Choosing Good Key Phrases for Real Estate PPC

Google is keeping keyword and key phrase search data secret in most cases these days.  Gone are the days when you could just ask Google to see how many searches were being done on key phrases.  However, you can still go over to for free keyword and phrase research with a trial account.  Since you can probably get what you need quickly, you shouldn't need to sign up for a paid account.

There is No More Google Keyword Tool


The image shows a sample I did with real estate related key phrases in the Denver market.  I just chose a few of those you can think of for your market, but you'll see how it works for this example.  What you want to do is enter broad phrases like "your town real estate," but those will be a lot more competitive.  

Then take popular neighborhoods and subdivisions for more "long tail" searches.  Those have more words and zero in on more specific information needs.  Let's think about this for a moment.  Which would you rather get for results?

  • On a broad phrase like "your town real estate," you would not be at the very top of paid results without paying a lot for a click.  Even lower in the results, you'll get more clicks than the next option, but they'll be very expensive.
  • Using more words and targeting more specific phrases like neighborhoods, you will get fewer clicks, but that means you'll spend less money.  It also means that you'll get a more targeted visitor interested in a specific area you service.

I can tell you that I would rather get 3 to 10 clicks per month on a tight phrase, as they'll bring me very focused prospects.  That's around 36 to 100 prospects per year per phrase, and that mounts up for neighborhoods and subdivisions.  You'll still want to use the broad phrases, but watch where you put your budget emphasis based on results.

Let's see a sample of what the search above yielded for suggested key phrases.

Keyword and Phrase Selection Based on Searches and Competition


 The image above shows a portion of the results of the search.  Notice that there are a lot of variations and suggested related key phrases.  Let's look at what the data in the columns tell us:

Searches:  The number of searches done in one month, in this case, June.  Of course, lots of searches mean more opportunity for clicks, but it comes with a cost.  See the next item about competition.

Competition:  This is based on the number of pages specifically optimized for the key phrase.  Someone has targeted their landing page on this phrase and optimized it for maximum relevance.  The higher this number, the more pages optimized, thus the higher the competition.  More competition means higher costs for clicks.

IAAT:  This means "In Anchor and Title."  This is another indicator of competition, as it shows the number of landing pages that have this precise key phrase in the page title and the anchor text of links to the page.  Higher numbers mean more competition and higher costs.

KEI:  This is the Keyword Effectiveness Index, a mathematical representation of the popularity of a keyword measured in a number of searchers (demand), compared to its popularity measured as the number of pages in a search engines index (supply).  The lower the KEI, the more popular your keywords are, and the less competition they have. That means that you might have a better chance of getting to the top in the search engines and receive a good number of searchers for your effort.

Let's do a simple example using the top 3 results, all with "Denver real estate" in the phrase.  Notice that numbers 1 and 3 have nice search volume, but lower Competition and IAAT numbers.  They may be better choices that just " denver real estate" when it comes to bang for the buck.

Update of Google PPC Value

Stretching Marketing Dollars
Stretching Marketing Dollars. ©iStockPhoto

 Just a quick update of my thoughts on Google PPC.  It is even more valuable today for real estate.  Do a search on a local city or area with the term real estate, such as "Denver real estate."  Do as many different ones as you like, and you'll find that the big sites like Zillow, Trulia, and other national sites dominate the first page of results.  You must buy your position to be effective.