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Top 10 Ways to Use Blogging in Real Estate: #3

#3: Use Blogging to Become a Niche Expert

Nichetarget
Photo Credit: mag3737


“Your City Real Estate” isn’t the Only Search Term Out There!

Ask just about anyone what one search term they want their blog or website to rank well for and you’ll likely hear, “My City Real Estate!”

And that’s all fine and dandy. But if you live in a city of any reasonable size (say one with more than a couple of dozen or so agents), ranking well for this “gold standard” may be difficult. You’re going to find yourself up against very old websites and blogs that may have thousands of backlinks. Cracking the Top 10 in Google for something akin to “Phoenix real estate” may well be the Impossible Dream.

And here’s the deal…

You don’t have to rank well for “your city real estate”.

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Exploit the Long Tail

Chris Anderson first wrote about The Long Tail in 2004 (see Long Tail 101 for his explanation). Briefly (and with apologies to Mr. Anderson for the gross over-simplification) the Long Tail works kind of like this…

Walk into a bookstore. You’ll probably run smack into the shelf holding the New Your Times Best-Sellers. Why? Because shelf space is expensive and limited. Best sellers sell — that’s why they are best sellers. Oh sure, you’ll find a bunch of other titles on the shelves too, but it’s those best sellers that make the registers sing.

Now take a virtual walk into Amazon.com. There you will find tens of thousands of books. Amazon doesn’t have to pay storefront fees to stock a bazillion titles. Yes, they still sell tons of best sellers, but they sell a ton more of far more obscure titles. Let’s say (for example, I don’t have the data) that Amazon makes 20% of their sales from best sellers. That means they make 80% from the rest — the Long Tail.

Search engines work in similar ways. There is no question that a term like “Phoenix Real Estate” will be used by many people going to Google. But many more will cumulatively use “longer” search terms — “Subdivision real estate”, “Phoenix homes on golf courses”, “can a Canadian buy a home in Phoenix”, etc. etc. very etc.

Laser Focus: Shoot for Niche Targets

Take advantage of the fact that people search a jazillion different ways for the same thing. Keep in mind also that people are getting better at using search engines to find what they are looking for.

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Take for example someone that lives in Subdivision X (or wants to buy in Subdivision X). They are quite likely to Google “subdivision x real estate” or “subdivision x realtor” or even “sell my home in subdivision x”. They are learning that those search terms will probably return better results than a generic city search.

If you target “Subdivision X” as a search term, even in a very large market, you are much more likely to command a top search position. Why? The answer is simple…

While everyone else is running around grasping at the elusive “City real estate” they are leaving literally hundreds of long tail search terms there for the picking.

Specific Actions You Can Take

Find a niche market. It doesn’t have to be a certain subdivision. It can be anything. A geographic part of your city (East side, west side, north central, whatever). Target a type of home — horse properties, golf course homes, mid-century modern, new homes, old homes, homes between $250 – $300K. Target a type of buyer (or seller) — engineers, doctors, accountants, teachers, old, young, Boomers, X & Y’ers. There are practically as many niches out there as there are agents. Maybe more.

Post regularly about your niche. You certainly could build a blog dedicated to nothing but your niche. Or, just create a category, say “Canadian Buyers” and write a post every week or two that will apply to Canadian Buyers. Over time you’ll have a repository of information targeted to your niche that your niche readers, and the search engines, will love. You don’t have to write exclusively to your niche, but consistently is key.

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Write a series dedicated to your niche. Series bring readers back. They leave them wanting for a little more. With a little planning, you can come up with a broad topic and work out a series of posts that apply. (Much as Mariana did with this very series…)

Dedicate a day to your niche. While I am not a fan of “formulatic writing”, there is a great deal of good to be said for being somewhat consistent. Dedicating a specific day for always posting about a targeted niche will help impose the discipline needed to post regularly. And within a year, you’ll have a bank of 52 posts that could easily dominate search engines for loads of long tail niche related search terms.

One word of caution — be careful what you chose as your niche! I’ve written a couple of posts about short sales. I hate short sales. But guess who ranks #1 in Google for “Phoenix Short Sales”? And trust me, people use that search term a lot. If you’re not careful, you may find yourself targeting a niche you really don’t want to work with!

So get out there and find a niche! Write consistently to that niche (not to the search engines, to the people in the niche) and you may just find yourself sitting atop the search engines, and being recognized as the expert for that group of home buyers/sellers.

Other posts in this series:
Top 10 Ways to Use Blogging in Real Estate: Introduction
Top 10 Ways to Use Blogging in Real Estate: #1 Use Blogging as a Farming Tool

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Top 10 Ways to Use Blogging in Real Estate: #2 Answer Real Estate FAQ’s Just Once

Written By

Jay is the Broker / Owner of Thompson's Realty in Phoenix, Arizona. A self-professed "Man with a blogging problem" he can be found across the Interweb, including at the Phoenix Real Estate Guy blog where he opines on all things real estate and tosses out random musings.

