Search engine optimization for home builders can be difficult, especially for the small to mid size builder.
Fortune 500 builders and massive “new home” directories generally consume the first few pages due to their page volume and massive amount of backlinks.
However with a bit of ingenuity you can claim your space in search engine result pages (serps).
I am going to show you how to build a foundation online with SEO.
1. Write Powerful On Page Title Tags
On-page optimization is the process of giving each page of your site unique content. It all starts with the page title or title tags. Page titles help define the content of your page. They are often used on results pages.
The blue links (or purple after you’ve visited the page) are the Title Tags that have been engineered for that specific page.
Your title tag should be concise, accurate and unique. This is critical to search engine optimization as well as user experience.
We still need to play by the rules. So it is important to understand what those are. Here is a quick overview.
Primary Keyword - Secondary Keyword | Brand name
If you haven’t given your title tags some love lately now is a good time to start. Google recently increased the character count from 50-55 to 70, depending on the letters used.
2. How do I find and use keywords?
Many SEO experts may tell you to use a keyword research tool like Google Keyword Planner (GKP).
GKP is a popular tool and everyone uses it but it’s not going to deliver you anything unique.
Instead let's focus on niche topics.
What is a niche topic?
Niche topics are list of niches that your customers care about and are closely related to the home building industry.
In the below example the title tag isn’t clear or unique.
Original Page Title: Available Kilgore floor plan in Plantation Homes
It should be changed to:
New Page Title: Spacious Kitchen - Kilgore Plan | Plantation Homes in Katy, TX
To learn more about keyword research see the resource pages below.
3. Your URL should have a purpose
It is crucial that one understands the importance of an optimized URL. Many builders are either unaware of SEO friendly URL’s or simply ignore them.
A typical home builder website URL’s may look like this:
Neither of the two examples above have fully capitalized on keyword prominence. In fact, nothing in the URL entices me to click the link. A better URL structure would be
In the example I have shown we focus on common keywords; “New Home” “City” “Community Name” or some other descriptive term (i.e. South-side). Using key words in the URL is both helpful to SE’s as well as users.
NOTE: Be sure to use dashes instead of spaces or underscores.
4. Write unique H1 tags
The H1 tag is the most important heading because it’s the highest level tag that shows what your page is about. They help Google identify the underlying content. When used correctly, it usually improves your search engine ranking.
First make sure your page only utilizes one H1 tag. If you have more than one H1 tag per page, consider changing the other H1 tags to H2 or H3.
The H1 tag should be coded at the top of each page or a close as you can get it.
Make sure the H1 tag contains the keywords used in the URL and Title Tag.
5. Describe the context of your images
When you upload a spec home photo, be sure to change the image name. DCS001.jpg will not help your seo efforts. Google wants to know what the subject of the image.
The more data Google has about your page the higher it will get indexed.
Be descriptive with the filename and ALWAYS include an ALT description.
Many new home builders fail to capitalize on these basic concepts leaving those that do boundless opportunity.
Take the time to correct your community landing pages as well as available inventory and floor plan pages.
Be creative and track your analytics. Before long you will outrank your competition.
Chris Graham is the CEO of BuilderSquared, a technology company for home builders. For more information or free consultation, call (800) 933-1012 or visit www.buildersquared.com.