Posts in SEO (page 2)

4 Key Features of Effective Real Estate Sites

There are 4 key features of effective real estate sites that every agent should start with.

Creating a real estate site is an important step in establishing yourself as a savvy, experienced real estate professional that can add lots of value to their clients. But not all real estate sites are created equal. There are 4 key features of effective real estate sites that every agent should start with.

To be truly effective, a real estate site should include the following features:

1. An effective agent site should be optimized for Search Engines
To make the most of search engine traffic, you need to have control over your meta tags. Ideally, the company who hosts your website should submit it to major search engines to make sure it is indexed quickly and properly.

2. An effective real estate website should include built-in social networking tools
These tools enable you, and your website visitors, to easily add your website to social networks such as Facebook or Twitter. The best websites also enable you to build widgets that get automatically updated whenever you add or remove a listing. These widgets can be posted to social media outlets including a blog if you have one.

3. An effective agent site should include real-time lead alerts
Immediate follow up on website visits is extremely important. The best agent websites include tools that send your website leads, in real time, to your text enabled cell phone.

4. An effective real estate site gives you easy access to the website’s statistics
Websites are live creatures that require constant tweaking and monitoring. But the only way you can improve your website’s performance and its appeal to prospects is by having access to statistics that show you how people behave on your site. Quality agent sites include live stats that allow you to track where your visitors are coming from and what they are doing on your site. This enables you to tell if a marketing campaign is working.

In addition, your agent site should have a built-in Google Analytics tool that enables you to easily install Google Analytics on your website. This is an invaluable tool that can provide you with lots of info on your site’s performance.

Remember: it’s not enough to have an agent website. Make sure you sign up with a company that provides high quality, professional looking, effective websites.

How to Grow Your Online Presence

According to NAR research, 90% of homebuyers use the internet as part of their search for a new home, as opposed to just 27% who still look in the newspaper. Yard signs factor in to 53% of homebuyers’ search methods. But look at that first figure again. You have to be actively marketing your homes online, and you have to have enough of an online presence that buyers will find your homes, right? So, here’s a quick ‘how to’ on grow your online presence.

“A website is an absolute must for any self-respecting business, and that includes real estate agents,” says Amanda Cornelius, co-founder and CEO of Properties Online.

But a website in and of itself is not enough.

To truly grow your online presence, Cornelius advises, you should ideally have a mix of the following:

1. An agent website. Your agent website is your online business card and resume, and should be used to highlight your achievements, experience and expertise and to provide clients and prospects with valuable information.

2. Single property websites. These focus around a single property, highlighting its features and benefits and providing all the information on that property at one place. Sellers and buyers alike love single property websites , and they are great at helping you to win listings.

3. Social media accounts. You need to have a Facebook page and a Twitter account. Update your social media accounts frequently, add useful info and links, and reach out to new friends and followers weekly. Over a year or so, you can significantly grow these accounts. The beauty of social media is that it functions just like word of mouth marketing, but on a much larger scale.

4. Don’t forget email! Being active and proactive rather than passive when keeping in touch with clients and prospects can make a big difference, and email drip marketing programs are a huge help.

5. Incorporate offline marketing tools. Remember those 53% of homebuyers who looked for yard signs? Custom sign riders, complete with QR codes, are designed to direct people immediately to your website, while also logging and sending their mobile phone number to you as a lead.

“Growing your online presence takes time and patience, but it is also lots of fun and the return on investment is very real,” says Cornelius.

Penguin 2.0

Google SEO plans for your real estate website

Google, as usual, is busy updating and developing its search quality. Summer 2013 will bring several SEO changes, and Matthew Cutts, a member of Google’s Search Quality Team and avid video blogger, says that small to medium businesses will be in a position to reap the rewards of the upcoming changes. In a recent video blog, Matt talks about Google’s SEO plans for your real estate website – by way of Google’s scheduled summer initiatives.

SEO for Google in the coming months is focused around a better quality user experience and better support for webmasters.

Matt specifies “regular” webmasters here – the good guys trying to provide a good web experience. He tells us that if we do our job to provide great and compelling sites that users love, tell their friends about, bookmark, return to and share, that his team will work hard on the other end to support those efforts. Sounds great, right?

Now, creating that great site (if you haven’t done so already) is the stuff of another blog post. For now, I’ll recap Google’s SEO plans for Summer 2013, as told by Matt Cutts.

