The Ultimate SEO Guide For Real Estate Investors & Wholesalers
How Do I Generate More Motivated Seller Leads
We get asked all the time, “How does SEO for real estate investors work? How do I start generating motivated seller leads with my website?” Sometimes even, “How long does REI SEO take before you start seeing leads coming in?”
All are great questions here. But let’s answer this first: what is SEO? SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization, and it’s the process of building trust and authority in Google’s eyes in order to increase your rankings and improve visibility on search results. SEO takes time. It’s not an overnight thing that just happens — if it was, everyone and their mama would’ve already done it! It takes patience, dedication and consistency to make it happen.
We wanted to build a complete guide for Real Estate Investors & Wholesalers that they could refer back to if they get stuck or need a refresher on what to do, because there are more moving pieces to SEO than most people think! Enter Steel Marketing’s Ultimate Real Estate Investor & Wholesaler SEO Guide.This SEO For Real Estate Investors & Wholesalers guide outlines all the steps you should be implementing to get one step closer to having sellers call you directly. Regardless of how experienced you are in the online space, our SEO Guide for Real Estate Investors & Wholesalers will give you the practical information & tools you need to succeed.
But First, Let’s Talk About Why SEO For Real Estate Investors & Wholesalers…
There are a bunch of marketing methods out there: cold calls, texting, mailers, door knocking, driving for dollars… we could go on and on here. But what’s the one thing these methods have in common? They’re all outbound.
You’re trying to drum up some interest in selling… some motivation. Yes, there are certainly good deals done from the aforementioned marketing channels, but how many bad leads do you typically have to muck your way through before getting to the closable deals?
With SEO (or Google Adwords), it’s a beautiful thing that happens when a highly motivated seller knows he/she needs help, they take action by going to Google and they just call you. Like, out of the blue. All of a sudden you have a warm lead where a seller wants to sell ASAP. Pretty sweet, right?
What do you do when you need to find a service or figure out a restaurant’s hours? You Google it. The same concept applies to sellers. When a seller realizes that selling is a must, are they going to go through the stack of postcards that came in the mail, or are they going to take out their phone and Google it like they do everything else? I think you know the answer.
We’ve got an easy-to-follow outline in our SEO for Real Estate Investors & Wholesalers Guide that’ll give you actionable steps you can take to have motivated sellers calling you.
What Is SEO For Real Estate Investors?
Before we dive into the foundations of an SEO campaign, let’s talk about what makes up SEO and what it looks like on a Google Search. Once again, SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. In a nutshell, SEO is the process of gaining trust and authority in Google’s eyes, so you rank higher on the search results. So when someone searches “where can I sell my house fast in [your city],” Google spits out a bunch of results. Some are ads and others are organic. The organic search results are where you’ll land by doing SEO. The end goal is to be #1 in the organic search results for certain keywords that a seller might type in, like sell my house fast, cash for houses, home buying companies, etc.
There are 2 key components to SEO: on-page and off-page (sometimes called on-page/off-page optimization or on-page/off-page SEO). The names come from what they deal with: on-page = your website, while off-page = backlinks from other websites pointing to yours (aka factors not found on your website).
This part of the SEO process deals directly with your website. Editing content, optimizing headers, meta data, focus keywords, images, alt tags, schema markup data, page load speed and more. This is the foundation of it all because you’re telling Google who you are and what you do.
There is a more technical side of on-page that deals with coding and other techy aspects — we love using GTMetrix as a tool to gauge what needs done. If you have a Carrot or Propelio website, you never have to worry about the technical side because they handle it for you (a huge plus, which is why so many investors use them).
It’s very important, in this stage, to make the website as unique as possible by writing fresh, new content, shooting videos that tell sellers what the process is like, show pictures of you & your family, show pictures of houses you’ve bought… you get the idea.
The goal here is to make the website YOU. If you get a Carrot or Propelio site, it’ll come with preloaded content, which is great if you just need to throw up a page to run Google Adwords (PPC), but for SEO, you need rich, unique content that can’t be found elsewhere on the web.
