Finding the right keywords and phrases for your page titlesGoogle changes all the time and we change with it. We change how we search and what we search for. In the beginning real estate was the biggest search phrase. People would use it no matter where they were in the world. And you could use it because there were very few sites online so "real estate" was a fine term. But in the 90s when individual brokerages were getting their own sites and SEO became the big thing, you had to add your city to that phrase so people were now searching for the city plus the term real estate such as "Abilene real estate".
Then about 5 years ago the term "homes" became the catch phrase. The media was all over the term talking about homes in foreclosure, homes in distress, short sale homes, etc.. The term real estate was not on the radar except for the phrase, "real estate agent or broker". Homes was the key so agencies started updating their meta data to include "homes" in the keywords and then adding the city later such as "Yakima Homes" etc...
Other key phrases could include "homes for sale" or even "House for sale" with the addition of the city in front or behind the term. This quickly took off and many agents, brokers and companies were scrambling to be first for these phrases.
Then just a couple years ago, the term "long-tail search" was coined meaning a longer title or question that someone would search for. This led to individual blog posts about a specific neighborhood or community. It worked perfectly for larger areas that have dozens of smaller neighborhoods and districts such as Whidbey Island real estate - smaller communities were used like Clinton homes, Langley houses, and Oak Harbor condos for sale... etc... These individual pages create much more content per quantity on the site itself and they were being found for that specific title rather than trying to get the homepage to show up for every keyword in an area.
Titles also became more specific to an area and a type of home such as "foreclosure properties in Enterprise Alabama" or "short sales in Sierra Vista Arizona". While the brokerage may handle all types of real estate listings in the entire county these titles were proving to capture the more solid lead. If someone typed these phrases in the search engines, they were pretty specific in what they wanted making the author of that page the one that gets the lead.
Recently, the terms are changing again and the role of SEO professionals for real estate marketing have the challenge of jumping on these changes before the rest of the planet does. A new term that's sweeping the area with very little competition is "where to live in...." Fill in the ... with the city, state or county the brokerage is in. If its a large city in a smaller state consider using the entire state as the main focus, such as "Where to live in Tennessee" even though you only focus on the Clarksville TN real estate market.
These changes are something that must be on the radar for anyone that wants to get a jump on their competition. The one who catches the search term first is typically the one that gets the lead. Learn to change and evolve to find the best keywords and phrases for your titles. Google is watching closely.