Search engine optimization (SEO), search engine marketing (SEM), conversion rate optimization (CRO)… Aren't these all essentially the same thing?
Well, not exactly. When the term is search engine optimization first came out that's exactly what we were doing, optimizing for search engines. There was a lot of black hat techniques 10 to 15 years ago and it was easy to game the system. This means that as long as you put enough effort, time, and usually, money into the game, you would end up on the first page. But of course, Google goes after those black hat optimizers and they are always looking out for the consumer.
They want the consumer to get the information they have googled. Doorway websites that tell you one thing but then direct you somewhere else, low content information, sites that load too slow, or scammer and hacker sites all around eventually will get kicked off the first page. Sure, some black hat techniques still work… For a time. But for the long game, long-term, doing things right, nothing beats real, authentic, authoritative information. You can't write a couple of hundred words and think it's going to be the end all #1 result on Google, especially if there are 3000 other options that provide more information and are more authoritative. It's just not going to work.
Even when I write in Activerain, I'm not necessarily doing so to be the number one result for whatever my title is. I'm writing for you. And that may be where your leads come from. Are you going to the source or do you just want to be #1 for your key phrase?
Today, any consumer can look up real estate from any of the big dogs that pretty much dominate the front page. The key for the individual real estate agent or even a small brokerage is to go where the consumers are. This could mean making a killer Instagram page with great memes, listings, advice, and articles. This could mean building out your Facebook page and paying to boost posts, paid advertisements, and get more likes to your page, so statistically, you'll get more eyes on every post you do promote.
Maybe it is getting involved in a Reddit real estate bloggers group and sharing, networking, and building your referral base.
What it's not is being #1 on the Google search engines anymore. It's just too difficult to show up for "[city] real estate", unless you've been in the game for 10+ years, have a killer website with thousands of high-quality articles, have an amazing paper click campaign etc.…
We can market for the search engines but that may not be where our customers are anymore. Are you where they are when they need you? That's probably on some social media account or even just a referral.
What about your Google business page? This could be a great place to showcase some of your best articles and posts, have your reviews, and have your contact information ready to go. Chances are, someone is not going to be reading your article on staging and then all of a sudden decide to sell their house and give you a call. You have to be where they are and be ready when they are.
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So, I don't think it matters what it's called anymore. It's basic marketing and it changes all the time. You have to be where your consumers are. If you're trying to market to baby boomers, you're probably not going to advertise on a college campus. Go where your target demographic is and then market the heck out of it. It doesn't matter where the lead comes from as long as you're getting leads. If you're going to focus on your website, then make it amazing and link to it from a variety of sources so that there is no question that when someone wants to contact you, they know how.
Truly think about your prime demographic and how to reach them exactly where they are. Chances are, it's probably not on a desktop computer within the top 10 search results for Google.
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