May 7, 2021
01 Aug

Write Like an Expert

Blogging - Write Like and ExpertWrite Like an Expert

You probably know already that by writing quality articles and blog posts your website is a sure and steady path to becoming an “expert” in you’re the eyes of your audience. If you write well for your target audience you will look far better than the competitor that does not write.

One way that you can write like an expert – and this works for any business or industry – is to take a process that you do and explain how and why you do it to your customer. Show them the value it provides to them as you explain this process.

It’s very easy to do and by communicating this to your audience, you show your audience that you:

  • Know about interior design, or
  • Know how to run a pet shop, or
  • Know how to install satellite dishes, or
  • Know how to search engine optimize a website

It’s the difference between someone who tells you they’re a good cook, and someone who can give you a step by step recipe (with tips from experience) that elevates the recipe and their expertise to a new level.

Do not be concerned that you are giving away your trade secrets. You will not make yourself redundant in the eyes of your potential customer. Telling your customer how you do something and the value it brings to them will not prevent you from being hired. When a customer is researching how to get something done . . . researching how to solve a problem they are really looking for someone that can solve the problem for them. They are not looking to do it themselves.

On the other hand they will be more likely to trust and select you if you have a number of articles or blog posts that demonstrates you know what you’re talking about. If your competitors are not demonstrating their expertise then you have the advantage.

Here are some ideas on how to write and demonstrate your expertise:

Write About Details

Pick something very small and specific that you can examine in detail. Do not worry about selecting something too small. Perhaps the smaller the better as details demonstrate that you know the material well.

For example if you eliminate pests from homes you could write about how to protect a home from pests. However, this is very general. You could be more specific and write about how to protect a home from wasps or go even deeper and write about how to protect a lake house from wasps when you are not there. This is how experts write. They do not write in generalities. They write specifically.

Focus On the Process – Leave Your Specific Talent Out of the Article

Here is an example. Let’s say that you are an Interior Designer. You have certain skills that may be very difficult to explain. These skills may be more like instincts. You may have an “eye” for color combinations but would have a tough time explaining how you get the colors just right. This may be too difficult to explain.

You could instead write about your favorite paints for certain situations or your favorite fabrics and why you like them.

If the explanation of a process is not the best for you then you could explain your best tool for doing something and why you like it. If you are an Accountant you may have a favorite piece of software and you are truly an expert in the use of this software. Explain to your reader why you like the software so much. Demonstrate to your potential customers how well you know the software and how this enables you to do a better job for them.

Give Your Readers the “why”

If you really want to seal your “expert” status then give your customers a “why” after explaining each step of your process.

For example:

We often use brand X paint for a child’s room. It never leaves an odor, is very durable and once dry you can wash it clean better than any other paint we know.

Your expertise comes shinning thought with insights such as this. You are more credible in your potential customer’s eyes.

I encourage you to add content to your website by blogging on topics that add value to your customers and potential customer and that also demonstrate your expertise.

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30 Jul

Blogging Tips for Real Estate

Blogging Tips for Real EstateBlogging Tips for Real Estate

Here are some tips for you if you are a real estate agent or broker and are blogging or are considering blogging. It is fun and can be very rewarding.

 

1.) Establish Goals and Track Them

You need to have goals for your business activities and blogging for real estate is a business activity. Take a minute to think about where you are trying to go with your blog and what statement you want to make. Here are some possible goals that would work for a real estate company:

  • Build your brand
  • Increase your brand influence
  • Increase the number of leads
  • Increase the perception of you as a real estate expert
  • Be the voice of your real estate niche
  • Develop the perception as the superior local real estate resource

Your goals will shape your blogging strategy. Define your goals and then develop your blogging strategy and performance metrics and then blog to achieve them.

2.) Organize Your Resources

Identify your resources. Are all your agents expected to be a blog resource or just you? If you don’t have a blog yet, start small and test-run a blog for 6 months to see how your business benefits. Redefine your resources if you have to.

3.) Define Your Real Estate Blogging Niche

As with almost any business it is much better to be focused on a special niche. The same applies to your blog. Be targeted in your blog posts. The less targeted your message the less targeted your audience will be. Think about your target market and what they want. Think about their problems and how you can help to solve them.

4.) Listen to Your Clients – Listen to Your Customers

Blogging is one of the best ways to assert yourself as an expert in your real estate niche. Think about the problems of your clients and customers. Be an educator and help them to solve their problems. There are great “listening” tools such as Google Alerts and Google Trends or research RSS feeds on your niche real estate topic. After researching your blog topic make is relevant to your niche marketplace.

