SEO for real estate is a must..Or is it?

If you are like any other business savvy person, who want to see their business grow by capturing more leads online, then you have definitely heard about or read many articles bragging about how SEO can help you with your goals.

SEO stands for search engine optimization. It is a process that requires technical skills to improve a website’s search engine ranking for a set of specific keywords.

Yes, there are rewards for those who are ready to learn the skill and put in the resources but like so many other tools & techniques there is no one right answer or solution that applies to all businesses uniformly. Here are some reasons why I think most of the real estate agents, who operate mostly like small businesses, are better off spending their money and resources elsewhere for generating leads.

Please note – I am not saying that SEO is worthless because it is not.  However, as a real estate agent, there are so many other marketing options/channels available that can provide you a much better return on investment (ROI) than SEO. Read the reasons below and decide for yourself -

  1. SEO takes money, time and effort (lots of it) – Once you decide to go ahead and make improvements to your websites (on-site and off-site), it will take a lot of your time, resources and effort before you see any results. There is stuff you need to get done within the website (on-site) and outside of the website(off-site). Its a long process of building content on the website, improving the structure of the website code (HTML) and the harder part of building the credibility by getting backlinks to your website. It is important that both quality and quantity of backlinks are critical and as you can imagine it is a lot harder to get quality websites to link back to your site.
  2. It is complicated (very) – The subject of SEO is complex and requires serious learning if you really want to understand it. There are white hat techniques and black hat techniques. With over a decade of hardcore technology experience and after a lot of reading on SEO, I still haven’t been able to wrap my head around all the moving parts of SEO. People make their living just working on SEO. I am not saying it is rocket science but it can take up a lot of your time that you could be spending on your business.
  3. Search Engine is an animalAre you familiar with Panda or Penguin updates? Those were the most recent and some of the biggest updates (in last couple of years) to the Google’s core search engine functionality of how website rank is calculated for a given search keywords. These updates impacted the ranking of a lot of websites; Some sites, that were on first page for months, got pushed to 3rd or 4th page and some others got benefitted by getting bumped to first page. The fact of the matter is that search engine rules are always changing and  your SEO efforts are only one side of the story. So you basically only have about 50% control (or less) on your search engine destiny. I personally dont like these odds because playing field just does not seem leveled .
  4. You are never done – You can never be done with SEO. With changing rules of search engines, new and existing businesses trying to beat you to search engine ranking and the constant need to have updated content on your website requires businesses to include SEO in the DNA of their marketing efforts.
  5. Is the reward worth the risk and effort? – At the end this is what matters in any business – Are you getting a good return on your investment of time, effort and money. Due to hyper local nature of the real estate business, there are several other traditional (more local in nature) and new marketing channels that you can use to capture more leads. SEO just does not make sense in every single scenario.

 

In the next post, I will be writing about what are the good alternatives of SEO for a real estate business and when does SEO actually makes sense.

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