Posts Tagged ‘links’

Understanding Your Google Analytics

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.

real estate seo

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.

Now That You Know…

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?

While these are fairly broad questions without specific answers, you can start to analyze the information provided with Google Analytics by asking yourself:

  • 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.

Simple SEO for Your Blog

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.

SEO your blogHOW TO START:

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.

KEYWORD STRATEGY:

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.”

A screen shot of search engine results for keywords

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 improve user conversionCalls 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.

IN CONCLUSION:

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.

Like, What’s the Deal with All These Like Buttons?

Facebook’s new ‘Like’ buttons explained, in plain English.

By now you’ve probably heard that Facebook has done away with the idea of ‘Becoming a Fan’ of a Facebook Fan Page, and has instead replaced that function with a ‘Like’ button.  So now, you can ‘Like’ a friend’s photo or status update, and you can also ‘Like’ the Fan Page of your favorite businesses or products, such as Boston Logic or Dunkin Donuts.  When you ‘Like’ a Fan Page, it’s the same as ‘Becoming a Fan’ used to be in that you will now receive messages from these Fan Pages in your News Feeds (unless you ‘Hide’ them).  Most people have no trouble understanding this change; it’s more of a name change than anything else, right?  Right.

But what about the OTHER ‘Like’ buttons?  The new ‘Like’ buttons you’ve been noticing on several websites all over the internet, on sites like BostonLogic.com, Yelp.com, NHL.com, Levis.com, etc.  These new website ‘Like’ buttons were announced at the F8 conference this past April and are part of an expansion of Facebook to help you personalize your entire online experience. These new ‘Like’ buttons can be added to any website, even specific and multiple pages of your website.
levis Like buttons

So now, not only can you choose to ‘Like’ the Boston Logic Facebook Fan Page while on Facebook, but you can also choose to ‘Like’ our website, or our blog, or a specific blog post (like just this particular blog about ‘Like’ buttons), or even our listing on Yelp.com when you’re browsing the internet.  Basically, anytime you find one of these new ‘Like’ buttons somewhere on the web, you can click it to show that you ‘Like’ whatever content is on that web page, much like when you share something on Digg or Yahoo Buzz, etc.  But that’s not all!

Facebook Like Button is everywhere

If you’re already logged into Facebook (I know that I, for one, keep a browser page with Facebook up for most of my work day) clicking the ‘Like’ button will post a notice on your Personal Profile Wall (aka Mini-Feed) stating that you’ve ‘Liked’ whatever it is you’ve clicked on and provide a link to that website.  If you’re not logged in, a popup window will appear and prompt you to log into your account, and then a notice with a text link to what you’ve ‘Liked’ posts to your Profile Wall.  If you change your mind, you can click the ‘Like’ button again, and it disappears from your Profile Wall automatically.  You could also go manually delete it from your Wall, but that would not undo your click on the website, so your click would still count on the tally for that button; this difference is actually significant, here’s why:

That ‘Like’ button on the web doesn’t necessarily have to be associated with a Fan Page on Facebook, which is a good thing, because otherwise there’s be a Fan Page for every style of jeans Levis offers!  Instead, the webmaster (or owner) that installed the ‘Like’ button on the website you’re visiting is given an invisible back-end Admin Page (using their personal Facebook Profile ID Number), which actually functions much like any other Facebook Admin Page.

warren-like-admin

From this ‘secret’ Admin Page, the webmaster can see who has clicked on their various ‘Like’ buttons and send out notifications to each group of ‘Fans’ (anyone who clicked any ‘Like’ button) that will appear in each Fan’s Facebook Newsfeeds.  So, even if you never ‘Liked’ or ‘Became a Fan’ of the Levi Jeans Facebook Fan Page, you DID click the ‘Like’ button on the Levis.com website next to that wicked cute pair of shorts- essentially granting Levis permission to send you notifications regarding the shorts you liked or related items, promotions, etc. via your Facebook News Feeds.

facebook-admin-pages

Currently, the ‘Like’ buttons you click while browsing the web don’t show up in your friends’ Newsfeeds, only ‘Liking’ a Facebook Fan Page does.  This is good news for people with lots of interests/ ‘Likes’; you’re friends won’t hate you for spamming them with all your internet window shopping, but you are giving the companies, websites, and brands you’re interested in a quick way of reaching you with cool offers and such on your own terms.

