Table of Contents:
- Understanding Search Engine Optimization
- Have Realistic Expectations of What an SEO Can Do
- Hold a Two-Way Interview
- Bid for a Website Audit
- Request an Accurate Timeline
- Seek out Articles and Videos to Support Suggestions
- Avoid Professionals who Make Guarantees
- Discuss the Communication Process
- Get Payment Details and Create Contract
- What is a B.R.E.W.?
Introduction | How to Hire an SEO for Your Real Estate Website
Your website may be beautiful, but if it’s not generating and capturing leads, it’s not functional. In fact, you may be downright invisible to prospects. It may be time to hire an SEO, a Search Engine Optimizer, who can give your website a much needed boost in visibility.
We’re living in a digital world. With so much content available online, the internet is the first place we go if we want to do research, find an answer to a question or make a purchase – even if that purchase is buying a house.
While a new homebuyer isn’t about to do the entire purchasing transaction online, they are likely to start searching the web for listings in their area and price range. This means by the time they connect with a real estate agent, they’ve already considered what they can afford, what they’d like to purchase and what homes they want to take a look at.
But that isn’t all. They also know which real estate agents they’d like to work with – before even making a phone call or talking to you in person. They’re using the information they’ve gathered online to make a decision.
If you’re not accessible or visible online, you’ll have a harder time being part of the running.
But not all SEOs will give you the same outcome. If you want to beat out your competition and get the high-quality clients, you need a high-quality SEO.
Understanding Search Engine Optimization
SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, is a digital marketing tactic that allows you to improve your search engine ranking.
By working with the algorithm that determines where each page falls on the search engine results list, you can boost your website so it reaches the first page of the results. The higher your ranking, the more likely you are to get selected by a searcher.
SERP stands for Search Engine Results Page. Your goal is to appear on page one when a user types in a query that matches your products or services.
SEO strategies work by looking at a search engine algorithm and working backward to fit the algorithm’s needs. To create an SEO strategy, consider the various things a search engine is looking for when it decides how to rank relevant pages. Then, make sure your website aligns. While this may sound simple, search engines are constantly changing their algorithms, making it difficult for non-experts to keep up.
When homebuyers are looking for valuable information online before ever picking up the phone, you want to make sure your content is reaching their eyes before they make a decision on which real estate agent to work with. The right SEO strategy can help you do this.
While you may be an expert at selling houses, the same strategies don’t apply to digital marketing.
Before You Hire an SEO, Have Realistic Expectations of What an SEO Can Do
Hiring an SEO isn’t enough to bring your website to the front page of a search. Getting to the top means you need to have a strong online presence all around. This includes content creation, website design, and even social media.
The right SEO should be able to provide insights and guidance on what you can do overall to improve your website and user experience.
Hold a Two-Way Interview
When you’re hiring an SEO to work on your real estate website, you’re not hiring an employee – you’re hiring a professional service provider. This means that the ball is not entirely in your court. Both you and the SEO need to agree you’re a good fit for one another.
By holding a two-way interview, both you and the SEO can get a good idea of how you’d work together. Both parties should be prepared to ask and answer questions, including the basics about budget, timeframe, and goals. You’ll also want to get into more in-depth questions and ask for references, examples of past work, and what benefit they can bring to your business. Ask what experience they have working with real estate websites specifically.
Prepare with answers of your own. Know what you hope to accomplish with an SEO strategy, what your expectations for the partnership are, and what direction you’re hoping to go in. Have an idea of what your budget is, what work you’d like to have done, and what kind of returns you’re hoping to see. Be prepared to sell yourself to the SEO just as much as they need to sell their services to you.
Bid for a Website Audit
If an SEO candidate has made it through the two-way interview, you’re ready to move on to the audit portion. Because an audit of your website requires extensive time and research, be prepared to pay a fee for an SEO to complete this step. However, the information will be crucial for moving forward in your SEO strategy creation.
By looking through your Google Analytics and search factors, an SEO can determine the main issues with your website and what areas can be improved. They can then use this information to make suggestions on what they would do if you were to hire them for the project.
Be sure that their audit report includes issues, suggested improvements, the cost for the service, how solving this issue will improve your business, and what they will do if the first plan of attack doesn’t work. By getting a complete guide from your SEO, you can ensure they’re prepared and fully understand what they’re doing.
Request an Accurate Timeline
Results from an SEO will not be immediate, but that doesn’t mean they’re not working. In fact, organic SEO results take time to manifest. Depending on the work you’ve already done, your level of competition, and where your site was originally ranking, it could take up to a year to really see results from your SEO strategy. However, many websites see an improvement in just a few months.
