It’s kind of a nightmare.
One day, you’re on page one for your target keyword phrases, and then, one day you’re not. Maybe it starts by noticing that you’re not getting as many leads as usual. When you check to see what’s going on, you find that a few of your primary SEO rankings are suffering — the ones that drive passive organic traffic to your real estate website.
Maybe you noticed that they’re just starting to dip (going from position 1 or 2 to position 7 or 8) or maybe you’ve fallen all the way back to Page 2 — or worse, your page is nowhere to be seen, all the way through page 10.
So… what gives?
Why are your rankings suffering in the first place and, more importantly, what can you do to fix it?
It all starts with determining why your SEO rankings are slipping.
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Step 1. Determine Why Your SEO Rankings Are Slipping
Before you try to fix suffering rankings, we need to determine why your rankings are slipping in the first place.
There are quite a few possibilities. Among the most common reasons are…
- A Competitor is Beating You — This is the most common reason that a ranking will start to dip. If you’ve only got down the page a few spots, then it’s likely that Google is trying to make space for a competitor who it perceives as having rank-worthy content for the specified keyword phrase. Check out Step 2 to figure out how to address this problem.
- Google Has Penalized Your Site — In rare cases, it’s possible that Google has penalized your site for one reason or another. If you’ve been paying for backlinks, using PBNs, or using other black-hat SEO tactics, it’s possible that Google has penalized your site. If this is the case, then your site will probably have completely disappeared, not just have dipped a bit. Check out Step 10 to learn more about how to fix this.
- Your Page Load Speed is Too Slow — Google has explicitly said, over and over again, that how fast your website loads (or even a specific page) is a direct indicator of how well you rank. The faster it loads, the better. You can test your page load speed over here and if it’s suffering, then check out Step 4 for ways to fix this.
- Your Website is NOT Mobile Optimized — If your site or a page on your site isn’t optimized for the mobile experience, then you’re going to have trouble ranking for any keyword phrase. Google now prioritizes the mobile version of your website over the desktop version, so this is an absolute must. If your website looks or performs terrible on mobile or tablet, then check out Step 8 to learn how to fix this.
Once you know what the problem is, you should have a much easier time fixing the problem with the below steps. If your page completely disappeared, then you probably got penalized by Google.
If your page slipped just a few positions, then a competitor is probably beating you (the most likely reason). And if you slipped big — say, to page 5 — then it’s probably because Google updated its algorithm and your page no longer fits the bill.
Whatever the case, you can use the below steps to fix your problem and then measure progress toward improving your SEO rankings.
Related: Real Estate SEO Master Breaks Down How He Closes 2-3 Real Estate Deals a Month From SEO in a Competitive Market w/ Dave Brown
Step 2. Update & Enhance Your Page
Assuming that your page hasn’t been penalized by Google and that you only slipped a few positions, this is the very first thing you should think to do.
Because a lot of times, your real estate SEO rankings slip simply because someone else (a competitor, usually) created a better page than you and Google is trying to make space for them. This is an opportunity for you to pull out the big guns and beat them at their own game.
When a page starts to slip by a few positions, here’s what you should do…
- Look At What The Other Page-One Rankings Are Doing — The first thing you should do is examine what other pages are ranking on the first page and make some guesses as to why those pages are beating you; what are they doing that you’re not doing? How can you do something that’s better than them? Could you write a longer piece of content? Could you offer your audience more details?
- Add a New Publish Date — Google loves when you add a new publish date to an old page. It tells them that you’re paying attention and updating your content.
- Write an Extra Few Hundred Words — If possible, add a couple of hundred extra words to the page. Not just babble, of course, but valuable content. Make sure you include your target keyword phrase a few times within this extra content.
- Add Some Images & Alt Text — Google loves images just as much as readers. It breaks up the content and makes the page easier to digest. So add a few relevant images to the page. If you do, make sure to also add relevant alt text.
16 On-Page SEO Steps for Optimized Real Estate Websites
Step 3. Fix Broken Links
Google doesn’t like broken links — that is, links from your page that go to a page that no longer exists.
If links on your page have gone bad (maybe because the place you were linking deleted their page), then remove the link and/or consider linking elsewhere. Just test out each link on your page to make sure it’s working correctly.
Too many broken links communicate to Google that you’re not paying much attention to updating your content consistently, and the almighty algorithm doesn’t like that.
Quick Methods to Find Broken Links using Online Checkers
Here are some quick and easy tools you can use to find broken links. All you need to do is enter your URL into the search boxes and they will provide you a list of broken links:
Paid Service (Much more than just checking for broken links)
How to Fix Broken Links
Once you found the links that are broken, your next step is to fix them. You want to make your content easy fo the user to read and navigate.
You have two options when it comes to fixing broken links. You can restore or recreate that page/content or use the best practices to redirect that old link to a related or relevant page.
Step 4. Improve Your Page Speed
The faster your website loads, the better. In fact, when it comes to Google rankings, there’s really no such thing as too fast.
Not only is page speed an important factor within Google’s ranking algorithm, but, it also decreases the bounce rate, increases the time-on-page, and even helps your conversion rate.
That’s why, at Carrot, we take website load speed so darn seriously. We’re constantly making optimizations to keep our member’s sites moving wicked-fast. During one of our most recent tests, our sites received a 94/100 on its speed.
You can test your website’s speed over here to see how it’s performing. If you have a Carrot site, then you probably have no need to worry about this (but feel free to reach out to our support team if your website isn’t loading like you expect it to). If you don’t have a Carrot site, then you’ll want to do the following…
- Compress Image Files — This is one of the primary ways to improve your website load speed. If you have a lot of high-quality images on your page, then that can really hurt your page’s agility. By compressing those images, you make the files smaller and easier to load (which means faster).
