Archive for Search Engine Optimization

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.

While your auditing your online presence, how are your print materials looking? If they’re not where they should be, click here to see to choose and customize a new design.

Revamp Your Real Estate Marketing by Optimizing for Local Search

Local Search Marketing

If someone did a search for “moving into {Your City Name}”, would you be on the first page? Would you show up at all?

According to a recent study done by the National Association of Realtors, approximately 69% of those shopping for homes online began their search with a local search term.

So what is it about local search that’s so great?

And more importantly, how can you apply it to your real estate marketing plan?

Let’s take a closer look.

The Power of Real Estate Marketing and Local Search

Local search is simple – it’s just optimizing your online presence (whether that be on your website, blog, social media, etc.) for a specific location. A lot of local marketing is based on direct mail – like EDDM, for instance – but local search is about optimizing your online presence for a specific neighborhood or city.

For example, as a realtor, basic Search Engine Optimization (SEO) principles would tell you to optimize your website for search terms such as “Real Estate” or “Real Estate for Sale,” and while this is great, it really only just skims the surface. If you want to get real, localized result, you’re going to need to be more specific with the keywords that you choose to target. So instead of just targeting “Real Estate,” try “Real Estate in (your local area),” or even more specifically, “Luxury Homes for Sale in (specific neighborhood) in (your local area).

The general rule of thumb here is that the more specific your target keyword, the smaller your target audience. And while this may seem a bit counterintuitive, remember that someone who is searching for a specific home type in a certain neighborhood is much closer to being ready to make a purchase than someone who is broadly searching for “Real Estate for Sale,” which in turn shortens the length of the sale for you. Focus on small, targeted audiences in order to achieve bigger, quicker results.

How Can You Improve Your Local Search?

So now that you know about local search, what can you do to make your real estate business better in that regard?

  1. Location Specific Blog Posts – Blogging is one of the best ways to target specific keywords for SEO purposes, and the same technique applies to local search. Try writing about your local community, recent homes you’ve sold, or even market trends – just remember to target a specific local keyword.
  2. Write About Community Events – Know about a cool upcoming event in your community? Write about it on your website and share it on social media. Remember to mention the specific neighborhood/location.
  3. Optimize Your Social Media – Speaking of social media, make sure that you list your location on your social media homepages (like Facebook and Twitter). This way, if someone is searching for real estate in your area, they’ll be more likely to end up on your page.
  4. Start a Google My Business Page – Listing your real estate business with Google is practically a must in local search. Doing so allows your business info to pop up when someone searches for your company name or more generally, real estate agents in your area. It’s easy to set up, too, so definitely do this one ASAP.
  5. Ask for Local Reviews – Reviews are always good, but if you can get local customers to review you on sites such as Yelp, new potential clients will be much more likely to find you when searching the web for real estate agents in your area.
  6. Create an Account on Various Real Estate Sites – If you haven’t tried sites such as Trulia and Zillow, you should definitely look into them. Sites like this give you the opportunity to list location specific details, which is always a bonus for bettering your local search.
  7. Try Google AdWords or Facebook Ads – The great thing about both Google AdWords and Facebook Ads is that you can target your ads to reach specific demographics and locations. So if you’re looking to try out some advertising, try creating an ad through one of these services and remember to target your specific location.

As with any real estate marketing plan, the state of local search is always evolving. But with these strategies under your belt, you’ll be well on your way to knocking your local search results out of the park!

Your Facebook Page Doesn’t Count – The Case for Realtor® Websites

Realtor Website

Do you have a Realtor® website as the home base for your web presence? If not, you’ll want to read this article carefully. Unfortunately far too many Realtors® rely on a social media site – often Facebook – as their primary online platform. I’m here to give you some honest marketing feedback. Your Facebook page doesn’t count. Here are three reasons you really need a Realtor® website.

A Website Allows You to Make the Rules

You may not realize this, but when you use a social media platform, you are bound by their terms of service (TOS). The TOS is designed to be beneficial for the service owners, not necessarily you or your business. If you have a Realtor® website as the base of your business, you get to make the rules – you can do what you like, and not risk having your account restricted.

