What does multilingual SEO have to do with selling properties to foreigners? Every year, despite the economic crisis, many foreigners choose Italy as the place to buy a house for residential use or summer vacation: the climate, the beautiful sea, hill and mountain landscapes, the good life, art, history, and cuisine increasingly entice the foreign target to find their dream home in the Bel Paese.
Yet, not much is known about this phenomenon yet, despite the fact that it is becoming increasingly relevant for the Italian real estate market. The media often provide an inaccurate portrait that confuses above all the insiders, limiting the potential deriving from this business.
It is believed that Italy is only the destination of VIPs looking for luxurious homes in the most exclusive locations. For this reason, our country in recent years has not been able to structure an offer that is truly adequate for foreign demand. For the benefit of emerging markets such as those of Eastern Europe and high-profile pure investment markets such as the English, German and French.
In this scenario, real estate agents and homeowners who want to sell to foreigners must increasingly use energy and strive to be able to achieve their purpose, developing an articulated offer and adopting appropriate strategies that can make their ads attractive for an international clientele.
In fact, to encourage the foreign public to buy, it is not enough to prepare an excellent description of the house, but it is also necessary to proceed with a meticulous translation in English, or in any case in the target language, to ensure that the message is simple, immediate and understandable. . To do this, multilingual SEO is a great help in making your ad visible in other countries.
Before analyzing multilingual SEO, let’s try to shed some light on the sale of houses to international buyers thanks to the data for 2017 processed and collected by Gate-Away.com, a web portal dedicated to foreign customers looking for a home in Italy. Space therefore for numbers!
Incoming requests from abroad for properties in Italy increased by 23.68% compared to 2016. In 2017, in particular, requests from the German market increased by 34.04% and represent 15.92% of the total. However, the charm of Bella Italia also hit American customers with a request of 14.81%, an increase of 25.99%; then the United Kingdom follows, with an increase of 24.31%. On the other hand, demand from the French is stable, accounting for less than 7% of the total.
As for the privileged destinations, if Tuscany remains a classic, it is however Lombardy that wins second place, which thanks to the charm of Lake Como sees purchase requests grow by 52.77%, against an increase of 20, 98% of Tuscany. Followed by Liguria (+ 14.73%), Puglia (+ 15.65%) and Sardinia (+ 23.12%).
The belief that only Arab sheikhs and Russian oilmen buy a house in Italy is a myth that must certainly be dispelled. Each region attracts buyers of different nationalities: for example, in Liguria the French are the masters, in Tuscany, Puglia and Marche the English prevail, while in Umbria the Americans are in the first place.
The market is very articulated and with peculiarities that are often different from those described by the media. Clarifying this topic helps to create an offer that is able to intercept the request coming from abroad and allow Italy to compete with countries such as Spain and France.
A quick solution: Multilingual SEO
As we have already said, in relation to where you work and live, many of your potential customers may be foreigners. So, now more than ever, it’s important to consider how you can make your real estate marketing strategy culturally and linguistically interesting for clients. By adopting a Multilingual SEO, you gain an important advantage in a whole new field, where competition is at a minimum.
Whether you are in Ladispoli, where over 18% of current residents are of foreign origin or in the province of Massa Carrara where foreign buyers represent 22% of all real estate requests, satisfying a segment of customers who speak a second language does not it necessarily means creating a completely new website just for them.
Thanks to this solution, in fact, we address a specific audience making it easier to meet their needs and obtaining important benefits, including the increase in potential customers and the improvement of your positioning possibilities for a specific country based on more languages.
However, it is good to know that this practice is not as simple as it might appear. In fact, it is increasingly thought that to sell houses it is enough to translate the pages of your website and that’s it, even if only using an automatic translation script.
There is nothing more wrong! It is not certain that by translating the website it is possible to scale the Google SERP of the reference country.
If you want to position your website on search engines abroad, you need to study a multilingual SEO strategy that allows you to create ad hoc translations.
The wisest thing you can do is try to understand in which areas of the world you want to make your content visible and which languages the potential customers of those areas speak (it’s not always so obvious).
Here are some on-site steps that will allow you to reach your foreign target.
- Create a landing page aimed at speakers of your target language.
You don’t have to jump through hoops to attract foreign customers, after all at least some of them know English. You probably already have landing pages for those customers who contact you via your online ads. All you have to do is add one more. You don’t have to make new copies of the pages, and they don’t even have to be written entirely in your target language. Recognize your audience and show them that you are sensitive to their particular needs. A small gesture that can lead to great results by using multilingual SEO in an intelligent way.
- Create a good translation.
Until a few years ago, translation for websites was considered irrelevant. Over time, however, having a well-constructed website translated into multiple languages and visible on search engines has become the primary goal of every modern real estate agent. Even if you’re not creating a lot of new content for your new landing page, you still have to spend time and money finding someone who can present your business in the right tone and language. Consider how much energy you have devoted to your website, and invest accordingly in a page that is satisfactory in both languages and that refers to the cultural norms of your audience.of destination. Do not assume that any type of translator will work for different groups of speakers. After all, Cuban Spanish is very different from Mexican Spanish and so on.
