Real Estate SEO case Study: 300 clicks per month To 5000 clicks per month

The aim of this case study is to break each step of the campaign down into bite size chunks.

In this case study, I draw back the curtains entirely on what was done throughout the campaign, I hold nothing back. 

If you wanted (And were tech savvy enough), you could replicate this approach for your own brand and move the needle forwards in terms of organic traffic.

Some industry terms may be used throughout the case study (The marketers reading will follow along fine), so to make life simpler for those that are less SEO savvy, I will explain the concepts in as simple terms as possible.

This case study will focus on each pillar piece of work behind the campaign and explain the existing challenges and benefits reaped.

If your business isn’t specifically real estate orientated, don’t worry many of the principles & concepts applied in this campaign can be transferred over to your industry as well!

Enjoy the read! I hope you learn something useful!

Little bit of context

The client was in a competitive market that is real estate and had been acquiring most of their leads through word of mouth.

The brand knew the value of SEO as in the past (3 years ago) they were top positioned for commercial real estate SEO terms and acquired many leads through that channel but had dropped off the rankings little by little as their competition had focused on SEO throughout the years.

Indeed the competition had thoroughly invested in optimising their sites for SEO in order to soak up potential buyer and seller leads and were doing very well!

With the competition getting more and more crowded in the market the client decided it was time to regain their positions by hiring someone specific (Me) instead of low balling it with their own attempts to improving their SEO.

For the marketers reading this, here is some SEO context.

From an on-page perspective, the site was completely on the side lines and needed a thorough under-haul when it came to site structure and on page SEO elements.

From a link building perspective, the brand had acquired links naturally throughout the years but still had a low authority backlink profile.

From a content marketing perspective, the team had started writing blog posts but followed the common mistake of writing content for the sake of writing content without targeting keywords with search volume & commercial intent and had also created duplicate versions of blog posts (Part 1, Part 2) etc…

This led to having no strategy behind the content marketing efforts and keyword cannibalization between the blog posts.

Now that we have some context, let’s talk about the challenges & SEO strategy of the campaign.

Challenges & SEO Strategy

The main challenges of the client was being in an industry (Real estate) where competition can be very high due to the leads being worth a lot of money (Multiple thousands per commission).

Our main assets were the flexibility of the team in accepting site changes and restructures & the depth of knowledge the firm had in their market.

Will cover each challenge separately, but here is a brief sum up of the challenges noted:

  • Restructure the on page SEO & structure of the website in order to correctly target commercial SEO terms 

  • Create extra landing pages to target left out commercial terms

  • Maximise the sales funnel potential by funnelling mid of funnel traffic (Blog traffic) towards commercial pages 

  • Increase the CRO (Conversion Rate Optimisation) stats of the website to increase the conversions of users.

  • Increase email opt-ins acquired through mid-funnel traffic to be retargeted with property alerts email flows.

  • Power up the authority of the website through relevant link building and internal linking to prop up target pages in the search results

Site Structure & Onpage SEO

First of all, let’s cover how we restructured the client’s website and optimised their on page SEO in order to target key commercial terms that were going to drive revenue.

For those that aren’t familiar with on page SEO optimisations, on page SEO refers to all optimisations done ON your website’s pages whether that be modifying titles, adding content, adding internal links…etc.

So as you can guess, the current site structure of the client was badly structured in terms of keyword targeting & on page SEO.

Unfortunately, this is a common mistake made by designers/developers when creating websites...

Indeed, it's rare for them to them to correctly take into consideration the “SEO foundation” of the client's website during the build. This results in a technical SEO mess for us SEO’s to pick up when hired for SEO campaigns.


Anyway, let’s give some context.

In the real estate niche, if we take into consideration “commercial real estate buying” search queries, we have search queries that fit different types of categories depending on the property you are looking to buy. Let's explain.

