Archive for January, 2009

Amazing online marketing study findings. I can’t believe it.

I couldn’t believe it when I read the findings of a study done by Real Estate Book. A national survey of “Top Real Estate Professionals” showed that 75% of marketing budgets were spent on internet marketing, personal websites, and print advertising. The study went on to say that these each made up 25% of the spending. Really!?!

That means that top real estate agents are spending at least HALF of their marketing budget online. This sounds almost too good to be true! We often have a tough time getting the offices we work with to spend half of their marketing budget on SEO, PPC, Email marketing and other online media. Maybe we’ve been preaching about this for long enough and real estate brokers and agents are starting to come around.

Other findings:
Not surprisingly, the study also showed that when ranked against one another, the media with the lowest value to those surveyed were traditional mass media. Those included radio and newspapers. I think that calls for repeating. Real Estate professionals will see the lowest value from traditional mass media, including newspapers.

We’ve said it before, a dozen times on this blog, newspapers do not provide good value for real estate marketing. Our clients still try to tell us that an ad in the New York Times or the Boston Globe will produce leads. Yes, of course they do, but look at what they cost you. Spend the same amount of money on real estate seo or on your Google Adwords budget and you’ll get far better results.

Monthly Budget:
The same study showed that the median real estate professional surveyed was spending $622 each month on marketing. They’re spending half of that on their website and online marketing. That’s $311 per month or $3700 per year per agent spent on the web. That means that the typical office employing 10 real estate agents should be spending almost $40,000 per year on online marketing. Now we’re talking. This math makes some sense. If your budget lines up with this kind of spending, then you’re on the right track.

Now, this money should not be spent by every agent on their own. You should be working together. The study said that these numbers were often based on what the office spent. So, this means that the office was putting their money behind a common campaign. We see fantastic economies of scale for our clients when they work together to invest in great real estate websites and well executed real estate seo.

Search Engine Marketing:
The Real Estate Book study showed that 61% of the real estate professionals surveyed, and these were top real estate agents according to the study, used some kind of search engine marketing. And 25% used social media sites as well. No wonder these are top agents.

Don’t get left behind. Get ahead of these trends. Realize what these numbers would have looked like just a few years ago and know that leading real estate professionals will continue to invest more and more into online marketing media. Be a leader, not a follower.

Thanks for reading.

Starting a conversation

It happens to the best bloggers. Sometimes, you just don’t know what to write about. The first rule of blogging is that you should be creating original, engaging content on a regular basis. But how?

Here’s a simple answer. Start a conversation.

Craft your content so that it elicits responses from your readers. Then, you can react or respond to their comments and questions. Your blog readers will actually give you the topics you’re looking for. Problem solved.

Common question: Why don’t I get any comments on my blog?

If all you ever post on your real estate blog is factual or one way communication then you’re not going to get a lot of responses. Ask questions of your readers. Ask for their input. Your blog should be a conversation with your readers, and not a speech to the silent masses.

Be topical, this will help your Real Estate SEO the most.

In every market, there’s a hot topic! This might change monthly, or weekly, or even daily. If you blog about a timely topic, more people will be searching for information on that topic NOW.

Here’s an example, a client of ours has a real estate website in a town where IBM has a large office complex. IBM recently closed another facility and is moving those employees to offices in our client’s town. Of course, this will have an effect on the local real estate market. This was the post on the home page of his site for a week.

Think about all of the opportunities that this can bring him.

  • People relocating
  • IBMers who want to rent
  • Residents who want to know how this might affect their property value

These are all great opportunities. If you can identify the hot topics and SEO your real estate site around these topics. you will see the benefits of traffic and an active reader audience.

In the end, this all comes down to the age old problem known as writer’s block. Maybe we should start calling it Blogger’s Block?

Tell us your story of blogger’s block and how you get around it. We’ll be sharing the conversation with all of our readers.

A must-have free tool that’s available to you now

If you have not registered your site and/or blog with Google Webmaster Tools, then do it now (well, preferably after you read this). The Google Webmaster Tool is available to you for FREE. It provides you with detailed reports about your pages’ visibility on Google, and registration is simple, just follow the steps. You’re one click away

I find this tool particularly helpful when starting SEO on new site. It shows you a lot about your site, which you otherwise would not be able to track and it helps troubleshoot. It’s like your very own personal web-assistant. Love it!

Truly, at some point you want to take the time to look at everything and familiarize yourself with what it has to offer, but for now here are my top 3 that you must review and use:

1. Content Analysis: This section is under “Diagnostics”. We all know that Meta tags are an important component of a well optimized site. The “content analysis” will give you an outline of any issues that Google may come across while crawling your site. You especially want to make sure that you have no duplicate information. If you have duplicate information (by choice?) then you might as well not have any.