What does this mean, in practice? It means you can link or embed videos from YouTube without having your reach limited. (Facebook punishes any video that isn’t uploaded directly to the platform). You can run contests without fearing repercussions from the social media site. (Every social media TOS has rules and restrictions regarding contests). And you can create ads and promotions you want, rather than ones that abide by the strict advertising rules of Facebook or other platforms.

Your Reach Will Be FAR Better

Have you noticed that your posts aren’t going as far as they used to – especially on Facebook? You may be surprised to find out that only a very small percentage of your Facebook fans see any given post. Facebook claims this is because there’s “too much information” to share with people on their feeds, but the reality is that Facebook and other social media platforms are moving toward a paid-ad driven business model. If you want reach now, you have to pay for it.

On the other hand, when you have your own Realtor® website, you can keep all the fans and visitors you have – without anyone restricting the flow. The work you do to build visibility and reach won’t be throttled by someone else trying to make a buck off of you. The benefit of having your own platform when it comes to getting eyes on your message can’t be overstated.

You Can Control Graphics and Design on Your Website

Do you ever wish that you could show visitors a beautiful slideshow of your current listings, recently sold homes, and happy clients? With your own website, you can. In fact, you can create whatever you want to create. If web design is not your strong point, that’s not a problem – there are many freelance designers or web management companies that can help you set up a WordPress site and keep it up to date for you. I love Outstanding Setup personally – they are very affordable and very responsive when you need changes.

On the other hand, social media sites are designed by someone else, and not with your business in mind. On some platforms, it’s hard to display very many pictures. On others, there’s very little room for text. When you don’t have choices, you can find that your message gets garbled. When you have your own Realtor® website, you can choose a template that displays exactly what you want to show your prospects.

Having your own website doesn’t have to mean hours of coding and learning how to be a web designer. You can easily and affordably outsource the technical work. However, having your own platform allows you to make the rules, maintain your reach, and control your own layout. These three things make it very worthwhile to create a Realtor® website.

What’s your favorite thing about having a Realtor® website? Share in the comments!

How Does Google’s Upcoming Update Affect Your Site?

How Google's Update Impacts RealtorsGoogle has announced that there will be a significant update in its search-ranking algorithm that will go into effect on April 21, 2015. While Google never releases the specifics of an update, the general idea is that mobile-friendly sites will be ranked more highly in search results. In contrast, non-mobile-friendly sites will be ranked lower.

Mobile Friendly Sites and Real Estate

What does this mean to you, as a real estate professional? Primarily, it means that if your site is not optimized for mobile, you will no longer rank highly for the keywords you desire. That will directly impact the web traffic you get from search.

For instance, if you’ve done work to become highly ranked for “Minneapolis real estate” or some other term, you could lose all of that hard work if your site doesn’t show up well on a mobile device.

You are probably wondering how to know if Google considers your site “mobile friendly”. Fortunately, Google has provided a tool that will help you know. On the Google Mobile Friendly Test page, enter your website’s domain and click “Analyze”. Within a couple of minutes, Google will let you know what they think.

Keep in mind that Google is planning to test every page of your site separately. You’ll need to make sure that your whole site is mobile-friendly, not just the homepage.

How to Make Your Site More Mobile-Friendly

Here are some steps you can take to update your website to make it mobile-responsive.

  • Don’t Panic. You want to make sure your updates are done correctly – definitely don’t pay a shady “update your website now” company that you found through a pop-up or unsolicited email.
  • Test Your Site. Use the Google Mobile Test linked above. If you thought your site was mobile-friendly but it failed the test, go to Google Webmaster Tools to see what the issue is. There are step-by-step instructions on setting up Google Webmaster Tools here, and the mobile usability errors will be noted on the dashboard. By clicking them, you will be taken to the trouble spot and told what to do to fix the issue.
  • Change Website Providers if Needed. If you have someone else administering your website, check with them if you fail the Google Mobile test. If they cannot update your site to a mobile-responsive version, change website providers to someone who can. Make sure your provider provides mobile responsive design, not just a separate site for mobile devices. Google doesn’t like separate sites.
  • Test Your Site After Any Changes. Once you’ve updated your site or made needed changes from the Google Webmaster Tools, go back through your site and make sure it looks good on multiple browsers and devices. Check links to make sure they still work correctly, especially links from one page to another.
  • Relax and Get Back to Real Estate! After your site passes the Google Mobile test, relax! Your site should be safe from being negatively impacted by Google’s update – and if your Google Mobile Updatecompetitors don’t make these changes, you may even move up the search results.

