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Real estate SEO competition is tough, is it worth the effort?

Real estate SEO has long been a competitive game filled with million dollar players all the way down to a lone agent selling five homes a year, so is it a game that can be won? Is it worth the effort?

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Is There A Point to Real Estate SEO?

It’s a digital age, so obviously, people are going to be searching for real estate on Google and on their mobile phones and tablets. NAR recently reported that 90 percent of homebuyers searched online for homes during their new home search, and Google searches related to real estate are up 253 percent. But, Real Geeks also did a study that found that odds can be stacked against agents when it comes to Google searches.

Specifically:

  • Generic real estate searches, such as “New York real estate,” rarely show individual agent websites on the first page of Google, because national brokerages dominate those segments of the search with their tech tools and strategies, creating lots of traffic and search volume for them.
  • Real Geeks performed Google searches for the nation’s top 50 metropolitan markets, searching for “[city name] real estate,” and noting the websites that showed up on the first three pages of the Google search (typically, that’s how far a Web user will journey when searching for something), and of the 1,691 sites that Real Geeks recorded, just 30 percent of the results on the first page were for local, independent sites.
  • To put it in perspective, 10 websites appear on a Google search page; therefore, only three (out of thousands of agents in your area) will appear on that first page.

How can an independent real estate agent compete online?

So what’s an agent to do? How can they capitalize on capturing potential clients from Google searches? Is it worth an agent’s time using all sorts of SEO strategies? Is there even a point to putting forth effort into SEO?

Well, here’s the thing: you can’t just do basic real estate SEO on your site, or clearly, it won’t really do much for you – you’ve got to go beyond basic SEO and optimize your site/blog so that they come up when the search includes keywords local to you.

Get Specific and Go Local

Get specific. Get beyond specific. Narrow down what keywords you’d like to be found for in a search that’s local to you and incorporate those into your content. The easiest way to do this is to optimize your content as a neighborhood expert. This means that in addition to the listings and photos on your website, you should also have pages that talk about the neighborhoods your listings are located in. Here are some ways to incorporate that info:

  • Articles with important information about the neighborhood, utility information, and great places to eat, etc.
  • Photos of local hot spots and interesting neighborhood events you’ve attended.
  • Photo/video/blog posts of dishes from restaurants, cool buildings or landmarks in the area.
  • Articles about upcoming events and festivals in the neighborhood or general neighborhood news.
  • Video interview with local community experts.
  • Video tour of a hot property that has come up for sale.
  • Neighborhood video tours.
  • Home values, selling prices and other market information.

Making Those Keywords and Content Work

Keywords isn’t the only thing you need to concentrate on to raise your Google ranking – inbound links are the second-largest way (behind keywords) to help you rank higher for the neighborhood terms you’d like. Why are inbound links so important? When Google algorithms see other websites are linking to yours, it acknowledges your site’s validity as a relevant source of information for certain search keywords.

Put links to your website on your social media profiles, leave your link when you comment on a blog and encourage agents and clients to check out your site – they may link to it in a blog post or Yelp review of their own (and if it’s a Yelp review, hopefully it’s a positive one).

Even using these tactics, though, can take time – there’s no instant-success algorithm when it comes to Google and SEO. Agents, share your SEO tactics – are you doing anything differently? Did you try optimizing hyperlocal search terms? How did it work for your website? How long did you try optimizing for?

Stephanie Sims is the managing editor of Agent Publishing, which currently has online publications in Chicago, Houston and Miami. With expertise in evaluating housing markets, website content and social media strategy, and reporting information agents want to know about, Stephanie can be found at her desk with coffee that got cold or not eating lunch because she’s busy planning editorial assignments and interviews for the Agent Publishing websites.

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3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. Jack Cassedy

    January 29, 2013 at 2:56 pm

    Absolutely go local, the more geographically specific you can make your pages, the better. Go after the long tail key phrases first (build pages specifically for condo complexes, neighborhoods, parks, buildings, landmarks, restaurants, etc – anything someone in the area might be searching for), build links to these pages – if you are the only one with a page devoted entirely to one subdivision, chances are high that the local news site/chamber of commerce/visitors bureau will link to you when they explain what the area is like or mention the neighborhood or complex, then your main pages will begin to rise in search due to the relevant links to the rest of your site (that you got from creating the super local long tail pages). Also, get more links from good sites, period.

