The Three Pillars of SEO: Strategy, Technology & Content- Part II

Rolled out of a 4 part blog edition, we’d like to breakdown what SEO really means and entails for Real Estate professionals trying to stay ahead of the game. Served up as digestible nuggets of information and tactics to employ, we’ll cover what we think should be top of mind as you consider an SEO strategy, the technology behind it, and the content production involved- all with end goal of increasing your web presence and remaining competitive online!

Last week, we kicked off with “The What & Why?” of SEO…

Now Let’s Talk Strategy

Getting found at the top of the search engines results is unfortunately not a black and white endeavor. While Google does use a mathematical algorithm to determine where certain search terms rank on a page, these equations are constantly changing in nature. It’s fair to say it would be impossible to keep up with all the calculations, particularly when you have a business to run. But there are some good places to start, and with due diligence and time, you can compete for a findable spot.

The most common mistake that SEO novices make is to assume that everyone types the same keywords into Google. That’s just not true! In fact, well-optimized websites see visitors who type in tens of thousands of different keywords.

Google Algorithm Trends

Even though you’ll never be able to dream up every term that someone might search on, that’s ok, because you don’t have to. A properly optimized site will rank in the results for tens of thousands of terms. So, your site will be found by people who search on all sorts of keywords, not just the ones you can think of.

Focus, focus, focus!

Still your site should be focused on the markets you serve and the kinds of buyers and sellers you want to work with. For agents, we always recommend to focus, focus, focus! If you work in Los Angeles, for example, there are literally thousands of realtors who might try to rank on page 1 in Google for a term like ‘LA Homes.’ Why set yourself up for all that competition? Pick a few smaller towns and neighborhoods you know. Focus your efforts. Then, you’ll start seeing the leads come in for buyers and sellers who want to own or sell in the markets that you know best.

Now that you’ve done your research, and you’ve got a pretty good strategy mapped out- what’s next? Our next edition will focus on the technology component of SEO. A blueprint isn’t any good without a foundation- like a house built on cement, a good SEO strategy needs to be backed with the right technology.

Learn more about how Boston Logic helps Real Estate professionals map out successful SEO strategies and run online marketing campaigns that produce results!

The Three Pillars of SEO: Strategy, Technology & Content- Part I

Rolled out of a 4 part blog edition, we’d like to breakdown what SEO really means and entails for Real Estate professionals trying to stay ahead of the game. Served up as digestible nuggets of information and tactics to employ, we’ll cover what we think should be top of mind as you consider an SEO strategy, the technology behind it, and the content production involved- all with end goal of increasing your web presence and remaining competitive online!

Let’s Start with the “What” & “Why”

Search Engines are the single biggest source of traffic for most websites. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) can be simply defined as the process of getting found on search engine sites like Google, Bing, and Yahoo! On the technical level, SEO considers how search engines work, what people search for, the actual search terms typed into a search bar, and which searches are preferred by your targeted audience.

Why is it Important?

Well, h2001 pie chart imageere are the facts: According to NAR’s 2010 “Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers”, 89% of home buyers searched the internet ‘frequently’ for a home in 2010. And the share of home buyers who found their home on the internet jumped from 8% in 2001 to 37% 2010. Not surprisingly, these numbers are continuing to grow.2010 pie chartWhat Does it Get Me?

The next logical question is, “what exactly does SEO get me?” It gets you LEADS. And not just any leads…but qualified leads. These are the buyers or renters searching for specific types of properties in specific markets – and when they do search you want to be found right at the top of the search engine results.Capturing LEADS

Finally, SEO is a rare marketing medium. For most marketing media, consistent investment will get you consistent, flat returns. This is much like renting a home. You pay a fixed rent and you get a place to live. When you invest in SEO, you’re constantly building on your earlier investments. This is like buying a home instead of renting. Your dollars build equity. A well implemented SEO campaign sees better and better results as time goes on. Your website traffic and lead count goes up and up and up!

Stay tuned for the next edition, and we’ll talk STRATEGY.

Want to learn more about how Boston Logic helps Realtors deploy a comprehensive and successful Online Marketing campaign? Contact our Marketing Team today! (There’s no pressure, we promise).

8 Types of People to Connect With on LinkedIn

Chances are that when you first joined, only a few people in your “circle” were on LinkedIn- but it’s popularity has steadily increased creeping towards the popularity of Facebook. It’s become a pretty user-friendly interface with options to import your contacts and integrate your social media profiles as much (or as little) as you want. So if you haven’t done so already, take a morning off the Social Network to sync your circle with LinkedIn.

Two things to keep in mind before taking the plunge…

BE SELECTIVE with your professional network. Take the time to go through all your contacts before inviting them to connect. Don’t import people from your various accounts that may be detrimental to your image; like business ventures that didn’t go well, or that ex of yours you don’t talk to anymore, or that person from high school that posts inappropriate anecdotes to his Twitter Feed (which he has syndicated with LinkedIn). Your connections reflect upon who you are. While LinkedIn is becoming more ‘socialized’- leave the merely social to Facebook and be selective of your ‘professional network’.

