Ranking highly on Google is extremely important for driving high-quality traffic to your website. But the competition to rank for popular keywords is fierce, especially in industries like real estate. Here’s how to understand how you stack up against the competition—and how to pull ahead if you’re not already ranking at the top of the results.
Find It Fast
The basics of keyword ranking
Before you start trying to assess your rankings, it’s important to understand how keywords work. Keywords are simply words and phrases that describe your content and business. They’re also what users are searching for on Google.
To understand your rank, your first step should be keyword research. This helps you discover the keywords you’re already ranking for, the ones you have the best chance of ranking for, and new opportunities for keywords you should be using. If you’re working with a good SEO specialist or agency, they should have already done this for you. You can also use keyword research tools like Google Keyword Planner or Semrush.
Here are some tips for your keyword research and planning:
The more hyperlocal the keyword, the better your chance to rank. Many agents try to target city-specific keywords such as “Manhattan real estate,” which has a high search volume—but also has a very high difficulty score. A smarter strategy is to target a specific neighborhood. For example, “Tribeca real estate” still has great search volume, but has a much lower difficulty score, which makes it easier to rank for. An added benefit: the search intent for someone searching “Tribeca real estate” is likely higher, because they have already narrowed their property search.
Monitor both branded and non-branded keywords
Branded keywords are keywords that include your name or the name of your real estate business or team. Non-branded keywords are words or phrases related to your products or services that do not include these names. For optimal results, you want to be monitoring both types of keywords.
How to assess your rankings
Here are some of the best tactics for assessing the Google rankings for your real estate website.
Use Google search
One of the easiest ways to check the rankings for your real estate website is to do a manual search using Google. Simply enter a keyword or phrase related to your business and see where your website appears in the search results. You can then see how it compares with your competitors’ websites. Note that to ensure the rankings are accurate, you should use an incognito or private window in your web browser.
Use a keyword-tracking tool
Keyword tracking tools can help you track your website’s Google rankings over time. Some popular services include Ahrefs, Semrush, and Moz. These tools will show you how your website is performing for specific keywords and phrases, as well as how you compare to your competitors. They’re also great for identifying keyword gaps, aka the keywords that your competitors are ranking for that you aren’t.
Again, if you’re working with a good SEO agency, they should be doing this for you. You can ask which tool(s) they use and request monthly reports so you can see your progress. If they aren’t doing this, you need a new provider.
Use Google Analytics
Google Analytics is a free tool that can help you track how users are interacting with your website, including visits, bounce rate, and average time spent on your site. You can also use this information to compare your website’s performance with your competitors. Luxury Presence clients have access to this information in their Presence dashboard, so all the information you need is in one place.
Use Google Search Console
Google Search Console is another great free tool. It provides data on your website’s performance in Google search, such as impressions, clicks, and click-through rates. You can also use it to compare your website’s performance with your competitors.
Conduct a backlink analysis
Backlinks are an important factor in Google rankings. Conducting a backlink analysis can help you see how many backlinks your website has compared to your competitors, which sites are linking to your competitors and the quality and relevance of your backlinks. Some helpful tools for this include Ahrefs, Semrush, and Majestic.
Reasons why your competitors might be ranking higher than you
There are many reasons why a competitor might be ranking higher than you, including:
High-quality and relevant content improves a website’s relevance to specific search queries and results in better rankings. To improve your rank, read up on what Google considers helpful content and consider working with professional writers and SEO experts to develop engaging local content.
Better website structure and user experience
A well-designed website structure and user experience can result in lower bounce rates and more time spent on a website, leading to better Google rankings. To improve yours, make sure you’re working with a top-notch website provider who is ensuring your site is designed for performance, optimized for mobile, and comes with SEO baked right in.
Stronger backlink profile
Higher-quality backlinks from authoritative websites can help to boost Google rankings. To improve your backlinks, here are a few tips:
- Identify the sites that are linking to your competitors. Tools like Ahrefs and Semrush show your competitors’ links and give you helpful data that measures how valuable each backlink would be for you.
- Remove any sites that seem spammy, unhelpful to users, or irrelevant to your target audience. Using a tool like Semrush, analyze the site’s recent traffic and rankings patterns. If they’ve recently experienced a huge drop in search performance, avoid asking them for a link. Links from spammy sites that are on the wrong side of Google’s algorithms can negatively affect your own rankings.
- Reach out to prospects with a personalized email that lets them know the value of linking to your site and offer them a specific page link that their target audience would find useful. You can use a tool like BuzzStream to automate the competitive research and outreach phases of link building.
- When asking for a link, you can specify which anchor text to use, but you should avoid asking for anchor text that exactly matches your target keyword. Google can detect when you’re trying to manipulate their algorithms, and using too much “exact match” anchor text will potentially get your site penalized or demoted.
Local search optimization
Optimizing your website with hyperlocal keywords, as discussed earlier, can help improve visibility in local search results.
Stronger social media presence
A strong, active social media presence can result in more traffic and better rankings. Social media indirectly impacts SEO results, so it’s important to prioritize this.
Better optimization for target keywords
Optimizing your website for target keywords and phrases that are important for your industry can result in better rankings, which is why it’s smart to work with an expert SEO provider who knows the industry and its nuances.
Other factors that may be helping your competitors rank higher include the age of their domain, how long they’ve been doing SEO, the prominence of the pages they are ranking for, lack of duplicate content, and more video integration in their website content.
Outrank the competition with Luxury Presence
By learning how your site compares to your competitors—and how to outrank them—you can start bringing in more quality traffic and winning more business. In such a competitive market, it’s smart to rely on SEO experts who know the ins and outs of the real estate industry and stay up-to-date on the ever-changing rules and best practices of SEO. If you’re ready to start building a strong Google presence with optimized SEO that gets you ranked ahead of your competitors, our expert team is here to help.