    • Jack Cassedy

      January 29, 2013 at 2:58 pm

      ….and make the pages look good & match what is on the page to what the searcher is actually looking for (usually info, photos, association dues, units available in that area), use lots of photos, a video, and make sure that everything is optimized correctly.

  2. Drew Meyers

    January 30, 2013 at 7:22 am

    Local search can be won, but it’s not easy and requires a fair amount of either time or money (or both).

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Business Marketing

Use nostalgia as a marketing niche for your business today

(MARKETING) A market that is making waves is found in the form of entertainment nostalgia. Everyone has memories and attachments, why not speak to them?

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Is it just me or does it seem like there is something for everything nowadays? Let me clarify, as that is a rather broad question…

With the way communicating through technology has advanced, it’s become much easier to connect with those who have shared interests. This has become especially evident with interests in the entertainment community.

Entertainment nostalgia

It now seems like there is an event for every bit of nostalgia you can imagine. Autograph shows, meet and greets, and memorabilia collections of all kinds are held in convention halls all around the world. (To give you an idea of how deep this thing goes, there was a “Grease 2” reunion convention sometime within the last five years. Being that I’m the only person I’ve ever met who likes that movie, it’s amazing that it found an audience.)

This idea of marketing by use of nostalgia is something that is becoming smartly tapped and there are a variety of directions it can go in.

For example, the new Domino’s ads feature dead-on tributes to “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.”

What’s your niche?

If you’re a fan of anything, it’s likely that you can find an event to suit your needs.

And, if you want to take it a step further, you can think outside the box and use nostalgia as a marketing tool.

I recently began dabbling in social media gigs that have brought me to a few different fan conventions. One was a throwback 80s and 90s convention that featured everyone from Alan Thicke to the members of N*SYNC. Another is a recurring convention that brings together fans of sci-fi, horror, and everything under that umbrella.

I was amazed by the number of people that came out to these events and the amount of money that was spent on the day’s activities (autographs, photo ops, etc.). I was energized by the fact that you can take something you have a great appreciation for and bring together others who share that feeling. Watching people meet some of their favorite celebrities is something that is priceless.

Hop onboard the nostalgia train

If you’re a fan of something, you don’t have to look too far to find what you’d enjoy – going back to the aforementioned “Ferris Bueller” example, there is a first-ever John Hughes fan event taking place in Chicago next month that will bring fans to their favorite Brat Pack members.

In the same thought, if you have an idea, now is the time to find others who share that interest and execute your vision.

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Business Marketing

5 tips to help you craft consistently high-converting email marketing

(MARKETING) Email may seem too old to be effective but surprisingly it’s not, so how can you get the most out of your email marketing? Try these tips.

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Email marketing

Email marketing might seem archaic in comparison to modern mediums like social media, blogging, and podcasting; however, it actually remains one of the highest converting options marketers and small businesses have at their disposal.

But Why Email?

Hopefully, you believe in email as an effective marketing channel, but in case you have doubts, let’s hit the reset button. Here’s why email marketing is worth investing in:

  • Email is one of the few marketing channels that you have total control over. Unlike a social media audience, which can disappear if the platform decides you violate their terms, you own your email list.
  • Email is considered very personal. When someone gives you access to their inbox, they’re telling you that you can send them messages.
  • From a pure analytics perspective, email gives you the ability to track behaviors, study what works, and get familiar with the techniques that don’t.
  • The ROI of email marketing is incredibly high. It can deliver as much as $44 in value for every $1 spent.

5 Tips for High-Converting Emails

If you’ve been using email, but haven’t gotten the results you’d like to, it’s probably because you’re using it ineffectively.

