Do your Page Titles, Headlines and URLs Match?
Think back a few years ago, back to when websites were not run by Content Management Systems (CMS) platforms such as Blogger and WordPress. Did the page title, article title and HTML file name of the pages on your Web site all match? No, probably not. There are a couple possible reasons why they didn’t, but the most likely is that your web designer/creator was “lazy” and just plugged in what they thought made sense and was easy to code.
Fast forward a few years and now we are ALL lazy. The CMS tools have made it too easy for us to just plug in a post title and move on without a second thought to the page title or file name/URL. We know that WordPress will use our carefully crafted, keyword rich, attention grabbing text in all three places, and many are content to leave well enough alone. So what’s the big deal? We all know the importance of properly optimizing our page titles, but post titles (headlines) and URLs are also great places to insert your keywords – and all three do not have to match.
While the specific affects of optimized URLs and post titles (H1s) is a never-ending debate among SEOs, most agree that in the big picture it is helpful to have them. Big picture is where long-term results are found.
If you are in a competitive market – like real estate – you need every ounce of help you can get. Take a few minutes and tweak your pages a bit, use alternate key words or phrases in each of the three places. Think about how people will be searching for your content. For example, if you look carefully at this post, you’ll notice that while the page title, post title and URL are related (and therefore also relevant to the search engines), they are also somewhat varied – increasing the likelihood that it will rank well, and actually be clicked on. A word of caution, page titles MUST be treated with respect, as they are among the most powerful places to put your keywords – put your best one(s) there and never, ever stuff them.
It does take a few extra clicks and a couple minutes to come up with good text to be used in titles and URLs, but do it well and additional traffic (and dollars in your pocket) will be your reward.
Facebook Likes take over FB Shares- So fix your pics- WordPress Plugin
You may or may not have heard that Facebook has been transitioning Facebook Share functionality to “Likes” as the preferred mechanism to share content with your friends on Facebook, cool.
While many of us saw this coming some time ago, we still leaned to Facebook Share for managing this process as it gave users a choice as to the image they used, and could also add status updates. Status updates are still possible, but the images in most circumstances are still left to chance.
So last week, we went in search of a solution to the problem of random images in Facebook Likes. For some time, the Facebook “Like” system seemed to grab the most random images from your site, but that problem can be fixed with a simple new plugin we’re testing called Facebook Like Thumbnail, and it works! Simply install the plugin, activate, and immediately, “liked” articles will populate the first image uploaded to the article. There are no settings at this time needed as it’s automatic.
For advanced users, the plugin author offers a simple function you can add to your functions.php on his website should you wish, and there is also a simple tag available for non-Wordpress users to add to your header to achieve a similar outcome.
Blogging: A Time Suck or Sweet Sunshine?
Blogging isn’t the Holy Grail, a magical Silver Bullet or a Savior. For some, it really is a time-suck, a distraction or a poor idea. For others, it’s like Sunshine for Sweet Success.
Sunshine for Sweet Success
Think of everything you do to attract, uncover and discover listing and selling opportunities as your personal real-estate-business-solar-system.
You and your blog sit at the center of your business-solar-system. The planets and moons in your business-solar-system are the networks, tribes, niches and online communities that orbit around you. I’m talking about your In-Real-Life (IRL) spheres like past clients, suspects, neighbors, your Bunco crew, Yoga classmates and other places you
live, love, play prospect for business. Additional planets and moons in your business solar system are the online communities you share and interact with. For example Facebook.com, LinkedIn.com, Youtube.com, SlideShare.com, Twitter.com, Flickr.com, etc.
Because competing real estate agents live and work within common solar systems, it’s important that you position yourself as the MMIC (Main Mistress In Charge) of your solar-system. Authoring a blog is like owning the Sun for your real-estate-business-solar system. When you own the Sun, you rule. Like our real Sun beams sunlight to all the planets in our solar system, your blog beams your personal brand of sunlight to all your important prospecting communities, tribes, niches and networks. The intensity, illumination and warmth of your sunlight is determined by the quality, relevance and frequency of the things you share on your blog. If you’re beaming sweet sunshine and your competitors aren’t, you’re going to win, right?
Your blog is where you can show (instead-of-tell) others who you really are and what you’re about . What you stand for and against. How knowledgeable and helpful you are and the emotional and logical reasons why someone should choose you to help them with their real estate needs. You accomplish all these things by sharing stuff on your blog (aka creating sunlight). Specifically, shared stuff includes things like; neighborhood news, photos of neighborhood parks, Festivals and Art Shows, real estate market updates, local restaurant reviews, answers to commonly asked real estate questions and the like. If you’re sharing and your competitors are not, you have a advantage, right?