Backlinks, backlinks and more backlinks! What’s a backlink? A backlink is when there is a clickable link that takes the user/clicker to another website. For example, you are currently on steelmarketing.org, and if you click this link here, you’d be taken to Google. So Google gets a backlink from steelmarketing.org because there is a hyperlink that takes you from steelmarkerting.org to google.com. Make sense?
The word or series of words that is clickable with a link is called Anchor Text. When doing off-page, you don’t want your anchor text to all say “We buy houses [your city]” because that looks spammy to Google. You want to mix things up and use various keywords, use your company name and even random words, like in my example above where the word ‘here’ is a backlink from Steel Marketing to Google.
Off-page is ALL about QUALITY over quantity. You can find folks overseas who’ll give you tens of thousands of backlinks, but that’s no good… Google wants trusted (niche-relevant if possible) sources in your backlink profile. There are many different forms a backlink can take: press releases, web 2.0s, local citations, directory listings, profiles, blog posts, guest posts and more. All in all, just be sure you’re building backlinks from high authority, trustworthy sources.
Is SEO Right For Me As An Investor Or Wholesaler?
Well, that really depends. Are you patient? Do you have the ability to invest money into something for more than 6 months?
If you answered yes to both of those questions, then yes, SEO is a great fit. If you need a deal ASAP, then we highly recommend Google Adwords (PPC) because you’ll be able to pay Google to place your ads right at the top of the search results. If this is something you’d like to learn a little more about, check out our PPC Guide for Real Estate Investors.
Here at Steel Marketing, we have seen clients gain a page 1 ranking in 1-2 months after working with us, and we’ve also had clients where it took close to a year to get on page 1. It all really boils down to the level of competition you have in your area, your domain age and domain authority. If you’re in Dallas, Houston, Miami, Phoenix, etc. buckle up and expect things to take close to a year or more before you’re cracking page 1 for the main keywords — however, there are plenty of other keywords you could focus on for faster page 1 ranking that just get less search volume each month. Folks in those markets, for example, have been doing SEO for years, so you definitely have an uphill battle ahead (but not an impossible one).
Overall, in our opinion here at Steel Marketing, SEO has the potential to have the greatest Return On Investment (ROI) out of any marketing form out there. We’ve got clients that are consistently bringing in multiple deals per month just from SEO — then they’re adding Adwords on top of things to sweeten the pot a little. 😉
I mean, think about it: once you’re ranking well, you’re not paying Google a dime. All you’ve got to do is stay active, keep fresh content pumping on your site, and let Google know you’re still alive and breathing! When a seller really needs to sell a house, they’re going to go to Google to search for help because it’s what we ALL do when we need any service or product.
Get Help, Get Clarity:
Before we dive deeper into our Ultimate Real Estate Investor & Wholesaler SEO Guide, take a moment to think about what you’ve just read. Are you able to wait a multiple months before leads start rolling in? Do you have the time it takes to invest in SEO?
No matter what your answer is, Steel Marketing is here to help you. Whether you need some clarity on how to proceed, you want to outsource your SEO work, or you want to learn how to do it yourself, schedule a consultation with us. Our #1 objective is to help Investors & Wholesalers do more deals, so don’t hesitate to reach out to us.
FAQ’s From Investors & Wholesalers About SEO:
That sure is a loaded question! There are so many factors that go into this like how long you’ve had a website (age), domain authority, and the level of competition in your market.
With all of that taken into consideration, most folks average about 6 months landing on page 1. If you’re in a Dallas, Houston, Miami, etc. and you have a brand new site, it’s going to take close to a year or more before you’re sniffing page 1 for the top-searched keywords.
Our Suggestion is this: commit to doing SEO 100% for 6 months, and once you see where it takes you, you’ll be hooked until you’re #1 😉
Nope! That’s why it’s called Search Engine Optimization, not Google Optimization. Bing, Yahoo, Duck Duck Go, AOL… SEO helps you on all those other search engine as well. However, Google gets the vast majority of searches across the board, so that’s why we place so much emphasis on Google & their algorithms.
