The 3 Pillars of SEO

Services for Real Estate Pros with Goodtree & Co., Inc.

Andrew Miller of made a fantastic presentation at WordCamp in Richmond last week.  Here’s a summary of Andrew’s best practices for optimizing search.


Reassuringly, Andrew pointed out that search engine optimization is:

  • Not Rocket Science or Voodoo
  • Not Free Traffic
  • Not “Set It and Forget It”

Too true. Managing search is like caring for a useful pet, perhaps a sheep dog. You want to herd the audience to your content. Andrew called it a “funnel to capture intent.” His metaphor is probably better.


Many pundits try to explain the quantum mechanics of search, but Andrew’s summation seems as good as any. Ranking in search rests on three pillars:

  1. Accessibility - Can the search engines find you?
  2. Relevance - Who related is your content to a particular search?
  3. Credibility - How can the search engines tell if you are an expert?


Andrew touted the benefits of Sitemaps to create visibility for search engines. These are not the site maps that viewers may use to find pages on your website. Sitemaps (capital “S”) are code documents that index all your content and provide instructions for search engines.

Andrew noted that many tools exist online to help you generate Sitemaps including Google Webmaster, Yahoo Site Explorer and


Want to boost relevance - take a look at the stats for your website or blog. What are the entry keywords - that is, what did people search for that led them to you?

Focus your content on the keywords and concepts most dear to your audience. Use your keywords liberally - in links, headlines, body copy and elsewhere.

Write for humans, not search robots, and you will also keep the audience you attract.


Links from other websites to your content, also called incoming links, build cred with the search ‘bots. One sure fire method to build incoming links to to circulate your content widely.

For example, we’ll repost this blog on ActiveRain, the portal for real estate professionals. We also use Feedburner and other services to notify all the search engines when we post and distribute the content to blog aggregators everywhere.

Finally, Andrew mentioned another of our favorite things: deploying an AddThis button on web pages and blog posts. AddThis and other social buttons give your audience a wealth of ways to share and save your content, including bookmarks, email, Facebook and Twitter.

All this enables more sharing of your content and more external links back to you.


Andrew conveniently included his slides in an online slideshow.

WordCamp is great for bloggers of all stripes. Thanks to Matt Walters for organizing WCRVA.

Look for more details soon about WordCamp RDU for folks in the Triangle area of North Carolina.

Comments (6)

Eric Villaverde
DoubleTree Home Inspection Services L.L.C. - Phoenix, AZ

Thanks for sharing the tech advice with us. Now we just need to implement it

May 13, 2009 02:54 AM
Hal Goodtree
Goodtree & Co., Inc. - Cary, NC
Web 2.0 for Business

Eric - I liked Andrew's advice because it focused on the fundamentals and was pretty easy to implement. Give him a call if you have any questions. Very accessible, down-to-earth guy.

May 13, 2009 02:59 AM
Katiejo Franks
Real Estate and Beyond, LLC - Scottsdale, AZ

Thanks for the great info. I am going to look into this a little further for our team web site

May 13, 2009 03:09 AM
Karen Fiddler, Broker/Owner
Karen Parsons-Fiddler, Broker 949-510-2395 - Mission Viejo, CA
Orange County & Lake Arrowhead, CA (949)510-2395

Man I need to figure this out...I have had some success...but really need to understand this better.

May 13, 2009 03:39 AM
Karen Schneider
Real Estate's SEO - Upper Arlington, OH

Hi Hal,

I especially agree with Andrew's third point that search engine optimization isn't "set it and forget it."  Both search engines and people like websites with new, relevant content.  Blogs are a great way to keep your website up to date.  Also, link to other related blogs or websites.  It'll add value for your readers and in exchange those websites will most likely want to link back to you, increasing traffic to your website and increasing your search engine rank.

Karen Schneider


May 13, 2009 03:46 AM
Hal Goodtree
Goodtree & Co., Inc. - Cary, NC
Web 2.0 for Business

Thanks for the comments, all.

Goodtree & Co does SEO for Realtors, so get in touch if you have questions or need help.

May 14, 2009 12:01 AM