Archive for the ‘Sequoia’ Category
Here at Boston Logic we set up a LOT of new websites for our real estate clients. We also perform a lot of website-upgrades, switching existing website URLs over to our Sequoia platform and implementing 301 Redirects in order to help ensure a smooth SEO transition to your new real estate website.
In helping our clients switch to a new website, we often have to coach our new users through the process of adding a new user to their Google Webmaster Tools account, especially now that Google Webmaster Tools has recently upgraded it’s appearance. So, I decided to write this step-by-step guide with screenshots to help our clients (and all of our readers) with the process.
How to Add a User to Your Existing Google Webmaster Tools Account
1. Log into your Google Webmaster Tools account at:
2. See the “Home” screen on the left sidebar of your Dashboard.
3. Click on the drop-down arrow next to the ‘Manage Site’ button of the website you wish to add a new User to. (You may only have 1 site listed on your dashboard, or several like the example above.)
4. This will bring you to the ‘Verification Details’ screen for that particular website. This screen shows the Verification Attempts history for the account, as well as listing the Verified Owners. Scroll to the bottom of this screen and click the ‘Add an Owner’ button in the lower left corner.
6. The User you just added will now appear in the Verification History section.
If you want to remove a User, just return to this Verification Details screen, and click the ‘Unverify’ link next to that User’s email address on the list of Verified Owners.
I hope this was a helpful and useful guide to those who are new to navigating Google Webmaster Tools! Be sure to subscribe to this blog, along with our Sequoia System blog, for more hints, guides, and advice on how to better leverage your website platform.
In a recent research webinar presentation from Hubspot on Inbound Marketing, one of the most impressive data revelations was the amount of leads that corresponded to the amount of blogging the company did.
As you can see from the graph below, the numbers are quite impressive – those who blog daily receive 89% more leads than those who only blog once a month (49% customer acquisition). These numbers also happen to back up what we always tell our real estate SEO clients: blog consistently and regularly! It can sometimes be difficult to get clients to blog at least once a week, but when you blog once a month, not only does it not impress the visitors that come to your site, but you will also get less leads. And we know that leads for real estate brokers and agents is extremely important.
This also begs the question, “But HOW can we blog multiple times per day?” It’s really a matter of getting into routine and a mindset. Make a time commitment to blog as soon as you wake up, or to blog when you get home from work – and make it fun. You’re the expert: blog about what you think your clients want to read about while assuring your expertise as a real estate agent or brokerage.
Blogs also don’t have to be lengthy books of content and text: in fact, users prefer smaller blogs which contain helpful information for them. Being in real estate, consider the amount of questions you get from buyers and sellers: if these are in email form, you can literally copy and paste their question and response into your blog – done!
Blogging and real estate SEO are as easy as ever with our Sequoia real estate websites and integrated WordPress blogging system. If you are interested in a new real estate website or wish to inquire about our SEO services for your real estate website or blog, contact Boston Logic today!
Graph Source: The 2011 State of Inbound Marketing, Hubspot
We have always recommended to our clients that they have Google Analytics installed on their real estate websites. We’ve even given great step-by-step instructions on how easy it is to set up Google Analytics on the Sequoia Real Estate Website platform. So let’s say that you’ve done it: now what?
In order to successfully interpret Google Analytics, you need to understand analytics terminology and language. Defining the information available to you is a great first step in understanding the effect of your web presence.
- Visits - the number of times a person interacted with your website, or the number of sessions on your site
- Bounce – the number of people who instantly left your site after visiting it
- Page Views - how many pages users clicked on and viewed in the total amount of visits
- Pages Per Visit - the total amount of pages in each specific visit
- Average Time on Site – how long people stayed engaged on your website
- % of New Visits - how many sessions or interactions were from first time visitors
Google Analytics Traffic Sources
Traffic to your real estate website comes from many different online sources. Direct traffic refers to the people who already knew about your website, and came to it by typing in your real estate website’s URL into their browser, or had your site bookmarked.
Referring Sites are other outside websites that are directing traffic to your website. The referral traffic can originate from blogs or affiliates that link to your site.
