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

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#3: Use Blogging to Become a Niche Expert

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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”.

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.

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.

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

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

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.

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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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Business Marketing

Spruce up your product images with Glorify (just in time for Black Friday!)

(BUSINESS MARKETING) Want professional, customizable product images for your company? Consider Glorify’s hot Black Friday deal.

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Glorify app lets you create beautiful designs for your products.

Glorify, the app that creates high converting, customizable product images for your business, is offering a lifetime deal for $97 this Black Friday. In just a few clicks, you can transform one of Glorify’s sleek templates into personalized, professional-looking content – and now, you don’t have to pay that monthly fee.

Whether your business is in electronics, beauty, or food & drink, Glorify offers a range of looks that will instantly bring your product images to the next level. With countless font styles and the ability to alter icon styles, shadows and other elements, you can access all the perks of having your own designer without the steep price.

In 2019, Glorify was launched – the app was soon voted #2 Product of the Day and nominated for Best Design Tool by Product Hunt. Since then, they have cultivated a 20k+ user base!

Glorify 2.0, which was launched last week, upgrades the experience. The new and improved version of the app is complete overhaul of intuitive UI improvements and extra features, such as:

  • background remover tool
  • templates based on popular product niches and themes
  • design bundles for your website/store, social media
  • annotation tool
  • upload your brand kits and organize your projects under different brands
  • 1 click brand application
  • & much more!

“But the most important aspect of Glorify 2.0, is that it comes with a UI that sets us up for future scalability for all our roadmap features”, said CEO of Glorify Omar Farook, who himself was a professional graphic designer.

Farook’s dream was to provide a low-cost design service for the smaller businesses that couldn’t otherwise afford design services. Looking through reviews of the app, it’s evident that Glorify does just that – it saves the user time and money while helping them to produce top-notch product images for their brand on their own.

Glorify is one of the many new design-based apps that make producing content a breeze for entrepreneurs, such as Canva. As someone who loves design but doesn’t have the patience for Creative Cloud, I personally love this technology. However, Glorify is unique in that it is the only product-driven design app. All you have to do is upload your photo!

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Business Marketing

This new Chipotle location will be fully digital

(BUSINESS NEWS) In the wake of the pandemic and popularity of online delivery, Chipotle is joining the jump to online-only locations, at least to test drive.

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Chipotle exterior, possibly moving to a fully digital restaurant space soon.

A lot of industries have switched to an online-only model in the wake of the pandemic. Most of them have made sense; between abundant delivery options and increased restrictions on workers, moving away from the traditional storefront paradigm isn’t exactly a radical choice. Chipotle making that same decision, however, is a plot twist of a different kind—yet that’s exactly what they’re doing with their first online store.

To be clear, the chain isn’t doing away with their existing locations; they’re just test-driving a “digital” location for the time being. That said, the move to an online platform raises interesting questions about the future of the restaurant industry—if not just Chipotle itself.

The move to an online platform actually makes a lot of sense for businesses like Chipotle. Since the classic Chipotle experience is much less centered on the “dining” aspect than it is on the customizability of food options, putting those same options online and giving folks some room to deliver both decreases Chipotle’s physical footprint and, ostensibly, opens up their services to more people.

It’s also a timely move given the sheer number of people who are sheltering in place. A hands-on burrito assembly line is not the optimal place to be in a pandemic, but there’s no denying the utilitarian appeal of Chipotle’s products. To that end, having another restaurant wherein you have the option to order a hearty meal with everything you like—which is also tailored to your dietary needs—is a crucial step for consumers.

Chipotle’s CTO, Curt Garner, says he is hoping this online alternative will offer a “frictionless” experience for diners.

As a part of that frictionless experience, consumers will be able to order in several different mediums. Chipotle’s website and their mobile app are the preferred choices, while services like GrubHub will also be available should you choose to order through a third-party. The idea is simple: To bring Chipotle to you with as little fuss as possible.

For now, Chipotle is committing to the single digital location to see how consumer demand pans out. Should the model prove successful, they plan to move forward with implementing additional digital locations nationwide.

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Business Marketing

Your business’ Yelp listing may be costing you more than you think

(BUSINESS MARKETING) The pay per click system Yelp uses sounds good in theory, but it may be hurting small businesses more than helping.

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Man browsing Yelp for his business listing in open office environment.

We all know Yelp – we’ve probably all used Yelp’s comment section to decide whether or not that business is worth giving our money to. What you might not know is how they are extorting the small businesses they partner with.

For starters, it’s helpful to understand that Yelp generates revenue through a pay per click (PPC) search model. This means whenever a user clicks on your advertisement, you pay Yelp a small fee. You never pay Yelp a cent if no one clicks on your ad.

In theory, this sounds great – if someone is seeking out your product or service and clicks on your ad, chances are you’re going to see some of that return. This is what makes paying $15, $50, or even $100 a click worth it.

In practice, it’s not all it’s cracked up to be. When setting up your Yelp account, you are able to plug in keywords that correspond with your business. For example, owner of San Francisco-based Headshots Inc. Dan St. Louis – former Yelp advertiser turned anti-Yelp advocate – plugged in keywords for his business, such as “corporate photographer” and “professional headshots”. When someone in the Bay Area searches one of those terms, they are likely to see Headshots Inc.’s Yelp ad.

You are also able to plug in keyword searches in which your ad will not appear. That sounds great too – no need to pay for ad clicks that will ultimately not bring in revenue for your business. In the case of Headshots Inc., Dan plugged in terms such as “affordable baby photography” and “affordable studio photography”, as his studio is quite high-end and would very likely turn off a user who is using the word “affordable” in their search.

How Yelp really cheats its small business partners is that it finds loopholes in your keyword input to place your ad in as many non-relevant searches as possible. This ensures that your ad is clicked more and, as a result, you have to pay them more without reaping any of the monetary benefits for your business.

If you plugged in “cheap photography” to your list of searches in which your ad will not appear, Yelp might still feature your ad for the “cheap photos” search. As if a small business owner has the time to enter in every single possible keyword someone might search!

In the case of Headshots Inc., Dan ended up paying $10k in total ad spend to Yelp with very little return. Needless to say, he is pissed.

So what does this mean for you if you use Yelp for your business? If you don’t want to completely opt out of Yelp’s shenanigans, try these 3 tips from Dan:

  1. Try searching some potential irrelevant keywords – are your ads showing up in these searches?
  2. Do your best to block the irrelevant keywords. It’s impossible to get them all, but the more you do the more money you will ultimately save.
  3. Keep an eye on the conversation rate on your profile – does more clicks mean more client inquiries? Make sure Yelp isn’t sending low-quality traffic to your profile.

Ultimately, it’s about protecting your small business. Yelp is the latest in big tech to be outted for manipulating individuals and small businesses to up their margins – a truly despicable act, if you ask me. If you don’t have tens of thousands of dollars for ad spend, then either boycott Yelp or try these tips – your company may depend on it.

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