I’ve been investing in real estate for about four years and have done all types of deals, such as wholesales, fix-and-flips, creative financing, and much more.
During my time investing, I have tried nearly every type of marketing strategy. After all, you can find the best deals in off-market houses.
The problem is that I’m in a fairly hot real estate market with a ton of investor activity, so everyone is constantly bombarded with postcards and cold calls.
If you’re struggling to consistently find off-market deals in your market and feel you can’t rise above the noise of every other investor, I know your pain.
Because I constantly felt like I was scrounging for deals and never knew where the next one was coming from, SEO (search engine optimization) was a breath of fresh air. Instead of me badgering people about selling their houses, they were coming to me!
I want to share my investing journey and how SEO has completely changed the trajectory of my business and my life. I hope my story will inspire you to consider SEO as part of your marketing strategy and see that generating consistently motivated seller leads is possible.
So let's get into it!
How I Decided to Get Into SEO
As I mentioned, I had tried nearly every marketing strategy before getting into SEO—direct mail, cold calling, text messaging, door knocking, you name it! I had some success with these strategies, but it was never consistent.
My biggest marketing failure was when I hired a virtual assistant to do full-time cold calling. Don’t get me wrong. Some people have great success with this strategy. It definitely wasn’t the case for me, though. After several months of cold calling with zero deals, I knew I had to change directions.
That’s when I was given an opportunity to go through an SEO training program. The funny part is that I found the guy running the program through a Facebook ad, which is another marketing strategy I’ve used.
His Facebook ad was pretty bold. It said something along the lines of, “I’m stealing all of your leads!” I was hooked and had to check it out. Not to mention, I was at a pretty low point in my business at that time.
But after doing SEO for over a year, I can attest that it’s true. Yes, you can piggyback off other investors’ marketing efforts and steal their leads!
How SEO Changed My Real Estate Income
Before switching to SEO, my business was already making money with our real estate business. However, it was highly sporadic. In fact, we didn’t buy any houses for the entirety of 2021. However, with the flips we had going and profit from some owner financing deals we had structured earlier, we could still turn a six-figure profit.
We spent the last half of 2021 building our website and really hit the ground running at the start of 2022. At the mid-point of the year, we had already matched our profit from the previous year!
And the crazy part about SEO is that we could dial back our overhead if we wanted to. Once you start ranking your website at the top of Google, the leads that you get are free!
Now that we’ve consistently generated motivated seller leads, we can focus on the other important parts of our business, such as deal structuring and building a buyers list for wholesaling.
Our Best Deal Yet Came from Our Website
The quickest and most profitable deal we’ve done came through our website only months after optimizing it for SEO.
I won’t get into the details, but the owners definitely needed to sell quickly. The crazy part was that the house was in pretty good shape. The most significant repair needed was on the in-ground pool. Other than that, the updates and repairs on the house were pretty minimal.
We knew going in that this deal would be pretty good, but we didn’t expect it to be as good as it turned out to be. Luckily, some houses in the neighborhood sold while we were working on it and raised the home’s value by about $50,000 more than we initially expected. Even on a light rehab job, we ended up with a nearly six-figure profit!
Talk about a home run!
Stealing Leads With SEO
On top of getting in front of people whose first instinct is to go to Google when they need to sell their house, SEO allows you to piggyback off of other real estate investors’ marketing campaigns.
But how does this work?
When people are marketed to through any typical channel, such as direct mail, cold calling, text messages, or bandit signs, one of their first questions is if it is legitimate or not. Even if they are interested in selling, they feel like they need to do their due diligence before doing business with a specific company.
Many of these people’s first step in performing their research is going to Google. Even if they’re not sure about selling their house, many will research just to find out what the process is.
The great thing about SEO is that once these people become interested enough to start researching, you will be one of the first websites they find! And if your website is structured properly, you will be able to build instant credibility with them much more than you could through a cold call or text message.
Getting the Best Deals by “Stealing” Them
The idea of “stealing” leads isn’t just a theoretical concept. The deal I just mentioned that netted us nearly six figures came to us because of this!
Another investor reached out to the homeowner via text message. When they mentioned their company name, the homeowner instantly went to Google and searched for them. Fortunately for us, their name was pretty generic to our area, so it was a keyword that we ranked for.
The homeowner clicked on our website and began learning about us and how we operate. She quickly decided that we were whom she wanted to work with. She filled out our form, and we were able to promptly contact her and structure a deal that worked for everyone!
Just know that if you are not doing SEO and relying on other forms of marketing, then the investors using this strategy are stealing your leads in the exact same way!
The Benefits of Inbound Marketing Over Outbound Marketing
Before we talk about the benefits of inbound marketing, let’s define what outbound marketing is.
Outbound marketing is where you directly reach out to someone about selling their house. The best examples of this are cold calling and text messaging. In most cases, you blindly reach out to homeowners in hopes that some of them will want to sell their properties.
And there lies the problem. Even if you filter down your marketing list using pain points such as absentee owners and vacant properties, there is still no guarantee that these people will be motivated to sell.
On the flip side, inbound marketing is when leads contact you first. Instead of you doing the filtering based on who is actually motivated to sell their homes, they naturally filter themselves. SEO can be classified as an inbound marketing strategy.
The thing with inbound marketing, and especially SEO, is that nearly every lead that comes in is at least somewhat motivated. How do you know that? Because it takes effort to do a Google search and then put in your information to request a cash offer. Sure, that isn’t a ton of work, but most people aren’t going to do it for fun!
