SEO Updates, Insights & Perspectives
Finding the latest in SEO trends with Dave Keys.
Real Estate SEO in 2013
Everyone virtually without exception is telling you content marketing is where it’s at in 2013 and generally they are correct but where are you putting that content? Who is benefiting most from what you do online? Syndications are rolling out more and more schemes with a front end that looks like a great benefit to real estate agents but these schemes tend to work like inverse Trojan horses gathering many elements of the work of individual agents and amassing all those small pieces of effort and energy to themselves to create massive powerhouses that dominate search results.
Trulia Stealing Your Thunder In Search?
What’s really happening: Trulia has, with your permission, installed a link with targeted anchor text on your website that gives page rank or link juice back to Trulia.com. Beyond that, the widget takes instructions by “calling home” and alters the link keywords to match your specific real estate market, e.g. “Hollywood Hills homes for sale.” These links aggregate as more people install the free widget and Trulia benefits from an array of links pointing to their website where ever they want them to and with whatever anchor text that they want to have pointing to them. In other words, they control the entire linking profile from a vast number of relevant websites all to do with real estate. What could be more powerful than that? And it works. Trulia shows up as the first search result for more and more local real estate searches in Google.
Fighting the Trend:
One thing that local agents have that is withheld from syndicates is Google’s local search. Optimizing your website along with references in Google local delivers high placement in search results, usually above all the syndicate results.
Another is local content. Agents who create content about their community on their website, their blogs and available channels like YouTube will outperform syndicates despite their domain power.
Google authorship: Nothing speaks to a local audience like the face of the local person in search results. it’s easy to cross-link your Google profile and your website. This will deliver the headshot of your choice in search results attracting attention saying, “Here is a local person who can really help you one on one.”
I spend countless hours studying and learning what the latest pet peeves and carrot and stick strategies Google is employing to get people to behave they want on their websites. It’s Google’s game absolutely and if you want to be ranked high on Google you will learn the rules or employ someone who knows them well and preferably both. If you should always be informed about what is happening in your business and SEO is no exception.
One way to get quickly informed and find out immediate strategies that will improve your ranking quickly is to take advantage of my Real Estate SEO Jumpstart this multifaceted analysis and strategy session includes full website analysis and one on one sessions along with concrete strategies spelled out for you to get guaranteed higher placement for the keywords you are struggling to rank for right now. These are steps you can take on your own, immediately that will make a difference in your real estate business visibility online.
Likes and plus ones are a game by-in-large but have you looked at the Search Engine Optimization section of Google Analytics lately?
There’s an entire section that measures traffic coming in from “Social” and that “Social” is very broad ranging from Disqus to Linkedin to of course, G+.
What is being reported and measured is traffic that engages by clicking through the social media curtain to your website. That is a challenge most people don’t like and don’t want to take on, but the rewards I have found to be high for that very reason.
If you’ve seen my SEO experiment on Google Plus, Most of what I have done has involved attracting people to visit the website. Social isn’t the end all but ignore it at your peril. It’s a strong signal when people are actually finding value in what you offer.
Set it and Forget it? Forget it!
One day soon, somewhere, someone will wake up and check on their local business listing and find it has disappeared. Google will have removed it without a trace and without fanfare. No, they didn’t take a punitive action against an offending product or behavior, but rather the lack of one.
One thing Google loves is freshness and change. Something new to offer its searching audience. The BSO (bright shiny object) is what people like and Google knows it. They want a steady stream of them to hand out on their portal. You could make a case for the different as a marketing strategy. There are lots of opportunities in niche content creation and page one, even #1 search results that would surprise you like: California business cash flow solutions
Keeping it Fresh for the Search Market is SEO in Action
Google wants you to keep up and keep it fresh. That simple. Take that places page you created last year. If you leave it alone, you may find that Google has decided that if it isn’t relevant enough to you to update it, it isn’t relevant to others either and they’ll go ahead and let if go with the purge that happens with any healthy data management system whether it is the human mind or a virtual system like Google. Memory and data get pruned, trimmed and purged routinely in human minds and in Google. What color was the car parked next to you in the parking lot this morning? If you do remember at all, what about yesterday? Eventually, information is purged and consolidated.
From the Google + TOS page: Google may, without notice, remove your Google+ Pages if they are dormant for more than nine months.
One thing you’ll want to do is keep up with your potentially most valuable online asset. A local listing that places above competitors goes a long way. SEO is becoming PR a little bit more every day. Keeping it fresh isn’t just an SEO tactic, it’s a necessary strategy and plan.
It may be convenient to set some processes in business and have to give minimal thought to them afterward but Google local and SEO in general aren’t among those set it and forget it processes.
