It's Not About SEO. It's About YEO.

Services for Real Estate Pros with RealSatisfied

The focus on search engine optimization in blogging is a distraction.

project blogger logoFor the Project Blogger competition, I've actually told Julie Ferenzi to stop thinking about it. She was becoming a little fixated on the search engines finding her and was spending a lot of time reading about how to get good search engine placement. It didn't surprise me.

SEO tends to dominate discussions about the benefits of blogging and it shouldn't. Don't get me wrong, I'm a geek. (Did I say that out loud?) I like the "science" of SEO. I read as much as I can on the topic. It helps keep Alzheimer's at bay. So I know it plays a role in a blogs success. I'm not saying SEO isn't important. I'm just quite certain that all too often it's prominence in our conversations leads us away from the meat of the issue. Successful blogging, in the long run, has nothing to do with search engines or the bots they send out each night to scrape our sites.

Focusing so much on SEO seems like a good deal of overkill anyway. A good blog platform, like Wordpress, does most of the SEO heavy lifting for you. Use a blog platform like WordPress and consistently write a lot of original text about your topics and search engines will like you. Let me say that agin... write good content, make sure you are talking about what you want to be found for, do it consistently, do it frequently, and the search engines will find you. I know that's over simplifying things a quite a bit, but it's not far from pure fact.

Case in point: Julie hasn't been writing that long, but today if you search on family activities in plainfield, il, her not very populated Living In Plainfied, Illinois blog comes up as the number 2 unpaid link. If she doesn't continue to write consistently, it won't stay that way. But her blog is already working for her, without really focusing on SEO.

Besides, I'm not sure the way SEO works today will be the way it works tomorrow. And if everyone starts blogging it may become harder and harder to get consistently good SEO position. So, I'll say it again, in the long run, success in blogging has nothing to do with search engines.  It has everything to do with relationships and seeing your blog as a way to enhance and add value to those relationships.

Relationships won't be impacted by changes in how Google ranks pages. 

yeo not seoSo, as we officially kick off Project Blogger, allow me introduce a new acronym into the discussion: YEO

YEO: You Engaging Others.

If you want to be successful in blogging, you need to understand how to engage others in every aspect of the blogging experience.

Where Engagement Begins

Of course content is important, but it has to go beyond that. And it starts before you begin to write a single word.   .

You live in the area you write about. So it's the people that really matter. The relationships you develop as you go out and meet the folks at the new home sites, at local businesses, at association meetings and anywhere else you choose to focus your writing, those real, live human beings are your ultimate target. Why wait for them to find you in a search?

Introduce Yourself & Your Blog

Before you write a single word, make sure you introduce yourself, tell the people who are associated with your post that will be writing about them. Explain why. Explain the purpose of your blog and why people want to read it and why you think people will be interested in them, their business or their mission. Ask if you can quote them. Take their picture. More often than not, they'll be more than willing to talk to you and share information you may not be able to obtain any other way. 

Harness The Power Of Their Relationships

Obtain their email address and phone number, then send them the link to your post. Be sure to use their name in the posts and a photo if you took one. Most people don't get to see their name in print very often, so it's a big deal to be written about by someone else. They WILL remember you for that. Here's something else they will do, they'll forward the link to friends, family and business associates. You extend your reach virally. And you don't have to just depend on someone finding the story on Google to make it happen. 

That's the point. Other people know other people. Connect with them and they'll connect you. This works whether you're writing about a local restaurant or whether you're writing about a historic building. Put the focus on them. If you engage the people behind the stories, the chance that they will actively participate in your success, in spreading the story, go up dramatically.

Follow Up... But Not Via The Internet

I'm an internet junkie. I love all the gadgets and goodies and ideas. But nothing replaces a telephone call, a handwritten note or a personal follow up visit to say "thank you." Treating them like your customer before they're your customer. Show them, by your actions, how you would work with anyone they might consider referring. If you can execute on the actions around writing the post, engage them and keep them informed, they will rightly assume you'd do the same thing in a real estate transaction.

Meet the people behind the stories and they'll be happy to share. Share the stories with them and they'll share them with their friends and business associates. Go out of your way to treat them with respect and those same friends and business associates will hear about that as well. Your actions will do all your evangelizing for you.

SEO is great, YEO is better.

You Engaging Others. That's what this is really about.

Comments (144)

Richard Stabile
Re/Max Real Estate Limited - Oradell, NJ
Bergen County New Homes Builder Realtor


I guess in blogging it works like this. You need a appropriate title with description in it, H1 for matching sake, keywords that are focused on the content and title, and good content. The content will broaden the search keywords. The last thing is good links to the site.

Simple SEO.


Oct 17, 2008 01:20 AM
Jeff Turner
RealSatisfied - Santa Clarita, CA

Richard, thanks. I kinda get SEO. The point of this post is that it's not the most important thing to be thinking about when you're blogging.

Oct 17, 2008 02:48 AM
Cedric (Ced) Reynolds
Covina, CA
(909) 263-4569

Excellent points Jeff.  I still remember the time you returned my call when I called you just to introduce myself.  You sure practice what you preach here my friend.  Thanks for sharing this info.