Another blogging bonus, once you hit the “Publish” button on your blog post, your “Share” becomes part of the Online-Information-Ocean and becomes sharable via perma-web-link. Once you’ve shared (published) something on your blog, you and your friends and friends of their friends, can now rebroadcast-share your stuff (sunlight) around the inter-webs and within your/their social circles (planets and moons) using your perma-web-links. For example you and others can share and cross-post your permalinks with your/their tribes on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, email, etc. This is what ReTweets, Facebook Likes, Shares and Comments is all about.
Your blog also provides you with a powerful opportunity to further enhance your online presence by incorporating share-tools in your blog posts. I’m talking about using share tools like Flickr.com for photos, SlideShare.com for presentations and Youtube.com for video – all for free.
Blogging beams your personal shade of sunlight to your IRL spheres, networks, tribes and niches. As a bonus, it makes your stuff sharable by others. Which is a beautiful thing. Of course their are other compelling reasons to blog too. Blogging makes you Findable, Discoverable, Sharable, Choosable and Referable. In my next share, I’ll expand on the Findable, Discoverable, Sharable, Choosable and Referable idea. Till then, grace, speed and success.
I was wondering what you think about blogging? If you do, what keeps you doing it? If you don’t, why not. Like I said at first, I know it’s not the right idea for everyone.
Thanks for reading. Cheers.
How You Can Make A Video Blog – cheap, quick & easy
A while ago I decided that I wanted a web site that was just for my videos.
I have video embedded in blog posts on my main real estate site, but I wanted a clean looking page where people could go and just watch my content. A video-blog, or vlog, as the cool kids call it.
As of yesterday, I have one:
Easy install, and the control panel was simple enough for me. So far so good.
Tubepress allows you to embed youtube videos, and you have the option to select videos by playlist, keyword, and more. You can display all of your videos, or all videos (by all users) with “Austin Real Estate” in the title.
On my vlog, I am displaying 3 separate channels – Business Advice, Commercial Real Estate, and videos about Kitchener Waterloo (my local market). I am able to embed a separate playlist on each page, and each page is just a simple-to-add page in wordpress.
Tubepress, so far, gives me the ability to have a fully functional vlog without paying for a premium vlog template. I tinkered around with a few free themes which looked nice, but I settled on Canvas by Woothemes, which I’m using on another blog (and I own the rights to reuse it, so its not costing me $. I also like how the free versions of Titan and Vigilance look for a vlog like this) .
Ben’s Action Plan
In this era of new media, social media, web 3.0 – or “talking to people” as I like to call it, you want to have a vlog (and a blog, and a twitter, and a facebook, and a …. you get the point. Be easy to find!) where people can sit and watch you for hours (eventually. It’s ok if its only for minutes to start with).
This is really easy for you to implement in your business. Here is what I would do if I were you:
1) Buy a flip camera, a camcorder, or a webcam
2) Time block 20 minutes twice a week to create short videos. On market conditions; on mortgage rates; on new listings; on how to win multiple offers; on that hot new restaurant in your area that just opened up. Just like a blog post, make vlogs that your potential clients will find interesting and valuable.
Be less concerned with the quality of the production, and more concerned with the quality of information.
3) Upload the videos to youtube. If you have a google/gmail login, you have access to youtube (because google owns it). If not, sign up (it’s free).
4) Organize your videos into playlists on youtube
5) Start a new blog, or install tubepress plug-in on your existing wordpress blog
6) Make a post/page and embed tubepress in it (you just type [tubepress] – its that easy). I have mine as the only blog post on BenjaminBach.TV, so its what people see when they come to the site. On another blog, its a page on an existing blog (see here) that you can click on.
7) Let people know about it online and offline, just like any other site you want to promote.
8 ) Make GREAT content (that’s the killer app)
(UPDATE: I’m hearing from #SXSW via gingerw that you should also have PubSubHubbub installed on your video blog. Google it, like I am now 🙂
Let me know how you make out; I’d love to hear tips you have, themes you’re using, and plug-ins that are making your life easier. I just put my vlog up yesterday, so I’m as eager as anyone to learn 🙂
Come and find me on twitter @benjaminbach to let me know that you liked this article (and especially if you didn’t, but you gotta tell me why) and what you’d like me to to expand upon.
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