For example, we can have different types of property:

  • Houses
  • Apartments
  • Condos
  • Land
  • Villas
  • Lofts
  • Commercial real estate
  • Hotels
  • ...etc

We can also have different types of property in a specific town:

  • Houses for sale in London
  • Apartments for sale in London
  • Condos for sale in London
  • Land for sale in London
  • Property for sale in London (This would englobe "All" types of property)
  • ...etc

We could also have different types of property in a specific area.

  • Property for sale in West London
  • Houses for sale in West London
  • Apartments for sale in West London
  • Condos for sale in West London
  • Land for sale in West London
  • …etc

We could also have different types of property in a specific sub-area.

  • Property for sale in Wimbledon
  • Houses for sale in Wimbledon
  • Apartments for sale in Wimbledon
  • Condos for sale in Wimbledon
  • Land for sale in Wimbledon
  • …etc

We can also have different types of features of property such as:

  • Cheap property for sale
  • Luxury property for sale
  • Commercial property for sale
  • Beachfront property for sale 
  • …etc

To sum up, here are the types of categories that can individually characterise search terms:

  • Town
  • Area
  • Sub area
  • Features

 All of these can then be crossed over together to create detailed unique keywords.

This is where things get interesting!

You see, if you check out the search results pages for these types of real estate terms, you’ll often find that the SERPs are flooded with very strong brands with huge authority such as Rightmove .co.uk, Zoopla .co.uk… (UK related example).

To keep the client anonymous, but to drive this point home, look at the SERP of a London keyword, "houses for sale in London":

I’ll be frank, you’ll have a very hard time ranking for those head terms alongside those brands!

Most people would be scared away, but actually this is where opportunity lies!

Indeed, we mustn't forget that these huge brands are often lazy and have overlooked some smaller SEO targets that we can go after ourselves.

This is the part where we wave in between the lines to scoop up any traffic that these brands can’t be bothered to go after because they are feasting on the head terms with higher search volumes.

This is why planning out the structure of your site is very important in terms of optimising for these commercial terms.

With this in mind, the name of the game now is to satisfy the search intent of each sub set of queries better than these larger brands that haven't bothered!

You see these big brands have created large hub pages more often than not, that regroup different types of property in a single or multiple locations under one single page soaking up multiple secondary keywords.

They manage to get away with this due to their domain authority (High authority link profile).

As I said, this is here is where the opportunity lies!

We as a smaller brand with lower domain authority can potentially rank our page if we spoon feed to Google a page that serves the search intent as best as possible.

For example, if the bigger brands haven’t gone to the level of showing specific types of property in specific smaller towns, that’s what we do! 

We zig when they zag in order to find spots where we can scoop up these smaller amounts of SEO traffic that we can stack over time!

Here is another example of a London based SERP to drive this point home, "loft apartments for sale":

As you can see, in top #1 position we now have a DR 29 ranking soaking up nearly 3000 clicks from this single page!

We even have extra examples of competitors with lower DR levels such as a DR 13, DR 15, DR 35 and DR 24 ranking on page 1 with multiple hundreds of clicks!

Already, as you can see, we have a much better chance of targeting this keyword!

 

For the marketers & SEOs reading, this strategy comes down to a hybrid of a product led SEO campaign

You heard right, no need to be Zapier to actually use this great SEO concept for yourself & your clients.

To explain, here the inventory of property that the real estate firm has, is the driving content/product the brand can use to create multiple listing pages targeting all these sub terms depending on the filters applied to each listing page thus helping them drive more organic traffic.

So as you can see, the concept of product led SEO can be applied on a smaller scale and can work wonders!

To explain the technical SEO side for the tech savvy people wanting to know the details.

We created a URL structure where we could have each qualifying keyword inside the URL allowing us also to have separate pages which were then filtered depending on the keywords.

For example, here is how the URL structure looked for each keyword:

Property for sale in London -> /property-for-sale/london

Apartments for sale in London -> /apartments-for-sale/london

Houses for sale in Wimbledon -> houses-for-sale/wimbledon

Luxury property for sale in London -> luxury-property-for-sale/london

Of course, when changing the URL structure we created 301s redirects to signal to Google we had changed the way our site was disposed of.

