the Google search console will let you monitor your website’s presence in the search engine result pages (SERPs). It will help you understand how Google and its users view your website and allow you to optimize for better performance. You can also submit pages for search indexing.


4. SEMRush


SEMrush homepage reference by ATYPICAL COMPANY

SEO marketing tools like SEMrush are very popular. You can easily access your rankings as well as new ranking opportunities and identify changes. A useful tool is a Domain vs Domain analysis, which compares your website with your competitors. They offer many analytics tools, including an SEO checker to constantly monitor your rankings and find recommendations for improvements.


5. Moz Pro


MOZ pro homepage by ATYPICAL COMPANY

Moz Pro is another favorite of SEO specialists. The tool has a chat portal that allows users to get insightful responses to user queries and always seems to be up-to-date despite Google’s constant algorithm changes. You can get great insights into your website’s performance, get keyword recommendations, get website metrics and even attend their annual conference to learn more about SEO.


Other Notable SEO Tools

These tools are great and can boost your organic traffic by increasing your rankings, but nothing beats having an expert do it all for you.


If you have made it to this point... well done and thank you for spending the past hour reading this ridiculously long blog.



Until next time,


Stay ATYPICAL 😉