It can cost as little or as much as you want. You can go 100% no cost out of your pocket, but you’re going to invest a lot more of your time. You can blend those two together and still invest lots of sweat equity, but pay someone to do local citations for you & press releases to get an extra boost.
But most folks do end up spending, on the low end, a couple hundred bucks a month on things like their website, keyword ranking tools, backlink sources & other SEO tools.
It depends on how fast you want rankings. If you’re wanting to get ranked down the road, but it’s not super important, then maybe an hour or two per week.
If you’re wanting to get the best/fastest results you can, you should be investing between 5-10 hours a week at minimum. This would include creating backlinks, writing content, gathering reviews, and making social media posts.
The more time you invest into SEO, the greater return you’ll see.
For us as Investors, we recommend one of these 3 platforms:
The biggest reason that the first 2 platforms are so successful is that they are built off of WordPress… WordPress is the best website platform for SEO — hands down!! So going with either Carrot or Propelio won’t let you down.
Absolutely you can! However, there are a few cautions I would give you here:
- Don’t let the VA do whatever they want
- Be sure you keep things organized
- Be explicit and direct about what you want and how you want it done
VA’s are not usually free-thinkers, as they do what they are told to do. The better systems and processes you have in place, the better and more effective your SEO campaign will be.
If you’d like to learn more about how to build a team of VA’s to do your SEO work, schedule a consultation with us… our Platinum Coaching Program teaches you EXACTLY how to do this — it comes with full SEO trainings, templates and systems of how to keep a VA on task and teaches you how to grow and scale a well-oiled machine.
Here’s what Steel Marketing offers Investors & Wholesalers:
Premier Marketing Package
90 Day Agreement
Elite Coaching Program
8 Week Coaching & Training
Starting Your REI SEO Campaign
Creating Your Brand
Before we get into the nitty gritty of optimizing your website & all that fun jazz, you need to establish your REI business online first and foremost. SEO for real estate investors and wholesalers only will be effective if you take these steps BEFORE you start doing anything SEO-related.
First, you need a good company name. Just make sure your name pertains to real estate. Things with enterprise or other non-real estate words are not ideal. Choose something like Sally Buys Houses, Sally Home Solutions, Sally Homes, or, again, something that lets people know you deal with real estate. I know it sounds elementary, but it’s important to state.
Having a nice logo made is great as well. Want to take a guess where Steel Marketing’s logo was made? Get your guesses in… drum roll please… we had it made on Fiverr. Now, it was not a $5 logo that Fiverr offers — we paid a premium. But there are a plethora of talented freelance artists on Fiverr, and you can get a solid, custom logo for $30-100 or so. We highly recommend going the extra mile with your logo because it’s going to represent you and your brand online.
Choosing Your Website Platform
What Website Platform Is Best For Me As An Investor/Wholesaler?
As you probably have seen, there are about a million and one website companies and platforms out there. But in regards to SEO for real estate investors and wholesalers, which website platform is best?
You should be using one of these three platforms: Investor Carrot, Propelio or WordPress. The first 2 website platforms are so successful because they are built off of WordPress. Yes, they’ve customized and tweaked things along the way, but the base of everything is WordPress, which is why you see a Carrot site ranked in the top 5 of page 1 in almost every city in the U.S. If you don’t have a website from one of the three options above, then you need to start there before moving on.
If you’re not using Carrot or Propelio, be sure your website has SSL. It’s a security feature that Google prioritizes, meaning it’s a must-have to show Google that your website can be trusted for website visitors to come to.
Establishing Your Brand, Getting Organized
Letting Google Know Who You Are & What You Do
Once you have those first 2 steps completed, the next logical step is creating your online presence through your social media pages like Facebook, Instagram, Youtube, LinkedIn, Pinterest and so on. You should have a business account/page on these platforms and others as well. From an SEO perspective, Google LOVES seeing your REI business all over social media because it shows Google that you’re relevant. Google tries to give search users the most relevant information and businesses possible, so by building robust social profiles, it’s only going to make your REI SEO campaign that much stronger.
The last “social profile” you should set up here is your Google My Business (GMB). This is how you can establish your company online with Google directly.
