When you used to want to buy a home, you would need to go down to the local real estate offices and flip through a book of their available listings. But now, it is as easy as logging on to your computer to see all of the hundreds of homes that are available in cities like Meadowvale. You can filter your search to find what you need and then all of the information is there to book a showing. But, while you can find the Meadowvale real estate listings on your own without any trouble, there are some lists written by real estate agents that will help you go through them all to find just want you're looking for.
If you are a real estate agent today, you no doubt have a web site, but is it bringing you quality leads. In todays competitive real estate market the statistics tell us that at least 80% of all real estate transactions begin on the web.
Many agents beleive they can put up a web site and the leads will roll in, this is not true. Lets think logically about this. How are people going to know about your web site, in most cases they will go and search in Google, Yahoo or even MSN. They start at the top of the first page with some phrase that they type in and work dwon till they find what they are looking for. In most cases they don’t even look beyond the first page, so normally the first 10 results.
The question is how do you get into those top 10 results and how do you pick your phrases. For most agents the best solution is to employ a company to do this for you, unless you can spare 10-15 hours per week, in most cases the amount a company charges you would be way less than this.
To find out more contact Jennifer Lamb SEO Controller at Avalanche Search.
As we noted in the previous article on page optimization is not just about optimizing for the search engines, it’s also about making the experience for your visitors memorable, so that they want to come back for more and so that they buy from you.
So make your site content rich and something that you would want to visit and read, if you wouldn’t want to visit your own site why would anyone else? Use you key words within your text but don’t make it look like a list of phrases, use them throughout the pages on your site. Once you’ve done this you can concentrate on the other factors.
Make your site W3 compliant, many of the things that W3 makes you comply with help with Search Engine Placement, things like making sure every image has an alt tag, use your key phrases and variants of them here. Make sure that every page on your site has a title that contains at least one of your key phrases and try to make the key phrase the beginning of the title. Make the title on each page unique to that page, from a visitor and a search engine point of view there is nothing worse than a title that says ABC inc.
Use the heading statement with your key phrases, the search engines regard headings as very important, you should also be highlighting these to your visitors so that they know and understand what you are all about. Bold text used correctly is effective form an SEO and a marketing point of view.
Many SEO companies will tell you meta tags are a waste of time and have no relevance, for SEO that may well be true to a point, but ask yourself this, what is the first thing you see after the title in a search engine? You got it, the meta description, so make it informative and sell yourself, this is the sign on the door that says please come inside, and again make it different on every page.
Use colours on your site that make it easy for your visitors to see but don’t go for nasty colours that look over the top, gray or black text on a white or off white background is still the favourite for most business sites, colour around the border works well. Use coloured text for highlighting points.
Another thing I believe in from a true marketing point of view is what I refer to as â€˜The Call To Action’. What I mean here is if you need your visitor to contact you make it easy for them to do it, give them a contact form in their face. If you need them to click a button to buy something make it obvious for them. Have you ever noticed in all the direct marketing stuff you get in your mail everyday they tell you exactly what you need to do. Do the same to you visitors. It works trust me, we have one client who we moved their property request form buried in their site to their home page, their enquiries has gone form one or two a day to around twenty a day.
Remember these are only very broad guidelines, but if you follow them, you will have a successful site. We will cover the off page requirements in our next article.
What is internet Marketing?
We hear these terms thrown around all of the time, but what do they actually all mean. Internet Marketing is the full blown marketing of a web site. This will normally consist of Search Engine Marketing, which can then be broken down into Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising. Internet Marketing also consists of another element which is the web site conversion rates.
Search Engine Optimization.
This is the optimization of a web site to enable the placement of the web site within the search engines results pages, sometimes know as SERPs. This process consists of on-page optimization and off page optimization. We will discuss these in greater detail in later articles that will be published, but they pretty well mean what they say, changes to the actual site that will effect the placement, and other tasks performed away from the site that will effect it’s placement.
Pay Per Click
Pay Per Click is again literally what it says, you pay a third party to advertise your site on their site and every time one of their visitors clicks on your link and visits your site, you pay for that click. The most well know of these is Google’s Adwords. There is also Overture, this is owned by Yahoo and also Microsoft’s Adscenter. These are the big three, you will find others out there and some niche sites also run similar programs. They are particularly useful to gain traffic before your site is placed on the SERP’s. you should be aware that often the competition will click on these links to view your site to see what you are up to. You pay for these clicks also.
Web Site Conversion
This area of internet marketing is often overlooked and not even mentioned by many companies who concentrate purely on the search engine optimization element. However, this is an extremely important element. It doesn’t matter if your site is placed number one for hundreds of excellent traffic bringing terms, if when the visitors arrive they do not convert to sales or leads. We are asked all of the time, why am I not getting sales or calls, my traffic is good, what’s happening. In some cases this can be something as simple as the graphics on the site are uninviting, to the site is nothing more than a bunch of optimized text. The saying â€˜Content is king’ is still true, it may not get you placed without other off page elements, but it will keep your visitors interested. So work on your content before you even start to think about placement and advertising. Once you have great content think about Pay Per Click in the short term and search engine optimization to bring you FREE traffic. Don’t spend money until you are happy with what you have.
If you are going to embark on this project yourself, be prepared to spend up to 10-15 hours a week initially, make sure you use sound practice and obey the syntax rules for good HTML. Good clean code will help you in your quest for a sound internet based business, whether it be in real estate or any other web sales based venture.
In a statement released yesterday Google announced that they have taken steps to prevent Googlebombing, this is the action where sites are found for some specific terms not totally related to their content for example â€˜miserable failure’ would return the Whitehouse site, â€˜liar’ would return the 10 Downing Street site etc.
This has been a problem with the results for a while in that they could be manipulated by using links and in some cases very few links. When asked why they hadn’t responed before the Official Google Webmaster Central Blog, responded by saying :-
“People have asked about how we feel about Googlebombs, and we have talked about them in the past. Because these pranks are normally for phrases that are well off the beaten path, they haven’t been a very high priority for us. But over time, we’ve seen more people assume that they are Google’s opinion, or that Google has hand-coded the results for these Googlebombed queries. That’s not true, and it seemed like it was worth trying to correct that misperception. So a few of us who work here got together and came up with an algorithm that minimizes the impact of many Googlebombs.”
“The next natural question to ask is Why doesn’t Google just edit these search results by hand? To answer that, you need to know a little bit about how Google works. When we’re faced with a bad search result or a relevance problem, our first instinct is to look for an automatic way to solve the problem instead of trying to fix a particular search by hand. Algorithms are great because they scale well: computers can process lots of data very fast, and robust algorithms often work well in many different languages. That’s what we did in this case, and the extra effort to find a good algorithm helps detect Googlebombs in many different languages. We wouldn’t claim that this change handles every prank that someone has attempted.”
At this stage it is hard to say, but from what Google say there are 100 or so Googlebombs that they are aware of. If they are manually flagging them which they say they’re not, how are they picking up these spurious links that are unrelated to the site they link to and likely unrelated to the site they link from. At this point my personal feeling is unrelated may be very related to how Google is filtering so watch how your results may be changing depending on how relevant your links are.