As Realtors®, it’s frustrating to have to think about things like web design and Google updates. However, many of our customers find us through search, and so it cannot be overlooked. If you haven’t updated your site to be mobile-responsive yet, be sure to do so before April 21, 2015.

How do you handle needed web design updates? Do you do them yourself or hire it out? Share in the comments!


3 Tips for a Successful Real Estate Blog

Real Estate Blog connections

Blogging has been a hot trend in business for several years now. Business owners, including Realtors®, realize that customers are searching online, and search engines give results based on great content that seems to match the keywords used by the customer. The goal of any business blog is to be relevant to specific keywords in order to gain customer traffic.

However, that shouldn’t be the only goal. Just like with print marketing in key neighborhoods, you want to establish a relationship over time. That means creating useful content that keeps readers coming back, even if they don’t need your services right now.

Here are five tips that will help you establish a successful real estate blog that brings in search visitors and builds relationships over time.

Write About Local Real Estate

This is the most important way to get noticed in your market. The key to being listed highly for a search term is to write about it frequently. Being in the top results for terms like “real estate agent” is very difficult and really not that helpful. Customers are much more likely to be using terms like “buying a home in Dallas” or “selling homes in St. Louis”.

This means that the most bang for your buck will come from writing about local real estate. Write about new home developments in your area, or write specific tips about how to prepare a house for sale with references to your city built in. When you write with local terms, your blog will naturally rank well for local real estate search terms.

Know How Often to Post

Some Realtors® don’t start a blog because they are worried about the time commitment. In truth, you can post as little as once a week and still have a great, fresh blog. Quality of content matters much more than quantity.

This can help you avoid starting a blog and abandoning it also. If you know you don’t have to post every day, you can take some of the pressure off of yourself and create great content once a week or so, rather than trying to post every day and burning out.

If you need help creating regular blog content, there are writers who can help. Find someone who is a great writer and is familiar with the real estate business to help you. You can work out a contract where they ghost-write for you, and you own the content and can publish it under your own name. Of course, these need to be high-quality blog posts.

Write Naturally

The best and most authentic writing is when you write similarly to how you talk. You don’t want to sound fake or canned. You certainly don’t want to be shoving keywords like “St. Louis real estate” into every other sentence. Just write naturally, the way you sound.

When you write naturally, not only will you be creating great blog posts, you’ll be allowing your audience to get to know you. This will help them feel a connection with you immediately, which is essential to getting business. In addition, those that don’t need your services right away will still feel connected to you and may well come back and continue to read your blog. This will keep you top-of-mind when they do need a Realtor®.

When you create a frequently-updated local blog, you’ll be creating a resource that is valuable for those moving in to your area and those that already live there. When you write in your own natural voice, you’ll be building authentic relationships through your blog. A great resource and authentic relationships bring sales to YOU, saving you time and making you money. Sounds like a win/win, doesn’t it?

Do you have a customer-facing real estate blog? Why or why not? Share in the comments!

5 Tips to Maximize Your Realtor® Website

Maximize Realtor Website

There are over 3 billion people in the world that use the internet. With that many people online, a Realtor® can’t afford to do without a website. However, there are so many websites online that it can be hard to know how to stand out. These five tips will show you how to maximize the effect of your website on your realty business.

Use Graphics and Have a Responsive Site

Graphics are an undeniable part of showing off your real estate business online. People love to see pictures, and having a great photo gallery of each listing will help generate interest and create buyers. However, it’s also important to have a “responsive” site, or one that adjusts to fit on the screens of mobile devices.

Many times, you can bypass knowing the nuts and bolts of website design by using pre-designed templates on a website service. Just make sure the service lets you have your own domain name, such as In addition, take advantage of slideshow templates that allow you to cycle photos of various listings and recent sales on the homepage.

Focus on the Visitors’ Perspective

Visitors to your site aren’t interested in you; they’re interested in how their own needs can be met. Be sure to set up your website and optimize it with this in mind. You’ll want to use keywords based on prospective clients’ needs, such as “moving in Atlanta” or “new homes in Charleston”.

