If you understand this real estate principle, you have a basic understanding of search in real estate for agents and agencies. According to a recent National Association of Realtors (NAR) study, over 85% of your potential customers will use the internet before starting the home buying process. Or, to say that another way, if you’re not in a position for those potential clients to find you on the internet, then you are missing over 85% of your potential business. Let that sink in a minute.
So, what does that “look like” to be on the internet for your business as a Realtor or Real Estate Agency? And I want to warn you here. If the first paragraph was a revelation for you, this next bit of information should really make you uncomfortable. But, here goes!
If 85% of your potential clients are using the internet, you ought to ask: HOW are they using the internet?
I’ve been helping Realtors and major real estate agencies all over the US for almost two decades. I am always amazed when they tell me their stories. I won’t bore or overwhelm you with the specifics here; but, I will tell you this. Most of the agent’s stories in our initial interview go something like this:
Gee, I’ve been in this area for X years and I mainly market in the town/city of Y or in neighborhoods A, B, and C. Is that right, I say. Oh yes, they confirm. In fact, I do 70% of my business in that spot (town/city Y or neighborhoods A, B, and C). GREAT! I say. I have an idea for you. Let’s focus your keywords and marketing on that area. What do you mean? They ask. I say: Well if you’re an expert in that area and you don’t have ALL the business there then let’s focus your website on amplifying your presence and search ranking there! GREAT IDEA RIGHT!
This is normally the part of the conversation where either I get a blank stare or if on the phone, there is dead airtime just waiting for someone to say something next. Finally, mercifully, when the silence is broken, it normally goes like this:
Well, I just couldn’t limit myself like that. I mean, I need business from all over the city. I need business from every neighborhood. You get that right!?! I smile and say sure. I get that. Then, I say how happy would you be if you could increase your business 10% next year? Happy. They say. What about 20%? Very Happy. They say. At this point, there is some number that I ask that they assure me that if they could get to that percentage then they would adopt me, buy me a new house, etc…
Then, comes the pivotal question: How much of the TOTAL BUSINESS ARE YOU DOING IN TOWN/CITY Y OR NEIGHBORHOODS A, B, and C?
Drumroll, please! Guess what? It is rarely over 20% of the total sales volume in those areas. So what do you think?
I realize this is the part where I will anger some of you by doing some simple math; accordingly, I will hurry through it. If the agent above is doing 20% of the business in their chosen area above, and if we can get them another 20% of the total business (and that was indeed 70% of their total business as outlined above), guess what!
70%x20%=14% = WE JUST GREW THEIR ENTIRE SALES REVENUE BY 14% – And they said they would be happy at 10%! Oh ye of little faith! (Matt 8:26 – to ensure proper credit on that one)
Now, I am sure that by this point that you’re saying that I didn’t bring you all this way to multiply percentages. And you would be right!
Here it comes! Spoiler alert! I am saying it here.
Here is why.
Let me summarize the above chart for you:
So, in the real world, if you are in a smaller city or larger neighborhood that might get, let’s say, 50 searches a week, here is your breakdown (using the chart above*):
First, Organic SEO gets 43 of the potential clients while Pay Per Click (PPC) gets 7. Accordingly, if you’re paying more on PPC than you are on organic, you need to ask yourself why if organic gets roughly 6 times the traffic (and it does).
Out of the 43 that go to organic:
The chart doesn’t show this fact; but, I know it’s abundantly clear to you that out of 50 total people who came to Google on a particular search that after 5 ranking places down (and ads) that there are only 5 potential clients left! ONLY 5 out OF 50 go beyond the first 5 places of the search!
If you know that you could make significant gains in your revenue by focusing in smaller areas (City Y or neighborhoods A, B, or C) and by gaining a larger market share (see above – going from 20% to 30%); and, if I tell you that it’s infinitely easier to gain search engine traction and ranking on those smaller area focus terms (City Y or neighborhoods A, B, or C) than it is on those larger area and more generic searches; and, finally, as you see above, if you don’t rank in positions 1-5 then your SEO is largely wasted money anyway, then why wouldn’t you focus on a smaller area by using more specific search terms (long tail search)?
They don’t want to get hit by 10 million search results. They, too, have learned to be better long-tail searchers – adding more specifics in their search. Accordingly, they aren’t just looking for a home in Columbia, SC. They are looking for a home in the Ascot subdivision in Columbia, SC. Or, at least, the best clients – ready to buy clients – are!
Now, knowing what you know, it’s unlikely that you make it to 1-5 on “Real Estate Columbia SC” anyway – at least without a significant amount of time and SEO spend. But, you can make it in the more focused search of “ASCOT NEIGHBORHOOD COLUMBIA SC” gaining higher traffic and a more focused client (read that as ‘ready to buy’)!
To be highly successful and highly effective, choose your areas carefully, then focus on getting into the FAB 5 SEARCH PLACES. This will amplify your specific search traffic from ‘buy ready’ clients. To orchestrate an effective local search campaign, it is also necessary that you focus on basic LOCAL SEARCH.
Local Search is what it sounds like. It is the key element that Google and other search engines look at when trying to place you or your business in a geographic location. Be sure and check out our FREE LOCAL SEO for your business; it will let you know where your business is healthy and where it needs work.