There is a common misconception among real estate professionals that a newly or even a recently launched website with a new domain name should rank well fresh off the shelf. To exacerbate the problem, some agents also have unrealistic expectations that if they launch a website and upload a smidgen of content to the site, it will rank well and receive a flood of site visitors (traffic). Warning, my “snarkiness” is about to begin! No Dorothy, you can’t “click your heels three times” and have your site rank well for Topeka, Kansas, real estate; you’re not “the Lone Ranger” and there is no “silver bullet” you can fire to have your site gun down your competition and appear at the top of the search engines for Cheyenne, Wyoming real estate; nor is this “The Matrix” and there is no “blue pill” you can take to magically achieve quick search results for a new site (and your new domain name) in Gotham City! The good news is there are tools you can use and best practices you can adopt to gain the much sought after traffic you want.
SEO Tools for the Trade!
Outstanding search engine ranking is attainable but it does requires time, effort (creating fresh, keyword-rich content=”organic growth”) and endorsement links from other authoritative websites (related to the site content theme) for Google to recognize a website/blog and move it up the search ladder (SERP’s). We’ve seen agents attain excellent traffic and terrific search ranking even in challenging markets but success does come at a cost.
Here are a few suggested SEO tools you can use in your quest to help your website or blog get “seen” by the search engines.
- Decide on your keywords for your market. Use the Google keyword tool to discover the search quantity of your selected keywords:
- Once the site is live, use this tool to determine if your copy accurately reflects the keywords you are trying to optimize for. Your goal should be thematic writing.
- Begin building backlinks using your keywords as the “anchor text” for the links from other related, authoritative websites (examples: Zillow, Facebook Fan Page, Trulia, Inman, Fast Company, Business Exchange, Active Rain, RealTown Blog and many others). Use this tool to determine what sites link back to your website.
- Keep adding fresh, keyword–rich content to your website (content must be keyword-rich and formatted with SEO hierarchy)
- Add a blog for even more SEO pop! If blogging is intimidating, at the minimum, begin photo blogging about your market.
- Submit your website/blog to Google and remember to verify it with Google.
- Want to know what sites we use at Dakno to build backlinks? Michael, Brad and I wrote the book (errr. The eBook) on it.
- Where available, add a SEO-rich IDX property search solution (Dakno, Wolfnet third-level domain, Diverse Solution Plugin, IDX Broker third level domain) for greater SEO power. Iframed search solutions do nothing to enhance your site’s ability to gain placement. Not sure if your site benefits from your property search tool? Use this Dakno IDX resource to determine if your IDX solution is a benefit or doesn’t help your site.
- Ask Google what keywords to use on your website and blog. The Google “auto complete” functionality will “list” the most prevalent keywords used for an area once you begin typing that area reference in the Google search bar: http://www.google.com/
Are You a Guppy or a Whale?
It’s imperative you begin a disciplined regimen to consistently grow your site organically and link your site. In time, your site will be seen, traffic will come and your site will rank for your keywords in your market. The time it takes to get your site to rank well depends on the competitive online landscape in your market. Overcoming entrenched incumbents will not be easy. They have a head start on you. Many times, the “big boys” are on page #1 (Trulia, Zillow, REALTOR.com, Homes.com) for the Trophy keywords (example: Portland, OR real estate, Raleigh real estate). I’m a path of the least resistance kind of guy. I say cherry-pick the low hanging fruit “keywords” and go after the longtail search terms by going for less competitive keywords. That means going hyper-local. Load up your website with many neighborhoods (or condos if that is your target market).That way the fight isn’t all uphill. Be a “whale in your pond” of search results for your hyper-local market and not a “guppy in the ocean” of the trophy keyword search results.
Don’t Reinvent the Wheel!
By the way, the strategies and tools listed above are the very same tools and strategies we use to help our Dakno hourly and marketing retainer clients. It’s what we do all day long (by the hour or via a monthly marketing retainer). It’s “the stuff” SEO is made of and it takes work, time, discipline and resources. Yes, Dorothy, your Topeka, Kansas real estate website can be successful, just don’t count on those pretty red shoes to make it happen.
What success have you obtained? What worked for you? Please share!