*Carrot websites have image compression already built-in.
- Reduce Redirect — The more times that a page has to redirect, the longer it’s going to take to load. Consider getting rid of redirects entirely for the page you’re trying to fix.
Or… if this all seems too complicated, you can get yourself a high-speed Carrot site and never have to worry about this again. ;-)
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Step 5. Organize Your Content
Many people don’t realize that it’s actually possible to have too much SEO-based content, or at least, too much dis-organized content.
SEO cannibalization, for example, is when you destroy (or cannibalize) your own rankings because you have too many pages that are gunning for the exact same phrase.
Google likes it most when you have one page per keyword phrase — that is, each page on your website only targets one keyword phrase, and there’s no overlap.
If you created several other pages targetting a similar phrase to the page you’re watching suffer, then it’s probably because you have too much dis-organized content for Google’s liking. Keep it simple and go back to having only one page per keyword phrase.
Here’s an example of organizing your blog content. Write a main blog post for the core topic keyword “sell your house”. Then write four other blog posts based on the main cornerstone content utilizing sub-topics.
Step 6. Get Your Citations in Order
You’ve probably heard that building backlinks are one of the best ways to improve your SEO rankings. And that’s true — but it’s also pretty darn difficult to consistently build high-quality backlinks.
Fortunately, getting your citations in order can have a similar impact.
What are citations?
Typically, they are third-party listing websites (like Google My Business) that have your business info and a link back to your website. There are a few things you want to do with these citations.
First, make sure that you have at least 50 or 60 citations on different websites — that will help your rankings quite a lot.
Second, make sure that the information on all of those citations is the same across the board and up-to-date.
Basically, it’s just a matter of adding your listing to these various sites — which can be a bit tedious but is great for your rankings. If you don’t know how to do this or would rather have someone else do it for you, we have a citation building service. Check it out and let us know if you need help!
Or, if you want to build citations on your own, learn more about building local citations for real estate agents and investors.
Step 7. Get SSL Certification
Within the last few years, Google has strengthed the authority of websites that have SSL and weakened those that don’t. SSL certification is just a basic way to secure your website from prying eyes. You can tell whether you have SSL certification or not by going to your website and checking to see if your URL is “HTTP” or “HTTPS” — if it’s “HTTPS”, then it has SSL certification already.
With Carrot, you can click a few buttons and add SSL to your website for FREE.
If you don’t have a Carrot website, then you’ll have to do the process manually and pay about $50.
This isn’t going to be a total game-changer for your rankings, but it might be just the boost you need to beat pesky competitors.
Step 8. Optimize Your Real Estate Website for Mobile
If your website isn’t mobile-optimized, then you really should look into getting a different website builder (like Carrot!) that automatically adjusts for different devices.
If your website isn’t mobile-friendly, then it’s unlikely you’re going to get many rankings at all — Google now prioritizes indexing the mobile version of sites over the desktop version, so this is an absolute must if you’re serious about ranking in search engines.
You can test your site to see if it’s mobile-friendly using our mobile-friendly tool.
Here are 7 tips to ensure you have a mobile-friendly real estate website:
1. Get a Real Estate website that is “mobile-friendly” + responsive
2. Design for the touch, not the click
Notice The Important “tap” Elements On This Carrot Site In The Green Zone
3. Make it easy for visitors to engage with you (both opt-in and phone)
4. Get to the call to action quickly
5. Don’t use too many form fields.
6. Sandwich your call to action areas. One on top and one on the bottom.
Optimize your page by adding a phone number and a second form to the bottom of the page.
7. Don’t rely on video to be the primary call to action.
Step 9. Improve Your Keyword Density
People who are new to SEO make a few common mistakes when it comes to keyword density. Either they don’t include their keyword phrase at all in the copy, they include it way too much and Google counts it as spammy, or they try to rank for 10 different keyword phrases with a single page.
So… if any of those sound like you… here are a few guidelines to stick to…
- Aim For 1 Keyword Phrase Per Page — No more. No less. And if there are some keyword phrases that are super similar, then put those on there as well. Just don’t try to rank for totally different keyword phrases on the same page… you’ll probably end up ranking for nothing.
- Aim For 1% Keyword Density — As for the exact match of your keyword phrase, try for 1% keyword density. This means that for every 100 words, your keyword should be mentioned once. Less than this and Google might not know what your page is about, but more than this and Google might count it as keyword stuffing (which is a bad thing).
Need help finding the right keywords? We’ve done the work for you. Download our FREE SEO Keyword Bible for Investors and SEO Keyword Bible for Agents to get started!
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Step 10. Avoid Black-Hat SEO
Google isn’t afraid to penalize websites that’ve been using shady tactics to help their rankings. So we recommend avoiding black-hat SEO tactics, such as paying for backlinks or using PBNs.
If you don’t know what that means, good, you’re probably not doing it. But if you have used those tactics and you think Google might be penalizing you, then you can check to see over on Google Search Console. To fix a penalty, stop any black-hat SEO tactics, produce high-quality content, and keep working on your SEO efforts. Over time, Google will learn to trust you again.
Check out this short video for more on PBNs:
SEO for Real Estate Private Blog Networks (PBN’s): The Pros and Cons
There you have it! Now you know what to do if your real estate website SEO rankings are slipping. If you have any further questions, feel free to ping us in the comments or reach out to our support team.