SEO for Real Estate

By
Real Estate Technology with Zillow

"SEO" (Search Engine Optimization) -- you could spend a lifetime trying to figure it out. And about the time you get it figured out, Google and whoever will up and change things.

There's reciprocal links, back links, one-way links, natural links, link farms (a *really* bad idea). Flash vs. CSS vs PHP vs HTML. To JavaScript or not? Then there's new stuff like Ajax. There is keyword density and when and where to use <H1> - <H4> tags. If all this sounds like a foreign language, you are not alone.

Unless you want to pay for traffic via PPC (Pay Per Click), it's critical to get your site ranked well in search engines.

So what's a non-techie Realtor to do?

Throughout the years of changes in how Google, Yahoo, MSN and others rank sites, one thing has remained constant: CONTENT IS KING.

Fresh and unique content, regularly updated WILL (eventually) get noticed by the search engines. As Realtors, the sky is the limit when it comes to content. Content needs to be relevant but if you think about it, virtually anything is relevant to real estate. Think about what you need or want to know about a community, especially if you've never lived in the area before.  Schools, doctors, entertainment, restaurants, local government, local news, crime rates, utilities, maps. The list is practically endless.

Our web site, ThompsonsRealty.com ranks very well in Google for dozens of good search terms. We've pulled in a client who found our site because they were looking for a good Greek restaurant (we're ranked #1 in Google for "Greek restaurant in Gilbert"). We certainly didn't try to get #1 for that term, we just added a page with some restaurant reviews (which gets LOTS of visitors).

Our SEO philosophy is horribly oversimplified: Frequently add unique fresh content to the site with the goal of becoming a "one stop shop" for anything and everything a visitor could ever need--and write this content for the VISITOR, not for Google.

It's a lofty, and probably unattainable, goal. But as we add content on at least a weekly basis, our site grows and more and more pages and terms are indexed by Google. If you add new content regularly, and add it for the benefit of the site visitor, Google will find your site and see that it's helpful to others. Your search engine placements WILL rise.  

 

Comments (5)

Stan Mackey
Coldwell Banker Bain - Seattle, WA
Jay, Thanks for sharing...Great ideas and info.
Jul 16, 2006 06:34 AM
Kris McGee
Berkshire Group Realtors - Denver, CO
Content has always been King. It too bad the folks looking for the shortcut have found ways around the true purpose.
Jul 16, 2006 09:51 AM
Ben Kakimoto
Keller Williams Greater Seattle - Seattle, WA
Seattle Condo Specialist

I agree, at least that's what the SEO gurus tells us.  Also, I noticed it helps with a lot of the unusual search terms people use.  After I added several new pages, I've been getting more hits from search terms I didn't even try to optimize for...just like your Greek restaurant example.

Jul 16, 2006 10:47 AM
Sharon Simms
Coastal Properties Group International - Christie's International - Saint Petersburg, FL
St. Petersburg FL - CRS CIPS CLHMS RSPS
We're with you on that one. We've always believed that CONTENT is the most important aspect.  Better than graphic design, better than links, it's all about content.
Jul 22, 2006 01:15 PM
Bill French
MyST Technology Partners - Dillon, CO

"i've been getting more hits from search terms i didn't even try to optimize for...just like your greek restaurant example. "

That's known as the long tail of search - a concept that if fully understood will give you a competitive advantage concerning Internet visibility.

"ranks very well in google for dozens of good search terms"

Study the long tail and you'll quickly realize it's better to have thousands or tens of thousands of search terms that you rank well on. Most people think they need popular terms to do well in SEO. That's one approach - dominate a few dozen terms and get hudreds of people to visit based on these general key phrases that are few in nymber; it's not sustainable though because competitors are always trying to out-SEO you for the same terms. A better approach - get 10,000 people to visit based on 9,900 unique phrases. No single phrase makes or breaks your SEO strategy, and the vast majority of the visitors are reading your content because you wrote exactly what they wanted to read.

"... reciprocal links ..."

A [potentially] bad idea as well. Don't waste a moment adding this blog post to your reading list.

"content is king" --

I disagree - focused content is king. The more focused your information is, the more likely you will convince a search engine that you are the most relevant site to recommend. Think about it - the more diverse your content, the less it is about one idea. The more focused and "on-message" your writing is, the greater the liklihood that (a) you will be regarded as an expert on a specific subject, and (b) the more likely your visitors will be looking for exactly what you offer (e.g., visitors are likely to be better qualified prospects).

Writing about everything under the sun will achieve only one thing - a big web site about alot of topics. Oddly enough, Google finds nothing about that interesting - why? - because that's Google's gig! They build an index to everything under the sun!

As a business, your Internet visibility results are likely to be more successful by narrowing your message and attracting visitors that are also narrowing their search queries to find precisely the information they seek.

Information is valuless until it is found, and the best way to have finable content is to create pages that are very discrete and about one thing.

Jul 24, 2006 02:19 PM