How to Do Keyword Research in 5 Steps

The real estate market feels more and more cluttered, making competition fierce. If they’re not careful, agents can get lost in the crowd online. The approach to Marketing as a real estate agent is nuanced given their very specific, local target. When it comes to launching a pay-per-click (PPC) campaign, the real estate space is unique. Since the target customer is very specific, keywords must be specific too, and this requires research. Keyword research can be complicated and confusing, but the reality is, it needs to be done. You can’t rely solely on your own instincts for what keywords are best to target with ads because your instincts aren’t always right.

When prospects are searching for something in Google related to your business, you want to be sure you are on page one of the results. Otherwise, you are likely not going to be seen. One way to achieve that coveted page one status is through an organic Search Engine Optimization (SEO) strategy, but that takes a lot of time to develop. It is absolutely key to invest in SEO as your long-term strategy, but you can start generating leads through your website with a PPC campaign to see results quicker.

A PPC campaign is only as good as the research done in advance. So how do you go about doing keyword research? Here are five steps to do proper keyword research for a real estate PPC campaign.

Step 1: Brainstorm

Start by sitting down and brainstorming ideas. You probably have some sense of what your target market types into Google. It could be things like:

  • Best real estate agent in [market city]
  • Buy land in [market city]
  • Best real estate agent in [market city]
  • Sell my house real estate agent [market city]

These terms are generally related to what you do and where you’re located. But don’t forget to include your brand name. Additionally, you might want to consider targeting your competitor’s branded terms. This will likely cost you more, but it’s worth assessing.

Step 2: Refine Your Ideas

Your brainstorm is more than likely going to produce keywords that are not worth using in your PPC campaign. Some of them might be better suited for an SEO campaign, and some may not be worth using at all. Ask these questions to determine whether a keyword is a fit for PPC or not:

  1. Is the keyword phrase high conversion intent? You have to consider what people want when they search that phrase. Are they ready to take action? Then that is a great keyword phrase.
  2. Does the keyword phrase have decent search volume and low competition? You want to find the sweet spot of a phrase that has a decently high search volume but is not super competitive. This can vary depending on the size of your market.
  3. Does the keyword phrase have a cost-per-click price within your budget? The bigger your budget, the more competitive keyword phrases you can target. Your campaign is dependent on how much money you want to spend. Look at the average cost-per-click of each phrase.

If the answer is no to any of those questions, you can go ahead and remove it from your list.

Step 3: Organize

Next, it is time to get things organized. Find a place to group all your keywords, track them and reference data on them. Categorize by branded keywords, market keywords, competitor keywords, and general keywords. Then, at the least, track CPC, search volume and intent for all those keywords. The tighter and more specific you get, the easier it will be to create targeted, relevant ads.

Step 4: Select the Negative Keywords

Google will not only show your ad to people who type your exact keyword phrase, but it will also show your ad to people that search similar words or phrases. But you might not care about those similar searches, especially if you’re targeting a specific location. That is where negative keywords for real estate come in. When choosing keywords, you need to make a list of similar but irrelevant keywords that you don’t want to target. These are called your negative keywords. Usually, they are irrelevant because the intent is off and therefore they are less likely to click and convert.

Step 5: Test and Repeat

Just because you launch your PPC campaign it doesn’t mean your research is done. In fact, it’s just the beginning of your real research. The pre-research is meant to give you the best chance of success. After you begin seeing results roll in (or not), then you can measure how successful your keywords are. Find a resource to track links to determine the effectiveness of your campaign.

Never stop testing, iterating and learning. Each PPC campaign is an opportunity to learn and refine your keywords. The real estate market is growing in competition, which increases the importance of targeting your specific market. Don’t limit your Marketing to a PPC campaign. You need to be sure you bring people back to a great website in order to convert the leads into sales.

Read more: Why Attribution Will Change the Way You Look at PPC