I participate in a forum for SEO advice. Mine isn’t always in the professional vernacular but I focus on clearing up major issues fast for websites. Real estate websites are close neighbors of Bed and Breakfast websites so I thought I’d share some observations on this particular website just for people in real estate to gain some perspective into what should and shouldn’t be happening on their sites as well. I hope you gain some benefit from this review of a B&B website.
I have a client at http://www.shorecrestbedandbreakfast.com/ with a blog at http://www.shorecrestbedandbreakfast.com/blog/ I could use some advice on how to get this site up in rankings.
This article is syndicated from my real estate SEO blog and Activerain, but I wanted to add here that the website observed here has moved in and out of the top ten pages of SERPs. Today, it’s at the bottom of page four. It may yet recover but the obvious takeaway here is that at the very best, overoptimizing anchor text doesn’t help your cause.
In any SEO campaign, whether for real estate or anything else, best results correlate to best practices and what’s demonstrated here is poor practice indeed.
If you want to fall from Google page one to page five in search results, follow this example. Otherwise, follow some real estate SEO expert advice and avoid this practice like the plague. Google is getting better at finding poor SEO practices and discounting them. It may seem like a penalty, but it’s more like an equalizer. Google determines that if your one-trick-pony is your sole SEO strategy, your real estate website is probably not as valuable as other real estate websites and a downgrade is surely on the way for you.
Your real estate website is on Google’s radar all the time and the Boilerplate Anchor Text algorithm along with Panda and a host of other analyses of your on-page and off-page SEO is always ongoing. If you’ve been risking your website with poor SEO practices frowned on by Google then any short term gain you may have obtained is probably going to turn in to long term pain when the machines of Google’s 200+ algorithms catch up with you. Why not get the right kind of SEO strategy now? Contact Real Estate SEO expert Dave Keys at 714-222-7961.
Google Will Break A Lot of Tracking Tools and SEO Hearts With This One
October 18, 2011: Announcement on the Goog-O-Blahg-oh in the name of “Making search more secure”:
We will stop all third party tracking services in their tracks, or more mildly put, “we are encrypting search for signed in users and websites won’t be able to see the keywords that brought them there, but don’t worry, we’ll send you a summary if you register your site with our Webmaster Tools where we can control your behavior.”
Google will use SSL technology to further obscure the process by which people find your website, just in case you were trying to figure that out and optimize your content in any way to rank for a particular term, something Google kind of dislikes unless you’re a big brand name like Nike. Then you can rank for shoes. If you’re a shoe store selling shoes in Westbury you can go to SSL encryption purgatory. Sign up, let Google babysit your website and you’ll get a summary if they don’t come up with a penalty program for everyone selling anything or promoting anything they don’t pre-approve.
Do you ever get the feeling that Google is controlling a bit too much lately?
Could this tip the scales in the favor of Bing?
What does this mean for sites that receive clicks from Google search results? When you search from https://www.google.com, websites you visit from our organic search listings will still know that you came from Google, but won’t receive information about each individual query. They can also receive an aggregated list of the top 1,000 search queries that drove traffic to their site for each of the past 30 days through Google Webmaster Tools. This information helps webmasters keep more accurate statistics about their user traffic. If you choose to click on an ad appearing on our search results page, your browser will continue to send the relevant query over the network to enable advertisers to measure the effectiveness of their campaigns and to improve the ads and offers they present to you.
In the name of privacy, Google sweeps away more of the competition just by throwing a switch.
This is definitely not the way to market a short sale. I have passed this house for several months on my morning walks and said to myself, this house is going to go into foreclosure. Today was the day.
Every time I came by, that sign just nearly punched me in the face with “go away!” What this picture does not show is that for almost the entire time until about a week ago that this house was listed, the grass was 3 feet high and everything seemed to say, “Keep moving. Nothing to see here!” it may have not been intended that way at all but that’s the impression that I always got, and I’m sure that many others got that impression too.
All the SEO in the world can’t fix poor marketing strategies. It seems to me like some agents just don’t really want the listings they have. Maybe I just have a different attitude of being a little more hungry for business even if my plate is full because I remember so many times when there wasn’t that much business. I couldn’t bear to have this listing without at least going to mow the yard when it needed it if I had to do it myself. And that appointment only sign? What on earth could be the benefit of that? Obviously, this home as it was marketed did not attract enough qualified buyers to get past foreclosure, did it?