If you DO want to share whatever it is you’ve found to ‘Like’ on the internet in your Friends’ News Feeds, many ‘Like’ buttons display the option to ‘Write a Comment’ once you’ve clicked it.  If you do this, it will broadcast your comment and a link to the page you were on to all your Friends.

i-like-free-seo-advice

So, like, feel free to ‘Like’ what you ‘Like’, like wherever and whenever you want, and share it however you like!

like-buttons-syndicate-to-facebook

To learn more about Facebook’s other new features that you can also utilize for your social media marketing campaign, visit the Facebook blog.  If all this new ‘Like’ button stuff sounds like something you want to implement, but you don’t have the time or know-how, let Boston Logic help you by signing up for an Online Marketing Campaign!

Let’s talk about Yelp baby

I’ve recently learned some new things about YELP and I figure our loyal readers would want to know them too.

Some of you, I’m sure, haven’t heard of Yelp. You should check it out. Here’s a link to our profile on Yelp. Yelp is a site where you can write a review for any business with a physical location. People put up reviews, good and bad, of the businesses that they interact with. I recently reviewed a coffee shop that I like a lot. I mentioned that people like it too much and there’s  a long line almost every time I go, but it’s worth it. This is the kind of real world reviews you’ll see on Yelp.

BTW, we’d love it if you wrote a nice review about Boston Logic on Yelp. Click here to review Boston Logic. Thanks.

Here are some interesting and important facts about Yelp:

Reviews
First, the reviews that show up highest, by default, are the ones written by users who have written a lot of reviews. It’s not just the most recent review. You’ll notice above the reviews and below the profile of a company, there are sort options. The default is “Yelp Sort.” If you want to see the most recent just click on “Rating.” Notice also that there are lots of other ways to sort reviews. I don’t know how much this gets used, but while you’re on there, you may as well play around. If you like a review, then you can click “useful” the nice thing about this is that you can sort reviews by how useful other folks have found them.

Bad Reviews
Business owners, if you get a bad review, it’s not the end of the world. First of all, I’ve noticed that truly mean and bad reviews are usually short and often put up by people with fake accounts or accounts with little personal information and fake names. My account is linked to my Facebook account. So, I’m standing behind anything I say. Also, you can flag a review. This won’t make it go away completely, but it can put the review off your page and mostly out of reach of people. The casual user would need to dig in order to find it.

Paid Ads
Next, Yelp does sell paid ads. Or, really, they offer a ways to make your profile on Yelp more prominent and more engaging. For example:Yelp search

  1. You can pay to have your listing appear at the top of search results. This is like using Adwords to have your link come up on the first page of Google’s search results.
  2. You can also pay to enhance your profile. So, if someone does find your biz on Yelp, then they’ll be more likely to stick on that page and maybe pick up the phone and call you.
  3. Also, it should be noted that Yelp has tile ads on their home page and tower ads on other pages.

Social Network
Also, Yelp is more than just a site to post reviews. They’re a social network too. You can upload photos of yourself, give more details about your life, “friend” other members, become a fan, send a compliment, follow someone, and send a message all within Yelp. I’m not too sure how much this stuff gets used by the average user, but I’m sure the power users are making good use of it.

Like all Social Media sites, Yelp’s value increases as more people use it. If all anyone did was write a review, it would just be opinions stacking up. But Yelp has taken the time to make the more relevant content come up first. In some ways, this makes them a go-to search engine when looking for something great. I’ve often complained that Google is great for finding information, but horrible for rating that information’s quality, trustworthiness, and value.  Sure you can find pizza using Google, but there could be a great pizza place around the corner from you that has no website! This means it’ll never come up on Google at all!

