Real estate keywords are increasingly difficult to rank as the landscape shifted to broad search dominated by portal websites. Ever since the arrival of Trulia and Zillow, top spots in the search engines for broad search have become more difficult to rank and, more importantly, obtain traffic. We must shift our strategy in a new direction toward more specific and targeted optimization efforts.

What Does it Mean?

The best way to look at how to rank your brokerage pages is to think about what Zillow or Trulia are not doing—focusing on narrow search. Attempting to rank for broad search terms such as “real estate Denver” or “homes for sale Davenport” will leave you disappointed with your results and wondering what went wrong. Zillow is worth billions of dollars, and they also own Trulia, so you can only imagine how much effort and money they can put into search engine optimization campaigns daily.

What’s the Solution?

The focus and strategy of search engine optimization have to sway in a direction in which the big portals are not focusing. That would be long-tail, hyper-local and narrow search terms. Below is an example of what it means to play the long-tail of a keyword:

Broad (what the portals do)
1.) “homes for sale”
2.) “homes for sale Denver”
3.) “homes for sale 80014”

Narrow (Hyper-Local)

1.) “homes for sale in Washington Park”
2.) “4-bedroom house in Washington Park”
3.) “single-level townhouse in Washington Park”

Once you’ve identified long-tail keywords, you should build content and optimize pages around these keywords. This can be done on area pages throughout your website, as well as through blog posts. Then, tweak neighborhood landing pages or create dedicated neighborhood landing pages with the use of hyper-local keywords to maximize conversion rates and extremely specific lead generation.