BE CREATIVE with your network, too. Think outside the box! Your LinkedIn NetworReading List on LinkedIn Profilek should be a lot more than just the people you worked with at the last few jobs. Fill out your Reading List (by Amazon), join interesting Groups, write a unique Summary (with some of your resume keywords of course), and add impactful Experiences outside of your career track.

Here’s some suggestions to start widening your circle:

1. Teachers. Find and connect with teachers you had good relationships with in  school. Or, if you’re still in school- get it while it’s hot! It’s a great place to start with asking for Recommendations if you haven’t yet entered the workforce full time.

2. Fellow Students. If you had group projects, or were in a cooperative setting, having a classmate or two vouch that you’re a team player who can meet or beat expectations is something prospective employers will notice.

3. Successful Friends and Relatives (i.e. your “mentors”)- there’s a ‘friends’ option to request a connection on LinkedIn for a reason. It doesn’t matter what industry they’re in or what kind of job of they have- it’s always good to be connected to people with lots of connections! The six degrees of LinkedIn separation never cease to impress me. Oh, and the, “I saw on LinkedIn that you know so-and-so” makes for great office chit-chat or an ice-breaker on an interview!

4. Clients. Request a recommendation for your work on their accounts now, while it’s fresh in their mind and you’re fresh in theirs! Your company might even use it as a testimonial & it certainly reflects well on them too. It will also be a nice accumulation of recommendations over time naturally, instead of a mad-rush if you’re unemployed later.

5. Your ‘Freebies’. This is especially important for consultants, and often overlooked! Make sure to connect with the people you give your advice, support and/or guidance to (i.e. your “mentees”). Maybe it’s a local diner you love, or a charity group you volunteer for- whomever benefits from your knowledge (or simple ambition to be a good person) can repay the favor ten-fold with a recommendation on LinkedIn!

6. Co-workers. It doesn’t need to be an obvious swap- but pay attention to who you enjoy working with and why, and start giving recommendations. Link Karma will surely come your way.

7. Subcontractors, Vendors, Partnerships. If your company hired another company to do work, and you coordinated frequently with someone on their team, send them a ‘connect’ request! Provide or request a referral from them, depending what the relationship was. You never know when your NEW boss will ask you if you know someone that does ______; and it would be nice to say ‘Yes, I’ll email them now’.

8. People You Don’t Know…Yet. Under your profile Settings, set your privacy controls to be open. It’s beneficial to let anyone and everyone  browse and find you- you never know who might be looking. Also, be sure to carefully indicate who can contact you for what (i.e. reconnecting, business opportunities, consulting, job offers, etc.)- there is an unspoken rule of the acceptance of these intentions.

** Helpful Tip **

A lot of people aren’t sure what to write in their recommendation, even though they enjoyed working with you and are happy to give you one.  Maybe writing is just not their thing, so help them out. Instead of just sending the auto request, give them tips on what to write by saying things like:

“I was hoping you could write a recommendation for me based on the work I did for you on xyz project, particularly about ________ and how we handled ____________.”

OR, if your relationship is more casual, feel free to provide them with a list of bullet points to touch on (i.e. punctuality, organization, creativity, plays well with others, etc.)

Take a little time to get creative and connect. Continuously building your online reputation will establish you as a leader in your space, and as someone who is passionate about who you are and what you do. Chances are you will strengthen your current relationships and job prospects for the future, too.

Is there a group of people to connect with that I’m forgetting? Add them to the comments below!

RE Bar Camp Chicago Recap

Thanks to the folks who made the RE Bar Camp in Chicago possible. Tony, Todd, and others, thank you!

BL attends Chicago Bar CampI have to say that the day was one of the most discussion oriented Bar Camps I have  experienced. Most sessions weren’t lead by any one person. Often, there were people in the session who knew more about the topic and answered a lot of questions, but really, a conversation ensued.

There was no PowerPoint, no white boards, no presentations of almost any type. This certainly made for a different kind of Bar Camp.

The sessions on SEO and Facebook were, in my opinion, certainly lively – but here’s my biggest takeaway, and one that I think a lot of realtors need to realize:

Many Real Estate professionals, especially those over 40 (not to be ageist here…), look at Social Media and the web as a new thing they HAVE to do. Someone at the conference said that they need to start “checking” Facebook 2 or 3 times per day. I think this is a misconception.

Reality has changed. The way we compose a relationship has changed. How we communicate has changed and will continue to evolve. You don’t check Facebook a few times every day, you’re constantly on Facebook. Your phone gives you alerts, and you get emails. Twitter will text you if you want. That’s how it’s been since the beginning. Social Media is a big part of how we relate to one another now.