Things have changed a lot over the last year or so with the GMB algorithm, so here are some steps you should follow when first creating your GMB for an REI SEO campaign:
- DO NOT use a virtual mailbox or PO Box as an address. You only are able to use a residential address or commercial address.
- If you use a residential address, be sure to check the “No” box when Google asks if you have a storefront or location customers can come visit you at — See example below:
- Be sure you use THE SAME phone number and business name as you do on the website.
- Google uses your Business Name, Address and Phone Number (NAP) when identifying you from your competition, so don’t make it harder on Google! You’ll want to use the same NAP on your GMB that you use on your Social Media Profile and on all your Local Citations (we’ll get to this in a little bit).
Here’s a list of a few other things we suggest you create an account on BEFORE you start doing SEO work on your website:
- Google Analytics
- Facebook Pixel
- Rank Tracking Software (We use NightWatch)
- Google Tag Manager (if you plan on doing Google Adwords)
After you’ve done these things, you’re one step closer to generating those hot motivated seller leads.
Picking The Best Keywords
After you’ve got yourself set up and established, it’s important to know what keywords sellers are actually typing in. Here’s a couple of tools we love using to figure out what the top keywords are in your area:
- Keywords Everywhere — Google Chrome Extension
- Google Adwords’ Keyword Planner
- Moz’s Keyword Explorer
“What exactly am I looking for on these tools?”
That’s a great question! Before launching your SEO campaign for your REI Business, you need to know these things:
- What keywords are people typing in?
- Of those keywords, how many times per month is that keyword being searched?
- (For Keywords Everywhere only), what’s the level of competition it shows?
On Keywords Everywhere, there’s a sweet little tool that measures your competition on a scale from 0 to 1, 1 being the most competitive. Most REI SEO Keywords are around .4-.7 in competition. This tool gives you a great understanding of what the competition looks like in your area.
Google Adwords’ Keyword Planner is, in our opinion, the most accurate way to determine what keywords are being searched and by what volume. Why do we think that? Because this data comes straight from Google. You can see historical data, view predictions of upcoming months and more. When in doubt, Google it! Using Google Adwords’ Keyword Planner also gives you an idea of the top-of-page bid range (i.e. what it costs to have your ads shown at the top for certain keywords, on average) in case you’re thinking of doing Google Adwords — this also helps you see the competition levels because the more expensive the cost, the more competitive it is.
You’ll want to select the keywords that get searched the most in your area to target with your SEO efforts.
The Foundation Of Your REI SEO Campaign:
Before you start building a house, what’s the first step? Pouring a foundation. Makes sense, right? You can’t start framing or putting in those sweet granite counters before the foundation is even poured. So WHY should you do anything different when it comes to your SEO campaign? Here’s your answer: you shouldn’t!
However, the foundation of your REI SEO Campaign (on-page SEO) often gets overlooked by Investors or Wholesalers who do their own SEO and even by agencies/companies REIs hire.
“Wait, wait, wait… you mean to tell me that some companies that charge people for SEO don’t start with on-page SEO?”
Sadly, it’s true. I can’t tell you the number of investors & wholesalers we’ve helped who say that their previous agency didn’t touch their website — they know because they never once asked for login information. Now, are all SEO companies bad? NO, of course not! There are some other great SEO companies out there for Investors and Wholesalers who truly know what they are doing. But take this as a warning: if a company you’re planning on hiring doesn’t talk about optimizing your website (or can show examples of what happens after true optimization), RUN!
This is something that cannot be overlooked because if you get this wrong, then you can do all the off-page SEO in the world and it won’t make much of a difference. Google will have no clue who you are.
Things To Optimize On Your Site:
You want to make sure that your content, heading tags, meta data, images, alt tags, and videos are optimized for the keywords you picked out in step 4 because this is your chance to tell Google who you are.
Like we mentioned already, if you have a Carrot site, it comes with pre-written content for you, which can be fine if you’re just running Google Adwords. But if you’ve read this far, you’ve clearly got some interest in the long-term appeal of SEO. With that in mind, you definitely want to make the content and headings around the keywords you’ve selected.
