Want to Get on the First Page of Google? SEO Strategies for Real Estate


Heat Level: Medium: These tips require some experience.

Bottom Line: Showing up “first” requires time, energy, and SEO knowledge - but you've got to start somewhere with these SEO basics.

Do This: Start with the organic techniques under your control:

  • Make sure Google takes your site seriously

  • Get good reviews on multiple platforms

  • Make a long-term commitment to SEO (Search Engine Optimization)

Everyone wants to be "first" on Google. Here's where to start.Are you dying to know how to get on the first page of Google?

Let me go ahead and stop you right there.

There is no “first page of Google.”

Did I just blow your mind? Probably, because we see emails ALL THE TIME about getting on the first page of Google. You likely get emails every day promising to get you on the “first page of Google.” 

This phrase grinds my gears. There is no first page of Google - there are billions of first pages of Google, happening every second and changing with every single search.

Asking to be on the “first page of Google” probably means you're not asking the right questions about search. Or, someone is trying to sell you unrealistic expectations.

Instead, what you need to understand are the importance of keywords. Instead of wanting to rank “on the first page of Google” what you should aim for is to “rank on the first page of results for specific, valuable keywords.” That doesn’t have the same ring, but trust us, it’s the right thing to be asking.

There is no silver bullet. It will take time. Anyone who tells you otherwise is selling snake oil. Honestly, organic SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is one of the hardest things we do, because so many factors are outside of your direct control.

If you're ready to dabble in SEO, here are the basics of making sure your website is ready to compete. Use these foundational steps to lay the groundwork of organic (and eventually paid) SEO.

Let Google know you mean business.

Google knows a lot, but it doesn’t read minds (yet). You have to tell Google that your business and your website exist. You’ve got to claim your business on Google My Business, keep its information up-to-date and consistent, and associate your website with your listing.

For brokers and other businesses with a physical, public office, setting up your Google My Business listing will also add you to Google's map. Many location-based searches (like "realtor near me") will deliver a map with points for matches in the area. You want to be on the map if people are searching for "realtor near me."

For agents and other professionals without a true public office location, you should still claim a Google My Business listing. By setting your business up with a service area, you can highlight the region you work in without needing to set a point on the map. This will allow your business to come up when people do location-based searches without requiring to have a physical office address. You can learn more about setting up a service area here.

You should also submit your website to Google Search Console so it knows your site is available to be indexed. This tool lets you see your website from Google’s perspective. Does it have errors? Is it hard to crawl? Search Console will tell you. And we'll tell you about using Search Console in future articles.

Get good reviews.

Google uses your online star-ratings as an organic SEO signal. When a transaction goes well, follow up with an email link to your Google review page. Google uses reviews as a big ranking signal for your website and map listing.

Once you’ve started to get Google reviews, start asking for reviews on Zillow, Yelp and Facebook. But start with Google, because there’s nothing Google values more than material on its own platform.

Tip: Keep a review request template on draft. Example: "Hi [name], how are things going with your new home? It's been an absolute pleasure working with you. If you've been pleased with my services, would you mind leaving me a review on Google? All you'd have to do is click here and leave a comment. Your review will help others understand what kind of service to expect from me. Thank you for your help!"

Make sure your website plays well with Google.

Like the host of a party, Google wants its users to have a good time. It only wants to serve up the best possible results so people keep coming back. If your website is slow, has errors, or isn’t optimized, Google will find other results to serve up.

Use this speed test. If your site is slow, Google shows you what you need to do to speed it up. Videos and photos are often the main culprits.

Make sure your website is mobile friendly. This tool will test your pages for you. 58% of all searches in Google are now done from a mobile device. Google is continuously overhauling their algorithm to give more SEO power to mobile-friendly websites. If your website is mobile-friendly, you're good to go. If not, you may notice that it's harder to rank (or that you're dropping in rank).

Even if your site is fast, Google might not be able to understand exactly what it’s about. Web developers use tools like H1s, page titles, meta descriptions, and alt-tags to help your website speak Google’s language. Keep an eye out for other technical issues: problems with redirects, loading resources, hiding content or device compatibility.

If you have the time and patience to learn HTML markup, this will make a huge difference in your site’s performance. If you don’t have the time or patience, hire a specialist who has a portfolio in real estate, not someone who emailed you, “Dear Sir, would you like to be on the first page of Google?”

Bottom Line

The steps above are the equivalent of showing up for class. You're there, but you're not going to be at the top of the class unless you put in a lot more work. Once you've established your website's existence with Google, you're ready to take on the work of keyword planning, content writing, and even paid search ads. It's part of a never-ending (but all-important) plan to keep up with the pack.

Get started with the steps above, and mark “spam” on the next first-page-of-Google email you get.

Ready for the next step? Here's the Advanced SEO part of this series.

Kate Rekrut self-portrait on Mount Washington
Kate Rekrut is the Director of Marketing and Product Development at Joyce, Inc. in Pittsburgh, PA.
Kate's current work with ListingManager bridges the gap between her advertising agency experience and a lifelong passion for HGTV. When she's not skimming the web for new marketing stats, Kate enjoys cooking, crossfit, and dance classes.

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