Realtor.com is almost always in the top 3 results for your real estate market. (It’s not fair and that’s the way it is.)
One of the biggest reasons why Zillow, Trulia and Realtor get the lions share of local search terms such as “Boca Raton real estate for sale” is natural link volume and diversity.
Google’s Penguin algorithm supposedly punishes over optimization of anchor text yet I have found, According to Google itself, a phrase that shows up in 11 million links pointing back to Realtor.com. How is this possible? One reason is that this particular phrase shows up as part of much longer and varied phrases but its influence on search results is clear and compelling. There are some takeaways regarding this approach to anchor text at the end of this post.
By link diversity I mean two things that are equally applicable.
1. Diverse domains.
In simple terms, Google runs a test to see who links to your website. If they determine that most of your links come from only a few people that means a lot less than you have links coming from a larger variety of people(Websites). Checking on the authenticity, server location and geographic location of domains with links to your website helps them determine your website’s importance.
2. Diverse anchors.
This is another test to see if you are over optimizing(Manipulating) the search engine by using repeated anchor text. This is with the penguin algorithm is all about. Failing this test can wipe your website off the Google landscape. The days of gaming search results for a keyword by creating a lot of links with that keyword across a limited set of websites are over. The days of high visibility for a topic, a concept and quality ideas is certainly here to stay. This is not to say that keywords and links don’t matter. It’s just that Google’s testing has become a lot more sophisticated and has really put the pressure on to stay away from artificial manipulation of specific keywords and lean toward authentic content and authentic link acquisition.
These two factors are algorithmically assessed by Google’s computers and scored.
The more of these kind of links that you have the higher you will be shown in search results.
Despite the rising crescendo of Google’s nonstop PR campaign and FUD (fear uncertainty and doubt) campaign about link manipulation, links are still king in search engine optimization.
My studies continue to show evidence that these aggregator websites provide widgets that systematically and programmatically change anchor text pointing back to their particular Community search pages so that there is always a balanced ratio of anchor text to avoid the Penguin penalty. I even suspect that these widgets are programmed to display one thing to visitors and another to search engines. This is a clear violation of Google’s TOS if it is true but big brands get away with a lot of things that you and I supposedly cannot.
Realtor.com is in the number one position for the search”Miami real estate.” and a quick evaluation on Majestic SEO’s Site Explorer revealed this anchor text: “miami real estate – miami, fl homes for sale – realtor.com®” coming from several websites pointing back to the Miami page on realtor.com. Every one of them that I checked did not have the link when I visited the webpage but they did have a widget that is deployed across in about 46,000 websites (shown below).
Realtor is not the only one to provide widgets that come with their own TOS and it usage agreement which typically restricts the user from altering any code whatsoever in the widget. This leaves the owner of the widget free to create and rotate links and anchor text at will. Will Google ever do anything about this? I don’t know but they certainly will hammer you if you try it!
There has been a lot of talk about what kind of SEO works on real estate websites. What kind of content is indexed? Listings? Your blog posts? Facebook? Pinterest? The all-new potentially powerful authorship SEO on Google Plus? The real estate agent faced with increasing domination of a few familiar names at the top of every Google search finds themselves thinking, “What SEO technique will get me more traffic to my website so I can get leads?”
Are You Fighting An Opponent Who Calls All The Shots?
You’re in a fight with a behemoth, Google itself who, incidentally, calls all the shots.
This may remind you of a hand to hand combat scene in some epic movie. The call rings out, “Choose your weapon!” Someone is going to lose and someone is going to win. The greater power or prowess will determine the fate of everything. The time and place and the conditions of the battle are all set by the same party that is NOT going to lose this fight. You may hold out or even get the upper hand for a round but in the end, you’re going to be overcome. You will go down in defeat because the resources of your opponent are virtually limitless. If you’re going to survive and even thrive, you’re going to have to adjust your strategy and employ personal guerrilla tactics that work, just like George Washington did.
George Washington Faced an Insurmountable Foe
George Washington was an ant against an anteater and he knew it. Great Britain was a/the world class alpha empire. In the eyes of their overlords, the British, Americans were a fledgling hodgepodge of rugged but in military preparedness, hopelessly inexperienced and untrained farmers. They were subjects of the crown- the “brand of the day“ that mattered. We have some “brand of the day” monoliths in real estate for online search too. Google gives high priority and preference to them and generally not you, the local agent. This is the new face of real estate SEO and reality is where we forge effective strategy for real estate marketing online with profitability. A battle and a war is often won by the most agile, not the most powerful.
