What I've done over the last 18 months that has worked -- and not... business wise!

Services for Real Estate Pros with John Henry Masterworks Design International, Inc. 13013

Since the last recession, I was flummoxed by lack of web traffic.  I thought it was simply the downturn but I hadn't even heard of Google Analytics and lo and behold, my web was flagged for nasty backlinks.  

  • I wrote a letter to Google disavowing the backlinks.  THAT DIDN'T WORK
  • I revamped my old web and 'poured' it into a more 21st-century format with social media links, better sizable formatting for iPads and smartphones.  THAT HELPED

For the past 15 years, being found on the internet was crucial to my survival.  Most of my work was out of town, out of state in fact.  Getting slammed by Google and not realizing it meant I have lost about 8 years of visibility and goodwill... online.  I do not have club memberships in local organizations, I do not mix socially for business, etc.  I am in an ivory tower...

  • Still, experiencing low clicks or hardly any at all, I panicked.  I took all content off my old web and put it under a new URL.  Then I used the old url with new content on a more slick web format.  DISASTER  DISASTER  DISASTER.  Nearly all my healthy inbound links developed over 15 years went to a 411 dead zone.  I believe Google nailed the coffin on that move.
  • The first knee jerk moves were to buy Adwords and advertise on Facebook.  NOPERS. You have to have a huge budget to land at the top of the first page of results for your terms.  Thousands of dollars down the tube.
  • I read about how videos were very important in today's marketing.  I developed about 20.  SUCCESS.  These seem to be working and rank very high on YouTube's search for my terms.
  • I started contacting previous builder clients locally and went to meet with them, showing them current and past work, etc.  SOME MEASURE OF SUCCESS

  • I started an email campaign in Florida and around the country.  Hundreds of emails to builders and real estate agents.  TOTAL FLOP.  Either I am doing something wrong or appealing to the industry directly using this format is just not the thing to do.
  • I sent out attractive mailers to the same group above.  TOTAL FLOP.  Not a single inquiry.
  • I had played with Pinterest and posted many of my projects there.  And the images DO show up on the image results, so SUCCESS.  However, they do not translate into regular high web ranking results.
  • I did a remodel for a past builder and had my name on his sign.  SUCCESS - not immediate but I feel it coming.
  • A builder from last year contacted me to do a rush job in a historical area.  SUCCESS - sign in ground in an area outside the typical gated communities.  Not immediate but I feel it coming.
  • I used an online SEO program to find all bad backlinks and digitally disavowed them.  VERY SLOW GO 
  • I tried Facebook, I have a page, but have not managed to make it work for me.  NO GO.

  • I have joined the Google Business system and have another web basically that has brought in several local inquiries  SUCCESS
  • What I would say has worked best has been cultivating existing and nearby connections, old business associates, and making new connections face to face!  SUCCESS
  • I continue to blog on AR.  SUCCESS.  Most of my articles can come up using certain terms but the images especially, tagged with my name, are helping to populate the image section of search results.  Very important to me as people look for images when searching an architect or probably looking to buy a house.  AR adds the credibility aspect to anything you post.  Gladly, no one has looked me up for ideas about Mediterranean cuisine, horror movies, or cellphone addiction...
  • THE BOTTOM LINE -- I think you need to approach SEO from a strong base and a good budget.  A pro should be engaged who can do what's necessary.  HOWEVER, many of us are single owner businesses and when your back is against the wall there is simply no budget to deal with:  Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, Adwords, Video production, Email marketing, Direct Mail, Google Business, Blogging, Web design, SEO, etc.  You would need two or three full-time staff or an enormous budget to cover all these duties.  And we have all been digitally brainwashed to RELY on these methods to bring in business while completely disregarding the personal face to face world, even the telephone! - to make contact and bring in work.  We all still have to do this on top of the digital methods.  It means that the sole proprietor in a small firm is responsible for most or all of the digital marketing.  It can't be done.
  • (and we haven't even begun to discuss Niches, Branding, Team Building, time management, goal setting, motivation, etc.)

This post is in response to Andre Barath's January contest!



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Kat Palmiotti
406-270-3667, kat@thehousekat.com, Broker, Blackstone Realty Group - brokered by eXp Realty - Kalispell, MT
The House Kat

This is very interesting information. I've been adding content to my website but have seen a drop in visits. I have a lot of work to do to improve it and this was helpful info. I have to check my links.

