Click Here, Please

By
Real Estate Agent with Solutions Real Estate CA DRE #01490977

 Hah, gotcha!

These words (click here, please) must be the mantra of most real estate agents in the 21st century. If not a specific request, then certainly an implied one. Believe it or not, though, there are still some agents who do not have websites. Perhaps they have plenty of referral and past client business so a website is not needed. Hmmm, I wonder, though.

Anyhow, we all want consumers coming to our websites, don't we? Otherwise, why spend the money to buy a template site, or even bigger bucks to have a custom site designed? More traffic means more leads and potentially more business. Theoretically, that is. Hits don't necessarily translate into business, and many folks stop by briefly, only to disappear into cyberspace, never to return.

So what should we know, and do, to make our websites appeal to those elusive consumers who have millions of sites to choose from. What will bring the traffic to us?

I am far from an expert (you know that, of course) and there are far wiser folks on AR in the areas of SEO and related topics. But I attended an all-day CRS class, "Driving Prospects to your Website Made Simple," yesterday with Randy Eagar, a popular trainer and consultant in the area of web positioning, and thought I would pass along a few tidbits I learned. [Randy also developed the first national real estate technology training course for the CRS organization]. You never know when these things might come in handy (many of which you may already be aware of), and you could decide to make some changes in your site. When or if the mood strikes...

So here are some highlights - perhaps you will learn something!

  1. The PRIMARY keyword is LOCATION, say Carlsbad. The best way to get traffic to your website
  2. The second best keyword is REAL ESTATE (yep, there may be some exceptions and everybody uses it so by itself it won't likely help you get found), and a combination of location + real estate (CARLSBAD REAL ESTATE) works best But you should not limit yourself to these alone. Focus on keywords with LOW COMPETITION and relatively HIGH DEMAND
  3. Remember, we don't decide what the keywords and keyword phrases are, the folks who are looking do. What WE think consumers are searching for, or should, and what they are actually searching for can be very different. Don't make assumptions (wordtracker is one good source for keywords)
  4. The best places for your keywords/keyword phrase are your DOMAIN and then YOUR WEBSITE TITLE
  5. The target market for your website is RELOCATING BUYERS - keep that in mind. What are these folks looking for in YOUR town (it is not always the same for each city, since some towns are more resort orients, or more for retirees).
  6. STOP words are those that the search engines do not index, such as "an, and, the, a"
  7. The MOST important aspect of PAGE RANKING is the DOMAIN NAME, and then the PAGE TITLE.
  8. Of course while getting MORE TRAFFIC is important, CONTENT is still critical. No content, and all the traffic in the world gets you nowhere. Content is what will keep visitors on your site. You already know this, but does YOUR SITE reflect this knowledge?
  9. Search engines are shifting more toward "theme-based" algorithms that do not rely on the analysis of single web pages, but, rather, focus on the topical nature of the site and relevance to search requests. This does NOT mean keywords are not important but the focus is shifting.
  10. Each page of your website should have a different title (in many template sites this is not the case - have you ever looked? -  so look into changing the titles)
  11. The number and quality (rated from 0 - 10) of in-bound links is important for determining page rank. Getting links from other sites/writers is not always easy - links from .GOV and .EDU sites are the best
  12. You can also improve your page rankings by linking from other internal pages on your website. One way to do this is to use "return to my home page" in the text of each page (not in the frame portion in a template site, often the left hand side)
  13. Research your competition's source code to see how they are using keyword and keyword phrases (e.g., do a search on a keyword phrase and see you comes up in the search ahead of you). No copying, please, but do see what they are doing for suggestions on how to improve your own site
  14. Don't forget about Meta Tags - The Keyword Meta Tags (the words or phrases that best describe the page) and the Description Meta Tags (1 or 2 sentence description of the page) are the most important for many search engines

I could go on, but hopefully there are a few gems in here that you can use to enhance your site. I know I found it useful and now have a TO DO LIST!

