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An SEO Pearl of Wisdom; Opposites do Attract

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Opposites do Attract


Getting Found For What You Don’t Do Can be a Good Thing

Buckle your seat-belts folks, this week’s SEO tip is a bit upside-down.

You’ve spent countless hours building a beautiful Real Estate site, filled page after page of compelling, keyword rich content.  You have proper page titles, used the headline tags, even made sure to use alt tags and photo captions.  All your hard work is being rewarded, as you slowly work your way up the page rankings for your chosen keyword phrases.  But are you reaching all of your potential customers?  I can guarantee that many of you are not.  Trust me, I checked.

Why Do I Need a Realtor?

As you all know, I am not a Realtor, so this is a bit of a guess.  But I think I know something that really irritates you, because it used to irritate me too.  When I owned a tech company, one of my biggest on-going battles was people wanting to “do it themselves.”  Keep in mind this was before the days of WordPress or other CMS tools.  If you wanted a really good web site, you needed a really good company to build it.  If you needed networking done, you hired someone to do it.  We heard so many times that a prospect didn’t need us because “the neighbor’s kid would do it for free in his high school computer club.”  How often have you had somebody say to you “Why should I pay an agent?  I can buy an ad in the paper, I can put it online myself.”?

Negative Search Phrases

No, I am not suggesting that you talk bad about people who want to sell their own home, negative in this case means opposite.  When properly done, being found by people searching for the opposite of you can be a very powerful sales tool.  You need to take the irritation these people cause you and use it to create some pearls.  Use “negative search phrases” to create pages showing your potential clients the risks of not hiring you.  Explain how saving a little money on your fee could actually cost them a lot of money in reduced selling prices.  Show them the hazards and pitfalls of doing it themselves.  I’m sure that at some point you have had a home seller sheepishly come to you and say they tried it on their own, now they need professional help.  Tell that story, get testimonilas, if you can…get it on video.  Video is very powerful (but that’s a tip for another day).  In short, you should educate them.  With all the new content directed at this specific group of readers, when someone in your area searches for info on “fsbo”, they will hopefully land on your site instead of somebody offering to sell them a blank sign.

You do need to be cautious with this tactic, if you are too strong, too negative you may come across as having a bad case of “sour grapes,”  making potential clients even more sure that they don’t need you.

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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11 Comments

11 Comments

  1. Kim Wood

    September 23, 2008 at 7:44 am

    Hi Jack! I’ve actually had success helping FSBO’s a little bit. Obviously even if I wanted to, I can’t tell them everything involved in a transaction to get them sold and closed. But I’m happy to be there to answer a few questions – cause guess who they’ll call *when* they can’t sell?

    Never thought of blogging while keeping in mind the other options to using an agent though – very good point!

  2. Jay Thompson

    September 23, 2008 at 8:31 am

    So you’re saying it’s OK that someone found me at #1 in Google for “dumbass Phoenix realtor”?

    Interesting tactic Jack, thanks for sharing. And you know of course, you are now on the hook for a post about video and SEO…

  3. Spanish Fork Townhomes

    September 23, 2008 at 11:22 am

    That is some really good advice. Negative attention is still attention. The best inbound links are natural links of pure love. But links that are out of hate are still inbound links. So being found for things that are not what you think you should be ranked for could pull in some extra traffic.

  4. Jonathan Bentz

    September 23, 2008 at 12:00 pm

    Great tip Jack. While I would agree that REA’s should be capitalizing on this SEO tactic, I think there are a lot of companies in all industries that could gain a lot more exposure and potential conversions/leads with negative keyword campaigns. Thanks.

  5. Jack Leblond

    September 23, 2008 at 1:47 pm

    Hi Folks – thanks for the feedback.

    Quick poll – how many of you use video on your site now?

    Please drop me a line and let me know: jack [at] jackleblond [dot] com

  6. Vicki Moore

    September 23, 2008 at 3:32 pm

    I’ve seen some companies/individuals who have terrible comments about themselves on Google then when you go to the site, it’s actually their site. Heading it off at the pass, I guess.

  7. seo london

    July 27, 2009 at 8:37 pm

    Nice article, thanks for the info.