Don’t set both yourself and your SEO up for failure by asking for immediate results. Rushing, implementing practices meant to “trick” the algorithm, or creating unrealistic goals for your strategy will only waste your time and money.
When talking with an SEO you’re considering hiring, ask them to provide you with a realistic timeline for the work they will be doing. This timeline should also consider the amount of time it will take to create content, update the design of the website, and add keywords and descriptions to past pages and posts.
Seek out Articles and Videos to Support Suggestions
The thought of potentially waiting a year to see results from your SEO strategy is intimidating for many, but laying a solid foundation means you’ll need to make fewer changes in the future. But it also means you may not know for months that something is off or that a keyword isn’t as strong as you thought.
To help ensure you’re moving in the right direction, seek out articles, guides, or other materials that explain basic search engine strategies. Educate yourself on what’s standard practice in SEO. The goal is not necessarily to learn the intricate details, but to be wise enough gauge your expectations.
Even if you don’t know the first thing about SEO, don’t allow yourself to be fooled by someone only pretending to know what they’re doing.
Avoid Professionals Who Make Guarantees
We like to have guarantees that we’ll get what we want when we make a purchase. But just like you can’t guarantee you’ll find a client’s dream home within their budget in the perfect location, an SEO can’t guarantee you the prime real estate of the number-one ranking on Google. If an SEO is guaranteeing you a top slot, this can be a major red flag.
Because search engine results pages are controlled by an algorithm, there is really no way to determine exactly which page will make it to the top. While SEOs are experts in nudging the algorithm to get it to place pages in higher slots, even the best SEO available can’t guarantee it will get your link to the top.
If an SEO is guaranteeing things they can’t promise, they’re probably lying elsewhere. Rather than taking the risk and wondering what else they may be trying to hide from you, find an SEO with more trustworthy tactics.
Discuss the Communication Process
Few things are more annoying than hiring someone to do a job and then never being able to get in contact with them. Before you pay an SEO any money, talk to them about your expectations for communication and project approval. Make sure you know their expectations as well.
Don’t be afraid to get picky about how you communicate with your SEO. As a busy person always on the go, you need someone who can fit within your lifestyle. If you want someone you can text between meetings with a question or someone who isn’t afraid to call your cell phone, be sure your SEO knows this.
Also be sure to talk about an update schedule. Because most of what your SEO is doing day-to-day won’t intertwine with what you’re doing day-to-day, you may go weeks without ever speaking to your SEO. Be sure to set up an update schedule so you and your SEO know when to get in touch to talk progress.
Get Payment Details and Create a Contract
The final step of the hiring process is payment. Once you’ve selected the SEO you believe can help your real estate website and decided on the appropriate measures to take, take some time to discuss the SEO’s payment terms, fees, and invoice schedules.
While you probably got an idea of costs with the audit your SEO performed early in your relationship, now is the time to really hammer out the contract. Outline if you’re paying by project, by the hour, or by a monthly retainer. Include invoice due dates, details related to late payments, and what either party should do if the other end is not holding up their end of the contract.
If your SEO is creating and sending you the contract, be sure to read the details thoroughly. As a legally binding document, you want to know exactly what you’re agreeing to. If anything stands out as being incorrect or something you hadn’t discussed, don’t hesitate to ask them what it means.
What is a B.R.E.W.
A B.R.E.W. is a Ballen Real Estate Website.
The idea for Ballen Real Estate Websites came from the pain-points of real estate agent turned digital marketer, Lori Ballen.
Lori’s success at marketing her own real estate business online led to the launch of her digital marketing company, Ballen Brands. Although Lori and her marketing team were knocking it out of the park with things like lead generating, lead nurturing, lead capture, and search engine optimization, she was still struggling with how to create “the perfect” real estate website.
She and her team then invested all of their energies into brainstorming. In Lori’s idea, real estate websites should be imbued from the ground up with search engine optimization, then enhanced with content marketing strategies for organic ranking and lead generation, tools for lead capture, tracking and measuring systems, and more. In short, her goal was to create a website for real estate agents that was functional for business growth.
Each B.R.E.W. is served hot and fresh with:
- WordPress platform for simple management and unlimited growth
- Theme custom-tailored to real estate agents
Search engine optimization is a complicated subject, especially for those not in the marketing world. For real estate agents looking to improve their online ranking and get their website found, using a professional SEO to help you create the right strategy can be career changing – but you want to be sure you’re using an SEO that understands what they’re doing.
Getting the right SEO strategy is an investment that will pay you back many times over. Be sure to follow these eight steps in finding and hiring the right SEO for your real estate website.