Jan 07, 2020 06:07 AM #24
Sharon Miller
RE/MAX Platinum - Crane Hill, AL


Great post.......and many of us wonder why the phone, text messaging and web hits seemed to have diminished as of late?

Jan 07, 2020 07:39 AM #25
John Henry, Florida Architect
John Henry Masterworks Design International, Inc. - Orlando, FL
Residential Architect, Luxury Custom Home Design

Hello Kat Palmiotti Adding good content is important.  Internal linking from one page to another is also good.  So much to do, so little time...

Hi Sharon Miller I think if you reach a plateau and believe you don't have to do any further tweaking you will slowly lose internet traffic.  Google wants to see fresh inbound links, otherwise you get demerits!  Thank you

Jan 07, 2020 08:57 AM #26
Patricia Feager, MBA, CRS, GRI,MRP
Selling Homes Changing Lives

Hi John Henry, Florida Architect - You are a terrific work in progress! Aren't we all?  But few would admit to flops. Isn't it funny how we see and/or evaluate our past, a past when revealed is something nobody else really knew or probably cared about. You're doing GREAT! 

Jan 07, 2020 12:08 PM #27
Dario Ferreira
Attleboro, MA
Internet Marketing

John Henry, Florida Architect , I don't know the specific circumstances of your SEO issues, but one thing I noticed is that you have 6 different websites in your signature.

SEOing that many sites is a major undertaking, and you'll end up not SEOing any of them properly.

It's best to concentrate on one or two.
Not sure about your strategy with all those sites, but I would really think about it.

Jan 07, 2020 12:50 PM #28
John Henry, Florida Architect
John Henry Masterworks Design International, Inc. - Orlando, FL
Residential Architect, Luxury Custom Home Design

Hi there, Patricia Feager, MBA, CRS, GRI,MRP   I am what you'd call... a piece of work.  Yes.  I appreciate the slap on the back.  Really.  Thanks!\

Hi Dario Ferreira  In my panic to get back online solidly I started up several parallel websites.  That hasn't worked well either and I do most of the concentrated SEO on www.dreamhomedesignusa.com .  That was my original site that got hacked and on which the content was put on another web while new formatting and a much smaller web is now associated with it.  Thanks.





Jan 07, 2020 01:35 PM #29
Rebecca Gaujot, Realtor®
Vision Quest Realty - Lewisburg, WV
Lewisburg WV, the go to agent for all real estate

John, all this information you provided made my head spin :)

There is so much to do with our websites, and just not enough time.

Jan 07, 2020 04:30 PM #30
Tammy Lankford,
Lane Realty Eatonton, GA Lake Sinclair, Milledgeville, 706-485-9668 - Eatonton, GA
Broker GA Lake Sinclair/Eatonton/Milledgeville

I've had some of those kinds of lessons in my career as well.

Jan 07, 2020 10:08 PM #31
John Henry, Florida Architect
John Henry Masterworks Design International, Inc. - Orlando, FL
Residential Architect, Luxury Custom Home Design

Hello Rebecca Gaujot, Realtor®   You know, things would have been 'perfect' if I had stayed on top of the technology.  But you set and forget when you get busy and then something bites you in the rear all of a sudden and you are unprepared!  You are correct: not enough time to deal with all the digital ins and outs required to keep a web up, algorithm responsive, etc.  Thank you!

Hi Tammy Lankford, whew, I'm glad I wasn't the only one!  A lot has crashed down around me, and if you rely on digital exclusively you are prone to quite a bit of ups and downs.  Thanks

Jan 08, 2020 04:44 AM #32
Dorie Dillard CRS GRI ABR
Coldwell Banker United Realtors® ~ 512.750.6899 - Austin, TX
Serving Buyers & Sellers in NW Austin Real Estate

Good morning John Henry, Florida Architect ,

So glad to see your entry in the contest and your post featured! As usual well done with lots of information on what worked for you and what did. Architecture and Real Estate have a common denominator..they are both relationship business. In our fast pace world of technology many are forgetting this aspect.