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Business Marketing

The rise of influencer marketing and its effect on digital marketing

(BUSINESS MARKETING) More businesses are planning to invest a larger part of their marketing budgets on more relatable, branded content and influencer marketing.

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Influencer speaking to camera for marketing segment.

The digital age has created more savvy consumers, and the barrage of advertising on top of the plenitude of content online can be a lot. Many consumers have learned to hide ads or they simply scroll past them to their content of choice. Most business owners know that digital marketing is a crucial part of any ad strategy, and branded content and influencer marketing continues to grow in the market, because consumers see that it’s different from traditional advertising.

Hardly anything stayed the same in 2020, and traditional advertising also has shifted. Advertiser Perceptions reported on the trend for 2021, based on a survey from late 2020.

“More than half of advertisers using paid branded content and influencers say doing so is more critical than it was a year ago. Throughout the second half of 2020, 32% increased spending on branded content and 25% spent more to back influencers. They’re now putting 20% of their digital budgets into the complementary practices, which is more than they put into any other digital channel (paid search is 14%, display 13%, paid social 12%, digital video 12%).”

The benefits of branded and influencer content are that you are speaking to the consumer where they already are, when you choose an influencer. The people who follow their accounts are more likely to trust that the influencer would only share something they like or use themselves. The best matches are when the influencer marketing fits nicely into the kind of content, the voice, and any specialties they already deal with.

The word “influencer” as well as the concept rubs some people the wrong way. Marketers see the value, though, as influencer marketing can be effective if done well, and the cost to hire them is often less than a traditional ad campaign. If I want to know about food in a city, I’ll follow the hashtags until I find a local food blogger or micro-influencer whose style I like. Then I’ll seek out those restaurants when I visit. Sure, some of the meals are comped, but the truth is that food bloggers and influencers like to share their food recommendations. I have been influenced this way more than once, and not only for food. I am not alone in this, either, which is why it’s an important part of a marketing strategy.

In influencer marketing, the content creator is then given free rein to create within their own style, voice, and persona. They need to connect with their audience in an authentic, familiar way without creating a dissonance for their followers between their public page(s) and the brand. The level of trust is fairly high with influencer marketing, and many influencers realize that promoting something crappy or something outside of their area of expertise or recognition hurts everyone involved.

The power of storytelling comes into play here, as with all good advertising. Branded content is specifically all about the story, often the story of the business’s philosophy or some lifestyle aspect that goes with the brand’s vibe–or is so off that it goes viral. Some branded campaigns join into or build off of conversations already happening in the wider world. The purpose is to have people engage with the brand, with the content, build awareness, encourage conversations, sharing, comments, all with the long term goal of fostering a positive image of the brand so that down the line, they will become consumers.

Think of 2004 Dove’s “Real Beauty” campaign, based on a study showing that around 2% of women saw themselves as beautiful. The widely studied, award-winning campaign featured women of all backgrounds and body types, without airbrushing and Photoshopping them into a narrow vision of “beauty.” While some people hated it, many loved it and applauded the brand for treading into traditionally uncharted waters. Among haters, fans, and people who weren’t sure what to think, the Dove Real Beauty branded content campaign generated conversations. The campaign also encouraged women to feel good about themselves and lift up other women. One could argue that the campaign you could argue that the Real Beauty campaign was a forerunner to the currently popular body positivity movement, which started gaining traction around 2012. Dove increased sales by at least $1.5 billion in the first ten years the branded content campaign ran.

The goal of branded content is to raise awareness of the brand, but the path from point A (creating the content) to point B (brand awareness, ultimately leading to better sales) is not a straight line. Brands are paying attention to grabbing attention, aka building brand awareness via more upper funnel marketing than lower funnel.

One thing that marketers are looking for now, however, is almost eliminating the funnel. With the mind-boggling increase in e-commerce since the beginning of the pandemic, clickable sales capability becomes important in any kind of marketing, including influencer and branded content. It pays to listen to customers, to find an influencer who meshes with your brand’s purpose, and to create thoughtful branded content that isn’t out of line with your core product or service.

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Business News

Are Gen Z more fickle in their shopping, or do brands just need to keep up?

