There are only two people in the world who really know how Google's search algorithms work ... I'm not one of them, and those two don't agree. That's from a website full of SEO guru jokes, most just adapted from attorney jokes. I want to make it clear that I do not consult on SEO or SEM anymore, but I have taken Google's certified exam in the past and actually passed it. When I had to retest a year later, I took it cold and failed. So, SEO is a moving target, and I got tired of shooting practice.
Two major components of AdWords advertising are the reason it works so well for the real estate professional who knows how to use it:
- You only pay when someone clicks on your ad and comes to your website landing page.
- You can set your daily or monthly budget and never spend more than your plan.Those are the reasons WHY it can work so well for our marketing, but they're not enough to make it happen. We have to know HOW to use AdWords properly, and part of that involves our website content and lead capture functions.Landing Pages/ContentFirst, we need specific articles or pages created with a focus on a certain key phrase that people are using when searching real estate in our area. This page is where they will "land" when they click on your AdWords ad.You Don't Want a Crash LandingWhat's a crash landing? It's when visitor after visitor lands on your page from a paid AdWords ad and they leave without you getting their contact information, starting a dialogue or following up with email marketing. The crashing sound is your ad budget.So, we want to do two specific things when we're creating landing pages where our AdWords visitors will arrive when they click on our ads. We want to bring them to a page that is optimized around the same keywords or phrase in the ad and has the answers they're looking for. Then we want to offer them some compelling reason, a "call-to-action," to give up their contact information so we can start marketing to them directly.I just grabbed an example out of thin air, "denver foreclosure homes." If you were specializing in foreclosure representation in the Denver area, you would find that right now there are 880 average searches per month on this key phrase. You find this once you open your free AdWords account and start using their Keyword Tool to find out what people are searching on at Google. So, you want to capture investors and others who are using this search.If you're using RealtySoft for your real estate web design, it's quite easy to do. You create a page with a foreclosure search on it. You put text on the page using the "denver foreclosure homes" text and talking about Denver foreclosures. This makes the page relevant to your add that is titled "Denver Foreclosure Homes," and that's what Google wants. It also takes the searcher right to a search to show them these foreclosures, which is what the searchers want.The other step is built right in with a RealtySoft site, as they are offered the opportunity to save their custom foreclosure search for future use without re-entering their criteria. All they have to do is what we want them to do ... register with their email address. Now we can follow up with our marketing and build a relationship that will lead to a commission.Now for the Secret SauceI know from talking to my friendly competitors that this is a true statement. Most Google AdWords real estate advertisers do not know about Ad Quality Scores, don't know how they work, and pay way too much for clicks that bring visitors but not commissions. One conversation had a competitor griping about paying $1.50 per click and her ad is right below mine. If you check out my previous post, you'll see the report that shows I'm paying $0.69/click and my ad is higher placed.Your ad quality score is the secret. Here's Google's simple explanation of Ad Quality Scoring:
It's simplified, but it's important. Google is telling you that they want the searcher to find what they want at the page where your ad sends them. And, it looks like Google is watching what they do when they get there. If they buy socks, Google knows that this page is a good place to take their searcher from this ad. Similarly, if the searcher takes another action at your page, such as signing up to save their search, Google sees that they must have found what they wanted.So, Google is giving your ad an actual quality score based on a number of secret ingredients, but we definitely know a couple of them from Google's own explanation of Quality Scoring. They also mention elsewhere the effect of better CTR, Click Through Ratio. In my previous post I mentioned that my CTR in the previous month for multiple key phrases averaged almost 6%. Some of my phrases approached 20%, meaning 2 out of every 10 searchers who had my ad presented did click on it. Google gives you quality score points for higher CTR than your competitor ads.We can now see that the secret sauce here has some ingredients we can control to actually get positioned above our competitors and pay a lot less for the privilege:
- A well-worded ad that uses our targeted key phrase in the ad title at the very least.
- A landing page where they arrive that is optimized for that key phrase with helpful text.
- The searcher stays on the page/site a while, and even better takes some action that shows Google they found what they wanted.The action the visitor takes may have nothing to do with search. Using the example of a page that is an article about title insurance binder "exceptions." It would explain all about them, targeting that key phrase, and you might offer a special report with a sample PDF title insurance binder showing actual exceptions. This is a call to action that gets their email address so you can send the report. Google sees that they found what they wanted.This image shows my top phrase for my market and the popup where Google tells me my ad's quality score and gives me links next to the rating text to take me to explanations of how to improve it.Now, this is really powerful information if you want to do paid advertising with AdWords. It's clear that it's valuable, as I'm paying almost a dollar less per click than my competitors, but I'm getting a better position. Google rewards me because they want their searchers to arrive at the very best page for their needs, and my page is doing a good job, and my ad is getting a good CTR with my wording. Doing it right will get you tons of leads, and you'll pay less for them. I can tell you that it's worth 69 cents to me to get that click for sure! I started out paying almost $2.00/click, but Google is constantly monitoring results and my cost began to move down and my position began to move up within a couple of weeks.RealtySoft Covers Every BaseLet's think about it for a minute. If you wanted to generate 200+ site visits each month, and you could save around $0.80 each by doing it right, that would be a savings of $160/month on your ad budget. That's WAY more than it costs for a RealtySoft site with bells and whistles. In this and the previous post I've shown you actual reports that prove you can spend less to get more from Google AdWords, but you must do it RIGHT! You must use the Secret Sauce. RealtySoft let's you easily create and optimize the pages to relate to the ads and key phrases you're targeting. Then you get easy to use tools to place forms to offer reports and bonus content to get the visitor to take the action we want; give us their contact information. The built-in IDX search function alone is a powerful call to action.If you want real leads from your website and you want them within hours, AdWords is the way to go. BUT, cook up your real estate website with the right sauce to get the results on the cheap.
About Jim Kimmons:Jim Kimmons, with more than 16 years experience as a licensed real estate agent and broker in 3 states, is a consultant to Realtors in how to use technology to market and manage their businesses. He has also written books and eBooks on Internet marketing and real estate. Jim is RealtySoft's chief evangelist and is a compensated regular contributor to the RealtySoft.com blog.
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