Each 301s was carefully planned out by mapping each redirect to the correct new page depending on the goal of the previous page.

And for the SEOs that are freaking out, we only considered this large site structure change and doing 301s redirects as the site had barely no organic traffic making the operation much less risky than if the site had multiple thousands of organic visits already present & that there is was very little chance us targeting these subsets of keywords with our current site structure anyway.

All in all, the operation presented more upside than downside in this scenario by doing the site restructure than leaving things as is!

So now that we had the correct site structure to target the keywords we wanted, we moved on to optimising the on page SEO elements.

The first element we optimised was internal linking

On all the collection pages of listings, we made sure to internally link all related types of properties and areas through internal links in grid boxes with icons representing each type/area of property listings.

This meant we could create relationships between all of our pages in Google’s eyes while distributing link equity & while also creating a clean user experience.

We also added extra content to the page to give Google some meat to chew on in order to understand that our page was targeting those sets of keywords. Our competitors had also done this and this strategy was working very well for them!

This same strategy is often applied to ecommerce websites that are trying to rank product collection pages.

Indeed, as the collection page of listings is too thin in content, by adding extra content with keywords and mentions of the target keyword we can give Google extra signals around what our page is all about.

To determine the word count we looked at our competitors to find an average so that Google could create a relationship between what we had done and our competitors in order to seem natural in Google’s eyes.

Estate Agents Page

Next, when doing our keyword research for the client we came across the search term “ LOCATION real estate agents”.

Some competitors were ranking for these keywords with their homepage.

Others on the other hand had spoon fed to Google a page directly targeting this keyword.

These competitors had niched down their page and spoon fed to Google what users want to find and were able to position themselves for this lucrative real estate SEO search term.

We copied our competitors and created those dedicated pages too in order to target those “LOCATION real estate agents” keywords.

Sometimes, depending on the span of your real estate firm you can even create multiple landing pages targeting individually multiple locations where your agents service.

Once again, to keep the client anonymous, but to drive this point home, here is a great example of real estate company doing this very strategy:

As you can guess in terms of commercial value, positioning your business for these keywords is highly lucrative!

Content Marketing & Sales funnel Optimisation

Next, once we had covered all of the commercial keywords we could target, we moved on to increasing the reach of the brand by pushing the content marketing side, I.e the blog.

Content marketing is often overlooked but can be an excellent way to attract new sales if used correctly.

Let’s quickly go over the principle of content marketing and where it fits in. 

To do so, we first need to take a look at the sales funnel:

As you may already know, the goal of the sales funnel is to drive users down the sales funnel by capturing your audience at multiple stages.

For the real estate client, here is how this was approached.

We built out a content cluster of content topics that are highly related to the client’s target persona.

These clusters were:

  • Investing / buying in X location
  • Building in X location
  • Retiring/moving to X location
  • Living in X location

If you have the authority & resources you could even potentially write about different real estate topics that target users at a National scale. Generally speaking that is going to be out of reach if you are a local company with a low authority score. But if you are targeting users nation wide you should definitely consider targeting these topics!

Concerning the client, all the topics we covered with the blog directly targeted users that were interested in buying and living in the location the business operated in.

This way, all the users had higher buyer intents!

Once we acquired this blog traffic, the goal was to redirect users down the sales funnel towards our “commercial pages”.

For example, let’s say you are a real estate firm in London.

For your content strategy, you decide to write an article on the best places to invest in London. 

In this article, you can add internal links / call to actions inside your content towards your collection pages of listings which then display property in the area you mentioned inside your article. This allows you to push users down through your blog towards your commercial pages (Collections of property listings).

Here is another example, let’s say someone is hesitating to invest in Wimbledon VS Kensington. 