(BUSINESS NEWS) As the world keep changing, brands and businesses have to change along with it. Some say Gen Z is fickle, but others say it is the nature of change.

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Gen Z woman shopping outside on a laptop.

We all know that if you stop adapting to the world around you, you’re going to be left behind. A recently published article decided to point out that the “fickle” Gen Z generation are liable to leave a poor digitally run site and never return. Now of course we’ve got some statistics here… They did do some kind of due diligence.

This generation, whose life has been online from almost day one, puts high stakes on their experiences online. It is how they interact with the world. It’s keyed into their self-worth and their livelihoods, for some. You want to sell online, get your shit together.

They have little to no tolerance for anything untoward. 80% of Gen Zers reported that they are willing to try new brands since the pandemic. Brand loyalty, based on in-person interaction, is almost a thing of the past. When brands are moved from around the world at the touch of your fingertips there’s nothing to stop you. If a company screws up an order, or doesn’t get back to you? Why should you stick with them? When it comes to these issues, 38% of Gen Zers say they only give a brand 1 second chance to fix things. Three-quarters of the surveyed responded saying that they’ll gladly find another retailer if the store is just out of stock.

This study goes even further though and discusses not just those interactions but also the platforms themselves. If a website isn’t easy to navigate, why should I use it? Why should I spend my time when I can flit to another and get exactly what I need instead of getting frustrated? There isn’t a single company in the world that shouldn’t take their webpage development seriously. It’s the new face of their company and brand. How they show that face is what will determine if they are a Rembrandt or a toddlers noodle art.

The new age of online shopping has been blasted into the atmosphere by the pandemic. Online shopping has boosted far and above expected numbers for obvious reasons. When the majority of your populace is told to stay home. What else are they going to do? Brands that have been around for decades have gone out of business because they didn’t change to an online format either. Keep moving forward.

Now as a side note here, as someone who falls only just outside the Gen Z zone the articles description of fickle is pompous. The stories I’ve heard of baby boomers getting waiters fired, or boycotting stores because of a certain shopkeeper are just as fickle and pointed. Nothing has changed in the people, just how they interact with the world. Trying to single out a single generation based on how the world has changed is a shallow view of the world.

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Tech News

Google is giving back some privacy control? (You read that right)

(TECH NEWS) In a bizarre twist, Google is giving you the option to opt out of data collection – for real this time.

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Open laptop on desk, open to map privacy options

It’s strange to hear “Google” and “privacy” in the same sentence without “concerns” following along, yet here we are. In a twist that’s definitely not related to various controversies involving the tech company, Google is giving back some control over data sharing—even if it isn’t much.

Starting soon, you will be able to opt out of Google’s data-reliant “smart” features (Smart Compose and Smart Reply) across the G-Suite of pertinent products: Gmail, Chat, and Meet. Opting out would, in this case, prevent Google from using your data to formulate responses based on your previous activity; it would also turn off the “smart” features.

One might observe that users have had the option to turn off “smart” features before, but doing so didn’t disable Google’s data collection—just the features themselves. For Google to include the option to opt out of data collection completely is relatively unprecedented—and perhaps exactly what people have been clamoring for on the heels of recent lawsuits against the tech giant.

In addition to being able to close off “smart” features, Google will also allow you to opt out of data collection for things like the Google Assistant, Google Maps, and other Google-related services that lean into your Gmail Inbox, Meet, and Chat activity. Since Google knowing what your favorite restaurant is or when to recommend tickets to you can be unnerving, this is a welcome change of pace.

Keep in mind that opting out of data collection for “smart” features will automatically disable other “smart” options from Google, including those Assistant reminders and customized Maps. At the time of this writing, Google has made it clear that you can’t opt out of one and keep the other—while you can go back and toggle on data collection again, you won’t be able to use these features without Google analyzing your Meet, Chat, and Gmail contents and behavior.

It will be interesting to see what the short-term ramifications of this decision are. If Google stops collecting data for a small period of time at your request and then you turn back on the “smart” features that use said data, will the predictive text and suggestions suffer? Only time will tell. For now, keep an eye out for this updated privacy option—it should be rolling out in the next few weeks.

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