For example, if one of your keywords was “sell my house fast,” and your target area was Nashville, one H2 tag should be “Sell My House Fast Nashville” or “Where Can I Sell My House Fast Nashville” because Google skims through the headings on a website to learn about them.
You also want to make sure you compress your images where you can, as well as adding keywords in the alt text section.
Your content should be well-written as well. It should not all be jam-packed full of keywords (aka keyword stuffing). There’s a proper density that you should have, and you can use Carrot’s SEO tool or Yoast SEO on a WordPress site to help gauge what that density should be. The content is for Google and potential sellers, so make sure it appeals to both audiences.
Building Trust & Authority With Off-Page SEO:
Just as a refresher, off-page SEO is the process of building backlinks that build trust and authority for your website. Google wants to see relevant, authoritative websites pointing back to yours. Think of it as a recommendation: if your best friend tells you to use a certain company to get your oil changed, you’re probably going to. But if a drunk guy who’s half-naked walking down the street recommends the same oil change to you, you’re probably going to steer clear of that place.
The same concept applies to Google. Don’t get backlinks from sketchy websites that Google doesn’t know or trust. Don’t buy backlinks from people overseas that promise #1 rankings or that sell you thousands of links that get published all at once. These are all recipes for disaster.
Stick to finding niche-relevant links or higher authority links in general when you can, whether those come from press releases, guest posts (done the right way), or building profiles on websites.
Some different types of backlinks can come from press releases, web 2.0s, local citations, directories, social profiles, and blog posts/guest posts, to name a few.
Remember, quality over quantity!!!!
Staying Relevant On Social Media
While you can’t get direct backlinks from social media sites like Facebook, Instagram or Twitter, it’s becoming more and more of a priority for businesses to be relevant on these platforms. This is because, using Google’s SEO algorithms, Google wants to show search users local, active businesses online that appear to be able to provide the exact service the search user wants/needs. At this point in time, a social media presence does not outweigh a strong backlink profile, but it’s more important than most folks realize.
Here’s some quick tips for staying active on social media:
- Take 10-15 minutes per week to make 1-2 posts on your social media accounts. Or take advantage of scheduling tools (like Facebook has for business pages) and take 1 hour a month and knock it out in one sitting.
- When you make posts, be sure to provide a link to your website and/or the blog post on your site you’re referencing.
- Make posts relevant and engaging. Showcase some houses you’ve bought and/or the people you’ve helped by buying that house.
- Share blog content from your website.
- Create videos to publish on Facebook that talk about the home selling process when a seller works with you.
- Use a free site like Canva.com to create nice-looking graphics that showcase your home selling process, situations you help people through, etc.
- All in all, just be YOU! The more real you are with your social media posts, the more attractive it is to sellers who may view it.
Creating Content… The S.T.U.P.I.D. Way
Hold up, who are you calling stupid?
We aren’t calling anyone stupid… That’s just what our content creation process is called! You can read more about the process here: https://steelmarketing.org/business-marketing/the-s-t-u-p-i-d-content-creation-method/
Whether you create videos or write blog posts, content creation should be a HIGH priority with your SEO efforts. Why? Google LOVES content. I mean they LOVE it. Every algorithm update in the recent past has all, in some way, shape or form, been related to having better content on your website for search users. Google scans your website to see if you can not only answer/help with the current issue, problem or question a search user has, but they want to see if you may be able to answer other questions a search user has based on predictive analysis. It’s a pretty snazzy feature that REALLY isn’t taken advantage of as it should be.
“So what kind of content should I be creating?”
This one can be tough for some investors. I mean after all, you’re an investor, not a content writer, right? Here’s the simplest way to come up with content: What do sellers struggle with or go through? Think about that for a second… What are some situations that a seller has gone through when they reached out to you? Were they facing foreclosure? A divorce? Inherited a house? Owed back taxes or had liens? I think you’re picking up what I’m putting down; smelling what I’m stepping in. 😉 The content you make should address those struggles and show how you provide solutions to them.
If you take away one thing from our Ultimate Real Estate Investor & Wholesaler SEO Guide, it should be this: Google LOVES Content!
