Answers to your top 7 questions about Real Estate Blogging SEO in 2012 EMODF Day 20

 #1 Where do I start with SEO for Real Estate?

If you are just getting your real estate website search engine optimized, (SEO) then you are looking for some quick wins.  You need some Google-Juice to get your site ranked.  The easiest way to get these quick wins is to target long-tail keywords – these are usually phrases that are three or more words in length.

Long-tail keywords don’t have as much competition because they don’t have nearly the volume of searches as head terms.  Let’s use the example “IDX” which has 227,000,000 results on google. That is 227 Million results.  I don’t know how far back in there you have to go to find us, but we are not
mentioned in the first 10 pages.  So we just don’t show up for “IDX”. Now search “IDX Broker Platinum” 205,000 results. We show up 5 times on the first page and 4 times on the second.  Check out “IDX Broker Platinum for AgentPress” 2310 results, but we own that!  We have the first 5 pages all
tied up!

Look at the image below for a little more clarification:

Do you see in the chart above that long-tail searches have a 36% conversion rate?  That is one of the best things about targeting long-tail keywords for a real estate website – because the searches are more specific in nature, you are ranking for more targeted results. More targeted results equal higher conversions!

Using our real estate IDX example, there could be millions of people reading about IDX.  That doesn’t really help us if they are doing a college term paper, or want to see if Trulia is better than IDX, or if someone is looking to search Miami homes using IDX.   So even IF those people dig around long enough to find us under the IDX search results, they probably won’t turn into a client for us.
Hence, the real benefit of targeting long-tail keywords for your real estate website: less competition! Quick wins. Higher Conversions. All good stuff!

#2 Rel= Author: What does it mean and what’s it significance?

Simply put, this term indicates the author of the particular page in question and is a way for authors to be linked to their work online.  For instance, Google uses the term to associate authors to their Google+ profile and helps to bring the content of great authors to the forefront of the Search Engine Rank Page (SERP) without having to depend heavily on inbound links to increase page rankings.

To really see the benefits of rel=Author, follow the steps below:

  1. Get a Google+ account and create a full profile where the profile email address matches the author email address and name.
  2. Use the following link to connect your website to your profile: https://plus.google.com/authorship
  3. Allow time for the content to be indexed.  This may take a week or longer.
  4. Follow Google Webmaster tools for additional best practices.

#3 What kind of marketing content achieves optimal SEO results?         

Search engines and human behavior mirror each other.  In other words, if your information is desired by your audience, then it will be desired by the search engine as well.  Search engines want information that people are going to read, bookmark and share.  It is this kind of information that makes them happy.

Therefore, when creating your real estate site, you want to provide people with information that they want and that they will find useful.   To achieve this, your information should be specialized, focused and most importantly, written with your target audience in mind.  When creating content, it is found that when created with passion and the ultimate goal is to help someone, great SEO will be created naturally.

So, remember, with the use of IDX Broker Platinum, you will have access to the latest in real estate statistics and listing information.  This will allow you to provide your audience with information that they want to read; and should be offered in a well written, easy to read and visual format.   This will reduce your need to fluff your content with certain keywords in the hopes of ranking in the SERPs.  This actually makes crawlers and your audience quite unhappy.

#4 What are your tips on local SEO?

Before, getting to the meat of the matter, let’s just cover another best practice.

Time and again, Google enhances search results with immediate answers when local searches are conducted.   This is their way of trying to get a faster turnaround time for answers, thereby improving your experience.  To appear in those supplemental results as a local realtor, you need t leverage your knowledge and expertise.  This is best achieved when you can offer more in depth and detailed content and your topic areas are ones that Google would never offer content on (they would be clueless about it).  Show that your knowledge cannot be replaced by a machine.

With that covered, here are some good rules to follow for great local SEO:

  • Ensure that you are added to local directories, real estate associations and multi listing services (MLS) and Chamber of Commerce.
  • Sign up for the IDX Broker Application which would allow you to display all available MLS listings for your area seamlessly on your website
  • Write about events in the area, architectural history, and where possible, write on other realtors in your company.
  • Post client testimonials on your site and even get some on other sites like Yelp!
  • Create a Google Places Account which is managed through Google+.  Bing and Yahoo also offer their own versions of this.
  • A Facebook or a Linkedin account will also allow people to check in.
  • It is also best to have a true and update contact us page with your current number, physical address, map and email address.
  • Superior customer service is a must.  Fact is that people talk about real life experiences online.

 

#5 Do you have any Enterprise SEO tips?  It appears as though larger websites need a different approach to SEO than smaller ones.

It is not that Enterprise SEO needs to be different it’s just a fact of them having greater resources available.  If you have them, use them!

Below are some tips that should help you achieve better SEO by leveraging your available resources:

  • Diversify your content.  Don’t just stick to text based information; use other available resources like videos, surveys, industry trends and images.
  • Segment your content.  Well liked by Google, more specific results can be delivered if you segment your content for example by price, number of rooms, county or neighborhood.
  • Take advantage of and leverage authors and contributors that want to build readership online and where possible even specialize in a particular segment.
  • Continually improve speed and the uptime of your site…nothing is worse for users and search engines alike than slow sites, dead ends (404 errors) or even frequently down sites.

#6 Are there are best practices for Pay-it-forward link building?

Link any relationship, link building is key and should be approached with a long-term mutually beneficial view.  For instance, when you have a new real estate client, you would normally tend to get to know them better.  Gain a better understanding of their likes and dislikes, their budget and their overall personal preferences.

Well, that is link building in a nutshell.  Link to other sites because they are providing great information, you think they are awesome and you think they deserve the credit and boost in SERPs.  You can connect with them in very passive ways like through Social Media.  If they post an awesome blog or you use some of their information in yours, tweet them and give them the kudos they deserve.  With time and excellent blogs of your own, you will eventually appear on other people’s radar as well.  You would have invariably have built a relationship with a top notched webmaster, and will one day be one yourself.  After all, birds of a feather flock together.

#7 “Sketching” SEO tactics, what are they?

A good way to identify sketchy tactics is to ensure that you achieve your overall objective of helping your searcher.  If this isn’t done you will probably be considered sketchy by the Google crawlers.

Just to be on the safe side you can try to avoid the following:

  • Stuffing your URL and content with keywords
  • Overusing tags in your blog
  • Purchasing links
  • Aggressively adding yourself to directories
  • Producing loads of low quality content
  • White on white text – to stuff keywords or receive inbound links.

These of course are just a few of the tactics to avoid.  The best way to avoid falling into the trap is to remember that if it seems shady or the goal at the time is just to beat the algorithm – not help the reader, then it should be avoided.

With IDX Broker Platinum, ensuring that you achieve your website SEO goal as it makes it a lot easier for you to have it customized to show information relevant to your expertise and areas serviced.