5 Steps to Getting Your Real Estate School Found on Google

By: Dearborn Real Estate Education

Have you ever stopped to think about what factors influence which websites appear when you search for a given topic in Google? It doesn’t happen by accident. Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of taking calculated steps to improve your website’s ability to show up when people search for specific terms in Google and other search engines.

In competitive markets like real estate education, search engine optimization can mean the difference between your website occupying a hidden corner of the internet and being a beacon of growth and opportunity for your business.

You may already be somewhat familiar with SEO. You may have even been approached by vendors who’ve offered to optimize your website for you. There are experts who specialize in search engine optimization and put those skills to work for clients. But if you’re trying to market on a limited budget, that may not be realistic for you. This article is designed to teach you the basics of SEO, so you can develop a strategy to implement yourself (or with the help of your web administrator).

Step 1: Find Out What Your Customers are Searching For

The first step is to ensure you know what people are looking for. The good news is, there are tools out there to help you determine that. Moz.com is a subscription-based service that allows you to find valuable information about keyword phrases such as “Nashville real estate school.” Using Moz.com, you can see how many people search for the keyword each month, how difficult it would be to rank for the keyword, and a list of other related keywords you could target. Moz offers a 30-day free trial, and regular pricing starts at $99/month. If you’re on a budget and have the time, there is a free version of their keyword explorer tool that allows you to look up two keywords per day without a subscription.

You could also consider trying Google’s free Keyword Planner Tool if you have a Google account. This tool is really designed for paid search engine marketing. But it will give you the average number of monthly searches, a competition score, and additional related keywords.

Step 2: Determine Which Keywords You Want to Target

Using an Excel or Google spreadsheet, make a list of all the keywords you want to target, based on the research you did in Step 1. Identify keywords that:

  • Are relevant to your business
  • Have a relatively high search volume
  • Have a relatively low competition score

In the first column of your spreadsheet, list the keywords you want to target. In the second column, list the search volume for each keyword. In the third column, record the competition score. Now you have the data you need to prioritize your keywords.

Step 3: Create a Keyword Plan for Each Page of Your Website

In a new spreadsheet, list each page on your website in the first column. In the second column, choose a keyword from your list that fits the intent of each page. You may even have two related keywords you want to target for some pages. This spreadsheet is essentially your gameplan. You will build or optimize these pages to show up when people search for the corresponding search term. To make that happen, you want to make sure you use that keyword phrase multiple times in the page copy.

You might be tempted to use the keyword excessively. After all, if using it 3 times is good, wouldn’t using it 30 times be even better? That’s called keyword stuffing, and Google is very aware of it. Stuffing your page with keywords could ultimately hurt your real estate school’s overall ability to rank for any keywords at all.   

Instead, write your page copy for humans. Make it easily readable and helpful to users. Where the keyword fits naturally, use it, but avoid the temptation to overuse it.

Step 4: Optimize Your META Data

What is META data? META data is basically a summary of what’s on your web page for search engines and web searchers. There are two primary components to META data: title and description. The title is the most important piece of content for search. It should contain the keywords, as well as the name of your school. META titles are often written in the following format:

{target keyword phrase 1} | {target keyword phrase 2} | School name

In your search results, the META title is often the blue link text that shows up at the top of each search result on a given search engine results page (SERP):

The META description is basically your sales pitch. In the SERP, the META description is often pulled in as the plain text description at the bottom of each listing. This text should be written to entice the searcher to click. Remember, you’re trying to convince the searcher that what they’ll find on your web page matches what they were searching for:

If you manage your own website, you should be able to find the META title and description fields for each page in your content management system. If someone else manages your website for you, they should be able to easily update the META data with your direction.

Step 5: Prioritize Quality of Traffic Over Quantity of Traffic

Traffic is great. But not all traffic is the right traffic. Identify and operate by a set of goals for your website. Those goals (e.g., prelicensing enrollments) should drive your SEO strategy. If you’re running a real estate school in a Denver, your keywords should relate to that. Don’t try to rank for related (but irrelevant) keywords like “Telluride real estate agents.” You may be able to rank for that phrase, but you’re going to create a bad user experience because you aren’t delivering what that searcher is looking for. Ultimately, that’s going to hinder your site’s overall domain authority and prevent you from ranking for anything in search.

Search visibility is a valuable part of your digital marketing tool belt. Traditional marketing relies on interruption. You’re trying to steal someone’s attention with a newspaper ad next to the article they want to read or a billboard alongside the road they should be watching. Search engine optimization gives you the opportunity to be found at the precise moment your audience is looking for what you offer. If you do it well, you can position your real estate school for predictable, long-term success.

Free Download: 2018-2019 State of the Real Estate Education Industry Report

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