As Realtors® consider different approaches to marketing their businesses, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) always comes up as part of any Internet marketing strategy. After all, it’s been proven that 90% of people begin their search for a new home online. The challenge is understanding what SEO is, how it works and how to do it. I hope this serves as a starting point for understanding more about it so you have a better idea of how to integrate it as part of your real estate marketing plans.
I like to think of search engines like Google as I think of a librarian with all of the answers I need to help me find my way through the library. I see Google as my personal librarian, whose available 24/7 to help me find stuff! The only difference between Google and a librarian is that Google keeps track of billions of websites and the librarian keeps track of thousands of books. Each knows exactly where to find what I’m looking for based on filing systems, tags, sections, categories, authors, etc.
Books without proper tagging get lost in libraries and aren’t “findable” by the people looking for them, especially if they are misfiled and out of place. The same holds true for a website. Without proper tagging and good search engine optimization (SEO), it’s not findable to my Internet Librarian, Google.
If I walk in to a library and ask the librarian for a good recommendation on popular suspense/horror type books, leading me towards anything written by Stephen King is a safe bet. He’s a top selling author, his reputation speaks for itself, there’s many books to choose from, his books have become movies, etc. People who enjoy this genre of books will likely enjoy his books, based on longevity, reputation, consistency, etc. The librarian can comfortably stake her reputation on making the recommendation. Search engines work very much the same way. The search engine’s reputation as place to find exactly what you’re looking for online is only as good as the results or recommendations they make. If your librarian keeps making bad recommendations, you’re likely going to find yourself a new librarian, as the one you have clearly doesn’t “get you.”
It’s my personal experience that I can count on Google to help me find what I’m looking for in a sea of billions of websites, so I always go back to Google. Even if I’m already on Yahoo!’s website, I will go to Google when I search, every single time, without fail.
So what does my going on and on about librarians mean to you and your SEO? It means if you want a Google to stake it’s reputation on sending people to your website, it needs to “meet the muster.” It means you have to prove yourself by “showing-up” consistently and making sure they can actually find your site. The search engine needs to be able to check it out, pay the website a visit by having the this can all happen with proper tagging and a good website structure. Also known as good SEO or a search engine friendly site.
Social media consistency, blogging, links from sites like Trulia, Zillow, Active Rain or any other on-line community you participate in also helps Google to know you’re active and currently relevant to the real estate market of the moment. They’re more likely to send you their search traffic if they know you’re actually still in real estate because you’re currently active on-line.
Having good SEO Is not as difficult as it sounds with options like WordPress websites and SEO plug-ins like SEO Tool Box that are easily added to any website. The key is making sure it’s actually done when the site is built so it’s simply part of the structure.
Make sure to get your free subscription to Real Estate Marketing Magazine so you don’t miss the next article in this series about SEO for Realtors®.