When you write the content on your website, whether it’s a blog post or a property description, think about it from your visitors’ perspective. What would resonate with a potential buyer or seller? What do they need to know? What needs and fears can you address? When you focus your website on the visitor, you’ll stand out to the right people and your site will gain traction.

Link Your Social Media Accounts to Your Site

If you have active social media accounts – and as a Realtor®, you should – you’ll want to link them to your website. Not only should your social media posts invite viewers to visit your website, your website should also have links that encourage people to visit your social media accounts.

It’s always helpful to specify what you would like people to do when they visit your page. You can say things like “Follow me on Facebook!” or “Check out my latest pins!” These types of invitations will help people join you on all of your platforms, allowing them to receive information from you more often. That will keep you top-of-mind when they have a need!

Have a Blog that Informs More Than Sells

A blog ensures that new content will be created on your site frequently, which will help it rank highly in search engines. In addition, you can share your blog posts on social media to encourage viewers to visit your site and check out your listings.

However, your blog should be about more than your real estate business. You should use an 80/20 rule – 80% of your content can inform, educate, and entertain, while 20% can advertise your listings and recent successes. Sometimes a Realtor® has a hard time knowing exactly what to write about on a blog. If that’s you, check out this amazing list of 101 blog post ideas. You won’t lack inspiration ever again!

Focus on Lead Management Along With Lead Generation

As many Realtors® know, it’s not enough to just generate leads. It’s important to nurture those connections as well, so that they will come to you when they are ready to buy or sell a home. If you simply collect new contacts, you may lose out on old leads that are now ready for a Realtor®.

There are many ways to keep in touch with the network you create. Social media is one way, but you can also keep in touch from your website. Offer a monthly email newsletter highlighting what’s going in the neighborhoods you serve. You can use the newsletter to show of recent success stories you’ve had, and to congratulate new homeowners. This way, you don’t lose touch with leads that aren’t yet ready to act – and when they are, they will be more likely to come to you.

Having a website isn’t optional for Realtors®, even though the homes you sell are definitely not virtual. Using the five tips above will help you maximize your website results and help your realty business grow tremendously. The time you invest online will be handsomely rewarded!

I’ve Been Keeping Secrets…It’s Time You Knew…

Secrets With Friends Book CoverFor the last two years, I’ve been writing a book, just for you…with all my small business secrets!  The book is titled The Secrets I Share With My Friends, Everything I Know About Building A Small Business.  I’m  excited to announce it’s been published and is now available on Amazon.

Why this book is for you, as a Realtor®:

Whether you realize it or not, you ARE a small business owner and seeing your real estate business as a small business will help you to build it up as such.  There’s a big difference between having a real estate business and being a Realtor®.  The real estate business owner has a business that’s of value to someone else, where the Realtor® who didn’t build a business just quits selling real estate one day.  Done, THE END.  There’s nothing beyond the last day of work to show for it, other than years of dedication to helping the people helped along the way.  The name just fades away in to nothingness the day the Realtor® stops serving…the business owner can sell his/her business, has systems, a valuable database, a solid marketing plan and it lives on without her providing income long past the days worked.

There are very few books available (that I’ve been able to find) on how to build up and market a real estate business, that’s why I wrote this book!

I’ve made a lot of mistakes along the way, like the time I showed up to a really important business meeting with a business card I had printed from my computer ink-jet printer.  I’ve included that super embarrassing story in the book along with many other mistakes I’ve made along the way to success as a small business owner.  My personal stories of bumps and bruises received from attending The School Of Hard Knocks can save you from taking the same path.  A path all too common with entrepreneurs and small business owners…and yes, Realtors® too!  If you’ve been in real estate for a while, your story isn’t likely much different than mine when the real estate market crashed and everything when to…ummm…hell!  I’m not sure about you, but I found myself in line at the food bank to make sure I had groceries to feed the kids while trying to meet my financial obligations (1.5M. in debt), with NO income!  Rough times!

The book is filled with an abundance of easy to understand, easy to follow and easy to read information on how to build your real estate business, build a team, hire the right people, delegate what should be delegated, market your brand of real estate, managing business finances, building your prospect list, where to get a list, and everything in between… all the way to retirement.