  1. Google has recently deployed version 2.0 of Penguin. It includes web spam changes that are dedicated to targeting black hat web spam, and to address the practice of black hat web spam in a deeper and more impactful way. Black hat web spam is all about shortcuts and dirty deals – trying to achieve higher page rankings through shady techniques like keyword stuffing and link schemes. These deceptive techniques don’t benefit web visitors at all and can get in the way of your genuine content showing up in a potential client’s search.
  2. Google will also be looking at advertorials that violate its quality guidelines. There will be stronger enforcement on advertorials not floating page rank, and efforts to make it explicitly clear and obvious when a link ranks high because it’s paid, not because it’s organic.
  3. Queries will be cleaned up in several ways – expect better results on your searches by the end of the summer.
  4. Work continues on net generation detection of hack sites. Key to this area of development is the roll out of better communication with webmasters and the release of single source of webmaster tools. If you’ve been hacked, it’s going to get a lot easier to get the help you need, as Google will also provide more concrete examples and more sample URLs for diagnostic purposes.
  5. And one last exciting development is that Google is working on a lot of ways to detect if someone is an authority in a specific space. So if you really are a real estate expert, and you’ve done a bang up job of conveying that expertise through your website, you’re going to rank higher.

“We’ve got a lot of changes to help small- to medium-business,” says Matt.

“High five,” I say.

Single Property Website

Boosting Your Online Visibility: Tips & Tricks

If you’re a real estate agent reading this blog, chances are you already have a properties website or websites. If not, what are you waiting for?? Getting your properties online is crucial for boosting sales, visibility and credibility. Let’s face it – your online marketing is just as important (if not more) as the offline marketing.

But how can you be sure potential clients and buyers actually see you and your properties online? Here are some tips for boosting your search engine rankings:

1. Keywords: Start here. Don’t pepper your site with too many keywords, that will just make it appear generalized to Google, and you won’t reap any benefit. Instead, carefully select around four or five keywords total that you want to prioritize on your site. Think locally. You’re probably not trying to compete with a national organization. Tailor your keywords to your local market. Think strategically.

2. Analytics: Without a way to track results accurately, whether you’ve chosen the best possible focus keywords is hard to determine. Sign up for Google Analytics to learn a lot about your site and how it’s performing. Your web analytics will show you your increasing traffic and help you to determine which keywords and which strategies are producing the highest number of new customers.

3. Visibility: To boost the work your site is doing, you’ll want to up your visibility elsewhere on the web. A great way to achieve this is through blogging. It takes time to do it well and often, but the payoff can be huge. Start by ensuring that the root domain of your blog is your website, and opt for a quality SEO plugin tool to help guide you in adding keywords to your blog posts.

4. Content: If you struggle to find something relevant to say every day, share the blog load with others on your team! If you’re a sole proprietor, considering hiring a writer. And remember, content isn’t just text. On your website and blog, make sure your visitors will find thing visually stimulating. That means adding photos, images and videos. Set up a branded YouTube channel and put it to work!

5. Research: Your online presence can grow tremendously, with a little or a lot of effort. Explore Facebook, Google+ and other social networking tools. Look into smart technology that allows you to market single properties beautifully – complete with Craigslist, video, mobile technology and Facebook apps built right in. Or market multiple properties, or properties and yourself all at once! You don’t have to be a web wizard, as long as you set yourself up with the right tools.

Smart Linking Increases Real Estate Website Effectiveness

The internet, mobile technology and social media offer powerful tools that can help you grow your real estate business. But, as we’ve been discussing recently, real estate agents and brokers must not only choose technology tools wisely; they must take steps to maximize the effectiveness of the tools they employ if they wish to reap the significant benefits these tools offer. Smart linking is one of the fastest and easiest ways to increase the return you obtain from your technology investment.

Establishing solid links between your real estate website, mobile website, Facebook business page, listing domains, Twitter feed, blog and any other web-based tools you employ provides the following benefits:

  • Providing potential clients with multiple access points to your services widens your proverbial “net,” ensuring that you will “snare” sellers and buyers no matter what media they use.
  • Linking all of your online, mobile and social resources back to your agent website and providing links from your website to other resources allows potential clients to move freely between platforms and access information from whatever application they are using. The more convenient your site is to use, the more return traffic — and ultimately clients — it will attract.

Ensuring seamless linking between all of your real estate technology tools is just the beginning. To improve linking effectiveness, follow these linking tips:

  • To build your reputation as a real estate expert and attract visitors to your own website, regularly post comments on popular real estate forums and blogs, always linking your comments back to your website.
  • Establish reciprocal links to outside sources to boost the number of inbound links on your website to at least 20. Inbound links — links posted on other websites that refer site visitors back to your website — enhance your reputation as an expert and increase search engine result rankings.
  • Post and link to source material on other websites.
  • Publish periodic online press releases that link to your site.
  • Regularly test links to ensure that all links remain active.