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man sitting at the MacBook retina with site Google on the screenOn average, Google processes over 40,000 search queries every second, which translates to over 3.5 billion searches per day and 1.2 trillion searches per year worldwide.

And it all begins with a few simple words typed into a search box.

That’s why understanding and mastering keyword query research is such a vital step in ensuring that your real estate business is at the top of relevant search results, especially when people are in the market to buy or sell a home.

Finding the right keyword queries to improve your site’s visibility can make or break your website and your real estate business. By researching your market’s search behavior, you can not only learn which terms and phrases potential customers use to search, but also learn more about your customers as a whole.

As Maile Ohye of Google says this month, “…using a customer-centered approach can take a business to the top.”

Keeping that in mind, successful search engine optimization today isn’t so much about jamming in one word after another on your webpage. It’s centered around the creation of a user-friendly experience with relevant internal linking and valuable content that benefits site visitors.

It doesn’t take a real estate marketing genius to know that starting with phrases like “real estate agent” or “selling a home” will help—search engines need the basics to understand your site—but focusing on content that integrates terms and phrases that few think about that can really put you ahead of your competition and bring clients that are searching in-market to you.

Here are 4 steps for creating a research strategy to help you narrow down a list of terms to target so you can establish and execute a strong content plan that helps users find you, using queries you should actually care about.

Step 1: Jot Down Important Topics
What are the main conversations that come up with clients or that you deal with around the office each day? Compose a list of 10-20 terms that come to mind, such as mortgages, schools, neighborhoods, home values, etc. These are most likely the topics you should be writing about on your blog (if you have one) or posting about on your social media sites.

Step 2: Get Specific
Now that you have the topics in mind, it’s time to think of more precise keywords that will help your visibility in search engine results. It’s important to consider which queries a potential client could type in that you would want leading to you. For example, some questions for agents could include “How do I sell my house,” “What is a high percentage of home sales,” “Is this a buyer’s market” or “What is my home worth.” If you’re having trouble coming up with ideas, go to Google and type in some search words that you believe relate to your business, and check out the related terms automatically provided. These are often right on the money.

Step 3: Use the Tools Available
Utilize Google’s AdWords Keyword or Display Planner tools (you’ll need to have an Adwords account to access) to see whether the words and phrases you’ve selected are working. These tools suggest keywords, provide estimated search volume and predict the cost of running paid campaigns for each term. You can also check out the trends on Google Trends for various queries, which will help you determine additional related terms and trending topics.

Step 4: Create Content That Connects
Once you have your queries identified, you can start to plan out an ideal content strategy. The idea here is to hone in on content that is likely to increase interest and engagement, which improves the possibility of readers sharing, engaging, or otherwise creating signals that may potentially improve your search visibility.

Content should be informative, include the relevant topics, and provide answers to the key questions research has uncovered. Ultimately, search engines are looking for the best solution, which means an understanding of the user’s intent (why they searched and what they’re looking for), context (where they are, what device they’re on, their search behavior – and more), as well as ensuring their expectations are met.

With more real estate searches now happening on mobile, the ‘context’ portion your content becomes more important than ever. Improving a user’s ability to consume your content, within the best experience possible, is key to generating positive user satisfaction, shares and repeat visitors.

One of the biggest challenges faced by real estate pros today is in ensuring their sites offer the optimal mobile user experience, especially given Google’s planned “Mobilegeddon’ on April 21st. Google recommends a responsive website—one that adapts to different screen sizes—and it’s an important consideration of your overall search strategy to present your content with smaller screens in mind.

According to Google, mobile users are five times more likely to abandon their search if the site isn’t optimized for mobile use, regardless of whether the site contains great content. Having a ‘mobile-friendly’, content-rich site after April 21st will be a necessity, not a luxury, if you want to improve mobile search visibility.

No single content strategy offers a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach, but by following the four steps above, you can at least be prepared to delight your website visitors with great content they’re both able and happy to consume!

Is your website mobile ready?  If not, can help with Studio. Utilizing the latest in responsive design development, Studio can provide your audience with a great experience on all mobile devices.

And that’s something both your users and Google want!