Analysis of an online survey published on MediaPost Oct. 6 shows that real estate agents are inconsistent both in their use of search engine optimization techniques and their understanding of how such techniques work.
The survey, conducted by WebsiteBox, showed that although 83% of the 342 North American real estate agents and brokers who participated said SEO is the most important method for online lead generation, only 4.9% said they have actually generated leads by optimizing their web content.
Of the participants, a little over 54% had spent time on keyword research; 45.9% on creating content like blog entries; and approximately 15% on building external and internal links. About 23% had not done anything to improve their search rankings.
The survey results indicate that while most real estate agents do their best to adhere to SEO guidelines concerning keywords, content and even website setup, they don’t understand how to create effective inbound marketing campaigns using search engines.
About 80% of participants said they spend less than $500 each year on SEO tools, and 80% spend less than 10 hours each month using the tools they do have.
The Real Estate Market Online
According to the study, 90% of homebuyers use the web to assist them in their search for a new house, and 70% never bother to look past the first page of search results. The National Association of Realtors came up with a similar number in 2010, when it estimated that 89% of prospective buyers “frequently” check the Internet to help them find a home, and that the number of buyers who found their eventual home online jumped from 8% in 2001 to 37% in 2010.
The NAR predicted even four years ago that these numbers would continue to climb, making SEO a vital part of building a successful real estate business.
But ultimately, it may be up to SEO marketing companies to convince real estate agents that professional help is worth paying for. Consider these striking numbers: According to the study, about 75% of the participants want to manage SEO themselves instead of contracting an outside expert, but the same percentage — 75% — admitted they don’t know how to create content that is search-engine friendly.
“Understanding Google’s algorithms is a very complex process, and only an established, professional SEO company can provide a comprehensive approach to integrating the most effective and current SEO techniques and methods. Using a DIY solution will not get the same results,” says Steve Taplin, Managing Director at SEO Experts LLC.
When asked to rate their SEO knowledge on a scale of 1 to 10, the participants averaged a 5.1.