UPDATE 9/30 - Keep in mind that spiders read from LEFT to RIGHT, just as we do. So the Primary keyword should be as far to the left in the title as it can be, since more emphasis is placed on the words farthest to the left. And lower case works well and is easier to read in the listng display from the search.

The number of characters (plus spaces), NOT words, allowed per search engine to display in their search listings also varies. For Google it is 79, Alta Vista 79. You don't want your title cut off in midstream, do you?

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Jeff Dowler, CRS
Solutions Real Estate - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Thank you, Marlene. I'm pleased that you felt it was worthy of recognition.

Jeff

Sep 30, 2007 04:29 PM #84
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Jeff Dowler, CRS
Solutions Real Estate - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Joan - Thanks for the positive feedback, but, well, don't wait too long. What if snow comes late? You don't want to miss out on making some important changes.

Jeff

Sep 30, 2007 04:31 PM #85
Rainmaker
655,882
Bob & Carolin Benjamin
Benjamin Realty LLC - Gold Canyon, AZ
East Phoenix Arizona Homes
Excellent post. Thanks for sharing.
Sep 30, 2007 05:24 PM #86
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Jeff Dowler, CRS
Solutions Real Estate - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Bob and Carolin - Thanks for the kind words. I'm pleased you also found the information useful.

Jeff

Sep 30, 2007 05:32 PM #87
Rainmaker
126,231
David Dee
RMX REALTY - Alhambra, CA
Real Estate - San Gabriel Valley (L.A.) & N. Orang

Jeff,

You rock! I will look into this and will find time to implement this. Awesome tips and great information!

Dave

Sep 30, 2007 06:00 PM #88
Rainer
27,874
Darrel Quebedeaux
Evergreen Realty & Associates Inc. - Newport Coast, CA
Thanks for sharing some really great information.
Sep 30, 2007 06:03 PM #89
Rainer
73,697
Mohamed Mekhimar - Accredited Buyers Rep , E-Pro - Richmond Virginia Real Estate
RE/MAX Commonwealth - Richmond, VA
Great Post and I do appreciate the information.
Sep 30, 2007 06:15 PM #90
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Jeff Dowler, CRS
Solutions Real Estate - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Dave - Hey, thanks for the compliment. Now go to work.

Darrel - you are welcome. Glad you found it helpful.

Mohamed - thanks for your comment. Hope you can make good use of the information.

Jeff

Sep 30, 2007 06:19 PM #91
Rainer
13,312
Fred Miller
National Real Estate Pages - Roseville, CA

Hi Jeff,

Great post and some great info for those doing their own SEO and Keyword purchasescaution tapeJust had a thought about the keywords

How many words in the English language describe our products in the consumers mind.  I come up with TWO, homes and real estate.  Does that mean, that within a city, that only 20 agents will ever be in top ten organically.  In my area, there are over 6000 agents in our board.  This means, that only 20 out of 6000 will get the traffic in my city doesn't it?  With this in mind, we could add for sale to those words, and that makes 40 out of 6000.  yelid

Additionally, how many of the visitors using those keywords are actually agents checking their position on the search engine as opposed to active buyers and sellers?  I think when we "do the math"  we will be surprised at the answers we are able to arrive at.  I think we should ask ourselves, how many times have we directed someone to type those terms in while doing a listing presentation, and how many times we have typed them in ourselves looking for our position?

This may change your perspective a bit on what the true traffic numbers are. 

Another thing to consider when building a business around sales, is that when you get to the top, you usually start to add more overhead to your business.  More space, additional assistants, buyers agents, etc... If you drop out of the top ten when the SE's change their algorithm and they do this often, you might find yourself competing  for pay per clicks with some heavy hitters.  The one with the biggest pocket book wins this game don't they? 

Sometimes, you must be careful, you might get what you wish for as well. 

If you get to the top and cannot make all the return calls, you could be damaging your reputation in your market. Not much chance of that in this market, but it certainly was during the run up over the past 5 years. 

