Whether marketing through Google or social media, there are two primary options at every real estate agency’s disposal: paid content (advertising) and organic content (SEO and regular social posts). Many real estate agencies rely too heavily on the former and do not utilise enough of the latter.
Organic traffic offers a sustainable long-term strategy that builds your audience of vendors and buyers, their engagement with your agency and your website’s ranking results in search engines. However, paid content can target specific audiences outside of your network and are almost guaranteed to generate quick clicks to your website.
When trying to build traffic to your website, a strong balance of paid and organic content is the most effective search engine strategy, as both have their own strengths and weakness. Here are the pros and cons to consider for each when trying to maximise your website traffic online.
Paid-for search engine traffic
Geo-targeting: For both search engines and social media, the big advantage of paid-for traffic is that it enables a geo-specific target market within a certain radius. This is important for real estate agencies, which rely on local business. A simple $7 ad run for a week on Facebook could generate anywhere between 100 and 10,000 views. Paid-for ads are quick to design and quick in generating clicks, making for an easy short-term solution. According to Google’s statistics from Q1 in 2017, there was a 53 per cent rise in paid clicks on its site, indicating the rising popularity of this option.
Lacks audience engagement: Ads by their nature are intrusive and disrupt a property buyer or seller’s online experience. No matter how you design your ads, they do not build the same trust and engagement for your agency as organic posts or convey your messages in a way that makes the property market listen.
Costs involved: Depending on the nature of your advertising content, it can be expensive, time-consuming and reliant on continual financial resources.
Organic search engine traffic
Increases search engine rankings: Organic content significantly impacts your agency websites’ optimisation on Google and other search engines (SEO) and where your website places in the order of results generated by Google. In terms of SEO, organic content will be in the form of on-page and off-page SEO tactics. The most effective tactics are quality backlinks on authoritative third-party websites (you might provide a blog piece on a property-industry website, for instance), having a mobile and tablet-friendly platform, and a consistent website blog strategy focused on informative and on-topic articles.
Using SEO tactics effectively will help your search engine results page to rocket past other real estate agency websites, all without paying a cent. This is a long-term strategy, but one that has long-term benefits. According to one study, the first five search results on a search engine accounted for 68 per cent of all clicks and 71 per cent of searches resulted in a click on the first search results page.
Builds audience engagement: As mentioned, ads do not build audience engagement for your website like organic content. Organic content builds an online community of property buyers and sellers that trust your agency and want to consider your services and listings, your information and insights. Engagement and agency credibility increase greatly the closer your business URL is to the top of the page, because the Google algorithm has placed it top of the rankings for a reason and not because you paid for that privilege.
Involves substantial human capital: Using organic content to boost your search engine rankings is a long-term strategy requiring significant amounts of time and the appropriate financial resources. Simply adding images, articles and keywords to your organic content is not an SEO strategy and will not result in increased buyer and vendor traffic to your agency website.
Needs professional expertise for SEO effectiveness: A sustained campaign of carefully crafted SEO tactics weaved into your content is necessary and will generate results, but it requires professional input that can understand and tailor your agency website to Google’s SEO guidelines. Even once implemented, results from using SEO tactics can take anywhere from three to six months to appear, which may not be a viable option for every real estate agency’s needs.