You've probably never hear of "EdgeRank." But if you're serious about online marketing, you need to get your mind around it quickly. It's more important than SEO and will make or break you on the most important place on the web: Facebook
SEO as a marketing strategy for Real Estate is dying. Here's why:
#1) For the the vast majority of Real Estate agents and brokers it is already dead on arrival, and has been for several years.
Let's face it, only 5-7 players consistently win on any local keyword string. Are you one of those? Long tail you tell me? How much traffic is that really sending you? And how much business is that traffic really turning into? For the vast majority of agents, business is done the old fashioned way through networking. Not through SEO optimization and lead generation. How much mindshare have you put into SEO? And what has your return really been?
#2) Google's only making it tougher.
Have you done a search for CITY, Plumbers on Google lately? Look at the results that get returned. Google Local is taking over (those are the small results with phone numbers). Can you get in Google local? Sure. How? Who knows. Checked out Google Maps lately? It is already a robust place for consumers to search for listings. Why do they need to go to your site?
#3) Google's losing its position as the gateway to the Internet...to Facebook.
Facebook has surpassed Google in traffic and crushes them in engagement and customer relationship. Yes there is a lot of hooplah around privacy, etc. But if you think Facebook's momentum is going anywhere but up...you're in for a surprise.
What is EdgeRank & why should I care? (skip this section if you don't care & just want a tip on how to optimize...)
EdgeRank is the algorithm that Facebook uses to decide what goes in the "Top News" feed. You can learn more in this great write up by TechCrunch, but at a high level, Facebook provides its users two "streams" of information. The default Top News Feed, and the Most Recent feed.
It's easy to understand the Most Recent feed. That's where all posts from your network go (friends' status updates, posts from pages you "like", etc). Here's the problem with that feed - it's overwhelming (kind of like the Twitter feed IMO). So Facebook created the Top News feed to attempt to filter content/posts in a way that they think will make them more meaningful to you.
The Top News feed is the default feed everyone sees and that's where you want your content posts to end up. As an end user it's a subset of posts from your network - essentially it's what Facebook feels is going to be most interesting to you. And so to determine what goes in that feed they created an algorithm called Edgerank.
Before we get to the algorithm - what you need to understand is what an "Edge" is in Facebook parlance. An Edge is what's created when anyone interacts with a piece of content ("Likes", Shares, Comments, etc). Creating a content post itself the first time also creates an Edge.
Let's pause there...
The fact that the algorithm is called EdgeRank, and that an Edge is all about interaction - tells you something very insightful about what Facebook thinks matters to users. While Google cares about relevance of content and external popularity via links...Facebook cares about interaction and engagement. This tells you a lot about how to leverage Facebook - create engagement and interaction.
Back to EdgeRank...
Now, remember that creating a piece of content in and of itself creates an Edge. But how much more EdgeRank that content gets (and therefore how likely to make it into the Top News feed) depends on three things according to what Facebook shared at f8 - a) affinity between creator of the Edge and viewer b) some weighting by the type of Edge (like, share, comment) c) How long ago the Edge was created.
Any math guys out there? Don't worry if not - you don't need to understand the equation below. You just need to read the last part of this post)..
If you're confused, TechCrunch did a great job of summing this up.."In other, hopefully less confusing words, an Object is more likely to show up in your News Feed if people you know have been interacting with it recently."
The good news - EdgeRank optimization appears to be an order of magnitude than search engine optimization...
Does this sound familiar? To be good at SEO you need to do effective keyword research, optimize unique content for the keywords you're attacking, structure your pages and optimize them for google crawlers, avoid duplicate content, drive one way anchor text links, avoid obvious linkbait, and so on, and so on.
Meanwhile, it appears that to be good at EdgeRank you need to create content that people want to engage with (by sharing, liking or commenting) and do it with some frequency.
Let's compare the pay off of SEO (assuming you're one of the few who actually get to the payoff) to that of Facebook EdgeRank optimization. SEO is going to drive random eyeballs to your website/blog which you'll hope to create to a lead someday and eventually turn into a deal. Facebook is going to create relationships with friends of friends, partners, previous clients, and so on.
Which would you prefer to spend your time on?