18 Comments

18 Comments

  1. Mariana Wagner

    June 30, 2008 at 8:22 am

    Jay – This was excellent! Niche marketing it very important. You explained “the long tail” SO WELL. Even if I didn’t rank for “Colorado Springs Real Estate” I would have a hopping business for all the “long tail” search terms that our site is found for.

  2. Matt Thomson

    June 30, 2008 at 9:35 am

    Good point! In addition to finding a niche regarding to real estate, how about a niche relating to what potential buyers in your area want to know about? I closed 2 deals in June from out of state buyers who both found me via my blog.
    One had Googled “Youth camps in Gig Harbor” to find things for their kids. I came up #1 and #2 as I had recently written an article about that.
    The other Googled “Gig Harbor Uptown Center” because he was taking a job there and again I came up #1 and #2.
    Buyers want to know about more than just real estate…parks, schools, jobs, activities, athletics, shopping are all things people will search for when moving to an area.

  3. Teresa Boardman

    June 30, 2008 at 10:20 am

    blog? what is a blog? where can I get one?

  4. Vance Shutes

    June 30, 2008 at 10:50 am

    Jay,

    “Without hope, we perish.”

    With this post, you’ve given all of us a great deal of hope.

    I can tell you from direct experience that posting articles on a specific subdivision has paid off enormously in the number of direct hits at my blog. While it’s nice to be found at “My City real estate”, it’s much more satisfying to be found #1 at “My neighborhood homes”.

    Thank you greatly for giving us all the hope that we can dominate our own neighborhoods!

    @Teresa – A blog? I hear you can find them at the corner “Google” market.

  5. Steve Belt

    June 30, 2008 at 1:25 pm

    Jay, as we spoke in person, this is precisely why I created my Scottsdale blog. While I may crack the top 10 for Phoenix Real Estate (currently at 20) by the end of the year, that will have been an 18 month journey, that included a lot of skill, luck, time, and effort. The new blog is going after such a narrow market, that getting into the top 10 for the specific subdivisions I’m focused on will be relatively easy. In fact, it already ranks #1 for certain long tail searches, after just a week!

  6. ines

    June 30, 2008 at 1:51 pm

    I love LONG TAILS!! who wudda thunk I’d ever say that! I started seeing long tail effects after miamism had been up for about 6 months and now it’s amazing. Anything that people know me for you can find me in miami, from historically relevant homes, specific architectural styles to the most trivial but useful keywords……and it only gets better, no?

  7. Juliet Johnson

    June 30, 2008 at 7:33 pm

    You haven’t mentioned Squidoo as a really efficient method to “own” a niche. I put one up as a test for a girlfriend and it’s beating out the MLS, the realtor’s site, the site where the address is the url. It’s very cool – check outg 15 Charles Road in Bernardsville, NJ.

  8. Paula Henry

    June 30, 2008 at 9:09 pm

    Jay –

    I have had more transactions from the long tail about neighborhoods than any other source.

    You have given me many more long tail ideas! Thanks.

  9. Jason Sandquist

    June 30, 2008 at 9:49 pm

    I took you advice from an article that I saw a while ago that you had written and just recently found time to start the niche site. One week later and it is first page, getting the traffic needed and written entirely for the community. Needless to say, I think more are in order!

  10. Eric Blackwell

    July 1, 2008 at 5:43 am

    Jay;

    Great points all… I will add the following. I am blessed to be #1 in our market for city real estate (and many other long tail terms. Currently only 7% of the traffic comes from city real estate. That is a significant number, but the rest comes from the longtails…ideally you’d like both, but the long tails can feed you in style!

  11. Jennifer in Louisville

    July 1, 2008 at 6:18 am

    IMO, niche marketing can be more lucrative & easier than going for the generic City Real Estate terms that everyone shoots for. Theres less competition generally, and if you are truly interested in that particular niche, it will show in your posts. Becoming the authority for the niche takes time, but its a really nice feeling when no one makes a “move” (pun intended) without talking to you first.

  12. Kay Baker Wilmington NC Real Estate

    July 1, 2008 at 2:28 pm

    Yes, you are so right about the long tails. I have worked diligently on city real estate and still on google pg 6, but my neighborhoods are working just fine….Thanks for the insight.
    Kay Baker Wilmington NC real estate

  13. Ken Smith

    July 14, 2008 at 10:38 pm

    Niche marketing is key in real estate. Not only online, but offline as well. People want to hire someone who is an expert, not a “Jack of all trades”.

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