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Archive for Real estate SEO

How to Make Your Real Estate Blog an SEO Powerhouse

Today, we are featuring a guest post from Brad Shorr, Director of Content Strategy at Straight North!

SEO Blogging

Maintaining a blog is quite an undertaking. For a real estate blog to be effective, fresh content has to be posted regularly, high-quality interior and exterior property photos need to be taken, and a variety of marketing efforts must be made to build blog subscribers and generate leads.

If you plan to go through all of this, you should also do everything you can to maximize your blog’s SEO. A well-optimized blog helps get your blog content in front of people when they are in the market for commercial or residential property — and using Google to locate properties or find an agent.

When it comes to SEO, and local SEO in particular, there are 1,001 tactics and techniques that can be used to improve a blog’s organic search engine rankings. Since few realtors have a five-figure SEO budget to do it all, prioritizing SEO efforts is job number one. Here are the most important things you can do to turn your real estate blog into a strong SEO performer.

  1. Do keyword research. It could be worth investing a few hundred dollars in professional keyword research — you must have keywords that people commonly use when searching for what you sell. In addition, your targeted keywords have to be ones for which you can rank; some keywords are just too competitive and a waste of time to go after. A professional SEO knows all the factors that go into the decisions.

For realtors, using a blog for long-tail keywords is a very promising strategy. Big companies are likely to utterly dominate rankings for general real estate keywords — however, if you focus on more specialized keywords, such as “how can I get a mortgage with no down payment”, you stand a better chance of getting a decent ranking.

  1. Create blog posts dedicated to one to three target keywords. Trying to incorporate too many keywords will probably confuse the bots that Google sends to your blog to figure out what your post is about. And, of course, at the other end of the spectrum, failing to incorporate any keywords wastes an opportunity.
  1. Optimize the blog post’s title tag. A title tag is meta data seen by Googlebots, but not necessarily human readers. The title tag is VERY important and should include the main keyword for the post, preferably at the beginning of the title.
  1. Install an SEO plugin. To optimize title tags and execute other types of SEO work (such as adding a meta description to a post), you may need to install an SEO plugin on your CMS. Here is an informative resource for researching WordPress SEO plugins. Most other CMS packages have good options.
  1. Get other websites to link to your blog. So far, the items we’ve looked at are all on-site SEO issues. Off-site SEO issues are also important, and THE biggest one is getting high-quality, relevant links back to your website. Google places a lot of emphasis on backlinks in its ranking algorithm — if your blog has more and better backlinks than competitor blogs, you’ll gain a big advantage. Chambers of commerce and other local business organization websites are great candidates. Also, you may be able to write a guest article on a local business site that includes a link back to your blog.
  1. Optimize your images. People looking for real estate are likely to search using Google Images — take advantage of this opportunity by optimizing your photos with relevant keywords. Here’s how to do it.
  1. Make your blog mobile-friendly. Most CMS platforms have responsive templates that adjust automatically for optimum viewing on mobile devices and desktops. Google places enormous emphasis on this, and many of your visitors may be accessing your blog on a mobile phone — you can’t afford to disappoint them (or Google!).
  1. Use local SEO best practices for your blog page templates. Of prime importance is making sure your company name, physical business address and local phone number are on every page of your blog. (This seems obvious, but a lot of bloggers miss it.) If you’d like to learn more about this and other local SEO ranking factors, read this article.

 

Brad Shorr is Director of Content Strategy at Straight North, an Internet marketing agency specializing in SEO, PPC and web design for small and midsize firms.

10 Real Estate SEO Mistakes You Can’t Afford to Make

SEO for Real Estate

Google is your most fickle friend. It’s been said that Google only loves you when everyone else loves you first. And this is true of all search engines. However, once you are friends, they will be the best friends you’ve ever had.

They will tell the entire world that you’re amazing, and you’re the first Realtor® that everyone should call.

The good news is there are a lot of things you can do to help your search engine optimization (SEO). The bad news is there are just as many things you can do to hurt it.

Some of the things to avoid include:

1. Linking to Sketchy Sites

Outbound links are great, as long as you link to the right places.

Real Estate Blogger Matthew Bushery advises that “frequently linking to “bad” websites — like those that are littered with spam and implement black-hat SEO strategies — could get your site penalized by Google.”

So be judicious with your links out – use them, but carefully.

2. Putting Stock in Keyword Density Numbers

A few years ago, you would hear people throw around numbers like 1.5% when it came to keyword density; meaning your keywords should make up about 1.5% of your overall word count.

Those days are over, and algorithms are recognizing people who do a bit of keyword stuffing, and punish them for it. So instead, focus on using keywords naturally, and using them in key places like headings, titles, and tags.

3. Not Blogging

The numbers are practically screaming in your face to start blogging, if you’ve been putting it off. Marketers who have prioritized blogging are 13x more likely to enjoy positive ROI.

So start your blog tomorrow. Unless you are…

4. Blogging the Wrong Way

Blogging is only a waste of time if you’re wasting other people’s time.

Don’t pump out content for the sake of pumping it out. Make sure your blogs are helpful and relevant to your target audience. Take time to define who your target market is and evaluate and tweak it as needed.

5. Trying to Skyrocket up the Rankings

Don’t chase quick wins. People will try to fly up the rankings and expect to be ranked #1 right away. That’s not reasonable, and it’s not how the search engines work.

Instead, focus on a smart and sustained strategy that will make you hard to knock off the top once you’re there. This means creating consistent, relevant content over time.

6. Not Keyword Optimizing Your Images

Your image name, and descriptions should be keyword rich. Don’t keep their titles at IMG_0034. Instead, name it something helpful, like “Beautiful 2BR on Stewart Street” or something appealing like “Vaulted Ceilings in Living Room”.

7. Using Duplicate Content

Google hates this. Yes, it can be expensive and/or time-consuming, but make sure each page on your site has original content, not something copied from another site. If this is a struggle, consider hiring a freelance writer to create your webpages and even to keep up on your blog.

8. Ignoring Broken Links or Images

Stay on top of your links and images. Go through the whole site on a regular basis just to make sure everything does what it’s suppose to. Having broken links not only causes you to drop in Google results, but it frustrates customers and seems very unprofessional.

9. Giving Up

Again, this is not about short gains. So don’t give up on your tactics and plan, even if you’re not breaking the internet right away. Stay the course, and make tweaks where needed. Most of all, great SEO is about perseverance and consistency.

10. Looking at the Wrong Metrics

Your current search ranking for specific keywords is important. But it’s not the only important fact. Look at every statistic and metric you can get your hands on. That way, you know which parts of your website are the ‘stickiest,” and which parts are underperforming.

All of these steps are really just about doing mindful and proven things to help boost your SEO rankings. They may not be the fastest, easiest, or cheapest things. But they’re 100% the things you should be doing.

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