The Ultimate SEO Guide for Estate Agents

Estate agents are constantly on the lookout for leads online. They want to market in such a way that they have a constant stream of potential clients knocking at their door. 

One effective way to do this is to launch a pay-per-click (PPC) advertising campaign. But these can be expensive and eat into margins over time.

That’s where search engine optimisation (SEO) comes into play. Rather than paying for every single click, this strategy lets estate agents build leads organically. Potential clients see your website in non-paid search results, preferably on the first page, encouraging them to click.

Getting SEO right, though, is challenging. Fortunately, this guide is here to help. In it, we explore precisely what you need to do to dominate search engine results pages (SERPs) and get as close as possible to the number one position for your chosen keywords.

Why Do Estate Agents Need SEO?

But first, we need to discuss why estate agents need SEO. 

The main reason has to do with how property buyers and sellers interact with estate agent firms. Most don’t go to a recognised brand immediately. Instead, they search locally for a good estate agent near them. For instance, they might type something like “estate agent near me” or “estate agent in Birmingham.”

If you’re an estate agent offering services to local clients, you need to capitalise on these searches. They clearly demonstrate a user’s intention to buy or sell properties near you, meaning that they could benefit from your services. 

Estate agents also need to focus on SEO for another reason: more people than ever are going online to buy and sell properties. Phone calls are no longer the dominant first point of contact, as they were in the past. 

The Basics Of SEO For Estate Agents

For many non-technical estate agents, SEO can feel a little mysterious. How does it work, exactly? What determines how highly your website ranks for certain keywords?

Here, we explain. 

Search engines, like Google, use bots for ranking purposes.

First, they “crawl” your website, which means they explore all your pages, content, images and headlines to discover new content. 

Next, they “index” your site. This process involves adding information about your website, such as URLs, to a big database that Google calls an index. You can think of it as a giant directory with every site and page on the internet. 

Finally, Google ranks your page for a particular keyword. For instance, your estate agency might come fifteenth for the term “estate agent in Birmingham.”

SEO involves all three of these steps but mainly focuses on the last: how well you rank. Google uses hundreds of factors to determine your position in SERPs, but the main ones to consider are: 

  • Inbound hyperlinks (backlinks) to your site
  • Relevant content
  • The speed with which your site loads
  • The quality of your site experience
  • The mobile-friendliness of your site

Getting SEO right is challenging. Moreover, it can be hard for estate agents to make progress on their own. That’s because many companies get professional help to rank for top estate agent keywords in their area. Everyone is trying to rank number one. 

SEO Strategies For Estate Agents

Estate agents need to use several methods to rise to the top of SERPs. Adopting just one or two policies isn’t usually enough.

In this section, we explore the most important techniques you must employ.

Carefully Design Content And Keywords

According to Google, the quality of content and choice of keywords is the most important ranking factor. It contributes more to your SERPs position than anything else.

When you think about it, this makes sense. Google wants to display relevant content to its users, giving them the best experience possible. 

Therefore, make sure that you:

  1. Include relevant keywords in your content
  2. Write content that is relevant and valuable to users

As an estate agent, you will need to do keyword research as it applies to your area. If you are a small office, avoid competing at the national or international level for the most popular keywords. These are highly competitive and it is unlikely that you will rank favourably for them even if you adopt the very best techniques.

To research which keywords to use on your pages, use a keyword planner. These tools help you discover semantically-related keywords to a primary (or pillar) keyword you type in.

These tools will show you related keywords you might want to target as well as the average number of searches per month for these keywords in a particular city, region or country. You will also be able to see the level of competition for each keyword. This estimates how difficult it will be for you to rank well for a keyword.

If you are just starting on your SEO journey, focus on “long-tail” keywords rather than shorter ones. These are keywords that contain more than two words and tend to have significantly less competition than shorter ones, making it more likely you will rank well for them. 

