SEO in the homebuilding industry requires a mix of local, on-page, off-page, and technical organic search skills to maximize your ranking potential.
The right balance of these skills and tactics for your organization depends on your:
- Targeting (regional vs. national).
- Business type (custom vs. tract builders).
- Availability of resources to get the work done.
- And growth goals.
While the above factors will help you personalize 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 marketers in the homebuilding space should be well aware of to help your residential construction company succeed in search.
1. Required On-Site Content Areas For Homebuilders
Your site is going to have sections devoted to prospects and customers.
Here are five areas your site needs to invest the most in for SEO success:
Floorplan Or Home Plan Pages
The most popular sections of builders’ sites are typically their floorplan pages.
Most of your website investment should go into making these pages full of imagery, specification, localized pricing/features, virtual walkthroughs, FAQs, and video-based content featuring the home designer or architect.
These pages should also be optimized for mobile devices as they may not be able to easily see detailed imagery as well as you could on a desktop or tablet.
Community Or Sales Office Pages
For homebuilders, your community or sales office location pages are your gateways to showing up in local search.
These pages should have a community name, address, and phone number information.
Additionally, for tract builders, each community page should contain information about what it’s like living in the area and a gallery of your homes (with rich localized text descriptions).
Even better if you can include a map with nearby attractions, restaurants, grocery stores, and watering holes.
For custom or on your lot builders, these location pages should also have localized information about:
- The build process.
- Any permits needed.
- Video testimonials from happy customers from that area.
- A gallery of homes built in the area.
- Frequently asked questions (with FAQ schema implemented on the page).
Featured Product Pages
Builders work with a variety of vendors and contractors throughout the build process.
These vendors make an impact on your buyer’s decision because there is an association of the quality of the vendors’ material with the buyer’s perception of the brand.
Homebuilders that have clear product information on their website can use this to their advantage in helping ensure that the buyer feels confident because they are using premium products.
These pages help both from an SEO and a sales process perspective.
For custom homebuilders, buyers need to understand the lengthy, multi-phase process of homebuilding.
You should consider creating a timeline infographic, guide, videos, or a series of articles that describe this.
Most of this content is usually documented internally but builders who can make this public-facing (even if it’s somewhat abbreviated) will help educate and qualify buyers during the sales process.
Homebuilders are going to struggle from an SEO perspective without some section of their website devoted to fresh, educational content for the home buyer.
For tract or spec builders, this content should focus on the financing and selection process of the existing home.
For custom home builders, this needs to speak to a broader range of topics could include:
- Finding land.
- Preparing your land.
- Working with the builder.
- Inspecting the home before moving in.
- And much more.
2. SERP Features For Homebuilders
The high involvement and long home purchase process create several opportunities for showing up for several SERP features.
Homebuilders’ first steps in improving their local SEO presence should involve optimizing and verifying their Google Business Profile(s).
This should be done at the local office or branch level, and you will need to build out a profile for each (sales office or community) location.
After optimizing your GBP, you should now focus on generating 5-star reviews through a review-building program, which will further help you rise in the local SERPs.
Each of your communities (for tract builders) or sales offices (for on-your-lot builders) can show up with an individualized knowledge pack.
The knowledge pack is chock full of location information (supplied by your Google Business Profile), user-generated Q&As, reviews (from Google and 3rd party), associated social profiles, and more.
The highly visual nature of new homes creates opportunities for builders to show up in image packs.
Image packs typically contain images from the builder’s website as well as reshared images from home building aggregators, YouTube, and local publications.
Along with high-quality photography, homebuilders need to invest in content distribution and PR strategy to disseminate their visual creative assets across channels.
People Also Ask
There are dozens of commonly asked questions that your team members have answered for prospects and customers about the home buying and building process.
If you have a help desk, a lot of this information can be mined from there.
In any case, your website can show up frequently within the People Also Ask (PAA) SERP feature using FAQs on your site.
Further, by implementing FAQ schema, you provide a signal to search engines and are giving your site the best shot at gaining the PAA SERP feature.
FAQ schema is relatively easy to implement depending on your CMS.
3. Off-Page SEO Opportunities
Homebuilders typically have a lot of low-hanging link building opportunities given they are well connected with vendors, partners, and organizations in the community.
Here are two off-page opportunities to invest in.
Homebuilders have relationships with suppliers, trade partners, vendors, contractors, realtors, customers, media, and people though out the community.
The volume of these relationships scales even more broadly when looking at national or regional homebuilders who are found in multiple locations.
Marketers for homebuilders should create a list in their CRM of potential link building opportunities and ensure there is a process to gaining 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.
As you complete projects with buyers, you should have an automated system for outreach to encourage (happy or high Net Promoter Score) customers to leave reviews on Google, Houzz, New Home Source, and other sites that aggregate builder reviews.
If you are using your CRM to its fullest extent, you should be keeping track of the customers that left you 5-star reviews so that you can work with them in the future to build out case studies, rely on them for customer reference calls or potentially sell to them again in the future.
Along with an automated review request system, you should incentivize your sales team to encourage review building, as well.
Online reviews are worth their weight in gold, and you should be rewarding your sales team (with cash) if they are ones that pushed the customer to leave their online review.
Many review sites prohibit incentivizing your customers to leave reviews, but there are several creative ways to make it easy for them.
4. Common SEO Mistakes To Avoid
The list of common SEO mistakes is long. Here are two that builders should avoid:
Larger homebuilders have more sophisticated CMS functionality that allows for more personalization and localization of content.
Though this can be useful from a UX perspective, you need to balance this with Google’s ability to crawl your site.
If you are hiding specific content from users in certain locations and if Google doesn’t have any means to crawl this hidden content, then you risk not having that content indexed in Google.
Content Deprecation Issues
The other major mistake that is more common with Tract builders is the excessive amount of content that needs to be deprecated and redirected when all the homes in a community are sold out.
New communities have the propensity to generate inbound links, to new communities, from local news and other sources when they are announced to the public.
301 redirection to a relevant category or city page will give you the best opportunity at retaining link equity built up at the URL.
Alternately, you can update the page and let the visitor know the community is sold out but that they should look at the provided list of nearby communities.
As you can see, there are a variety of skill sets and resources that homebuilders need to stand out in local and organic search.
As the competition in this space continues to grow, builders who have a strong local and national SEO presence, a system for generating 5-star reviews across local channels – and most importantly, a raving fan base of happy customers – are going to see the greatest success in the SERPs.
Featured Image: sculpies/Shutterstock