Search Engines, such as Google and Bing, are the online tools that allow users to search for any topic simply by typing in a word or phrase. When you are looking at the “search engine” category, note that this includes both organic and paid traffic. Organic Traffic is traffic coming from search engines: that is, the search engine combed your website and produced organic results to the user. Your Paid Traffic includes traffic from any online advertising campaigns that you are running, such as Google’s PPC, Adwords.
With this information, you can better understand what your web analytics tool is trying to tell you. Now, what do you do with it? How can you analyze this information so you can implement some of the data’s suggestions on your website?
- What are the trends that you notice in your website’s data?
- Where is recent growth coming from?
Similar to online survey data analysis, the key to implementing positive changes for your website that will help you continue to grow comes from asking the right questions and responding appropriately. The more that you practice using the analytics tools, you will continue to discover areas of improvement for your real estate website, and reacting to your data will become second nature.
Optimizing your blog for search engines is similar to optimizing your website. With a little planning and effort, your blog will give your SEO efforts a big boost! It will take some time to establish yourself as a reliable information source in the blogosphere, and the more relevant blogs you post with valuable content, the sooner this will happen. We try to encourage clients to blog twice each week.
You want each blog post (or web page) to focus on one subject or topic. Your topic should be fairly focused because you want to keep your readers engaged and make sure you leave yourself topics to cover in future blogs, too! This will also help you determine which keywords each blog post should try to incorporate.
Much like writing a research paper in school, you should develop an ‘Introduction’, ‘Body’, and a ‘Conclusion’ or ‘Call to Action’ to get the reader to engage in your site further, and become a Lead.
Read our blog on developing subjects to blog about if you’re stumped on what to write about.
If you want to optimize your blog, you’re most likely also optimizing your website as well, and you are using your blog as a way to increase traffic to your website and get new leads. When developing your website/ blog optimization strategy, you need to determine your list of ‘keywords’ (or phrases) that you will focus your optimization campaign around.
Your keywords will be terms you think potential clients you’d like to reach would type into a search engine while looking for your services. For example, if you are a broker focusing on student apartments in the Fenway neighborhood, you might choose a keyword like ‘Fenway apartments’ or ‘Fenway student apartments’.
There are a variety of free online tools you can use to learn about the popularity of the terms you are considering using and also to get suggestions for new terms. You can also view the presentation from our Logic Classroom about Long Tail Keywords and Keyword Strategy to learn more.
I’VE GOT MY KEYWORD LIST, NOW WHAT?
It’s important to try to keep these terms in mind when writing your blogs, and develop blog topics that incorporate these words to help improve your site’s organic search engine ranking for them. As a result, more visitors interested in what you’re selling (Fenway student apartments) will find your blog, and therefore your services, more easily.
You want to use your keywords in as many places as possible, such as in the URL of the page, in the Title of the Page, in the Header, etc. without being ‘spammy.’ If you want to learn more about keyword placement on your website, please read this blog about optimizing your website with keywords.
PRACTICAL TIPS FROM THE PROS:
Meta Titles: It’s always good to add your company name to the end of your Meta Titles, such as ‘Extremely Relevant Meta Title Here | My Company Name’ to help increase your brand awareness. You always want the Meta Title to be in ‘Title Case’ (instead of all lower case) so it looks good to a reader because they do see your Meta Titles in search engine results and at the top of the page in the browser tab. Search Engines typically only index the first 65-70 characters or so (including spaces) of your title, so make sure the important keywords are towards the beginning.
Meta Descriptions should also include your keywords. Your descriptions should be a brief summary (approx. 160 characters) of what your blog post or page is about. You should write it using proper punctuation and grammar because the descriptions are seen by visitors using search engines and by search engines to understand what your page is about. Here is an example of a description I might use for this blog post:
“Learn how to optimize your blog using these helpful tips on keyword strategy, meta data, and more to help increase your website traffic and capture more leads.”
Links: When you add a Hyperlink leading to another page from your blog, especially in the beginning or middle of your blog post, I prefer to have the link open a new window or tab in the visitor’s browser instead of replacing the page they are on (your extremely interesting and informative blog). This is easy to do with a Boston Logic Sequoia real estate website.