5.) Be Interesting

Many people (real estate agents and brokers included) are not really writers. The content of your blog may then reflect this. It may be worth bringing in some fresh perspective with younger agents. Interview them to see if they have an interest in writing and if so then ask for examples of their work. New young talent will help to stimulate interesting blog ideas and provide your company with different angles to blog about.

If you think about it stories are everywhere. Interacting with buyers and sellers can become insightful. A local sporting event can become a real estate story as well as a trip to the local market. You can lace in recent local news or news on a real estate market development. The more timely you are with these blog posts the better.

Develop a well defined and committed point of view. Use a great headline and then provide some key advice if you can.

6.) Use Your Voice – No Easy Republishing

Write in your voice and use genuine stories. I once visited a home with one of my areas prominent real estate brokers. The homes kitchen was very outdated but was clean and neat and well preserved. He explained that a kitchen such as this would be very hard to duplicate. He explained that to get appliances in the condition of the appliances was just not possible even on eBay. This is a story from the distant past about 10 years ago but I remember it well and have tremendous respect for this real estate broker.

When you are writing your blog tell a story. Be humorous. Speak from your experience and provide your insights. Your blog is not the place to a rewrite of a press release. Be creative. Be true to yourself. Remember client and customers prefer to work with “real” people.

7.) Develop A System

Consistent blogging is very important important. You will need a system. Start by monitoring relevant and trending topics. Organize materials into categories. Publish to your schedule (perhaps this was a stated goal) and then measure with your analytics software as to what is popular (and what isn’t) and provide your readers with more of what they want.

Block out time to do this well.

As you continue to blog you will become more efficient.

8.) Write a Strong Conclusion

Remember when your 10th Grade high school when your teacher told you to write a captivating conclusion. She was preparing you for your future blogging. Pull it all together and if you have a call-to-action then use it.

If you want to gain additional insights into how to blog for your real estate business then we invite you to download our free guide – Real Estate Blogging Guide. Blogging is a great way to gain more exposure. I believe that once you start you won’t want to stop!

 

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27 Jul

Botching Your Search Engine Optimization

SEO - Making A MessBotching Your Search Engine Optimization

Take some Search Engine Optimization Action Today!

You need to pay attention to your website’s SEO.

Your website enables people to conduct research on you and your business.

Your website enables you to present to potential customer when you are not around. Your website in theory can talk to as many potential customers that can find you, talk to them as long as they want to listen and at any time of the day or night.

That is IF they can find your website!

If you are the website owner then you can change how and how often people find your website. You have the power!

You can change it by cleaning up the mistakes yourself or by investing in SEO consulting services to help you do it quickly and efficiently.

Here are some common SEO mistakes that I see every day. If you make these then you are hurting your business. That’s the bad news. The good news is that you are reading this so that you become aware of these SEO mistakes and you can fix them.

Not Using a Unique Title Tag

Every page on your Web site should have a unique title tag. The title tag is one of the most important SEO elements. The title tag needs to be descriptive of the content on the page, engaging and a keyword phrase. This is a tall order for something that should be on 66 characters long but it can be done.

The title tag of a page is very significant. Your Title tag is what a user will see when they see your content in the search results. If they bookmark your page then it is displayed in their bookmarks and it will often be displayed when someone links to your site.

Finally, the search engines frown upon a title tag that is common for all the pages on the site. This may end up in the search engines thinking that you have many duplicate content pages (a big no-no). Also, do not use up too much of the 66 characters with your company’s name. Use your title tag intelligently by lacing in a page-specific phrase and a related keyword phase.

Also, if you blog then create a unique title tag for posts and articles you write. It’s a good way to tackle both the user and the search engines’ needs.

Allowing Ugly URLs

Ugly URLs look bad. For some they can be a big turn off when they see these ugly URLs in the search results. If you can use keyword phrases in you URLs then do so. Separate the words with dashes. Do not make them too long.

Requiring a PhD in Website Navigation

Make your navigation simple. Everyone will appreciate this.

Use text in the content of your website pages to help people to navigate. This is helpful to people and the search engines love this.

Do not use a Flash menu. Flash cannot be easily understood by the search engines. You are doing your site and the SEO a disservice by designing a Flash navigation menu. Also, for that matter, do not use a Flash website design as Flash content is almost invisible to the search engines.

Use some footer navigation for your most important pages. Footer links can be helpful for people and they enable you to make links to your other content at the bottom of a page and therefore help a search engine spider to find more of your content.