Beyond saving time by only talking to people looking to sell their homes, inbound leads typically take much less time to turn into deals. Many inbound leads can turn into a contract with just one phone call or appointment. On the other hand, cold leads can take over a dozen touches before turning into a deal.
Am I saying that outbound marketing strategies don’t work? Absolutely not. I’ve generated a lot of deals using these strategies. However, you are severely limiting yourself if you rely solely on outbound marketing and do not invest the time and effort to create inbound lead channels.
SEO Skills Are Priceless
No doubt, building a website, designing it to convert traffic into leads, and optimizing it to rank on Google all require several new skills. However, these skills will only become more relevant in the future.
Think about it. When you need information about something, where do you go? Probably Google or YouTube, right? What if you cracked the code for generating traffic with Google?
With most markets becoming saturated with real estate investors, SEO is becoming increasingly important. Most of these new investors would never think about creating a website. They would rather stick to outbound strategies and try to generate short-term leads. The problem for you is that all of this competition makes it tough to rise above the noise.
Unless… you develop a strategy that no one else is using! Most other investors are unwilling to do the work required to generate SEO leads. This is a good thing for you, though, because once you get there, you will have little to no competition.
SEO Opens Up Endless Opportunities
The great thing about SEO is that the skills translate across every niche. If you learn how to rank your house buyer website, there is no reason you couldn’t get a hiking blog to rank by using the same techniques.
Once you learn what it takes to generate consistent traffic to a website, the possibilities are endless. You can monetize your SEO skills in countless ways. And the best part is that you can forge your own path based on your goals and what you enjoy doing.
As real estate investors, many of us start by accumulating rental properties with the hopes of generating passive income. The problem is that we quickly realize that rental properties are anything but passive.
The good news is that there is a business model that requires SEO skills, and it’s about as passive as it gets. This strategy is affiliate marketing, which includes recommending products on your blog and receiving a commission when your traffic clicks your links and buys them. Once you learn the SEO skills required for your house buyer website, this could be a great way to utilize those skills and create an extra income stream.
How Much Time Does SEO Take?
The tough part about using SEO to generate motivated seller leads is that it takes time. There is a significant delay between when you put in the work and when you begin seeing results.
But how long are we talking?
The time it takes to see results will vary depending on many factors, such as your level of effort and the competition in your market. However, I can share my experience with you.
Keep in mind that this was in Huntsville, AL, which is a fairly competitive market. Also, I spent between ten and twenty hours per week on SEO tasks.
Building My Primary Pages
I spent about six months fine-tuning the primary pages of my website. I know this sounds like a lot, but the design and feel of your website can make or break your success.
Even though my site wasn’t ranking organically after those first six months, I was able to begin generating leads by using PPC ads. In fact, the first few deals that came through my site were because of PPC.
Once my primary pages were in a good place, I shifted my focus to building backlinks. This task is absolutely vital for SEO. In fact, I’m still heavily focused on this more than a year after starting SEO.
I was building backlinks in tandem with designing my primary pages, but once those were done, I could focus more on link building. I would say that I began to see noticeable results from my link-building efforts after about four months of focusing on that task.
Even now, I typically spend nearly twenty hours per week building backlinks to my site because I believe it is that important.
Writing Blog Content
A blog plays a crucial role in any website. First, it allows that site to capture traffic for an abundance of keywords that its primary pages would never rank for. Also, blog posts serve as great backlink magnets, and spreading links across an entire blog works well to boost a site's overall authority.
At this point, I try to publish one or two solid blog posts per month. I go for quality over quantity because each post is intended to bring traffic to my site and not just serve as filler content.
I spend most of my time writing guest articles for other websites to build backlinks, and I use any extra time I have to write content for my own site.
Use PPC to Supercharge Your SEO Efforts
You might have read earlier that it took me nearly a year to begin generating motivated seller leads with SEO and thought, “There’s no way I’m waiting that long!”
Well, guess what? I didn’t either!
As soon as my primary pages were in a good spot, I began running Google Ads to generate leads immediately. And it worked!
The good thing about PPC is that it has nothing to do with your website's authority. If you structure your ads correctly and pay enough money, Google will put your website at the top.
I will say that I did not run my ads myself. I found a guy that specialized in running Google Ads for real estate investors and became his client. I would highly recommend taking that route instead of figuring it out alone.
I still run PPC even though I rank organically for many search terms in my market. It’s not too expensive for me and allows me to pull in more leads. I figured if I could show up in the ad space and the organic search results, it would increase the chances of motivated sellers clicking on my link.
SEO Can Be a Great Addition to Your Business!
My website has been my primary source of motivated seller leads in 2022, and I plan to continue growing it for years to come. Learning SEO has not only radically transformed my real estate business but has opened my eyes to the potential of additional income streams.
Don’t get me wrong. SEO takes a ton of work. But if you are tired of mediocre or inconsistent results from your current marketing strategies, it might be time to give it a shot!
If you enjoyed reading this article, you might also enjoy reading our previous posts on the topic of SEO for real estate investors, where I outlined all the strategies I just described in this blog post. Links are down below!
Author Bio: Jordan Fulmer is the owner of Momentum Property Solutions, a house buying company in North Alabama. They specialize in buying houses in tough situations and renovating them to either sell or rent. Jordan also runs the SEO side of their business and regularly writes content about real estate investing, home improvement, SEO, and general real estate topics.