#3: Use Blogging to Become a Niche Expert
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.