Optimizing for the Wrong Keywords

You need to do keyword research. There are no ifs ands or buts to this. If you are going to optimize your website then optimize it for the right set of keywords.

Your SEO activities will be a waste of time if you do your SEO without first doing the keyword research.

Use some free tools to get started such as the Google Adword Keyword Tool and Google Trends. There is also software and online services that you can pay for that can provide you with even more insights.

Messing Up Your Internal Links

All the internal links on your site that you make with text should use a keyword. This is so easy to do as you are making the link anyway why not make it with a keyword. The search engines are always looking for links and when they find a link they look to see what text is being used to make the link.

Text such as “click here” or “read more” or “learn more” could be crafted better to use your high-impact commercially valuable keyword phrases.

When you build you link network you put effort into this. It is not easy. We want the majority of the links to be done using our well-researched keyword phrases. The links on your site are 100% within your control. Build them with care.

Not Using Analytics

Your own analytics can provide you with very significant information. Moreover, performing search engine optimization without the insight of your analytics is like navigating an unfamiliar environment in the dark. An SEO professional will be able to talk with you about keyword research, traffic, on-site traffic patterns and conversion.

You need to understand the activity on your site, what terms actually convert for you and your traffic or page hubs. The more information you know about your site and user behavior, the better you can optimize it for searchers. And the more money you’ll make. But you can’t improve anything if you’re walking around in the dark. Let your analytics help you to understand what is going on when people visit your website.

If you want to learn more about SEO for your website then give us a call 802-457-9799. We are sure that you will learn from and enjoy the conversation. 

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26 Jul

Real Estate SEO – 8 SEO Tips

Real Estate SEOReal Estate SEO – 8 SEO Tips

Search Engine Optimization of a real estate website is critical for success.

If you site is not optimized then no one will find it. Sellers when they evaluate who to list with will not be satisfied if they try to find your site using keywords for real estate in their geographic area.

If you have a real estate website then it is essential that you are property utilizing search engine optimization (SEO) to its fullest. Here are six SEO concepts that should be applied for strong SEO and the search position that comes along with strong SEO.

Real Estate SEO Tip #1: Do Your Keyword Research

When creating (or promoting) your real estate website, it is essential that you pick the most effective keyword phrases. You can use the Google Adwords Keyword Tool to do this.

Make sure that you log into your Google account as this will make it easier for you to conduct this research.

Effective keywords are those that have sufficient search volume to make them commercially valuable and that have relatively weak levels of competition. These keywords are golden for you but no matter what select keywords that have search volume associated with them

Real Estate SEO Tip #2: Effectively Utilize Your Keywords

Now that you have your primary keywords use these keywords effectively. Use these keywords in the following locations:

  • Title Tag
  • Description Tag
  • H1 Tag
  • H2 Tag
  • URL for the page
  • Use them at a 1-2% density in the page copy

If you use them in this manner then the search engines will pick up on this SEO content and move your website higher in search position.

Real Estate SEO Tip #3: Include Internal Links

This is a SEO tip that is often overlooked but is incredibly important for search engine optimization. When you create blog posts (or website pages) that are related to other content on your website, include an internal link back to that blog post or website page.

The Search Engines love keyword phrase links that link to relevant content.

Real Estate SEO Tip #4: Increase Content

Consistently create great content for your website and blog. Do not stop once you have attained a strong position in search with many keyword phrases.

Without fresh, relevant high-quality content you run the risk of losing search position. Effective real estate SEO means creating fresh content.

Real Estate SEO Tip #5: Intelligently Set Up Internal Links

It is important to include internal links in your blog posts and website content. It is also essential that you do not over link. Just like having too high a keyword density can raise a flag with search engines so can too many internal links.

I think that to play it safe do not create more that two links per blog post and perhaps no more than one link per paragraph on your website pages.

Real Estate SEO Tip #6: Utilize Images

This is a great leveraging opportunity for a real estate website.

Make your images name keyword phrases and put them in a folder with a keyword phrase. Use the image alt tag function as well and if all three items are the same phrase then you are clearly indicating to the search engines what that image is about.

This is a great way to receive a search engine reward which will be higher search position.

Real Estate SEO Tip #7: Obtain Backlinks

One of the ways that search engines determine the quality of your website is by the number of authoritative backlinks you receive to your website from other quality websites. Keep in mind that not just any link to your website will work; instead, they should be from quality websites that has relevant content to real estate.

