Solutions By Dave Digital Marketing and SEO Search Engine Optimization
Real Estate Home Search Vs. Agent Marketing

Real Estate Home Search Vs. Agent Marketing

The tension remains between so-called “Great content” or “awesome content” and old school SEO metrics like domain authority, page rank and inbound external links.
In my next update, I’ll more fully address my recent observations about a post on one of the Realtor.com websites about real estate SEO. It is a perfect example of how a website with a lot of links and domain authority is able to totally blow off anything remotely close to valuable content and still rank. It ranks on links and domain authority alone. The content is 100% borrowed and condensed like canned milk from another website- complete with attribution. It shows up high in Google for the search “real estate SEO” despite the worthless and plagiarized and frankly lazy nature of its content. Its advice could not be more elementary even with great effort to be less than it already is, and its information is already well known by the vast majority of the audience.
It is pure unabashed drivel.
Nonetheless, it achieves the goal of ranking high. Almost as if to say, “see? We can beat you anytime we want to.”
Real Estate aggregator website SEO fail

SEO By Giants or Large Trolls

None of that matters to people in my industry or to me. The flip side of awesome content is that it is not really about awesome content at all. It is about value in the mind of the reader. That value can be entertainment or it may be about something monetary but above all, it must be motivating enough for the reader to take a desired action or it doesn’t really matter to a business.
If you’re neither entertaining nor helpful, you might be a realtor.org re-hashed post. Realtor wrecking ball
My own website for this topic of real estate SEO gets relatively low traffic but when people arrive, the conversion rate is extremely high. About 15% to 25% of the people who consume my “content” contact me. This is an astronomical conversion rate by industry standards. It is because of how I write and how targeted the focus of my so-called “content” is.
There is a balance between ranking in Google and selling the right thing to the right people but is achieved by a few real estate agents online. Many real estate agents do a fair to bang up job in their other marketing efforts but it’s almost as if though they are paralyzed when it comes to online marketing. They somehow are lured into thinking they have to compete directly, head-to-head with Realtor, Trulia and Zillow by offering a website that calls the visitor to engage in real estate searches, looking at property after property until they grow bored with the process and leave the website.
I know an agent with a beautiful website and after some back-and-forth we finally took a serious look at the analytics. This agent complained that no one was calling and no new business was coming in. They had business back in the summer and it dried-up. Their perception was that something happened on the website that caused that drop in business so we began to examine what the difference was between then and now. Peeling back the layers, we determined that the website had never delivered any business to this real estate agent at all. All of the business in the summer had come from direct referral and none of it had come from the website. Almost unbelievably, the agent just hadn’t seen the reality of the situation. Even looking at the evidence square on, it was difficult for the agent to accept that the website had never been a source of business since it was created.
The analytics data held an even bigger surprise. The website was receiving just over 100 visits per day! 65% of those visits were first-time visitors. That was a really confounding revelation because not one website visitor was contacting the agent in any way. The website and its content were aligned and designed to encourage visitors to search properties, following the strategy and feel of an aggregator website. It was not selling the agent in any way that encouraged people to make a personal one to one connection with the agent.
People may want to peruse and search homes but that doesn’t persuade them to work with an agent. In this case, giving visitors exactly what they want delivers nothing to the agent who puts so much time and expense into providing it.
People in my industry and many others too, do the same thing- being like everyone else and claiming to be oh so much better than every one else while saying the same thing as everyone else. I easily bring in all the business I can handle to the point of choosing who I will accept and setting my own terms for engagement from website platform to the message that goes on that website because I’m very different from my competition and my visitors understand that as soon as they arrive.
Most real estate agents have a journey ahead of them to sort out how to differentiate themselves from their competitors. “I’m more dedicated”, “I provide better service”, “I spend more time with the client” and a dozen other real estate agent platitudes are all commoditized approaches and non-unique propositions. The background noise of a thousand local competing agents drowns out this kind of boilerplate sales talk.
Real Estate Marketing be like the rest SEO
The opportunity to win hands down against every aggregator website and nearly every other real estate agent and brokerage in the local market is there for any agent in virtually every market.
But it does take creativity, hard thought and imagination to break out of the mold of real estate boilerplate talk. Some agents are so conditioned to obey and so eager to comply with marketing status quo messaging pre-determined by associations, corporations and even brokerages that they will never break free and light the spark needed to turn a casual visitor into an engaged and eager prospect who has just decided “This is most definitely the agent for me.
Well, you have some of the meat and bones of my next article here as I’ve been wanting to address this topic in light of the worth-less Realtor.org post that has moved to the top of search on the force of 12 million domain links.
The local real estate agent still rules, especially if they are just willing to exert the thought and creativity it takes to become different and more valuable in the eyes of a visitor than any and every other option available. That’s a tough call to create that message, but once done, but it pays off forever.
SEO For Real Estate Doesn’t Work For You Like It Does For Realtor.com Or Does It?

SEO For Real Estate Doesn’t Work For You Like It Does For Realtor.com Or Does It?

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.

Links Across The Internet for SEO

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!

Miami Miami Listing Real Estate
This is an ingenious approach to link building because the anchor text is very long and does not focus on one particular keyword but rather that uses multiple longtail keywords combined with a brand. This seems to have completely bypassed the Penguin algorithm to the benefit Realtor.com.
In fact, if you have a look at the trailing part of that anchor text and search it by exact text, Surrounded by quotes, in Google, Google says there are 11 million such instances of that phrase within link anchors. I guess they get a pass because other words precede that phrase.
Inanchor homes for sale realtor com® Google Search 5
There is a lesson to be learned here. Google loves a brand even when they clearly manipulate links and anchor text.
Longer anchor texts appear to survive Penguin much better than short ones.
A lot of people are handing the farm to the aggregator sites so that they can use their tools.
Don’t worry, there is still plenty of room on page 1 of Google search for a well-crafted website with good quality links pointing to it and of course a good social signal doesn’t hurt at all. Contact me for help.
Stay away from repeated over-use of shorter anchors of obvious commercial intent. Penguin won’t be far away.
SEO For Real Estate Agents Fighting Insurmountable Odds Like George Washington

SEO For Real Estate Agents Fighting Insurmountable Odds Like George Washington

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. 

Dave Keys Real Estate SEO Expert - Google Trulia Zillow Alliance

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

 

It’s Your Market, or Is It? Real Estate SEO in 2013

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?

Recent example:  Trulia provided a widget for real estate agents to put on their website that provided home search capability. Once the terms of use are agreed to, the widget can be placed in a website and Voila!  the agent has free home search capability on their website.

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, Plus Ones Social Media and Actual Engagement SEO Signals for Real Estate Agents

Likes, Plus Ones Social Media and Actual Engagement SEO Signals for Real Estate Agents

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.

SEO Experiment on Google Plus

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