Oct 17, 2008 03:14 AM
Sharon Paxson
Compass - Newport Beach, CA
Newport Beach Real Estate

Jeff - great post and you are right about "you engaging others". This is great information and glad I found the post!

Dec 21, 2008 01:13 AM
Joanne Brown

I was in your audience at Bloggers Connect today, and really appreciate your presentation.  I was given instruction to sign up in many of the media hotspots, and aggregate all of them to one another.  Fortunately for me, my blog is still under construction so I haven't irked people to death.  I thought the point was blog, and send it to all my followers in twitter, and my stardom would eventually get me rich.

The funny thing is your way is a much simpler method, say hello, how are you, did you see this, tell a joke, share a gift and be yourself.  Much less stressful.  I am engaged to a few people at my table without any plan for nuptials-we'll see how it goes.



Jan 07, 2009 11:55 AM
Karen Anne Stone
New Home Hunters of Fort Worth and Tarrant County - Fort Worth, TX
Fort Worth Real Estate

Hi Jeff:  What a great post.  It only took me almost two years to find it... but hopefully better late than never.  This is such a great presentation for me to use in showing some of my non-blogging friends just what all of this can accomplish.  I love your comparison on YEO vs SEO.  Very inspiring for non-techies like me.  Thanks so much for sharing, and for being so inventive.  Give Sarah a hug and tell her Karen Anne says hi... if she remembers me.  Take care...

Jan 29, 2009 02:05 AM
Jesse Kaye

I totally agree with your post. Content is king in my eyes. Of course, on occasion I'll throw an entry in The Keys to New Jersey for SEO purposes -- but that's on a rare occasion. I think it's really important to let down your guard as human being. Show people that you have a sense of humor -- that you're not just about the money.

Mar 03, 2009 07:01 AM
Jeff Turner
RealSatisfied - Santa Clarita, CA

You Engaging Others, 2 years later: YEO - Take Control Of The Machine


Apr 09, 2009 05:37 PM
Bruce & Mary Smith
Savannah Lakes Homes - McCormick, SC
REALTORS, Savannah Lakes Village McCormick SC

Jeff - You are right, as usual!  I wasn't on AR two years ago and have not read this post!  Thanks!


Apr 09, 2009 10:21 PM
Jeff Turner
RealSatisfied - Santa Clarita, CA

Mary... thanks for stepping back in time to take a look. :)

Apr 10, 2009 12:37 AM
Stephen Kappre
KW Hometown - Mantua, NJ
Helping You Home

Good point about "not sure the way SEO works today will work tomorrow" - I always say, once you get them there, there's gotta be good content to keep 'em/

Jun 18, 2009 05:29 AM
Phillip Cross
TBD - In transition... - Seal Beach, CA
ePRO Realtor - Relocation Spec

Well thank you very much - I just found this article by reading another of yours. This was "SPOT ON" terrific infomration and great view-point!Again thanks for sharing...

Jul 01, 2009 03:27 AM
Brian Schulman
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, Lancaster PA - Lancaster, PA
Lancaster County PA RealEstate Expert 717-951-5552

At the end of the day, it's developing relationships that brings real business.  And as a side benefit, real friends!

Jul 23, 2009 01:56 AM
Kathy Kenney
Keller Williams, Princeton, NJ - Robbinsville, NJ
Realtor - Princeton & Central NJ Homes for Sale

Three years later, this is still very much a topic of much interest!  Thanks for the tips!

Aug 19, 2010 03:47 AM
Jeff Turner

Engagement is not a fad.

Aug 19, 2010 04:26 AM
"The Lovely Wife" (Broker Bryantnulls Wife) The One And Only TLW.
President-Tutas Towne Realty, Inc. - Kissimmee, FL


Are you sure? It's my understanding that if we wait long enough, Web 2.0 is going to go away :)


Aug 19, 2010 07:53 AM
Jeff Turner

Oh. My bad, forgot that engagement is a Web 2.0 thing. I keep thinking it's just a life thing. :)

Aug 19, 2010 08:14 AM
Fred Griffin Florida Real Estate
Fred Griffin Real Estate - Tallahassee, FL
Licensed Florida Real Estate Broker

Thanks to Jeff Dowler for pointing out this blog.  And thank you, Jeff Turner!

Aug 19, 2010 12:32 PM
Debe Maxwell, CRS | The Maxwell House Group | RE/MAX Executive | (704) 491-3310 - Charlotte, NC
The right Charlotte REALTOR!

I wondered where all of these comments were coming from!  I thought TLW stirred the pot again!!

Debe in Charlotte

Aug 19, 2010 01:27 PM
Debbie Gartner
The Flooring Girl - White Plains, NY
The Flooring Girl & Blog Stylist -Dynamo Marketers

Thanks, Jeff.  I was also brought here from Jeff Dowler's blog.  I guess the key is both - getting found and engaging.  I've bookmarked so I can reblog later.  I have a few AR friends who are just starting WP blogs, and this will really come in handy for them and for me.

Feb 03, 2012 10:27 PM