We so frequently hear about abuse of blog comments, the argument between to follow and no follow back links and so forth that we forget the value and purpose of blog comments in the first place. Comments are there to create a conversation and allow readers to contribute thoughts and ideas to the authors post. Nearly every author appreciates honest contributions to their blog- even contributions that include opinions that differ from those of the author. There are methods to create beneficial and enjoyable content in blogs that also benefit you with the currency of the coveted back link.
Step One. Find a decent dofollow blog. Comment, but leave contextual, informative and even entertaining comments. There are still plenty of blogs that actually allow and encourage this. Many are quite generous. Spammers will be moderated out but the real conversations and valid observational comments with an interesting point of view are still very rare and will be welcomed by most moderators. Furthermore, comments that are well-written and conversational, introducing new ideas and thoughts on the topic provide the relevant context for your back link. Yes, back links are the de facto currency of blogs and their comments, but that does not mean counterfeiting of that currency is going to help your cause. The purpose of comments is to create a conversation, engaging the author and readers–you know, just like people do at any real gathering weather at a coffee shop, a party or just hanging out on someone’s porch, shooting the breeze.
BONUS many times, a well crafted comment delivers more traffic to a website than the ranking search volume for where you end up in search results from comment links. There’s a real estate SEO Marketing tip that doesn’t require any link strategy at all.
Step Two. Once your comment is posted, submit the URL of your comment if available, or the URL of the blog itself to ping services like Pingler. This eventually alerts search engines to the notion that there must be a change or new content on the page.
Step 3. Take a break
Dave Keys, real estate SEO expert
Chatter levels are increasing on forums like Webmaster World about yet another Panda update going on now. Right now. For those who like tracking by numerical sequences, this iteration would be panda 2.4.
According to Rand Fishkin at SEOMoz, what makes Panda revolutionary is that it is a learning machine. Perhaps considered by some to be not too unlike the Terminator, always gathering information about and better understanding human behavior. In terms of artificial intelligence, Panda’s view of the world was formed in a soup of months of study and opinion gathering from web activities of real human beings. Google has confirmed that extensive research was performed where people were presented with websites and were simply allowed to vote whether they like the website or they didn’t like the website. This could obviously include factors ranging from colors and appearance to images, animations and graphics to menu systems and of course, the text content and layout of a website.
Panda has since recursively crawled, not the web, but the Google index and evaluated the websites in the index and rearranged the search results based on its learning of what is in the index compared to its core learning algorithm from the research accumulated and somehow translated into the “Panda Intelligence”.
These recursive reviews of the index and subsequent rearrangement of the SERP (search engine results placement) seem to indicate that Panda comes back around each time, apparently about once per month, with a higher level of intelligence and understanding of the web. Whether or not this is the real-time result, it is certainly the theory and it is a theory that Google is so far sticking with.
I have a pretty strong notion that if I am reading content and feel like I’m being gamed with duplicate or rehashed content–and I don’t like that, Panda it is probably going to sense the same thing sooner or later and filter out the same things that I don’t like from search results. That is clearly Google’s intent and if you happen lately to type in a misspelled or incorrect word into Google search you’ll notice that Google has a pretty good idea what you are actually searching for and gives you results for that term first.
Slam-Dunk Google-slapped! Your stodgy ugly boring website is finally going down! Crash and burn time for the surviving spammers of Panda 1.0 or whatever name you like. This video clearly illustrates a website meeting its demise as it’s owned by Panda 2.2. Your article marketing supported squeeze page site nobody likes is next!
Watch the video carefully as the website is engulfed by the inescapable Panda Update. It’s everywhere now as you have seen with your own de-ranked website that you knew was wrong as polio anyway.
In case you need a better, more technical explanation of Panda:
That’s right, Panda 2.2 has made it so that people have to actually enjoy your website. Imagine the audacity! Google insists that your website is something people want to see now? What’s it all coming to? My spun articles and bloviated content are going to be ignored, all 600 words of my carefully crafted and unique article?
I’m better off with this photo of a hummingbird than you are with your article because people like it better.
That’s the essence of Panda Update.
Dave – Real Estate SEO that profits you.
Your best bet in blogging is twofold:
Original and Well Written
- Make sure your content is original. Google’s really pretty good about figuring out both plagiarism and article spinning. in fact, the recent “Panda” or “Farmer” update was designed, in part, to weed out the kind of language that results from article spinning–you’ve seen it before. The language starts to look like a blend between Yoda of Star Wars and the King James Bible with grammatical inconsistencies and the invariable nonsense the creeps into spun articles because people don’t take the time to even check the syntax and meaning that results from article spinning software. Consistent natural language is your best bet. Google looks for it, and more importantly, people will choose it naturally over the artificial language found in junk posts.
Did You Know Google Panda Is Grading Your Work?