Professionals VS Determined Individuals With A Personal Do Or Die Cause
The British and their hired mercenary allies were all uniformed, highly trained and disciplined professionals. What chance did rugged individualists have against them? Determination and a unique, agile, always thinking on their feet populace who knew their own territory inside and out. No imported army could be prepared for the intricacies of fighters who knew every hectare and acre of the territory they lived in. They knew about every clearing, hollow and hill and where the advantages in their strategy could be leveraged.
Americans were the insurgents and they did not engage in a “gentleman’s fight.” You may be up against seemingly insurmountable opponents but you are not in the “gentleman’s fight.” You are in the fight for your own market, your own leads and your own territory in real estate and effective real estate SEO still delivers the goods when it comes to conversion. I know. My efforts in SEO was instrumental in delivering over $57 million in sales in an 18 month period for one client alone who leveraged a very local, targeted SEO strategy to gain visibility and a foothold in an extremely competitive south Florida real estate market.
A Difference Of Intent And Attitude
What made the difference? George Washington had a purpose to achieve and a message to deliver and he didn’t waste time grandstanding in epic but un-winnable battles to advance his cause. He was agile, he was deliberate and he had a clear vision of his unique idea of life independent of a monolithic empire and narrative about a people who would be free and independent. That was his message and the British with all their technical and military superiority couldn’t deal with it. There’s was no suppressing the underdog Americans.
Content Marketing In The Revolution Of Real Estate SEO
While the British were thinking they should try to win over the hearts and minds of the Americans, Thomas Paine was writing Common Sense and penning documents like the Declaration of Independence. Early content marketing that was powerfully effective against a much larger mass communication capability.
It’s about the individually tailored and crafted message directly to the heart and mind. It resonates already because it’s already in sync with the specific person who is most likely to respond based on their own needs and desires. No winning hearts and minds required. They’re already won by affiliation and understanding on a personal level.
Freedom Of Expression and Unique Ideas in Real Estate Marketing
It is the tendency to conform that ruins your visibility and conversion in the marketplace, not your position in Google. It’s easy to get seen. A few key words and phrases in your title and content that is specific enough to be found is going to be found, especially by people online looking for answers that you’re being very specific about. It’s harder to be unique and attract and engage the right people and turn them into clients but your competition is less prepared than you think.
Much of your competition is doing the same thing as everyone else– afraid to be different and afraid to somehow look unprofessional or less convincing than the next agent who is saying and offering the exact same service and product as you. How are you going to win with that strategy? Everyone with greater resources and greater exposure gets in line first for the same run of the mill uncommitted and unfocused low quality leads.
Don’t you want to attract and acquire as dedicated clients, people who are most charged, motivated and emotionally prepared to commit to a strong client/agent relationship and cooperate in a sale that will culminate in success?
Meeting the mind and emotion of the right buyers and sellers combined with enough search visibility to be found by the best, most prepared to act leads is the key to your success- one valuable client at a time.
Content And SEO Can Be Worth Millions
My long standing track record of success and expertise in both content that sells and visibility that gets to the right person is at your disposal if you act first. I take on a limited amount of clients, especially with the demand for competent SEO and marketing talent that increases with each Google algorithm update that sends underperforming SEO strategies packing. This means, simply, there is more work and less available providers of working strategies. Now is the right time to start in a long term strategy of unique, compelling marketing messages to a target audience (your own market) that reaches well beyond the cold, impersonal mechanized approach of listing aggregators like Zillow and Trulia. The right combination of real estate SEO, real estate search marketing and delivery of compelling, value laden direct messages and communiqués to your most likely to buy or sell market audience is worth millions. It has been to my clients and can be for you as well.
Contact me now to find out for free if you are currently a candidate to deploy your unique message to an audience that brings sales to your business and money to your bank account. You may need to come up to speed in terms of your marketing strategy and/or website and online profile but a call to me will leave you better off and pointed in the right direction whether I can take you on as a client right away or not. You might as well take the first step out from behind the very online entities that cloak and render invisible your own online presence. They demand that you pay them for your own leads. Take the challenge now and take back your own market on a local level with the very things at your disposal, personal touch, personal value and expert knowledge of your market that the empirical aggregators can never duplicate and can never take from the informed and dynamic local marketing real estate agent.
Call me 888-216-1231 or cell: 714-222-7961
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.