Here are a few very practical tips for high-converting emails that generate results:

  1. Write Better Subject Lines: Think about email marketing from the side of the recipient. (Considering that you probably receive hundreds of emails per week, this isn’t hard to do.) What’s going to make you engage with an email? It’s the subject line, right?If you’re going to focus a large portion of your time and energy on one element of email marketing, subject lines should be it.The best subject lines are the ones that convey a sense of urgency or curiosity, present an offer, personalize to the recipient, are relevant and timely, feature name recognition, or reference cool stories.
  2. Nail the Intro”: Never take for granted the fact that someone will open your email, and read to the second paragraph. Some will – but most will scan the first couple of lines, and then make a decision on how to proceed.It’s critically important that you get the intro right. You have maybe five seconds to hook people in, and get them excited. This is not a time to slowly build up. Give your best stuff away first!
  3. Use Video: Email might be personal, but individual emails aren’t necessarily viewed as special. That’s because people get so many of them on a daily basis.According to Blue Water Marketing, “The average person receives more than 84 emails each day! So how do you separate your emails from everyone else? Embed videos in your emails can increase your conversion rates by over 21 percent!”This speaks to a larger trend of making emails visually stimulating. The more you use compelling visuals, the more engaging and memorable the content will be.
  4. Keep Eyes Moving: The goal is to keep people engaging with your email content throughout. While it’ll inevitably happen with a certain percentage of recipients, you want to prevent people from dropping off as they read.One of the best ways to keep sustained engagement is to keep eyes effortlessly moving down the page with short and succinct copy.One-liners, small paragraphs, and lots of spacing signal a degree of approachability and simplicity. Use this style as much as you can.
  5. Don’t Ask Too Much: It can be difficult to convey everything you want to say in a single email, but it’s important that you stay as focused as possible – particularly when it comes to CTAs and requests.Always stick to one CTA per email. Never ask multiple questions or present different offers. (It’ll just overwhelm and confuse.) You can present the same CTA in multiple places – like at the beginning, middle, and end of the email – but it needs to be the same call. That’s how you keep people focused and on-task.

Give Your Email Marketing Strategy a Makeover

Most businesses have some sort of email lists. Few businesses leverage these lists as well as they should. Hopefully, this article has provided you with some practical and actionable tips that can be used to boost engagement and produce more conversions. Give them a try and see what sticks.

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Business Marketing

Here’s how one employer was able beat an age discrimination lawsuit

(MARKETING) Age discrimination is a rare occurrence but still something to be battled. It’s good practice to keep your house in order to be on the right side.

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Jewel age discrimination

In January, the EEOC released its annual accounting for reports of discrimination in the previous year. Allegations of retaliation were the most frequently filed charge, which disability coming in second. Age discrimination cases accounted for 21.4% of filed charges. As we’ve reported before, not all age discrimination complaints rise to the level of illegal discrimination. In Cesario v. Jewel Food Stores, Inc., the federal court dismissed the claims of age discrimination, even though seven (7) plaintiffs made similar claims against the grocery store.

What Cesario v. Jewel Food Stores was about

In Cesario, all but one of the seven plaintiffs had spent years with Jewel Food building their careers. When Jewel went through some financial troubles, the plaintiffs allege that they began to “experience significant pressure at work… (and) were eventually forced out or terminated because of their age or disability.” Jewel Food requested summary judgment to dismiss the claims.

The seven plaintiffs made the same type of complaints. Beginning in 2014, store directors were under pressure to improve metrics and customer satisfaction. Cesario alleges that the Jewel district manager asked about his age. Another director alleges that younger store directors were transferred to stores with less difficulties. One plaintiff alleged that Jewel Food managers asked him about his retirement. The EEOC complaints began in late 2015. The plaintiffs retired or were fired and subsequently filed a lawsuit against their company.

Age discrimination is prohibited by the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, (ADEA). The ADEA prevents disparate treatment based on age for workers over 40 years old. However, plaintiffs who allege disparate treatment must establish that the adverse reactions wouldn’t have occurred but for age. Because none of the plaintiffs could specifically point to age as the only determination of their case, the court dismissed the case.

A word to wise businesses

Jewel Food was able to demonstrate their own actions in the case through careful documentation. Although there was no evidence that age played a factor in any discharge decision, Jewel Food could document their personnel decisions across the board. The plaintiffs also didn’t exhaust all administrative remedies. This led to the case being dropped.

Lesson learned – Make perssonel decisions based on performance and evidence. Don’t use age as a factor. Keep documentation to support your decisions.

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