You can write a comparison article targeting that keyword developing the pros & cons of each area while redirecting users towards your collection pages of listings displaying property in Wimbledon & Kensington.

These types of articles are a great way to acquire highly relevant potential buyers by using the blog as an entry point.

Once you have covered all these types of topics with high buyer intent (Don’t worry you’ll have a lot to go through) you can then move on to topics such as “Living in X location”.

The users acquired will have less buyer intent but still may potentially be interested in buying property if they are considering living/moving to a new area.

For the marketers reading, the goal here when creating content is to create moats of topics interlinked together showing Google that we are going above and beyond by creating multiple articles covering all angles of the topic to satisfy our users needs as best as possible.

When Google’s robot crawler will determine that we are covering all angles of our niche, Google will start to consider us an “Authority” from a content coverage perspective in our niche and will rank us higher and higher for higher competition terms.

To increase the effectiveness of this content marketing strategy, we have a trick up our sleeves for maximising the ROI on this traffic, read on further to learn more!

Important Point:

It’s important to note that some agencies simply create blog content for the sake of writing content and increasing your traffic by targeting low competition keywords that have no commercial value for you.

This is not the goal!



If you are going to spend time in creating quality blog content, you should see an ROI on your investment by acquiring quality traffic that has buyer intent.

Lastly, from a UX and E-A-T perspective we also added author boxes with social profiles to our content.

Even though there is no direct correlation proved with increases in search rankings, it’s a good practice and it increases the user experience of people reading the content on our site as people can attach a face behind the content they are reading.

As they say, people like to connect with people!

CRO & Retargeting

When it comes to CRO (Conversion rate optimisation -> The art of increasing the number of users that convert and take action on your website) we optimised multiple elements to maximise the results.

First of all, as mentioned earlier, throughout our blog content we strived to drive users towards our property listings pages. We did so through relevant & prominent CTAs (Call to actions) that stick out when reading content.

We inspired ourselves from Zapier that do this extremely well in the Saas landscape. We applied this same principle to our niche, real estate.

We also added a sidebar CTA that is sticky on desktop redirecting users towards our sales offer. This way the CTA is always top of mind when the user is reading the content.

Next we added exit intent popups that appear when the users tries to leave the page. More specifically this pop up is triggered when the user's mouse leaves the page.

The CTA of the popup was to acquire users into the email marketing flow of the brand.

The email marketing flow was structured in a way of sending property alerts to users depending on the types of property and areas the users were interested in.

We also added this “Property Alerts” CTA on the listings page so that users could potentially decide to opt in in order to receive property alerts depending on their location.

This CTA follows exactly the same email flow that Kyero follows:

Another strategy that can be used to maximise ROI on content marketing, is to retarget blog traffic through Google Ads.

Indeed, in PPC (Pay Per Click) advertising (In this example Google Ads) the most expensive click to earn is always the first click

So in order to reduce your ad spend, you can set up a retargeting campaign to target users that visited your brand through the blog but didn’t convert.

As retargeting campaigns are always much cheaper to run than standard campaigns, this can be a great strategy to increase your ROI and bring down your CPL (Cost per lead).

Of course, you can segment down your retargeting campaign depending on the page visited by the user, which means you can also do this for your collection pages also.

These two strategies (Email retargeting & Google Ads retargeting) don’t simply apply to the real estate niche, if you're a B2B, ecommerce or Saas company these strategies can work wonders for you too!

All in all, the goal is to maximise the ROI on the traffic acquired by converting in the backend through email retargeting & PPC a maximum of users.

As you can see, SEO isn’t a means to an end. SEO plays a very important role in your overall marketing strategy!

Link Building

Last step is link building.

This last step depends on the competitiveness of your niche and is more often than not crucial to be frank! It is very rare to get around building links!

For those that never quite understood why link building is important here is some context.

We covered in the first part of this case study, the optimisations made on our website (On page SEO / Technical SEO / Content Marketing). 

Those are all the elements we can optimise to give Google the relevant signals around why our brand exists and what we do as an activity.

