Solutions By Dave Digital Marketing and SEO Search Engine Optimization
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

Google, Freshness And Your Business SEO

Google, Freshness And Your Business SEO

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

what's new

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.

SEO Case Study B & B Site

SEO Case Study B & B Site

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.

… I want SEO recommendations for both the blog and the main site. Thank you for your help in advance.

  

Answers

Hey, Dave Keys here again. We’ll just start out with the main website then I’ll touch on the blog and how to leverage it.

I have some initial observations that don’t require much formal “analysis” at all. The site is on page one for its title, “Long Island bed and breakfast.” Nice. You’re ahead of a lot of competitors in organic search but your owner needs to get their focus squarely on the social factors starting with Google reviews. They have two and one is a negative review so they need to start soliciting reviews. They can even ask people who are willing to do a review right there at checkout. Happy people will be happy to oblige and they need to fix whatever was wrong if anything that caused that negative one and then bury it deep under a bunch of positive reviews.

A little imagination can go a long way. You could even ask people to review the website after some design changes. Why design change? I’m known to frequently say ugly websites sell, (I don’t mean this one is ugly but that message and communication done right will outperform competition in nearly any design) but there are a few key things that people would like that would also keep them on the site longer, improving visitor metrics.

  1. Large format photos. What’s there now are almost thumbnails by today’s standards. People want to see everything large as life. It doesn’t have to be spectacular but get some size into the photo tour. Check out my website about everything atdavekeys.com and see what I’ve done with photography. If they can’t deal with site redesign, that’s fine, get an account on Smugmug and put the photos there so people can see large format views to their heart’s content. It has free account options and albums give killer layouts like this with full screen slideshows and embed codes for websites so there’s little excuse to leave it looking like the last site build was in 2004.
  2. Video. Get out the iPhone or the latest $189 HD Flip equivalent (Flip went out of business but you get the idea) and get some slow steady pans and get some video on the website. Talk in the video about what’s nice there. Attract the kind of customers you want by accentuation of what you like and what your best customers like.

Many competitors won’t bother to do video and especially frequent video updates. I have a feeling that a well optimized video might show up in organic search as well and help the marketing along.

More in a bit…

Posted by Dave-Keys 1 hour, 50 minutes ago

Comments

Let’s look at Google itself again. This is critical. Competitors are all over the top of the fold because their Google Places is preferred. Let’s review what makes it count.

Dave’s own educated philosophy on the matter:

Two important Google “properties” Places and Plus

Places

See? I used an H1 tag in the middle of a post because this is so important. The big G is relying heavily on its own validation schema now and a large part of that is Places and Plus combined.

101% completion of the Google places profile data. Every photo, every allowed character of description and narrative, every video, every description, everything Google will let you fill in, fill it all in and make sure the name address and phone match the website exactly. I can’t stress this enough. Make it complete and leave out nothing.

Be sure not to spam the Google Places with over-reaching keywords but describe the business completely. Don’t go into repetition, Don’t put the words bed and breakfast over and over but do some variations for sure. B&B, honeymoon suites if they have them, Weekend getaway. Describe the services and benefits in glowing details.

This gets results. I have a places result for real estate SEO expert no matter where in the country you look it up. The map with red pushpin, the mini sitemap, the address and phone, the whole shebang. It’s worth tweaking the places profile absolutely perfect.

Plus

The same goes for Google Plus and your Google profile. Get it waaaaayy completed. Everything. Use every bit of space to build this profile and then crosslink your site and Google Profile using the rel=”author” tag or rel=”me” tag. I like author best and it works well for me. Get it onto both the website and the blog and sooner or later Google will give you a thumbnail of the Author avatar in search results. See mine as an example A photo of a person is not mandatory but that always works well if there is an owner who is a central personality. My photo is in my logo but it shows up and blows away my competition no matter where I am in search. Get it done and reap the benefits. People click on results with that avatar image. It’s still a bit of a surprise and gets attention.

Posted by Dave-Keys 1 hour, 33 minutes ago

OK, while I’m on the layer of top level observations of the obvious, let’s switch over to the blog.

1 consideration of content is the title.

This blog’s title is “blog @ shorecrest bed and breakfast” That’s clever but it’s wrong. Nobody is going to search Google for that title except people who already know about it. Not a lead gen at all.

The description would be a far better title: A North Fork, New York Bed and Breakfast, but I’m thinking that may not be a well searched term either. I don’t know.

Remember, your title and description metas are what show up in Google and what tends to rank in search, so let’s presume they want to rank for “Long Island Bed and Breakfast” then your title and description should end up looking like this on Google:

Find new adventures Every Day | Long Island Bed and Breakfast Blog

Book with us and never forget how wonderful an enchanted getaway can be. Call 888-333-4545. Visit now. We serve Anne’s Famous Pies daily.

Next for the blog, turn it into a keyword and marketing machine that happens to be a lot of fun. Blog about the things people want in this B & B. Don’t be boring. The owner needs to figure out this one thing fast: Why should people choose this B & B above any and every other option available? Get that reason into every part of the website and blog. There should always be a call to action. Phone number. Call us. Book today. Reserve a week, etc.