Jan 08, 2020 05:43 AM #33
Richie Alan Naggar
people first...then business Ran Right Realty - Riverside, CA
agent & author

It is interesting to note that cause & effect is no myth and the part we play in it all. That's where the power to form an outcome is launched. Trial & error is also another arena that must feedback. To whom? The one triggering it all. We can do it whatever "it" is simply because we have the ability to do or not do. Learning how to wield our skills bank all comes under what we term as "life"

Jan 08, 2020 06:17 AM #34
Wayne L. Brown
Franklin Advantage Inc. - Alpine, CA


So much information here to absorb.  Like others, my head is spinning.

Will have to come back and reread during my evening quiet time to review again.

Thanks for all of the information.

Jan 08, 2020 11:52 AM #35
Mimi Foster
Falcon Property Solutions - Colorado Springs, CO
Voted Colorado Springs Best Realtor

What an amazing list! So many rabbits to chase, but so few take us to the money tree. You are amazing! I wish you the very best of luck in your future marketing.

Jan 08, 2020 06:08 PM #36
Nick Vandekar, 610-203-4543
Long & Foster Real Estate Inc 610-225-7400 - Devon, PA
Tredyffrin Easttown Realtor, Philly Main Line

That is a very comprehensive list and reflection. Something I need to consider and do for the competition.

Jan 09, 2020 10:40 AM #37
Caroline Gerardo
Pinnacle Home Loans - Newport Beach, CA
C. G. Barbeau the Loan Lady nmls 324982

So much work in the many details, it makes my head spin.  I like the Pinterest comment - make some boards with architectural styles use employ and post your images linking. Perhaps historical architects if you do Craftsman style or whatever... 

Jan 09, 2020 12:36 PM #38
John Henry, Florida Architect
John Henry Masterworks Design International, Inc. - Orlando, FL
Residential Architect, Luxury Custom Home Design

Hi Dorie Dillard CRS GRI ABR  I was inspired to write when I heard about the contest.  Happy to throw in my two cents!   YES, we are in a relationship business.  People wish to know that you are sincere in every way.  When they see it, they will appreciate and trust you more.

Jan 09, 2020 03:06 PM #39
Jeff Masich-Scottsdale AZ Associate Broker,MBA,GRI
HomeSmart Real Estate - Scottsdale, AZ
Arizona Homes and Land Group/ Buy or Sell

Very thorough summary John Henry, Florida Architect and thank you. I find the niche marketing on Google and the other sites get higher visibility than promoting what every other agent is promoting. Other wise one is stuck with everyone else in Homes For Sale in _________" category. Jeff

Jan 09, 2020 04:32 PM #40
Graziella Bruner
NCS Premier Real Estate - Detroit, MI
Associate Broker - Serving Wayne & Oakland County

Wow oh wow!  Very detailed and great information to take in. Thanks for sharing.  The great thing is learning from our past, and not to make the same mistakes again.  Taking notes now of what worked and what didn't, that's what I'm working on now. Inventory check is a good idea.

Jan 11, 2020 10:29 AM #41
Anne Edwards Johnson
JP and Associates - Austin, TX
Austin Realtor | HookemhomesATX (512)917-5260

Such a great post. Such great detail. Such great transparency. Thank you.

Jan 13, 2020 01:48 PM #42
John Henry, Florida Architect
John Henry Masterworks Design International, Inc. - Orlando, FL
Residential Architect, Luxury Custom Home Design

Hello Jeff Masich-Scottsdale AZ Associate Broker,MBA,GRI   I believe I will have to cut back so many of my keywords, etc. and just stick with something simple.  Long tail stuff doesn't work well for niche building!  I think when so many competent people are all competing for the same work there is going to be a problem standing out. I just wrote responding to something posted on AR this morning that I have been in Orlando for over thirty years and don't know who to recommend over whom and for what reasons.  It is very complicated and we pour thousands into all sorts of marketing schemes.  I think a sign in the ground is the best testament that you are in business, current, and available.

Hi Graziella Bruner Yes, inventory of what works and what does not is important.  New ideas may be in store but old nondigital methods seem to work best!  Thank you

Hi Anne Edwards Johnson  When something is on your chest and you have an opportunity to share, I'm in.  BTW: I loved living in Austin and one of my Aggie buddies does a great job there, Luis Jauregui.  I hear that traffic gets worse by the day.  Hope your business is in high gear!

Jan 14, 2020 10:41 AM #43
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