Posts Tagged ‘real estate search engine optimization’

Normalizing Search Engine Traffic Reporting

We’ve all known about Google Trends for a while. I’ve had a thought about using Google Trends to normalize our search engine optimization campaign reports. Let me explain.

If your campaign is producing 1000 visitors per month in month 1, then 1100 in month 2, then 1200, that’s great. Let’s say that the trend in month 4, 5, 6 then goes 1200, 1150, 1100. Well, that’s not so good, it was going up ~10% per month, now it’s falling about 5% each month. Well, if the site is optimized around a set of target search terms, and then other traffic comes from halo terms, then to assume that the SEO is providing more or less traffic is also to assume that search volume for this family of terms is constant.

If we used Google Trends to normalize, we might find that the number of times a term was searched on fell 15% during those down months. So, the 10%/month upward trend was actually sustained.

google-trends

Another way to look at this is to simply ask, what percentage of potential clicks did you get? If this percentage is trending up, then you’re in good shape. This means you’re taking more market share.

Another way to think of this is the following: Let’s say that you’re doing search engine optimization for a site that sells air conditioners. Let’s further assume that you start the SEO campaign on January 1st. Well, no one is really looking for AC units in January. Then, in April, you start to see an upward traffic trend, it goes higher and higher and peaks in August. Then, by mid September, you’re not seeing any traffic from the search engines. You start Googling around and see your site, but no visitors.

Well, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that people just aren’t buying air conditioners in October. So, you’d pretty much expect to see less traffic. In this case, the best way to judge if the SEO campaign is succeeding is to either look a target terms and catalog placement in search engine results pages, or to normalize your numbers. Take a benchmark at the beginning of the campaign, say a ratio of traffic to searches, then, each month you’d want that ratio to climb. This way, you’ll know if your SEO is working, regardless of market trends.

Outdoor

Outdoor can work. Here’s a great example:

outdoorWhen you want to reach a mass audience with a geographically targeted message, Consider outdoor media.

Now, you may be puzzled why we’re writing about outdoor on an SEO and online marketing blog? Well, first, here are some reasons we love outdoor:

Have a look at the billboard in the photo above. That’s quite a message. It’s in a place where this woman knew her husband would see it. Well, so did another 250,000 people. Let’s call the woman the advertiser and the man her market. Well, she had a very targeted market and she get her message right to them. Imaging your perfect customer. Is there somewhere they go all the time (other than Google). Can you catch them when they’re looking for what you’re selling?

Next, outdoor is highly geographically targeted. Now, with Google adwords, you can pick, in a pretty precise way, the areas where your ads will show up. If you’re doing SEO, and you want to get local, you’re going to need to pick localized terms. The nice thing about this strategy is that the more specific you get, the better your customer will be. Also, these hyper specific terms are easier to rank for and cheaper (if you’re using PPC). They just get fewer searches then some of those marquis terms.

So, here’s why I don’t like Outdoor:

It’s hard to change your message. If you spend $10,000 putting up a billboard, you’re stuck with it. The cost to put up a different billboard is quite prohibitive and it’s going to throw your ROI calculations into the red. By contrast, PPC campaigns can have different language running in about 5 minutes.

Just the other day, i saw a billboard that said BUY MORE CARPET is huge letters. Then, there was some language, in much smaller font, telling you who put up the ad. The problem is, I can’t for the life of me remember whose ad it is. Also, they don’t want you to just buy more carpet. They want you to buy more from them. So, if the ad had said:

BUY MORE CARPET
(from us)

This would have been more effective.

I guess the folks who put up this ad were going for laughs, but all they had to do was work their name into the joke and then they’d get a lot more bang for their buck. Dunking Doughnuts has a good slogan “America Runs On Dunkin.” If they’d made the slogan, “America Runs On Doughnuts” it wouldn’t have been nearly as effective.

I just feel really bad for that carpet company. By the time they figure out that their message isn’t helping their brand, it’ll probably be too expensive to change. Luckily, the woman who bought the billboard in the photo above doesn’t need to change her ad, even if the message never reaches her audience. I don’t think she really cares.

Real Estate SEO, the en vogue investment for the fall season

Every year we notice a trend. Real Estate brokers and agents from back from their summer vacation with new knowledge. They’ve been reading, we say. They’ve been thinking, we say. The result is that we get score of you great folks asking us for the same things.