 

Oct 01, 2007 01:10 AM #92
Rainmaker
467,265
Midori Miller
Talk 2 Midori, LLC - Daytona Beach, FL
Online Marketing For Real Estate Professionals

Jeff-great advice and tips.  It just so happens I am revamping and preparing for next year!  My website is horrible. that will be my next project.   I have revamped my activerain profile and have my own personal blog up and running. I have neglected it for so long because of my blogging addiction.  I can't wait to adjust the site.  I enjoy the transformation

This post is worth printing and distributing and I will do just that.  Thanks so much for your wisdom.....and I appreciate you commenting on my post.

Oct 01, 2007 02:33 AM #93
Rainer
8,174
Pamela Burdette-Miller
RE/MAX Unlimited Real Estate - Danbury, CT
Jeff- Thanks for sharing! It seems so simple until we start working with ways to make our websites more effective for our businesses. This is a great summary of tips to get me started! Thanks again.
Oct 01, 2007 02:28 PM #94
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Jeff Dowler, CRS
Solutions Real Estate - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Fred- those are some interesting questions and valid points. I am certainly not an expert in this area. I think traffic is something you always have to watch since I suspect it changes over time, as will the keywords potentially. I expect what people are searching for today is different, to some extent, than a year ago. And there are certainly a lot of variations of keyword phrases that one could use when you consider services, types of housing, and other things, even in one city.

As far as PPC, my sense is that many do not click on those ads. So, yes, it DOES cost a lot =if you want to play that game, but I am not convinced it is necessary to get sufficient traffic to build a strong business. And certainly, as you point out, growth is going to result in more overhead, and one musts consider that in term of the business model and goals one has.

Thanks for your thoughts = they add a lot to the discussion.

Jeff

Oct 01, 2007 02:48 PM #95
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Jeff Dowler, CRS
Solutions Real Estate - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Midori- thanks for your thoughts, and good luck with your plans. It's good that you recognize the need to make some changes and are planning to do so - many don't ever bother. It is always work in progress, I think. It seemed to me that much of what I included was very do-able for folks, and given this was the main focus of the class, we should seriously evaluate where out site is vis-a-vis where it could and should be.

Thanks so much!

Jeff

Oct 01, 2007 02:51 PM #96
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Jeff Dowler, CRS
Solutions Real Estate - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Pamela - well, I think, in principal, it is fairly easy but it takes time and dedication. So many assume that they can put up a site and everything just happens, without having to do anything with new information, etc. Not anymore...there is too much competition. And the Internet has gotten too complex for us to just sit by and expect folks to come visit our site in droves, begging for our help. NOT.

Jeff

Oct 01, 2007 02:55 PM #97
Rainmaker
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Lisa Hill
Florida Property Experts - Daytona Beach, FL
Daytona Beach Real Estate
Sweet! Number 12 and your update at the bottom are gonna keep me busy!
Oct 02, 2007 08:44 AM #98
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Jeff Dowler, CRS
Solutions Real Estate - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Go get 'em, Lisa. Time's a wastin'!

Jeff

Oct 02, 2007 09:18 AM #99
Anonymous
Mirela Monte
Great Job!  Thank you very much for the great info!
Oct 03, 2007 12:20 PM #100
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Jeff Dowler, CRS
Solutions Real Estate - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Mirela - so sorry for not responding earlier to your comment. Thanks for the compliment. I'm glad you found it helpful.

Jeff

Oct 07, 2007 08:35 AM #101
Rainmaker
95,714
Michael Sahlman
www.HomesForVIPs.com - Keller Williams Realty - Miami Beach, FL
e-PRO - Miami Beach Florida Luxury Homes

Thanks for the info. It is really helpful. I am actually looking at hiring him as for my SEO. Not too happy with Compass Internet Systems right now, the SEO co. I currently use. Do you know of anyone who has hired Randy for SEO and if so what was their experience?

Jun 03, 2008 01:18 AM #102
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Jeff Dowler, CRS
Solutions Real Estate - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Michael - I do not know of anyone personall,y but have heard good things in general. The class I attended was pretty impressive. I'm sure he can provide references. NEst of luck.

Jeff

Jun 03, 2008 01:25 AM #103
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