I have many years experience optimizing websites and at one point in my career was heavily focused on optimizing real estate websites for organic search success. During my research on how to go about real estate SEO for a real estate developer website, I examined several real estate contractor websites but also took a look at how some of the large real estate sites, such as Zillow, structured their websites, and I used this to inform the planning for potential optimizations of your website.
These URL structure recommendations are in alignment with how people search for homes in different locations. This URL structure accounts for future growth and consistency for the your brand.
The following URL structure approach organizes the content by state, county, and city. This matches search behaviors and keeps the content logically organized and easy to understand for both users and search engine crawlers.
Overall URL Structure
We suggest following this structure for all locations:
www.YOURDOMAIN.com/state/ (i.e. /virginia/)
www.YOURDOMAIN.com/state/city/ (i.e. /california/lomita/)
The following keyword implementation approach follows the query volume we are seeing when users are searching by state, county, and city. This generic recommendation matches search behaviors and can be applied across the different page types.
Overall Keyword Focus
When optimizing for keywords, we recommend focusing on localization. With the advances in how search engines can interpret and understand content and context, the optimization strategy needs to focus on writing descriptive, semantically rich content about the locality.
Focusing on the keywords below, in addition to what is attractive about that specific location/community, will bring long term SEO value. This will also provide an opportunity to connect your neighborhoods to what is important for the potential home buyer when deciding on where to own a home.
Ideal specifications include the following:
- why should people move there
- unique interests for home buyers
- “near” terms in the area (i.e. neighborhoods, parks, schools, landmarks, transportation, recreational activities, etc.)
Incorporating content around the proximity to the local city or county, can further help strengthen the local relevance for the your particular region.
This content approach will give context to the locality by speaking semantically about the area while combining it with the description of the homes and their features. This will help Google associate the pages with long-tail and local keywords. In addition, consider creating local neighborhood guides that can help bring in additional traffic and link to your neighborhoods.
Additional home-related terms to consider when applicable: new construction, new home communities, real estate, condos, condominiums, townhomes, townhouse, for sale, buy, homebuyer, development, luxury, etc.
- New homes in [state]
- New homes for sale in [state]
- Homes for sale in [county]
- Real estate in [county]
- Homes for sale in [city] [state abbreviation]
- New homes [city] [state abbreviation]
- Homes for sale near [local landmark]
- New homes in [community name]
- [community name] homes for sale
Anchor Text & Linking
- The state, county, and city pages should:
- List all communities in that particular location
- Link communities to their URL under /state/city/community-name/
- Example community URL: www.YOURDOMAIN.com/virginia/mclean/arlington-row/
- Link to relevant locations, i.e. city page links to the county and state pages it is in, state page links to the county and cities in it, etc.
- Each community page should link to:
- The product it includes and location it is located in.
e.g.: Arlington Row (www.YOURDOMAIN.com/viginia/mclean/arlington-row/) would link to: Arden Artisan Collection (www.YOURDOMAIN.com/virginia/mclean/arlington-row/arden-artisan-collection/)
- Any other products that may be included in the community
- Relevant locations: city, county, and state pages
e.g.: Arlington Row links to: McLean page (www.YOURDOMAIN.com/virginia/mclean/), Fairfax County page (www.YOURDOMAIN.com/virginia/farifax-county/), and Virginia page (www.YOURDOMAIN.com/virginia/).
- The product it includes and location it is located in.
- Each product page should link to:
- Each community that includes them, i.e.. Arden Artisan Collection (www.YOURDOMAIN.com/virginia/mclean/arlington-row/arden-artisan-collection/) would link to Arlington Row (wwwYOURDOMAIN.com/viginia/mclean/arlington-row/)
- The city, county, and state the community is in.
- The Floorplan PDFs should include a link to the neighborhood(s) they are available in. Each should also have a clickable phone number and address for easy contact.
Internal anchor text gives visitors and search engines a hint about the page they are about to visit. It also helps establish the website architecture, spreading link equity, and helps search engines find, crawl, and index your pages.
