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Get more clicks with optimized page titles, headlines and URLs

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Squeeze more SEO from your pages, headlines and URLs

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.

AG sample - shows page title, hadline and URLIn this screen shot of a recent AG article,  we can see that the Page and Post titles are the same, but the URL has been modified.  Hooray!

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.

Jack Leblond is a SEO/SEM professional working for a large corporation full time in Austin, TX. He is not a Realtor, he is our in-house SEO expert. Jack is the Director of Internet Strategy and Operations for TG (www.tgslc.org). In addition to managing the team that develops and maintains the company's multiple Web sites, he focuses on Search Engine Optimization (SEO), e-marketing and Social Media. Jack's background ranges from Submarine Sonar Technician/Instructor for the United States Navy, technical writer, pioneer in internet/intranet creation for McGraw-Hill and Times Mirror Higher Education, former Adjunct Professor for two Universities teaching web-related courses, has served as a city council member and co-founded Net-Smart, a web design and hosting company, where he managed networks and oversaw the development of hundreds of Web sites. As a free-lance SEO consultant, Jack performs SEO Site Audits for small/medium businesses that want their web sites to perform better in the search engine listings.

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13 Comments

13 Comments

  1. Fred Romano

    July 21, 2009 at 3:35 pm

    This is a great SEO tip, thanks for sharing. Makes sense to mix it up a bit to see how different keywords work.

  2. Ken Jansen

    July 21, 2009 at 6:08 pm

    Thank you Jack. I had not thought of varying the words like home and house between the title and the URL. I guess I thought they needed to be the same, but I don’t know where my idea came from so it might just be an assumption on my part. So this is part of the semantic linking idea right? Thank you again for sharing. Great stuff.

  3. ClarkeW

    July 22, 2009 at 12:19 am

    Nice tip Jack! I’ve spent time discussing this issue with a development company over this same issue as their content management system did the exact same thing. After I started to go through and manually make some changes to titles and headlines, it did have a nice impact on my rankings. So this is definitely a great tip to consider.

  4. Jim Rake

    July 22, 2009 at 7:37 am

    Jack –

    yep, “Big picture is where long-term results are found” kind of says it all.

    Appreciate the “ounces”!

  5. Joe Loomer

    July 22, 2009 at 8:29 am

    Thanks Jack – I was among the “lazy” ones you mentioned. Anything to squeeze an extra ounce of SEO!

    Navy Chief, Navy Pride

  6. Mark Jacobs

    July 22, 2009 at 6:04 pm

    Great Post…

    Augusta Real Estate

  7. Ken Jansen

    March 17, 2010 at 2:53 pm

    Hi Jack, 8 months later since I read and commented on your article. Still great stuff. My websites have continued to climb in the rankings. I started new blog with more SEO features than the last few and it is climbing in the google rankings. I appreciate you and the rest of the AG writers. Great stuff.

    Ken

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How to

Facebook Likes take over FB Shares- So fix your pics- WordPress Plugin

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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.

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Business Marketing

Blogging: A Time Suck or Sweet Sunshine?

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Time Suckage

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.comSlideShare.comTwitter.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.

Bottom Line

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.

PS.

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.

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Housing News

How You Can Make A Video Blog – cheap, quick & easy

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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:

a screengrab of my Video Site

a screengrab of my Video Site

Before I built this, I did a bit of googling, and all the nice ‘video’ wordpress themes were anywhere from $37  to $150.
I have nothing against premium themes – I use Agentpress, and Canvas by woothemes for different sites – but this was more of a weekend project that I didn’t want to put cash into (yet – I don’t invest cash in a site until it’s producing revenue).
 
Plus, I want to show my friends how to duplicate it, and free makes that easier.
 
After scouring the web for literally dozens of minutes, I found a plug-in called Tubepress, and I gave it a whirl:
Tubepress WordPress plugin for online video 

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) .

I really like the layout – what do you think?

Plugin allows you to easily display videos

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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