This Panda content stress test applies to outsourced content too. If you outsource your content writing, keep a close eye on your provider’s quality. Your website is what will sink or swim depending on what you do with and to it, including the quality and originality of the content you choose to put there.
- Natural language as I just mentioned above appears to be a requirement that Google’s systems have “learned” how to test. If you are talking like a spammer Google will probably be able to weed you out and well it should. If your content is poorly written by a too-low-cost offshore content writer, it’s going to degrade your performance, not to mention that it will be a huge turn off to your readers.Invest carefully into your online messages and make sure they do what they’re intended to do- motivate people to take action with you sooner or later- nothing less.
Even if your blog is short and light weight, if it has something to say–even if it is something that has been talked about before, but you say it effectively and uniquely, you’ll get more punch in the lineup of search results. Effective content is both a part of successful real estate SEO and real estate marketing.
Orange County SEO
Is SEO going to pay off for your business? Here is the essence of deciding on what, if anything, to do about SEO for your business website: make your determination strictly based on acceptable ROI (return on investment) and your business sales process. In sales training, this will be the sales path, or cycle or any number of monikers but it is the process by which your business persuades customers to make a purchase. The same process should be absolutely followed when making decisions about SEO. No marketing strategy or campaign should stray away from the formulation and execution of an effective sales process and SEO is as much a marketing campaign as any other form of marketing or advertising.
So, ask yourself. What would create an acceptable ROI? Can I get that with SEO? Will a page one, or number 1 top position for a keyword deliver increased sales volume? Is it worth the expense of getting that spot? How does organic placement perform vs. PPC? How much search traffic is there actually for this keyword or phrase? Do people who search this phrase make a buying decision or are they likely to only be investigating and evaluating? The job of SEO is to sell products and services.
SEO is a topic of debate these days and opinion varies from person to person. Opinion varies from people who think that SEO is just a frivolous activity and that it’s useless and over-simplified (it is made so by some purveyors of “partial SEO” solutions) to those who advocate SEO in the highest terms as an essential core component of online marketing success. Ultimately, the leading companies presently enjoying online marketing success utilize the services of SEO companies. The successful SEO firms (including this Orange County SEO consultant) are those that employ all the essential factors in an effective site optimization and link building campaign. They do their customers and themselves a viable and valuable service producing a win-win result.
Before deciding on any SEO link building effort, companies, and anyone, can get a glimpse of whether it will be worth investing in site optimization. The first course of action is to evaluate search traffic and competition for your business by testing terms associated with your product or service in the free Google Adword Keyword Tool. It is undoubtedly a critically important step missed or misunderstood by many who are new to SEO practices. The process is straightforward: think in terms of the consumer and test terms that they might type into a search when they are seeking a solution, an end result and a benefit. Again, the determining factor in making a purchase is the confidence a decision maker or buyer has in receiving a valuable benefit from your offering. These search terms, or keywords, are the same kind of things you think of during your formulation of the right kind of presentation, script or telephone dialogue in the development of your sales process. A common mistake many business owners make when it comes to optimizing a website is that of forgetting the sales process and forgetting the importance of the emotional connection created by effective, compelling presentation of the benefit of features or products or services that you provide. Consumers online are looking more than ever for the benefit. They are not necessarily looking directly for your product or service or service unless it is the precise benefit they are seeking. You probably already know enough how to promote your business in ways that deliver the highest ROI, and that knowledge should be directly transferred and applied to any search marketing or SEO effort.
Let us stipulate here that the majority of companies are in favor of search engine optimization in some form, but many do not have enough understanding of SEO to transform the process into an effective return on investment. There are numerous “SEO companies” selling partial solutions, or misrepresenting the amount of investment or work that will be required to deliver an appreciable ROI that many business owners have already been left with unsatisfactory results that add to the impression that SEO is not a viable pursuit for their business. These partial solutions tend to exclude a difficult component of SEO and that component is usually effective link building. Contextually relevant links from external sources must be created or obtained and that’s an intensive process that must be done in accordance with the Google TOS to provide a lasting, effective result. Many so called SEO providers will try to sell businesses on shortcut strategies like PPC which is proven to receive a predictable but small and expensive ratio of click-thru and conversion traffic. PPC is fair enough if you understand its metrics and expectations but the overwhelming majority of online search trust goes to the organic results. The other usual “trick” of those offering an incomplete solution is providing only on-site optimization including site design, blogging, content creation and structure, etc. These all account for around 15% of the total factors in search engine rankings according to surveys of top SEO experts. The other 85%? You guessed it. Acquisition and aggregation of quality, contextually placed, keyword-rich anchor text back links.
