Marketing is the name of the game in real estate success, and online marketing is taking on greater importance than ever before. As recently as 2016, more than 40 percent of new home buyers turned to online sources first for information, and that’s a trend that’s only going to strengthen in the years to come. This makes getting the most out of your online presence absolutely key to succeeding in the current marketplace. Here, we share some actionable tips on making the internet work for your business.

1. Know Your SEO

One of the biggest modern-day marketing buzzwords is Search Engine Optimized content, or SEO. Simply put, this is how keywords or answers to common customer questions on your site can help them use search engines — especially Google — to find you.

SEO has evolved significantly from the early years, when Google searched only for exact word and phrase matches and businesses often relied upon “keyword stuffing” to bolster visibility. Search engines are getting smarter and frown on this kind of stuffing. They’re also evolving on the whole to favor genuinely relevant, authoritative and semantically sophisticated content.

There are several “best practices” for real estate SEO on your website:

  • Make sure your keywords and phrases are directly relevant to your content.
  • Choose the right keywords, which for Realtors generally means using local and neigborhood-specific keywords and phrases, and the kinds of phrases that answer questions those searching for your site will ask. Use keyword research tools like BuzzSumo to help.
  • Spread keywords, synonyms and semantically related phrases across pages that use them. Do it in a natural and organic way. It’s generally recommended that you use keywords in your title and at least some headers and sub-headers of a page, in meta tags and meta descriptions, the alt text of images, as links to other relevant content on your site, and within the body of the text.
  • Link to quality content. Be sure to avoid linking to spammy sites, as they can contaminate your link profile by association.

2. Make Use of Reviews and Testimonials

Reviews and testimonials are powerful tools for helping a potential client decide to trust you with their real estate needs. There are a number of ways you can go about this:

  • Include customer testimonials on your website. Well-produced video testimonials are particularly useful. If they’re hosted on YouTube and viewed more than 100 times, their visibility on Google rises dramatically.
  • Get Yelp reviews from your clients wherever possible. It’s important not just to get an email testimonial from them but to get them to actually leave a review on the site. Yelp reviews can contribute hugely to getting your site on page one of a Google search.
  • Encourage your clients to do Google reviews, too. If Yelp isn’t their thing, this can be a great alternative. The more of these you can get, especially detailed reviews more than 300 words in length, the better their contribution to your overall profile. Clients can do these easily by visiting your Google+ About page and clicking “Write a Review.”

3. Ensure Your Website is Mobile-Friendly

The days of having two websites, one optimized for mobile users and another for computers and tablets, are quickly passing. The key to a mobile-friendly website on today’s internet is a responsive website that resizes and adapts content on the fly so that mobile and other users get the same value from the same content. Make sure your website designer is practicing responsive design.