Building Your Online Credibility With Reviews & Testimonies
Nowadays, people read almost every review on a company before contacting them. Reviews are usually a large deciding factor in choosing which company to call for a service they need. So if there’s a motivated seller out there who’s got a choice between you with zero reviews and someone else with 10, who are they likely going to choose? Yep, more than likely the guy or gal with 10 reviews because they can see there’s some credibility there. There’s trust being established before the seller ever picks up the phone or fills out a form.
“But what if I’ve never done a deal before?”
We hear you! You don’t want to just b.s. the reviews you’re getting; you want real, legit reviews where you can get them. But here’s what you could do to at least get 1 or 2 reviews out there: start with people who know you, and ask them to leave a review about your character, your integrity, how you work hard to get the job done, etc. These reviews aren’t necessarily about you buying a home, but they are about you as a person, which still holds lots of value to searching sellers.
No, I’m not suggesting you go create reviews from fake accounts or fake people — when we do SEO for real estate investors, we don’t recommend doing this at all — but what I am saying is to have people leave reviews about you. That’s perfectly fine.
If you’ve done a few deals, but are just now getting started with your online presence, reach out to the title company or closing attorney who helped close your deals and ask them for a review. And, obviously, reach out to the seller(s).
“Where should you get reviews posted?”
GREAT QUESTION! Google My Business & Facebook. These are the two most popular review spots on the web that people look at most. The next logical spot to get reviews as an investor would be the Better Business Bureau, because even though the vast majority of folks just look at the Google Reviews, lots of older homeowners still do look at a business’ BBB Rating.
Above All, Stay Consistent
Whether you’re trying to lose weight, train to run a marathon or grow your business, what’s one thing you should do? Stay consistent. There’s going to be highs and lows with all 3 of those examples I gave you — losing 15 pounds one week, then gaining 1 pound the next. Shaving 2 minutes off your mile time, then barely beating your original time. Have a record sales month, then have your worst month ever. These highs and lows happen in business and in life.
If you take 1 thing away from this — aside from the fact that Google LOVES content — it should be to always remain consistent.
If you set a goal to build 3 new backlinks and write 3 new blog posts a week, DO IT! Do whatever you have to do in order for you to keep those goals you set for yourself.
Google wants to see consistency across the board, so don’t go hard at SEO for 1 month then stop for 6. Can you come back from that? Yes, of course, but you’re going to be better off being consistent, even if your level of consistency is building 1 backlink and 1 new article per month.
Tools & Software We Love That You will Too
Over the years, we’ve used a bunch of different softwares, tools and other platforms to help with our SEO efforts. We’ll save you all the trial and error and just give you our top picks and choices to track your SEO campaign.
- Ahrefs – This tool is our tool of choice when it comes to spying on your competition!
- NightWatch – This all-in-one tool allows you to track keywords that you’re ranking for (tons of different ways to do this: mobile vs desktop, city name vs geographical search, etc.), and it even has integrations with Ahrefs, Moz and Majestic, which allows you to track backlinks and more right here.
- Google Analytics – This is a MUST have. When you have Google Analytics installed, you’re building a base of all website visitors, which means you’re able to retarget these people with Google Display ads… and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
- Keywords Everywhere — This Google Chrome extension is a SWEET way to check out what kind of search volume keywords are getting. We love using Google Adwords’ Keyword Planner, but Keywords Everywhere is a great tool when you just need to find out the search volumes for a handful of keywords.
- One Hour Indexing — When we build backlinks, we index all of our links through One Hour Indexing because we want to make sure Google crawls and sees all the work we do! This tool pings Google to crawl the sites you add in, which helps get you some SEO results a little faster 😉
- GT Metrix — If you don’t have a Carrot or Propelio site, you’re going to want this tool. It shows you exactly what is slowing your site down, so you can improve your page speed and overall SEO metrics.
- H1 & H2 Tag Checker — This tool of Steel Marketing’s creation allows you to input any web page, and see what that page’s H1 and H2 heading tags are — this is exactly how Google checks for these heading tags too 😉
- Metadata Checker — Another Steel Marketing creation that allows you to see the metadata on any page — once again, the same way Google sees a page.