When you create your hyperlink, be sure to click onto the ‘Target’ tab when you are entering the Link information in the Link popup window. This tab will allow you to choose if you want the link to appear in a new window, and also provides the opportunity to name the link- which is great for SEO. I’ve attached screen shots to help walk you through it. Making the links bold is a good idea, too, because search engines know to considered words in bold to be highly relevant to the content of the page. Just don’t go making everything bold or it will lose its effectiveness (and annoy readers).
It is better for your SEO (and human visitors) if the links are using relevant keywords, not just ‘click here’, and if the link leads to a page that has those words or something similar in the URL and page title. For example, if you were writing a blog about the amenities of the Fenway neighborhood you could mention ‘ living in an apartment in Fenway’ and make ‘apartment in Fenway’ an internal link to your ‘Fenway Apartments’ Town Page.
Categories: Blog categories are not as important to SEO as some of the other elements mentioned, but they are VERY important to your visitor’s experience. If you have relevant blog categories that are well-organized (you can have ‘parent’ and ‘sub’ categories) and make it easy for readers to find what they are looking for, they will be more likely to read several of your blog posts and return for more information in the future.
You want to make sure you make a category for each of your keywords, and that you are putting blog posts into every category they are related to. Visitors will see and use these categories when searching your blog, so don’t just add your posts to categories for the sake of trying to increase ranking on certain keywords because it will actually hurt your SEO if visitors are regularly bouncing from your blog when they find that it’s unrelated to the keywords they typed into their search engine.
Meta Tags, again, are not as important to SEO as the content, Titles, Descriptions, and Links, but they are still worth putting effort into. You want to make sure you’re not wasting your meta tag space with extremely broad, single word keywords such as ‘luxury’ or ‘Boston’, however, because they will not help your SEO. Instead, try to be creative and use more targeted keywords, such as ‘Boston luxury apartment’. You want to make your tags as specific and relevant to the post/ page as possible.
Also, be careful with where you place the commas in your list of meta keywords. For example, if you entered ‘Mandarin, Oriental’ into your keyword list, that’s actually telling the search engines that you are using the two words separately ‘mandarin’ and ‘oriental’. Instead, you should keep the name of a building as one key-phrase by not putting a comma between the words you want to be seen as together, like ‘Mandarin Oriental’.
Calls to Action: One final suggestion is to leave the reader with some sort of internal link and a call to action to keep them engaged. Each blog should strive to do this in some way, even just ‘Contact a trusted advisor for more information’ with a link to the blogger’s email or a link to the Contact Page.
Having a blog is a great way to add fresh and informative content to your website to help potential clients find your website and see that you are a knowledgeable leader in your industry. You need to create a list of relevant keywords (or phrases) to help you focus and organize your blogging strategy and bring you the type of readers you are hoping to find and convert to leads.
If you take the effort and time to optimize your blog, and consistently blog at least twice each week, you will begin to see an increase in your search engine ranking and site traffic as a result.
If you have any questions regarding optimizing your website and blog, or wish to learn more about the services we provide, please feel free to contact the Boston Logic Marketing Department.
Jack Conway & Co., the largest independently owned real estate firm in Massachusetts, came to Boston Logic in need of a major upgrade to their Web presence and real estate software. Our real estate web design and development teams responded with a best-in-class offering – creating a fresh new design and building it on our Sequoia platform – which recently received a host of substantial upgrades. (Read more about the myriad improvements of Sequoia here). Moving onto the Sequoia Real Estate Website platform gives Jack Conway access to powerful lead management tools and an industry-leading user interface.
The Sequoia platform continues to evolve to meet our customers’ needs. In the last month, we’ve added numerous features which make managing leads and tracking information across multiple offices in a large real estate firm simple and intuitive. All of this is of course in addition to the outstanding features which brought Jack Conway to the Sequoia platform in the first place – features which make it easier than ever to obtain leads and close deals. Integrating lead and content management, IDX property search, interactive user tools, deal tracking, blogging, live chat, and much, much more, the Sequoia platform serves as the foundation for the most advanced real estate websites in the industry.
In 2010 Jack Conway & Co. was once again named the No. 1 independent, privately owned real estate brokerage company in all of Massachusetts by RisMedia. With the Sequoia platform behind their new site, they will undoubtedly benefit from their substantial new ability to generate sales online.
Jack Conway is the largest independently owned real estate firm in Massachusetts, serving communities from the North Shore to Cape Cod.