Reading this book will completely change the way you see your real estate business and the possibilities that exist with some simple planning and thinking ahead.

As a Realtor® maybe retiring and selling your real estate business at some point isn’t something you’re thinking about, right now.  After all,  your clients are doing business with you, versus your business/brokerage.  Changing your thinking around this could be the difference between a comfortable retirement that includes passive income from your real estate business and just deciding to stop selling real estate when you retire with no passive income.  Which path sounds better to you?

As you build up your real estate business, if you build it up with the end in mind, you have the ability to set yourself up for a nice retirement and create a business that pays you even when you’re done and not working any in it longer.  Creating a successful real estate business that can live on without you is easy with some direction on how to do it and I’ve included all of my secrets on how to do that in the book!

The book is getting rave reviews from top thought leaders and coaches like Steve Hardison “The Ultimate Coach” as a blue print for small business owners, like yourself, that’s easy to read because it’s not a boring text book, it’s a memoir that’s interesting, funny and filled with secrets throughout.  Here’s what Steve had to say about the book after reading it in one sitting.

Nadine Larder’s part memoir, part “how to,” and part textbook, “The Secrets I Share With My Friends…,” meets with trumpets of success from world-renowned personal, relationship and business coach Steven Hardison.

“I met Nadine today in the parking garage after attending #ICON 14.  It was my great privilege to be given her first copy of the book, “The Secrets I Share With My Friends: Everything I Know About Building a Small Business.”  After I completed my afternoon with a client, I sat down to thumb through the book she had given me.  I could not simply thumb through it. It was too compelling.

“As I read her book I was amazed at the passion that came through the pages, and I was even more astonished at the content of the information.  It is extraordinary! I can hardly wait to speak with her to tell her what I thought of her masterpiece.  It is beyond brilliant.

“I particularly love her Pssst… comments throughout the book. I will be giving this copy to my daughter who, like Nadine, has the desire to build a small business from the ground up. This book is a brilliant blueprint.

“I do not know Nadine, other than the 5-10 minute encounter in the parking garage, AND I am totally moved by her contribution to me as I have consumed her writing. I can only imagine the impact it will have on readers who are building their own business. My hat is off to this powerful and dynamic woman. Thanks, Nadine. Be blessed.”

Visit for more information on the book, Nadine and lots of small business secrets!  You can get the book on Amazon…Grab your copy now!  They’re first edition and we plan do to a reprint soon!


The Secrets I Share With Friends: How To Get More Leads From Your Website

Nadine Larder: The Secrets I Share With FriendsWebsites and internet marketing strategies play an important role in the success of any real estate business in this day and age.  It’s been proven time and time again that 90% of all new home searches begin on-line.  Having a well built, user friendly website always leads to more leads and listings and using these tips will help you get a much higher conversion rates from the visitors who do stop by your site.

Make these minor adjustments to your website and watch the leads start coming in.

All websites need a contact form. People don’t like giving out their email addresses until they are absolutely ready to do so. When you only supply an email address as a means of contacting you, the person must reveal who they are and chance ending up on a spam list. Many people aren’t willing to do that. They want their questions answered, in the method that works best for them, maybe they prefer a phone call. Providing a contact form is also the easiest way for someone to be in touch. The easier you make it for people to do what you want them to do, the more likely they are to “do it”.

Get more leads by offering a coupon right on the front page of your website. Doing so on the PrinterBees site resulted in a large surge of business because we know who our visitors are and can maintain contact with them. The coupon is emailed out and we are able to keep in touch with the people who have shown interest in our business printing services via email, being proactive. We aren’t waiting and hoping for prospects to use the coupon they’ve requested, we email them a few times over a 30 day period reminding them that they downloaded a coupon and should use it before it expires. The best way to understand our process is to go to the PrinterBees home page and request a coupon and experience it first hand. It’s an award winning campaign that results in a tremendous amount of business.

As a Realtor®, you can offer coupons and offers for local services or local business.  Partner with a small business in town to peddle their products/services as a way to collect leads.  Make sure the business you partner with compliments and attracts the kind of leads that match the profile of someone that would at some point be in the market to buy or sell a home.  Get creative with it.