Good examples of long-tail keywords you might target include: 

  • How to sell a home quickly in Birmingham
  • Steps to selling a house in Birmingham
  • Properties for sale under £100,000 in Coventry
  • Commercial estate agent in Walsall

Once you know which keywords you want to use, make sure to include them in your content.

You could do this by writing: 

  • Meta descriptions containing your target keywords
  • Landing pages associated with your keywords
  • Blogs containing your keywords and related to the topic

The more places you can include your keywords, the more relevant your site will appear to Google. Just remember not to “stuff” them. Google may punish this by ranking your site lower. Instead, include them naturally.

You also need to make sure that you’re using the right keywords. To do this, use tools that let you peer into the SEO strategy of your most successful rivals and see what they are doing. Good options include: 

  • Ahrefs
  • Semrush
  • Social Mention
  • Moz’s Link Explorer
  • Google Alerts

All of these tools show you which keywords the competition is targeting. Copying them isn’t a bad idea, particularly if you’re just starting. (You can always tweak your strategy later). 

Build Backlinks

Backlink building used to be the number one way to rank higher on Google, but in recent years, its importance has gone down a little. With that said, it is still a major ranking factor, perhaps second or third in importance in 2022.  

As an estate agent, you’re in a fortunate position when it comes to building backlinks. That’s because there are dozens of directories willing to link to you. You may be able to get links from sites like: 

  • Rightmove.com
  • Zillow.com
  • Primelocation.com
  • UK Land Directory
  • Gumtree
  • OnTheMarket
  • Rentify

You can also approach local and national publications and offer to do interviews, or provide interesting research and statistics related to the property market.

Complete All Your Metadata

Metadata is just information search engines use to understand what’s on your site. It sits in the background and complements on-page content, helping search algorithms get a better understanding of who your website is for. 

There are two main elements of metadata you’ll need to consider: 

  • Meta title
  • Meta description

Your headline or meta title is just the title of your page. It’s what Google displays in blue in search results and is the clickable link to your site. 

The meta description is the description that appears under the headline in search results. It helps users learn more about what’s on your page. Usually, meta descriptions only appear in search results. They don’t show up on your pages. 

Good headlines for estate agents are catchy and relevant to the searches that leads are making. They should also be under 65 characters, otherwise, Google will cut them off on SERPs which may negatively impact click-through rates.

Meta descriptions should contain your target keyword and say something appealing that encourages leads to click on your site. Ideally they’ll also include calls to action. For instance, they might say something like: “Find cheap properties in Lancashire with our specialist agents.”

You’ll also need to consider “header tags.” These are just labels for the headers on your web page (and something that website builders automatically specify for you when you choose H1, H2, etc.) Make sure that you use plenty of header tags on your site. Avoid the temptation to write large blocks of text describing properties. Website visitors don’t find these engaging.

Improve Page Load Speed

Google introduced new rules in May 2021 that made page experience elements, such as loading speed, important ranking factors. 

Unfortunately, this part of SEO is quite technical and requires good knowledge of how websites work. 

Here’s what the page experience factors are: 

  • Largest contentful paint (LCP): This factor measures how quickly a page loads. Google wants all pages to load for users in under 2.5 seconds. 
  • Cumulative layout shift (CLS): CLS measures how stable your pages are when they load. Do they jerk around in the user’s window or do they remain the same? Google wants sites to have a CLS of less than 0.1. 
  • First input delay (FID): FID measures the time it takes for a user to be able to interact with your site. Google wants this to be less than 100 milliseconds. 

Estate agents can struggle with all these issues because their sites tend to have a lot of images. Visuals take longer to load, and as they do, they can cause site layouts to shift around. 

