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!
- The PRIMARY keyword is LOCATION, say Carlsbad. The best way to get traffic to your website
- 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
- 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)
- The best places for your keywords/keyword phrase are your DOMAIN and then YOUR WEBSITE TITLE
- 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).
- STOP words are those that the search engines do not index, such as "an, and, the, a"
- The MOST important aspect of PAGE RANKING is the DOMAIN NAME, and then the PAGE TITLE.
- 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?
- 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.
- 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)
- 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
- 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)
- 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
- 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?