Companies who understand this holistic approach to SEO continue to dominate search engine results and acquire the lion’s share of online business.
Contact me at 888-216-1231 for ROI focused SEO | Orange County SEO.
When you buy a house, you generally don’t get the car you saw in the garage with it.
Domain Name squatting is almost as old as the Internet itself. Recently, I generated no small backlash when I suggested that the sale of a domain name was probably not worth the $6000 price paid for it.
Keywords in a domain name are but one tiny factor in how Google ranks a website or webpage. Since the domain in question was related to real estate, that makes this topic all the more easy to illustrate. Let’s use the community, Fullerton California as an example. A typical real estate search that gets plenty of search volume and is targeted to buyers is, “Fullerton homes for sale.” results?
Both of these have the word Fullerton in the URL path, but the domain names have nothing inherently connected to real estate–only the business itself has been obviously optimized effectively through the aggregation of back-links, coupled with rich content related to real estate.
You can be sure that Google knows a lot about your domain.
If someone buys a domain and develops it using traditional white hat SEO methods and meaningful content on-site, and then sells it there is absolutely no harm- if you, the buyer get to keep the current content and back-links to the website. Usually that isn’t the case. You get the domain name, not the website itself- unless you’re buying out the website contents as well. Google, of course, will know that ownership has been transferred. If the new owner continues on topic and builds a following and aggregates back-links, that site may once again rank well in search engines- but it isn’t automatic or guaranteed. In fact, it probably isn’t any better than simply buying a fresh domain name and undertaking the same effort.
Paying a premium price for domain just because it has words that you think are important is a naïve approach and, in fact, if the domain has been parked for a long time, or worse yet–if it has a bad history, you are no better off than if you had purchased Fullerton–homes–by-Yourname.net.
Most of my clients new to SEO for real estate, however, become overly focused on the domain name, thinking that it makes a great difference in how well their site will rank. Some are willing to throw money after what looks like a perfect domain name. Domain squatters have a lot of them and there are always people who will pay for them- so the business of selling names continues- but it does the buyer little good.
Back to the Fullerton keyword- There are about 3100 websites with the words “Fullerton” and “homes” in the URL. There is even a domain, Fullerton–homes–for–sale.com. It ranks nowhere near the top pages of Google. website is fairly new, hosted on WordPress, has good content and may well position much better in the future. But for now, it’s a very small fish in a big lake. Higher ranking in search results will happen, not because of keywords in the URL, but because of rich content, plenty of back links with keyword anchor text and the growth of its domain authority over time.
Again, in most cases once ownership of the domain is transferred, page rank and domain authority will experience a reset by Google.
So, in summary, you are selling real estate in Gotham City, and the domain name GothamCityHomes.com is for sale for a premium price, be careful about spending much money on that idea. You can do just as well by purchasing Gothamcityhomes.us or even Gotham-city-RE.net. if you don’t think Google knows what RE means, try typing “Orange County RE” into Google and watch all the real estate results that appear.
How is expert SEO strategy not like pump-and-dump stocks? Well, first let’s clarify for those who don’t do the market thing: a pump-and-dump stock is a scheme whereby crooks dubious investors create a false buzz over some worthless stock (often pink sheets aka penny stocks) after buying a substantial quantity. The suckers victims of the ruse pile on in a buying frenzy believing some email or forum hype about a breakthrough event that will create an instant six-bagger (easy enough to believe with a penny stock- that it will go from 3 cents a share to 18 cents a share…). The flagrant liars dishonest “investors” sell at a strategically chosen price while there is enough momentum of unsuspecting new buyers to sustain original investor selloff- leaving everyone else holding a worthless pile of junk-stock that will never go anywhere but down, as one-by-one, the duped investors realize that they may as well give up.
Enter crappy black-hat SEO techniques and a similar pump-and-dump strategy, one where a straight keyword or phrase is repeated over and over- causing the target of the “campaign” to move up in SERPS until the Google algorithm cops arrive, breaking up the joint. Like a 1920s prohibition underground club, the boys in the know slip out (with your hard-earned money, of course) while unsuspecting patrons take the rap.
The black-hats get fast results, but if a website owner plans to be around for more than “15 minutes”, they’ll want to avoid this kind of tactic.
Anchor text should be diverse and keywords inserted into natural phrases with targets accumulated as a significant portion of keyword distribution, but not the sole keyword that will trigger Google’s patterning algorithms sooner or later, leaving the client at best, where they were before, or at worst, banned and de-indexed by Google.
Expert SEO techniques involve natural conversational posts, etc. involving a wide range of relevant, but diverse keywords.