Optimization and marketing for search engines both rely heavily on understanding what your target audience is searching for in Google when they want to buy/sell/rent. And both allow you to target locally to generate traffic through search engine results pages.
But they go about it a little differently. The strength of one is the weakness of the other, and vice versa.
Understanding how they work together is hands-down the best way to generate more cost-effective leads for your real estate company.
SEO vs SEM vs SERP: What Are They?
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Using tools and techniques to increase your website’s visibility in organic search results. For example, Google Search decides how visible a website’s pages are based on three primary factors:
Meeting basic website design requirements (speed, user-friendliness, mobile design, etc.)
Authority of the website and your pages
Relevance of a specific webpage to whatever the searcher looked for (e.g., homes for sale in Cleveland)
Search Engine Marketing (SEM)
A marketing strategy built around paying to appear in specific search results, such as Google Ads.
Search Engine Results Pages OR Position (SERP)
A list of websites Google shows in response to someone asking Google a question (called a query). The SERP (sometimes called SERPs) includes websites that gain visibility through SEO, SEM — or both.
So “increasing SERP” means improving the positioning of your website in the list Google serves up. For real estate businesses, search engine visibility acquired through SEO or SEM also means visibility in local traffic-driving Google assets like Google Business Profile Reviews and Google Maps. Reach your audience where they spend time every day.
Why Use SEO and SEM Together?
A better overall website experience. Design optimization is a significant part of SEO.
Cost-effectiveness because you don’t have to pay for every click
Sustainable brand awareness and traffic
Reaching people early before they choose a competitor
With that said, it takes time for a real estate broker, agent or agency to dominate SERPs.
Instant visibility in important searches
Instant brand awareness and website traffic
A higher conversion rate because clickers tend to be high-intentioned and ready to buy/sell now
SEM can be expensive, especially in real estate where the average cost per lead is nearly $100, and they may or may not become a client. Compare that to the typical commission and it still makes sense. Still, it’s understandable if you feel some sticker shock.
So, what happens when they join forces?
Get visibility, traffic, brand awareness and revenue-generating results when you need them now through SEM. But in the longer term, your cost per lead goes down as more people see your listings in unpaid SERPs thanks to SEO.
Use SEO to reach people earlier in the buyer’s journey. Then leverage that early awareness to get them to take action now with SEM.
Much of the research, testing, tracking and analysis you do for one applies to the others. So you get more out of that time/money investment.
More Leads for Less
Both SEO and SEM cost money. But SEO is an investment in more sustainable traffic to your website.
If high lead costs are cutting into your commissions, it’s time to apply some long-term strategy. Contact Dream Local today to learn about our SEO services.