2. What Google bot sees: This section is under “Statistics”. Another fundamental to SEO are “links”. Within the section of “external links to your site” you can track what text is being used within links to your site. If you have any control over the link building strategy I suggest that you ensure that your inbound link text includes your company name and/or mention of your targeted key terms rather than the old favorite “click here”. Depending on what you find within this section you may have do some additional clean up, but at least now you know.

3. Sitemaps: Your website should have a sitemap! A .xml sitemap and a public sitemap. This part of the tool allows you to submit your sitemap directly to Google and if necessary also resubmit it (whereby you give Google a polite nudge). Particularly for Real Estate SEO you want to make sure that you have a dynamically built sitemap which updates on a regular basis to include your most current property listings. Trust, this will tremendously help the number of pages that get indexed in Google.

Like I said, you want to take full advantage of everything Webmaster Tools has to offer, and when you get a chance also take a glance at their blog.

As always give us a shout if you have any questions or need help improving your SEO strategies.

Are you one of the lucky ones?

Maybe you’re one of the lucky Real Estate agents? Maybe you’re the top producer in your office, the name on the sign outside, the envy of the rest of your peers. Well, and may not.

It’s a tough pill to swallow, but most of us are not the top producer in the office. There’s only one of those. In the US, there are 10 agents in the average real estate office. That means that 9 out of 10 agents aren’t the top producing agent. That’s OK. This post is for the 9 of you.

If you’ve been in the business for less than 3 years, if you’re having a slow winter, if you had a slow ’08, then you don’t spend your whole day selling real estate. In fact, in this market, you might spend very little of your time actually selling property or working with home buyers. Your job, for a large part of your day, is to find clients.

If you’re really new to the real estate biz, then your full time job is to find clients, generate leads, learn, and cultivate your own brand. Some day, if you do this diligently and well, you’ll spend very little time looking for your next client.

I want you to know that Real Estate SEO is a fantastic investment of your time and money during this period when you have some time on your hands. If you work at achieving search engine placement now, and you have a quality website, then the leads will come. To quote a classic, if you build it, they will come. It’s true in Real Estate SEO, and you never know, old baseball players may come and visit you.

Anyway, let’s assume you’re one of the 9 real estate agents in the office that is not the top producer and let’s assume that you spend less time with buyers and sellers these days than you used to. You’re looking for a way to spend your time which will ad value to your business and help find you clients. Here are some things you can do:

  • Start a real estate blog and post several times a week about your local market
  • Create market reports on a monthly basis, post these on your blog and send them to your past and potential clients
  • Create pages on twitter, facebook, and Linked-In and link your blog to those pages
  • Make a goal of having 500 people following your business on Twitter.
  • When you get to 500, set a new goal at 2000.
  • Set a goal of having 500 fans for your Facebook page about your business
  • Make sure you write a monthly newsletter.
  • Set a goal of having 1000 subscribers.
  • Make sure there’s a link to subscribe to your your email newsletter on your Twitter page, Facebook page, website, Link-In profile, and everywhere else you can put one.
  • Add social bookmarking links to the pages of your site and the pages of your blog.

These are just a start. There’s a lot more you can do, but let’s talk about the effects you will see:

Many of these tasks will boost your search engine placement. This will, of course, help you generate leads, grow your email list, and engage perspective buyers and sellers. As you grow your email list, each blog post, market report, and newsletter will require the same work, but be more effective since it will be received by more people. The folks who follow you on twitter will be notified when you post on your blog. This will generate traffic for your site.

The more folks who are your fans, follow you on twitter, or on other social sites, the more traffic your site will see. Many of these are link building tasks. They will help boost your referral traffic and your search engine placement. I could go on. Suffices to say that your real estate seo campaign and your overall online marketing campaign will improve. These are not hard tasks, they just take time.

But let’s be honest, right now, you might have some time on your hands.

If you need help with any of this, just let us know. We’re happy to provide guidance and assistance.

Open call – Where are you investing?

Hello faithful readers of RealEstateSEO1.com. I have a question for you, please answer by comment below. Thanks.

Q: How are you investing in order to grow your Real Estate business in 2009?

We want to know what investments you are considering? How your budget allocations are changing? What are you doing to beat a tough market?

Sometimes we can get caught in our own world of SEO and SEM. With a list of clients who are dedicated to technology and online marketing, it’s important for us to reach out to everyone to understand your investment strategy and your plans for growth so that we can help you the most.

We’ll share what we learn with the group and give you honest feedback on your answers.

Thanks – The Real Estate SEO team at Boston Logic.

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