When linking to various locations, we will use the name of the location as the anchor text, e.g. “McLean, VA.” Links to the specific neighborhood communities will link with the name of the neighborhood, e.g. “Arlington Row.”
On pages that are not listings of neighborhoods, products, etc., such as the About Us page, Contact page, etc., keep the anchor text succinct but descriptive of what the content the link leads to is about. Use variations of relevant anchor text throughout these pages and try to avoid generic terms like “click here.” For example, links to the Arlington Row page could use “Arlington Row homes,” “new homes in Arlington,” “McLean homes,” etc. What the most appropriate anchor text is will be determined by where the link is being placed.
Getting links from high-quality relevant websites helps search engines discover and index your content. Links are highly valuable for building your website’s authority, trust, and topical relevance. When you are able to influence the anchor text linking to your pages, ensure that it’s linking from topically relevant content and uses descriptive anchor text that reflects the same topic your target page is about. However, be cautious not to overuse the same keywords in anchor text that points to your site.
Meta & Heading Structure
Unique, well-optimized page titles enable Google to differentiate pages from one another and clarify relevance of a page to a user’s search. Use the target keyword in the beginning and add the brand name at the end. Keep titles to about 60 characters, maximum 70, as at that point Google cuts off the rest.
Apply a template for the titles that will ensure each page will have unique relevant titles.
- For locations (state, county, city):
- [State] New Homes for Sale | BRAND NAME
- [County, State] New Homes for Sale | BRAND NAME
- [City, State] New Homes for Sale | BRAND NAME
- Community pages:
- [Community name, Location] Homes | BRAND NAME
- Home types/products pages:
- [Product name] New Construction | BRAND NAME
- Community pages:
- [Community name] New [Home type] for Sale | BRAND NAME
- i.e. Arlington Row, New Townhomes for Sale |BRAND NAME
If desired, certain pages can have custom written titles tags.
Meta descriptions play a crucial role in the search rankings by enticing the searchers to click through. Writing a compelling description about what the given page is about and including the value and benefits for the user will help drive traffic to the website. Write in active voice and include a clear call-to-action for what you want users to do next. Google provides ~155 characters for the description, so try to maximize this space to compel searchers and show your value.
Use a consistent hierarchical heading structure throughout the website by following the approach:
- Use H1 for the top level heading that is unique to the particular page. Examples:
- On a location page use: [County Name, State Homes]
- On a neighborhood page use: [Name of Neighborhood]
- On non-home-listing pages use the top level heading unique to that page
- Use H2 for the second level headings, and continue the hierarchy to H3, etc. following the hierarchy of the headings on the page.
Schema is a system of code that structures your website’s data in a way that is easier for search engines to read and understand. It gives you control over categorizing your data and helps the machines process the types of data the way you intended, and helps them display the right information in the right context. Implementing Schema can increase your chances of Google displaying rich snippets in the search results, which can improve your site’s rankings and click-through rates.
All major search engines have endorsed Schema. Add the appropriate code to each applicable page and update the information with each page’s specific data. We bolded the fields that need to be specific for each. Please see below.
Organization (for your brand name)
Use this code on pages that particularly include your brands info, such as the Home and About Us pages. Add any additional off-site profiles (LinkedIn, Facebook, etc.) under the “sameAs” section.
“name”: “BRAND NAME”,
Local Business (for each neighborhood with their specifics)
“name”: “BRAND NAME”,
“streetAddress”: “STREET ADDRESS”,
*Note: We are recommending this schema type as the available types are limited and our research found that major real estate sites, such as Realtor and Zillow, use this Schema type for condos and townhomes.
“name”: “PROPERTY NAME“,
“streetAddress”: “1234 STREET“,
“image”: “IMAGE URL“,
“description”: “TWO BEDROOM DESCRIPTION“
As always, feel free to send me a message if you would like to expand past these optimizations and want a more robust SEO strategy for your real estate website.