But how does Google know if we are trustworthy? 

That’s where links come into play!

Google are lazy, they can’t be bothered to have a manual checking process to determine how trustworthy every new brand that appears on the web is.

Who can blame them, look at how many new websites get published every day…

So what do they do? 

They simply piggy back off everyone else’s work!

They esteem that if Brand A links to Brand B, then Brand A must trust Brand B, otherwise why would they send their users towards them?

In other words these links are like votes of trust in Google’s eyes. The more links you get from quality sites, the more Google trusts you and ranks you higher (A bit over simplified but in a nutshell that's the spirit).

So for the marketers reading, here is how we approached link building.

First of all, it’s important to mention that depending on the client we generally push off link building for the first 3-5 months to see how far we can move things up in the SERPs by optimising our on page SEO and content marketing (Blog post velocity).

This means we can better optimise our link building efforts in terms of target pages and reduce the SEO costs for the client in terms of link acquisition.

So once we have a general idea of what pages need an extra boost in terms of link authority, we can then strategise how to go about creating these links.

This is where things get interesting!

You see, SEO is like a game of poker, with the key difference that we know our competitors' hand thanks to tools like Ahrefs & Semrush (SEO tools).

To explain, Google has already ranked competitors' pages for certain keywords.

We mentioned already how we go about copying their on page SEO profile by imitating their page structure and content elements.

But how about their off page SEO profile (Link building profile)?

Same story, we copy that as well but better!

To do so, we open up our competitors' websites we are trying to rank against in Ahrefs.

Inside Ahrefs, we can see exactly which backlinks our competitors have. 

And as Google has already deemed their backlink profile natural, we simply want to imitate their backlink profile to match theirs in order to steal their spot in the SERPs.

So if our competitors have 20 backlinks to their page, we build 20+ links as well.

Without getting too technical, we also imitate at this stage the types of links and anchor texts used by breaking down their backlink profile inside Ahrefs.

The goal here is to match the hand of cards (Backlinks) our competitors have and go a tad beyond in terms of links so that Google will favour page over our competitors in terms of signals. 

In terms of target pages, the first step is to create links to the commercial pages in question.

For our real estate client this represented their listings pages, agents pages and homepage.

If you are an ecommerce brand this will be your collection and product pages.

If you are a B2B company this will be your service pages.

If you are a Saas company this will be your feature pages.

Here is some key info to take into consideration.

In the logic of appearing natural in Google’s eyes, we have to take into consideration that we can’t simply blast our target pages with links and skyrocket our rankings.

As you can probably guess, that wouldn’t appear natural in Google’s eyes. 

This means we have to find another way to boost our target pages by funnelling link juice towards them, this is where internal links come into play!

This means, once we have maxed out the links to our target pages we use our blog content to build links and funnel link juice (The power of a backlink) through our blog post to our target pages through optimised internal links.

This is the most natural way of increasing link flow to our target pages!

Here is how this works:

Best part, as time goes by your blog posts will naturally pick up backlinks thus funnelling link juice across your website if you structure things correctly.

Key Takeaways

That’s the campaign wrapped up! I hope you enjoyed it!

As you can see SEO is a whole game of itself.

SEO can be an excellent source of sales and shouldn’t be slept on, as the traffic it brings has such a high buyer intent!

And before I finish off, one of the best part about SEO is that it compounds over time.

You see with PPC, when you turn on your Ad Spend you get clicks, that’s great! 

Once you turn off your ad spend and you are left high and dry. Not to mention the ever increasing CPCs…that’s another story.

But with SEO your efforts will last for multiple months if not years even if you stop optimising it, leaving you with a bedrock of traffic to fall back on!

If this sounds like something you would be curious to know more about, feel free to get in contact and we can see if there are any SEO opportunities for you to take advantage of!

If it isn’t a good fit I will be the first to let you know as indeed not all brands are a good match for SEO.

Look forward to chatting!

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