These are all things that will increase your client’s bottom line without one single visitor more coming to the website.

I promise I’ll get to the technical SEO stuff but this is just as critical to succeeding in ranking as well as conversions.

Posted by Dave-Keys 1 hour, 16 minutes ago

SEO Observations techniques

That’s French for “what I just saw looking over your site.”

When you click the home link on the top menu the site goes tohttp://www.shorecrestbedandbreakfast.com/index.htm. That’s bad because you have aduplicate home page. Get rid of it. Everything should go tohttp://www.shorecrestbedandbreakfast.com

Look over all the page titles and get them in line with desired keywords.

Example: look at the rates page. The title is: Bed and Breakfast on Long Island: Shorecrest in North Fork

How many people are searching for “Long Island Bed and Breakfast rates” Hmmm? Get the keyword in the title. If the rates are really good then make the title say something like: Get best rates for Bed and Breakfast on Long Island: Shorecrest in North Fork

Same thing for the description which says: Shorecrest is a Bed and Breakfast in Long Island, New York. We have a bed and breakfast and a beach house on the North Fork.

Should be more like: Book now with Shorecrest Bed and Breakfast in Long Island, New York. Beautiful getaway in North Fork. Call now: 888-333-4444

Don’t repeat keywords the way they are now. Google knows it’s a bed and breakfast. You don’t need to say it twice in the same meta tag. Use the space for a better marketing message instead.

Posted by Dave-Keys 1 hour, 4 minutes ago

By the way, I want you to know I’m enjoying this because I love B&Bs. I just like mine to be in Maui
alt text

Quick break…

Posted by Dave-Keys 56 minutes ago

Links and a Warning

Since it’s a Long Island Bed and Breakfast and there are 880 phrase matched searches for that term and thousands of broad context searches (Google Adword Keyword Tool) and only two of your links to the site that I seen in Majestic’s or Moz’ site explorers, it wouldn’t hurt to have a few more links mentioning Long Island and B & B. etc.

WARNING. With Google’s latest strictness on overdoing anchors, don’t go crazy on this. Just a few can help a lot IF you get your site titles a little more aligned.

Posted by Dave-Keys 48 minutes ago

Your link profile is one of the more diverse and natural ones I’ve seen in some time, including some of my own clients’. Don’t go getting extreme. Keep links coming in from quality sources and incorporate some of the desired keywords in natural ways and slowly along with every thing else. Google is watching this so don’t let improvements in search results tempt you to go aggressive to get more faster. It won’t work.

Posted by Dave-Keys 46 minutes ago

The bloggity

The blog is doing very well for what is entered in it. Last post ranks #1 and #2 for its title.check it out.

Blog post #2 is a bit more competitive but is still on page 1 toward the bottom. It might do a little better if the word “vacation rentals” didn’t show up on the page 11 times in the many categories and the post tags, but nowhere in the actual post content.

Recommendation: Streamline posts to mean what they say and say what they mean. If post #2 is really about North Fork Long Island Vacation Rentals from Shorecrest BandB as the title says, then perhaps “North Fork Long Island Vacation Rentals should be in the post body as well but it isn’t. I think you’d do a lot better with the words in the content rather than only in the tags and categories.

Categories and Tags

Read Bruce Clay’s article on siloing.
The over-use of categories and tags on this blog is probably making it difficult to create silos of content. The claim seems to be that “This post is about everything I could think of.” This all amounts to keyword stuffing via the use of tags and categories. I would ease up on that a lot. The blog’s performance should improve if it’s a bit more focused on individual topics. If they have that many things to talk about then they should create posts for each topic individually.

Blogs are very powerful for exact match long tail topics. Get into the shoes and into the skin of your best potential clients. Think like someone who doesn’t know about your business and use titles that match the kind of searches they might use, even slightly less than completely logical ones. Think like someone might think when they’re not so familiar with search engine strategies. People will ask very direct questions in search. Example: “people my age who live in mountain lakes nj” That’s not exactly logical, but it is predictable. The type of person who would use this query would also be more responsive to a direct marketing message when they visit your website. The post for that result also ranks high for “ages of people who live in mountain lakes nj” a bit more logical and almost as likely to be a good lead. By the way, the red badge in the search result makes my result the likely candidate for a click. I’m competing in a vacuum. That’s why the Google profile is critically important now.

Posted by Dave-Keys 9 minutes ago

En résumé

You’ll notice I didn’t focus all that much on links. The link opportunity should be taken advantage of but the site is likely to perform far better with some focus on desired keywords. The blog should link back to the home page and use a lot less tags and categories. Use tags and categories to clearly define content and don’t use them to do keyword stuffing. The blog will perform wonders when it’s used as a well aimed rifle instead of as a shotgun. Geese, ducks and Google all hate shotguns so don’t use them. Geese and ducks may reward you if you’re looking for dead birds, but Google will more likely slap your shotgun and take away your hunting license so go to the website and blog and eliminate the excess keywords, get them focused on individual topics and primary goals and enjoy the results!

I hope I’ve helped you truly get better performance from the website and blog. If you have specific questions, please post them here and don’t forget to “accept.”

Thanks!

Dave Keys
Top of the game in Real Estate SEO

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