SEO for the homebuilding industry requires a combination of local, on-page and off-page organic search skills and technology to maximize your ranking potential.
The right balance of these skills and tactics for your organization depends on:
- Targeting (regional vs. national).
- Business type (dedicated to tract builders).
- Availability of resources to complete the work.
- and growth goals.
While the above factors will help you customize and tailor your SEO strategy to your unique needs, you need a solid foundation to build from (see what I did there?).
Here are four areas that marketers in the homebuilding space should be well aware of to help your residential construction company succeed in the search.
1. Required content areas of the site for home builders
Your site will have sections dedicated to prospects and clients.
Here are five areas your site needs to invest more in to be successful in SEO:
Floor plan or home plan
The most popular sections of builder websites are usually their floor plan pages.
Most of your website investment should go into making these pages filled with photos, specs, local prices/features, virtual instructions, FAQs, and video-based content featuring the home designer or architect.
These pages should also be optimized for mobile devices as you may not be able to see the detailed images as easily as on a desktop or tablet.
Community or sales office pages
For homebuilders, your office or community website pages are your gateway to appearing in local search.
These pages should contain information about the community’s name, address, and phone number.
Plus, for trail builders, each community page should have information about what it’s like to live in the area and a gallery of your homes (with rich translated text descriptions).
Even better if you can include a map with nearby attractions, restaurants, grocery stores, and watering holes.
For creators of your own or custom pieces, these site pages should also contain localized information about:
- construction process.
- No permits required.
- Video testimonials from happy clients from that region.
- Gallery of homes built in the area.
- Frequently Asked Questions (with the FAQ outline applied to the page).
Featured product pages
Builders work with a variety of vendors and contractors throughout the construction process.
These sellers influence your buyer’s decision because there is a correlation between the quality of the sellers’ materials and the buyer’s perception of the brand.
Home builders who have clear product information on their website can use this to their advantage in helping to ensure that the buyer feels confident that they are using premium products.
These pages help from both an SEO and sales process perspective.
For custom home builders, buyers need to understand the long, multi-stage process of home construction.
You should consider creating an infographic, guide, videos, or series of articles describing this.
Most of this content is usually documented internally, but builders who can make this content public (even if it is somewhat brief) will help educate and qualify buyers during the sales process.
Homebuilders would struggle from an SEO perspective without dedicating a portion of their website to new educational content for homebuyers.
For trail or spec builders, this content should focus on the financing and selection process for an existing home.
For custom home builders, this needs to speak to a wide range of topics which can include:
- find the ground.
- Equip your land.
- Work with the builder.
- Inspect the home before moving in.
- and much more.
2. SERP Features for Home Builders
High participation and a long home buying process create many opportunities to be featured in the SERP’s many features.
Homebuilders’ first steps in improving their local SEO presence should include optimizing and verifying their business profile(s) on Google.
This should be done at the local office or branch level, and you will need to create a profile for each location (sales office or community).
After improving your GBP, you should now focus on creating 5-star reviews through our review building program, which will further help you move up in the local SERPs.
Each of your communities (for lane builders) or sales offices (for your lot builders) can appear with an individual info pack.
The knowledge pack is full of site information (provided by your Google business profile), user-generated questions and answers, reviews (from Google and third parties), linked social profiles, and more.
The highly visible nature of new homes creates opportunities for builders to be featured in photo packages.
Image packs typically contain images from the creator’s website as well as reshared images from home aggregators, YouTube, and local publications.
Besides high-quality photography, homebuilders need to invest in a content distribution and PR strategy to publicize their visual creative assets across channels.
People ask too
There are dozens of common questions your team members have answered for potential clients and clients about the home buying and construction process.
If you have a help desk, a lot of this information can be extracted from there.
In any case, your website can appear frequently within the People Ask (PAA) SERP feature using the FAQ on your site.
Moreover, through Implementation of the FAQ schemeyou are providing signal to search engines and giving your site the best profile to gain PAA SERP advantage.
The FAQ scheme is relatively easy to implement depending on your CMS.
3. Off-page SEO opportunities
Home builders usually have a lot of low pending link building opportunities since they are well connected with suppliers, partners and organizations in the community.
Here are two off-the-page opportunities to invest in.
Home builders have relationships with suppliers, business partners, sellers, contractors, landlords, customers, the media, and people outside the community.
The scale of these relationships expands even more broadly when looking at national or regional homebuilders located in multiple locations.
Homebuilder marketers should create a list in their CRM of potential link building opportunities and ensure that there is a process for getting a backlink from every website you have a relationship with.
Generating positive reviews on third-party sites or Google is one of the most impactful off-page SEO opportunities for your team.
When you complete projects with buyers, you should have an automated system of communication to encourage you (happy or high net promotion points) Customers should leave reviews on Google, Houzz, New Home Source, and other sites that aggregate creator reviews.
If you’re using your CRM to its fullest, you should follow up on customers who leave you 5-star reviews so you can work with them in the future to build case studies, draw on them for customer reference calls or potentially sell to them again in the future.
Along with an automated review request system, you should motivate your sales force to encourage review building as well.
Online reviews are worth their weight in gold, and you should reward your sales team (cash) if they are the ones that got a customer to leave their online review.
Many review sites prohibit motivating your customers to leave reviews, but there are several creative ways to make it easier for them.
4. Common SEO mistakes to avoid
The list of common SEO mistakes is long. Here are two types that builders should avoid:
The content is hidden
Larger home builders have more sophisticated CMS functionality that allows for more customization and localization of content.
While this can be beneficial from a UX perspective, you need to balance this with Google’s ability to crawl your site.
If you hide certain content from users on certain sites and if Google has no way of crawling that hidden content, you run the risk of that content not being indexed by Google.
Problems stopping content
The other major mistake that is most common with Tract builders is the excessive amount of content that needs to be discarded and redirected when all homes in the community are sold.
New communities tend to create inbound links, to new communities, from local news and other sources when they are announced to the public.
A 301 redirect to a relevant category or city page will give you the best chance of retaining the link balance generated in the URL.
Alternately, you can refresh the page and let the visitor know that the community has run out, but they should check out the available list of nearby communities.
As you can see, there are a variety of skill sets and resources that homebuilders need to excel in domestic and organic research.
As competition in this space continues to grow, builders with a strong SEO presence both local and national, a system for generating 5-star reviews across local channels – and most importantly, an impressive fan base of happy customers – will see the greatest success in SERPs.
- 9 Basic Types of Web Pages Every SEO Professional Needs to Know
- How to Create a Successful Local SEO Strategy for Your Business
- A guide to local search engine optimization
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