Make sure you’re contact information is on every page so people never have to hunt for it. Website visitors should never have to hunt on a website for how to reach you. It should be present on every page and obvious.

The website needs to act as a sales person, providing all of the information regarding your real estate business that people want to know is essential.  Take the most frequently asked questions about your real estate practice, the area, neighborhoods, area events, and make sure the website answers all of them. You’ll get way more leads that way.

Include a way to schedule an appointment on-line.  It could be as simple as something on your contact form.  This subject deserves a dedicated blog post, coming soon.

Give something valuable away on your website. Providing something free on your site is the absolute BEST way to collect email addresses from prospects that match your customer profile so you can later market to them via email. E-books, free reports, and some of the free downloads available on this site will work too!

Automate your follow-up with programs like Constant Contact or Infusionsoft. You can’t go wrong with automating follow-up as long as you keep it personal and free of spammy email marketing.

Include a blog. It’s not only Imperative if you wish to have the search engines sending you traffic, it’s a reason for prospects and clients to visit the site repeatedly. It’s also the perfect platform for updates and announcements, neighborhood information, market updates, showing your expertise, bragging, etc.

Implement these changes one by one and watch what happens. These minor changes WILL result in major improvements over time.

Make sure you subscribe to the Real Estate Marketing Magazine to make sure you don’t miss the latest and greatest information about how to build and maintain your real estate business!  It’s published only twice a month, and it’s only the BEST stuff!

A Simple Guide To Real Estate SEO That Even Your Mom Can Understand

Search Engine Optimization for RealtorsAs 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®.

The Shocking Truth about Postcard Marketing

If direct mail is one of the methods you use to market your real estate business, you’re going to appreciate this information. The Direct Marketing Association puts out a study every year about what type of marketing gets the best results as well as where you might be wasting your efforts.  With all of the hype about Internet marketing, social media marketing, search engine optimization marketing, content marketing, etc., the results may surprise you.  And it was all researched, so it’s legit!

Get this….Direct mail marketing was named the most cost effective marketing medium, even over email marketing. It was also identified that postcard marketing is the most effective method of direct mail marketing, offering the highest response rates.

52% of postcards are read, as compared to 35% when the mailing piece is in a letter sized envelope. The study also showed that 34% of letter sized mailings were thrown out, compared to only 21% when the marketing medium was a postcard. It’s believed postcards are more effective for direct mail marketing then letter sized envelopes due to convenience for the person receiving it.

Postcard Marketing StatisticsAs someone who studies marketing, the most interesting part of the study for me was how effective direct-mail marketing is and how well it works. When people were asked about purchases made as a result of different types of marketing, direct mail marketing won, hands-down.  The study also showed that response rates to direct mail marketing increase as people get older.  When you combine that information with the fact that NAR (National Association of Realtors) recently reported the first-time home buyer is holding off longer and longer, it’s not the 20-year-olds that are buying houses, it’s people who are older and more likely to respond to direct-mail. NAR stated that the average age of people purchasing homes is 42.  Note: Direct mail came in overall at 65% vs. 66% for email, BUT when you look at the huge gap in response rates in the age group 18-24 (those who aren’t purchasing homes), it tips the scale towards direct mail over email for real estate marketing.

Screen Shot 2013-11-21 at 10.51.32 AMIf you think about it, it makes sense. There’s no longer any competition in the mailbox. That all changed when the economy shifted, coupled with the quick growth of the Internet. The clutter that was once in our mailboxes is now in our inboxes, competing for our attention.  The mailbox is where you need to be to get noticed.  Most everyone must check the mail that comes from the post office, however email and the Internet is optional, impersonal, and not everyone has it.

Coming up with a “junk mail email address” is easy, people are getting smarter and more creative about guarding their “real” email addresses, making it more difficult to reach them.

The only way to attract leads that result in business is to have a real estate marketing plan in place that’s consistent and ongoing. Marketing is like food to a business and without it your business will starve. There is tons of information on this site on how to get started and I’m always happy to answer any specific questions you have.  I’m on Twitter @remarketingguru or @nadinelarder

Also, PrinterBees caters to the real estate community and can help you get your postcard marketing campaign off the ground.  The agents who market their businesses with consistent postcard mailings, and drip marketing campaigns, are seeing consistent growth. You can experience the same-just stay committed!