To reduce LCP times, you can reduce image size without losing fidelity. There are plenty of tools for this including: 

  • Adobe Illustrator
  • Resize Pixel
  • BeFunky
  • PicResize

To reduce CLS, you can:

  • Include the dimensions of all images and videos
  • Specify dimensions of ad frames and embeds
  • Use preload fonts or system fonts directly embedded into your code

Lastly, you can reduce FID by: 

  • Compressing your Javascript and CSS code
  • Break up your Javascript tasks into smaller ones
  • Reducing the quantity of third-party code (i.e. add-ons)

Resolve Any Broken Links

Estate agents also need to pay close attention to broken links on their sites. These are links that don’t go anywhere and return errors when users click on them, such as “Error 404 Page Not Found.”

Broken links harm your SEO by making your site more difficult to crawl. Google’s bots can’t access all your pages when you have broken links, preventing indexation. 

Estate agents are at higher risk of broken links than other firms because of how often their pages change. Homes go on and off the market frequently, increasing the risk of links that don’t go anywhere.

Fortunately, you don’t have to check all the links on your site manually. Tools can do it for you automatically. Ahrefs, WordPress, and DeadLinkChecker, all offer free broken link tools. 

Add Social Media

Social media doesn’t directly affect SEO. Google made this point clear in a previous release. However, it can have an effect indirectly by increasing organic interest in your site. 


These days, social media is becoming an increasingly valuable platform. It lets estate agents display their properties online and engage their audiences in a way that regular websites simply don’t allow. 

Estate agents with excellent social media platform presence build trust. People can see what you do and they are much more likely to type your brand name into Google and click on your resources in Search and on Maps. 

Optimise Your Site For Mobile

Mobile searches now comprise around 55 per cent of all searches, and therefore it’s critical to optimise your site for smartphones, tablets, and other portable devices. Mobile-friendliness is also something Google includes in its page experiences, so it directly contributes to SEO as well. 

Estate agents can make their sites mobile-friendly relatively easily. Most website platforms build this functionality directly into the backend, meaning that there’s not much work you need to do to ensure the site is technically mobile-friendly, unless it’s an older site. Ensuring the site converts well on mobile devices is a different story though, and you’ll need to review whether the right information is displayed to users in the correct order, whether there are calls to action, whether the phone number is clickable from mobiles and much more.

Even if you have a newer site,though, you should check and confirm it meets the needs of mobile users. To do this:

  • Manually test all your web pages on a mobile device to check usability and functionality
  • Test to see whether your site is mobile-friendly using Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test tool. This tool will tell you immediately if your URLs or code are mobile-friendly or not. If they aren’t, then consult with a web development or SEO agency to find out what’s gone wrong.

Optimise Your Site Structure

Because estate agencies manage so many properties and different stakeholders via their websites, site structure is also critical. Users need coherent structures to buy and sell easily. And Google needs them to index and structure all pages properly. 

Try organising your site structure like a pyramid with the home page at the top and the rest of your pages lower down. Individual property pages should be at the bottom.

Next, link all sub-pages to the pages above them in the pyramid hierarchy. Individual property pages should link to category pages which, in turn, should link to service pages (such as buying or selling a property) and ultimately the home page.

This structure tells Google which pages are most important and that they should be listed in search results. Most estate agents want their homepage or category pages to appear in search results, not property pages which are temporary, so getting the structure right is important.

When linking between pages, try to use descriptive anchor texts (the text that users click on to follow the link). The more descriptive this is, the better Google will understand your pages. 

Conclusion

Estate agents need to pay close attention to their SEO. It is becoming clear from consumer behaviour that the future of property transactions is very much online. Therefore, agencies that want to get noticed must have a robust presence in search. 

The best way to improve SEO isn’t to do it in-house but rather to use professional SEO services. At Distribute Digital, we specialise in helping estate agents improve their rankings online, both for local and national keywords. Our team can deal with all aspects of search engine optimisation to improve your rankings, drive more relevant traffic to your website and grow your business.
Get in touch with our team today to learn more.

Keisha - SEO Account Manager

Keisha is a driven SEO Account Manager with a person-centred approach and a degree in Business Psychology from the University of Worcester. Keisha has extensive client service experience and excellent organisational skills.

Find out how we can help your business grow

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