Real Estate SEO Tip #8: Be Patient

It is essential to realize that it takes time and effort to increase your search engine ranking; therefore, patience is required. Your website will not go from nonexistent on search engines to the #1 spot without some time and effort.

Stay with it and you will be rewarded with higher search position and the traffic that will make a difference to your business.

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26 Jul

Link Velocity

SEO Link BuildingWhat is Link Velocity?

This is the speed at which you acquire links to your website. This is important as you always want to acquire links in what appears to be a natural way.

I have seen small websites that have acquired 200 links in a single day. I have even seen a small local business site gain 200 links on New Years Day. I have a hard time thinking about how a small local website could get 200 link in a single day and on New Years Day as well.

Another factor associated with the natural look of link velocity is that if a website has gained 20 links over a 6-month period and then over a 3-day period gains 100 links then this may raise a red flag at Google. The Link Velocity associated with the 3-day time frame does not look natural for that specific website. There may be many sites that gain 100 links over a 3-day time frame but this is not natural for this particular website based on their history of link acquisition.

Link Velocity can also look fishy when there is very little new content being produced. A website that creates fresh content and then also has a link velocity profile that meshes with the content creation profile has two component that mesh and that look natural. Th link acquisition and the fresh content coincide. This looks natural.

What looks natural is based on the specifics of the website. Items such as age of website, historical rate of link generation, content creation rate versus link velocity all mesh together.

Another factor could be the type of links that a website has historically acquired versus a new type of link. For example if for 2 years it can be seen that links have come from blogs and the total is 250 links (essentially all from blogs) and then for two months you gain 100 additional links but none of these links come from a blog then this may raise a flag.

Link Building has to be an essential part of your SEO Strategy and we can help devise a SEO and Link Building Strategy.

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25 Jul

Landing Page Guide

Landing PagesTop-Performing Landing Pages

An Easy To Read and Implement Guide

Do your landing pages include:

 

  • Compelling offers?
  • Arresting headlines?
  • Appealing designs?
  • Strong calls-to-action?
  • A crystal clear next step?

Your landing pages are where your marketing campaign dollars can turn into measurable results. This qualifies them for a starring and primary role in the process of campaign creation. However, this is rarely the case. In fact, they are often overlooked even by experienced web designers and Internet marketing managers.

Campaign-specific landing pages need to be created and this is a smart investment in your marketing. But before you make that investment, you should have a fundamental understanding of what constitutes a successful landing page. We offer you a Guide to Top Performing Landing Pages. In this easy-to-read guide you’ll discover best-practices concepts and ideas.

These include:

  • Including an offer that delivers real value to your visitor
  • Presenting a single, clear call-to-action
  • Making transactional elements easy
  • Designing for visual impact and appeal

Download our Top-Performing Landing Guide and learn how you can assess and improve the performance of your landing pages, and ultimately, the ROI of your marketing campaigns.

 

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24 Jul

Why Real Estate SEO is so Challenging

Real Estate SEO - A Real ChallengeWhy Real Estate SEO is so Challenging

There are many factors that make SEO of Real Estate a bit more challenging for a SEO Professional. In many cases – even within a given local real estate company – the real estate agents compete against one another, yet they are united as “team members” under a larger brokerage (like Remax or Century21). Individual agents rely on the combination of brand recognition of their parent brokerage, personal branding, and team branding to acquire business. Real estate agents will often target specific locations or regions, and try to differentiate their services based on certain needs or demographics. For example: first-time home buyers or luxury real estate.

Real estate brokerages have to manage and promote the individual agents while marketing their brand. They want their agents to differentiate themselves, to have success within their demographic and to bring in business to the company. But the company also needs to create and maintain consistent marketing of the brand. The goals of a real estate company organized in this manner can be in direct opposition of one another.

As you can see, real estate SEO becomes very complex due to the very nature of the industry. Moreover, real estate websites are often large and complex due to the high level of home search and display functions that are needed to appeal to home buyers. This is especially the case with larger multi-area real estate companies. These real estate companies need to have content on multiple geographic areas and regions to perform well in search and real estate websites need to appeal to multiple demographics as well.

Real Estate SEO is further complicated by the fact that many Multiple Listing Service (MLS IDX) solutions providers have not designed their IDX feed with search engine optimization in mind. To have so much content (IDX Home offering content) poorly optimized makes the task of real estate SEO even more difficult.

To add more challenges, keyword competition in real estate can be extremely high as real estate companies and their individual agents are all competing for the same targeted keywords (usually “location + real estate” or “location + homes for sale”). I know of many examples of disreputable search engine placement companies that try to convince real estate companies to enter into expensive monthly programs that promise high rankings for obscure keywords that will not result in appreciable traffic to their website.

