Solutions By Dave Digital Marketing and SEO Search Engine Optimization

SEO Updates, Insights & Perspectives

Finding the latest in SEO trends with Dave Keys.

King Google Kicks Another Naïve Young Girl Out Of The Palace

Requiem For Google’s Last Honest Dance

In the movie Man In The Iron Mask, the young king spends the night with another in a series of very naïve young women who thinks she is in love by morning. She starts to talk to the king about breakfast and what they might enjoy to which the king replies, “I like to eat alone. By the way, you’re leaving tomorrow.” This in essence, is what Google has done to everyone they drew into the ballroom to dance with them in celebration of Google plus. At the end of the night, we have all been screwed and the illusion is over. One of the biggest incentives to online marketers and bloggers alike to form a new allegiance with Google on their new, if slightly clumsy social network and it’s oddly named similarities to likes and shares, was the promise of increased interactions and click-throughs because of the visibility of authorship images in organic search results.

Now they don’t need us anymore and they don’t want people to see us hanging around the palace. Best to make us invisible.

After two years of apparently feigned courtship to bloggers, marketers and business owners, Google pulled the plug on authorship images in search results.

I am not especially disillusioned and I understand that Google is a business. I am also under no illusion that what I present here is somehow a full representation of the truth about what Google is doing with authorship. The problem it illustrates however is how Google tends more often now, to treat people with disrespect especially as Google grows larger and richer.

What I say here is true, not in the sense that it is true to the exclusion of other truths and bigger truths about why Google made their decision. It is true alongside of those other truths. It well may be that Google’s intent and best effort was to improve their search results but doing so is like damming up the Yellow River in China to get more power. If thousands or tens of thousands of people live along its banks and have lived there for centuries of generations, that’s just too bad. Their homes will now be flooded and destroyed. They will be displaced and forced to live in strange new unwanted environments.

Google CFM “censorship for money” is what is happening. Maybe not from Google’s perspective but definitely from the perspective of everyone they have dismissed and disenfranchised in the course of making their large-scale decision that respects stockholders and profit margins more than they respect the people that helped get them there to enjoy those values.

Google brought all of us into a dance two years ago, promising a world where we had a voice and a means of expression like never before. We could interact with others on the web and retain our identity across search. That was until it somehow got out of their control. Once again, Google decided to take the easy route of censorship in the virtual universe. If you get too visible. If you get too much advantage. If you get out of line. Google will not hesitate to single you out and delegitimize or even punish you as an entity or as an individual. Play by our rules or we will silence you. It may not technically be a universe that they control but it is practically and functionally on a daily basis, an entire virtual universe that they control. It works like a universe and entities live and die there whether Google ever intended that or not. At some point, they began to leverage that reality with Google Plus. The problem is that this is not a universe they created. It’s not really their virtual property but they took control of it anyway. They simply came and took over a very large portion of the World Wide Web. Functionally and perhaps unfortunately, they have positioned themselves as a sole gateway and keeper of this world wide web for the majority of people who go online. They make the rules and enforcement is swift and targeted. They will punish you even if only to make you an example of you to others. They will destroy your entire business just to demonstrate that they can do so to others. This is as if to say “We can’t kill all of you but the next one we see, we will execute. Now, don’t get out of line, the rest of you.”

How many times has Google started out as your friend and turned out to be your enemy or at least your frenemy? Google often starts out promoting themselves as being on the moral high ground but somehow they end up on the strategic high ground only, and then their supporters defend them saying they are just a corporation taking the best course for their business, so morality doesn’t apply. That’s fine as long as morality is on the same level throughout the process from beginning to end and from the start when Google attracts new customers and new subscribers, but that isn’t what they do. They can best be judged not by what they say but what they do next.

In the attraction phase, they naturally acquire and accumulate a small cadre of dedicated defenders. Those defenders are also quick to correct you and are even ready to report you to the authorities if they see you breaking either the old rules or the new ones or even one that they decide are important that they make up themselves. When you get in bed with Google, the end always turns out the same. Just as you are marveling at how cool the king and his palace are, the king says “I like to eat alone. By the way, you are leaving right now.”

As long as we are willing to put up with the behavior of a bad king, the bad behavior we get is Google as it is today. Unilateral, unfettered, unbridled exercise of power regardless of what it does to any or most or even all of us.

Next time Google throws a party, and invites everyone to come in for a great time, I’m at first inclined to say “no thank you” but like most of us, I will probably go, but with my eyes wide open. They have done everything possible to ensure that no other choices are available.

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

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

la fin de cette histoire

more about SEO for real estate search here

Google Boilerplate Anchor Text Over-Optimization Filters and Penalties

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.

Real Estate SEO Keyword Tracking Limited By Google

Real Estate SEO Keyword Tracking Limited By Google

Google Will Break A Lot of Tracking Tools and SEO Hearts With This One

Google eyes

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.

Qr code goofy

Short Sale Fail | All The King’s Horses and All the SEO in the World Can’t Help This

Short Sale Fail | All The King’s Horses and All the SEO in the World Can’t Help This

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.

Failed short sale in Murrieta Too unfriendly

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?

Murrieta short sale agents

Proper Blog Commenting SEO Technique

Proper Blog Commenting SEO Technique

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.

SEO techniques by Dave Keys

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

Angry Pandas, Google and Your Real Estate Website

Angry Pandas, Google and Your Real Estate Website

Panda updates on Google

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.

 

Panda 2.2 A Real Kick In The Head to Some Websites

Panda 2.2 A Real Kick In The Head to Some Websites

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:

Wistia

Forget SEO as You Knew It. Everything Changes with Panda 2.2 Gone Live

Forget SEO as You Knew It. Everything Changes with Panda 2.2 Gone Live

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?

Yes.

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.

The end.

Dave – Real Estate SEO that profits you.

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