- Search for keywords in the foreign language.
The Internet was born in America and over time has adopted English as its mother tongue. For this reason, there is a good chance that your customers will be searching for you on Google.com. If, however, they are using Google .fr or .nl, be sure to search for keywords in the target language with a better ranking. In your multilingual SEO strategy, keep in mind that these may not be literal translations of English keywords or phrases. In fact, they may be a mix of English and the target language. For example, the equivalent Spanish search term for “online real estate ads” is not “clasificados en línea bienes raices”, but “clasificados online raen bienes”.
- Don’t forget the behind-the-scenes.
Just like you would when doing traditional SEO activities, you should follow the same process for multilingual SEO: for your English content make sure you use meta descriptions, title tags and alt text for images, all of which will make your ads visible to the public. target in search engine results. You should also consider URL customization of your landing page so that users know what it is before their mouse clicks on it. People who are looking for you in another language are not looking for just any real estate agent or broker. Instead, they are looking for a company that can respond to their particular needs throughout the real estate purchase process. So spend some time making them feel comfortable on your website using multilingual SEO tactics and you will receive important rewards from the short to the long term.
How to choose the country to target your marketing efforts and the pricing strategy to follow
As with a local SEO strategy, once you understand the importance and the tricks of multilingual SEO, you need to decide in which countries to optimize your website or real estate ad.
Who do you think will like your listing the most? To a potential Russian or Chinese customer?
You can guess, but this is not the best way to decide which countries you should choose when advertising a home from your real estate portfolio. Consider the area where your property is located, the price, even the economic situation of the countries from which potential buyers come.
Regarding the price factor, keep in mind that the real estate crisis is global and the market is saturated: this is why it is always good to set a reasonable price, in line with market standards. If you have any doubts, it is good to carry out an accurate evaluation, or check the houses for sale in the same area; furthermore, remember that in fixing the price, the buyer will try to “tick” it further and to negotiate.
In fact, there is the myth that foreign buyers pay more than what the property is worth, that the tycoon or the famous “amateur” arrives willing to go crazy in order to enjoy a corner of paradise in the beautiful peninsula: we are sorry to inform you that this is it, they are constantly looking for a bargain (even if they do not know the local market perfectly), just like the Italians, and they are looking for easily rentable properties, with high rates of return, in areas where demand is high and supply of limited real estate
Most buyers also pay without a mortgage, but many seek one nonetheless, including investors and vacation rental buyers. You may think that it is impossible for a foreign buyer to get a mortgage nowadays given the current requirements for a loan. But it isn’t. Some lenders offer mortgages to foreign buyers who make a down payment of at least 30 percent.
Web marketing tips for selling a house to foreigners
One of the main reasons why foreign buyers give up on buying a home is that they are unable to find the property they want, and this is mostly because they cannot get enough information and photos from real estate listings from agencies. Well, your chances of selling will greatly improve if you do everything possible to make your ad understandable to foreign buyers.
For example, you can change the square footage to square meters or specify whether appliances are included or not, which is not so obvious in many countries, such as the United States of America.
Transparency and clarity are the fundamental requirements for your online advertisements: from the price to the location of the property, from the level of energy efficiency to the details on procedures and costs to complete the purchase. But also the translation into several foreign languages, the punctuality in responding to requests for information on websites and social networks, tailor-made services, from restructuring to the notary, up to the use of new technologies (virtual tours and 3D photos).
Those interested in buying in Italy need, above all, to put their trust in the intermediaries they turn to: from the portal where they find the advertisement to the agency that will manage the possible sale.
Another aspect to consider are the descriptions. They should be empathetic and detailed. The text must communicate the characteristics of a property such as brick finishes, solid wood doors or wrought iron handles.
Foreigners are also used to seeing real estate advertised with a certain style. They dream of Italy and its beauty and are constantly looking for exceptional images and videos of the property because most of the time they cannot physically see them. Quality visual material such as photographs, videos, and Virtual Tours, therefore, assumes strategic importance.
The title of the ad also plays a very important role in the success of the commercial negotiation, so be as specific as possible in implementing your multilingual SEO strategies. To create a pleasant expectation, enter in the title the place where the house is located and whether it is a seaside area rather than a plain or mountain area.
Another good suggestion for selling a house to foreigners is to share the content of the announcement or message on the main social networks and specialized portals that are dedicated to buying and selling properties to foreigners.
By following this simple guide, your property will certainly be more attractive than another home in the same area, which does not respect these precautions, which are far from trivial. Thanks to these useful multilingual SEO tips, selling a house to foreigners can become an important strategic component of your business!