Almost without fail, it’s something that we’ve been telling you to invest in for at least a year or two. This year, what are people calling us about? You guessed it Real Estate SEO!thinker

Now, this is not a great big ‘I told you so’ post. We’re not that kind of SEOs. I want to know why the real estate industry just woke up during the summer of 2009? Here are my theories.

Real Estate magazine published a cover story on Social Media. Yes, we got some calls about this, we’re even designing a class around it. But the ripple effect that this had was to send real estate professionals running to the web. There they noticed just how hard it was for consumers to find them. They reasoned that if they had better search engine placement, they’d sell more real estate. It’s not a tough conclusion to draw.

Here’s another theory: after a dismal spring, the real estate brokers realized that they needed to finally cut their print marketing budget and find a new horse to bet on. They’d heard of this thing called blogging and started to write. So, what do these realtors want to know? Why isn’t my blog ranking? Sometime we get, “My blog ranks, but my site doesn’t!?” Of course the answer to these folks is that their blog should be a part of their website. Blogging on blogger.com or WordPress.com is fine, but it’s going to bring the users to those sites and not to your website.

Here’s my final theory. Every fall, real estate brokers and agents realize that they didn’t take initiative in the spring. They were too busy selling homes. They woke up on the first of the year and said, “I’m going to invest in real estate seo this year.” But one thing led to another another and they didn’t get around to it. Now, it’s time to act.

That’s ok, 8 months isn’t so long…

But really, this means that the message got across a long time ago. You didn’t need us to remind you. You just needed to remember that you wanted more leads all along.

Last word: Stay tuned for the new BostonLogic.com launching soon! You heard it here first!

Making some good points about Real Estate Marketing

So, every once in a while, I read an article that makes some great points.

Mike Parker, who I’d never heard of before, wrote an article for Broker/Agent Social network and it touches on a lot of good facts and points. The web address and a link to the article are below.

The article is entitled Traditional Agents Earn $36,700 Annually; Internet Agents Earn $100,000+ Annually. It’s an attention getting name for sure. The article goes on to tell how real estate agents have a lot of trouble existing solely on the money they make from being in the real estate biz. That is, accept for the folks who have embraced the internet.

Now, I don’t agree with everything Mike said. Intelligent and reasonable folks can disagree. That’s fine. But I’m going to highlight some of his points and I also want to look at some of the comments he received.

The best part of the article is that Mike tells us that the average “Internet Agent” makes more than $100,000 per year. Now, I’m not sure that the numbers are quite that high, but let’s assume that the Internet Agent does make a lot more than the average agent. Who is this agent? Well, they get 70% of their leads online. They sell more than one home each month. And lastly – and I don’t really agree with this statement – Mike tells us that they have a positive outlook for the future because, “There are no economic downturns online.” That last quote is not completely true. That said, there’s a reason why we’re seeing Boston Logic’s real estate clients growing in a down market. The reason is online marketing: SEO, SEM, and social media. A general embracing of online strategies to succeed in real estate marketing.

Mike tells us that the AVERAGE Real Estate agent doesn’t get many leads from their website. Well, regular readers of our blog will tell you that we’re not surprised to hear that at all. In one of the comments, a reader says that they have a website and haven’t seen results. Again, no surprise. Mike’s comment in response is really quite spot on. Mike says that it’s likely that the strategy wasn’t implemented properly. Just having a website isn’t nearly enough. Yes, you need to invest in online marketing. Yes, it will cost you money. The Real Estate brokerage business is like any other, you have to invest money to make money.

Next, Mike makes a great point saying that you need professional Real Estate SEO help. He says, “…let someone manage a site built just for you that produces these leads, and that site must employ the best in REAL SEO…” I’m not sure what he means by Real SEO? I’ll assume he means white hat techniques that won’t get you banned from the search engine results pages. Of course, Mike is right on the money. You probably need a professional and you need to have a site that’s build just for you that produces leads. Not some cookie cutter template site. Read our Snake Oil category to learn who not to buy from.

Now, it’s very important that you remember a few things. In order to succeed online – in order to see a return on your investment – you’re going to need a site that gets visitor traffic, you’re going to need a site that generates leads, and you’re going to need to follow up with those leads. I think we’ve posted about a dozen times on just those topics. Here are some recent posts that back up just what the stats from NAR tell us:

Here’s how you can get to Mike’s Article:
http://www.brokeragentsocial.com/article.php?article_id=364

Thanks for reading.

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