Ask An Ambassador: Blogging, Inverted Pyramids and Long Tails
We're building our business one long tail search at a time. It's the place where as a real estate agent you can beat the big companies and the technology is realtively cheap. An IDX provider, a website, and CONTENT that matches what the consumers are searching for.
That content is the attraction that brings buyers and sometimes sellers to the point of picking up the phone and calling us.
How does it work? Basically we've all had it drilled into us that Internet buyers shop for their homes online, but that search can be a multistep process.
Let's use the graphic below to help explain:
A buyer that doesn't know our area well most likely starts out searching "Cincinnati Homes For Sale". That's a high dollar search term and dominated by the big syndicators (ZTR), national brokerages and the like. While in theory we COULD win the SEO war for that search term, it would be VERY expensive and VERY time consuming to build up that kind of presence.
But after the buyers have searched homes, gathered school information, quality of life factors and other details, they'll refine their search further, for instance in this case "Mason Ohio homes for sale". Mason is a lot smaller than Cincinnati and is an affluent bedroom community of Cincinnati. While the competition for consumer eyes isn't as expensive as "Cincinnati", it's still a highly sought after search term. So while we may blog about Mason Ohio Homes For Sale, that term is still too general for us to win often.
It's that next layer, the bottom of the inverted pyramid, the region best fitted to long tail searches, THAT is where we build our business because it's at THAT level of detail the 800 pound gorillas are missing. It's specific IDX searches and blog posts about subdivisions such as "Chestnut Hill" or "Mason Ohio homes for sale with 3 car garages" (or finished basements, or walkout basements, or in-ground pools or........the possibilities go on and on), THAT is where we can and do win the search placement. My last weekend was spent working with two sets of buyers who found us from two separate long tail type IDX search pages.
Below is the result of a Google Chrome incognito (unbiased) search:
That first organic spot is our Wordpress page with custom IDX search for Chestnut Hill. It beats local brokerages, national brokerages and it beats ZTR. And the ad above us? Do you think it's specific enough to get someone to click over our link?
Now you might say "But where's your ActiveRain page for Chestnut Hill? It's true, it's not at the top of the search results, but it IS doing its job. Our AR page is used to drive traffic to that WP site AND also as backlink on our Mason Ohio Communities Pinterest page (which places on page 2 for the same search term we used above). The actual homes for sale gives our WP site an advantage over our AR blog post because of the extra specific content. That does not mean AR blogging isn't an effective part of our strategy.
Our main AR and AR Outside Blog give us good placement on our more "newsy" long tail searches that don't mesh with an IDX search (e.g. new construction patio homes in Loveland Ohio) and similar type searches. And when we get more into our niche of patio homes where there's less competition, our AR posts, our AR Outside Blog, our WP site and our Pinterest pages all take page 1.
Our business is growing, and it's because we understand that long tails and inverted pyramids are where we want to position our blog posts and WP site. It's the place where the buyers without an agent are closest to making a final decision. If they find us there, our odds of being called are good.
We're not doing anything miraculous that you can't do too. We are NOT SEO experts, we just keep doing what we've learned works. And yes, it's work and it takes time, but the payoff is literal if you commit to it.
Until next Tuesday, just Ask An Ambassador if you need help!
Liz and Bill aka BLiz