Yelp is showing you the reviews by people who do the most reviewing and by the nature of the site and its use base, they’re probably showing you a more comprehensive results set. If you’re looking for a service provider, I highly recommend Yelp.

Competitors
To be fair, I wanted to point out a few Yelp-like sites. Maybe I’ll write a comparison post soon?!?

YELP PR PEOPLE – I’m sure you’ll find this article. Would love some feedback, thoughts, etc? Tell us how Realtors are using Yelp?

It happens in real life and on the web

Lots of folks wonder why the search engines have written their algorithms in certain ways? Folks ask us how and why social media is going to help them build their brand and generate new business? The high level answer to much of this is that most of this actually parallels a real life situation. The analogs are quite stark. In this post, we’ll examine a few of them.450px-orange_question_marksvg

In the SEO realm, there are lots of factors that affect ranking. Many of them actually digital analogs to the pieces of evidence that we all look for when evaluating the quality of a potential service provider.

URL Age
Do you want to hire the guy who’s been in the business for 6 months of 10 years? I think the answer is simple. All other things being equal, the search engines are going to rank the site that’s been around longer higher.

Links
Well, as we know, quantity of links is not as important as the  QUALITY of those links. That said, a link is like a vote. The more votes you have, the better off you are. Still, people tried to exploit this and just get as many links as possible. So, not all votes are created equal. i.e….

Link Qualitygood-links
If you wanted to buy a new car, would you take a survey of your friends? Or might you go to your 1 friend who really knows a lot about cars and ask for their expert opinion. Most of us would go straight to that friend. To us, they are the authority on automobiles and their “vote” is more valuable than 10 votes from friends who don’t know anything about cars.

Google uses some sophisticated analysis to determine which sites are authorities. If there’s a website about BMWs and on that site there are links to another site about BWMs, then that other site about BWMs will rank well for the term BWM. The Search engines also look at the text in the link itself. If the link reads Ford Cars, then the search engines conclude that this link points to a page about Ford Cars. Similarly, if the link reads BMW, it’s like the originating site, where the link resides, is voting for the other site in the search results for the term BMW.

New Contentquil
Search engines want to see new, unique content. Why, well, which report do you trust: A report about the best cars on the road from 2004 or a report on the best cars on the road from 2009? Similarly, 2 reports about the best Realtors in the neighborhood might give me the same ranking order, but one might give me more detail as to why someone is ranked at the top of the list. Most of us would like to see the supporting details. So would the search engines.

Unique Content
If all you do is republish everyone else’s content, then why should I ever visit your site? Republishing content, with today’s technology, is relatively easy. If anyone can do it, then many sites will republish the same old content. Why would Google want to send you to one of those unoriginal sites over another. Instead, they’re going to send you to the site with the most unique content and with the most recent posts on it.

Social Media Profiles
Smart consumers do their research. We want to know more about a real estate agent than where they work and what their sales performance looks like. These days, it’s not that hard to look someone up and check them out. Make sure that what they’re going to find looks good. Update your Linked-In profile and your Facebook page. If you are trying to sell the clients on your use of technology, then you better have a Twitter account and your tweets should be relatively current. Google your name and see what comes up. If it’s not flattering, you’re liable to lose a client as a result of the fastest background check in the world.

Social Media Connections
Are you a networker? Do you gain much of your real estate business by relationship and referral? Lots of us do. Social media is an analog to what you’re doing already. Thing is, you can network in your jammies on a Sunday morning. Get connected, remind people you exist and what you do,  and don’t forget to make it personal. Have a real interaction with them. Don’t just friend them or follow them or link to them, ask them how they’re doing and if there’s anything you can do for them. They may just have a job for you.

BLOG!rss
This one is maybe the most powerful. When you blog and give people insight, they immediately begin to see you as the expert. The more you blog and the more you educate your readers, the more you will position yourself as the expert. If you blog about real estate, when it comes time to buy, the customers will come to you for help in buying their new home.

To boot, blogging means generating more new content. As I said above, more content means better search engine ranking. Blogging is essential to good SEO…Just one of the many benefits.

Thanks for reading our blog. Have a good weekend.

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