If the realtors who were at the conference make social media a part of their lives, then they won’t see it as a new marketing medium or a new way to find clients, they’ll see it as a new space for connecting and communicating…with family, friends, clients, corporations, candidates, you name it.

Social media is not a new marketing tool for realtors. Social media is a new part of life. Make it part of yours…

Looking for a good place to start? Check out the last presentation from our LogicClassroom series, Marketing Your Business on Facebook | Logic Classroom May 2011, hosted by our resident marketing expert Angela Davis. And be sure to sign up for the next one on Tuesday, June 14th!

The team and I at Boston Logic are looking forward to another memorable and educational RE Bar Camp in our home town in a few weeks – hope to see you all there!

Why Your Blog is Bad and How to Make it Better

After reading a great – and true – blog post on “7 Reasons Your Blog Sucks (and What to Do About It)”, I had to comment and share my thoughts. Blogging about real estate can often be frustrating: trying to generate interesting, consistent, and good-quality content frequently can be a daunting task. What’s more, that in the real estate industry, readers aren’t exactly actively engaging with blogs or becoming loyal fans and followers.

That’s not to say that this isn’t possible. Usually the problem is either lame content and not being consistent with your content. Don’t forget, it takes more than the bare minimum of just throwing content once a week up on your blog: you are competing for your readers – and potential customers – online attention. And if we know anything about browsing the web, the online reader isn’t a patient one.
blogging for real estate
Here are some top mistakes that we see non-real estate SEO clients make every day, and some tips on how you can think about blogging differently to overcome them.

1.) No content strategy goals

You either don’t have a goal, or are all over the place. Take a minute to think about where you are trying to go with your blog and what statement you want to make. Are you writing to build a brand, build influence, or increase your leads? Your goals will shape your blogging strategy, and you need to make sure this message is conveyed accurately internally.

2.) Internal resources aren’t organized

Who writes your content and manages your social media profiles? My guess is, you’ve got one person for your company that you hope is blogging at least once a week. Identify who this person or team will be, whether its a requirement of all your agents to post once a day, or you and an intern writing once a week. If you don’t have a blog yet, start small and test-run a Sequoia real estate website with blog feature for 6 months to see how your business benefits. Create a solid team, and compile data to have a common ownership of the blog within your company.

3.) Real Estate niche is undefined

As with businesses in general, its so much better to have a specialized niche. The same applies to your blog: the less your posts are all over the place, the less targeted your message and your audience will be. Think about your target market and what they want – now how can you solve their problems? What are they concerned about?

social media real estate business accelerator!

4.) Not listening to your audience or clients

We tell clients that blogging is the best way to assert yourself as an expert in your field of real estate. But how can you position your company as an educator if you don’t know what your clients’ problems are? There are great “listening” tools like Google Alerts or Radian6 that you can employ to be on top of the latest news and issues of your market. From here, you can generate blog material in reaction to what you read.

5.)  Your blog is boring

Here is where we have to be honest. Many real estate agents and brokers are not really writers, and the content your blog pushes out reflects that. It may be worth bringing in some fresh perspective with younger interns or agents that have expressed interest in writing to help stimulate interesting blog ideas to give you different angles to pursue.

Try and be the journalist that attracts your readers’ attention. Stories are everywhere, from interacting with clients to your kid’s dentist appointments. You can also tie in a recent news event or real estate market development: and the faster you are with these, the better. Have a defined, committed point of view – and finish it off with a great headline, like a “How-To” post or “Are You Paying Too Much To Sell Your Home?”

blogging for real estate

6.) Lack of authentic material

People don’t care about press releases. Sorry. They want to talk and leave comments for actual people, not droning company robots. Here’s where speaking about your personal experiences really comes into play – “I just met with this seller, and ran screaming from the house…” These are memorable, and make people connect to what you are writing about. And, clients prefer to work with “real” people.

7.) No publishing system

We emphasize constantly that consistent blogging is horribly important. However, there is a system that should be put into place. It starts by monitoring relevant and trending topics, aggregating the “noise” into relevant topics, creative writing and editing, and ends with measurement with Google Analytics. You need to have this process in a calendar to make sure you meet deadlines consistently, and over time you will become more efficient as blogging becomes part of you or your team’s routine.

8.) No “BOOM!” Ending

Remember in high school when your teacher told you to write a captivating conclusion that leaves the reader in reflection of what they just wrote? Don’t leave your readers hanging. Pull it all together, and throw some punch in there. Also don’t forget to continue the momentum with a strong call-to-action.

So go forth and make your blog the best it can be. Social media sites move quickly, and every reader that bounces of your blog is another opportunity lost. Don’t be overwhelmed by this list: tackle one issue at a time, and over the upcoming weeks your blog will be back on track.

Contact Boston Logic today to inquire about our real estate SEO services, and to learn more about how you can optimize your website, blog, and social media profiles for success!

Source: 7 Reasons Your Blog Sucks (and What to Do About It)

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