A real estate company always needs to be certain of their keywords before initiating a search engine optimization program.

Given that real estate web design and SEO can be so difficult and complicated, I recommend that real estate companies and large real estate teams hire an experienced SEO consultant to design and implement a comprehensive SEO strategy. From what I have seen, many firms rely on the expertise of their IT departments for SEO advice. While many IT professionals have a working knowledge of standard SEO techniques, they are not always able to spot key site structure or content issues that will affect rankings. Again, I have seen this first hand.

It is also good if the SEO professional has some manner to work on gaining high-quality in-coming links. This is often the missing ingredient in the quest for high search position for a real estate company.

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23 Jul

Are You Ready To Blog

Web Content - BlogAre You Ready To Blog?

Before you start your blog you need to determine if blogging is right for you. Here are some questions to ask before you start.

Do You Enjoy Spending Time Surfing the Web?

To blog you need to conduct research. You will do much of this online. To keep you blog post relevant and up-to-date you need to be up-to-date. This takes some time and effort. If you enjoy conducting research online then you have an important characteristic of a successful blogger.

Do You Like to Write?

If you dislike writing or if writing does not come easy to you then blogging might not be for you. Building a successful blog requires frequent and meaningful updates. This requires you to write. To be a successful blogger, you must be able to write easily enough to write often. You need to satisfy your readers and this means to write well and often enough to keep them interested and to provide up-to-date insights.

Have You Defined Your Overall Blog Topic and Do You Have Passion For It?

Successful blogging requires that you write frequent and interesting posts about your blog’s topic. You need to have topic that enables you to be prolific and you need to be genuinely interested in your topic to truly enjoy the research and then to have passion for writing about it.  

If you do not have a passion about your topic then I will predict that you will have a hard time keeping your interest and the interest of your visitors.

Conversely, if your make sure that you select a topic that you have a passion for then it will be easier for you to conduct the necessary research and then to write about it (with passion). If you have a smile on your face when you are conducting your research and writing about it and can’t wait to the next time you can research and write about your topic then you are in a great spot to blog.

Can You Commit The Time?

To be successful at blogging you need to commit to the time to do it well. You need to be motivated and have self-discipline. You need to fit blogging into your schedule and be committed to sticking to your schedule.

Are You Comfortable Publishing Your Thoughts, Opinions and Ideas?

As a blogger, you will be publishing your opinions for anyone to read. Are you comfortable with this? Can you take criticism if someone comments on one of your posts in a negative way? 

Are You Comfortable With Technology and Are You Willing to Learn?

To operate a successful blog requires some knowledge of the Internet and simple software. If you often struggle with your computer, then blogging may not be for you. If you are willing to learn, you can blog. Blogging and the Internet as a whole are ever-changing, and successful bloggers are committed to learning. To promote your blog you will also need to have an understanding of search engine optimization and web copy.

Are You Ready and Willing to Take Risks?

 Much of successful blogging is related to taking risks with your topics, your posts and your opinions. To be a successful blogger, you have to be willing to try new things explore topics in new ways and try various ways to enhance and promote your blog.

If you are a real estate agent then we have written a Blogging Guide just for you. However, almost any business could benefit from the advice. Click in this link to download your Blogging Guide. If you are blogging now or just thinking about it you will gain some practical insight from this guide.

 

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22 Jul

Real Estate SEO – Keyword Research

Real Estate SEOReal Estate SEO – Keyword Research

Keyword Research is the building block of any Real Estate SEO strategy. You do not want to define your SEO strategy blind and this is what you would be doing without adequate keyword research.

If you do not set up your website and linking SEO with a knowledge of the keywords that people actually use when they search then you will miss a great deal of valuable traffic. 

Upfront Keyword Research – Optimize your Real Estate SEO

First, realize that the target audience you want to attract night not use the same terms to describe things as you would – they may not be aware of industry terminology – hence they will not use industry language when they conduct a search.

Second, with the right keywords defined, you can optimize your website by using these keywords in your link building, your web copy and in your on-page real estate SEO. These 3 factors need to be optimized for your real estate website to achieve a higher search engine position.

How to Research Keywords

Good keywords have the following characteristics:

  • They are associated with sufficiently high search traffic
  • They relate well to your business
  • The competition level allows you to be competitive

To do this keyword research is a fun task and also often an eye-opener.

By conducting keyword research you will be learning more about your market and this is always good for business.

A way I often start is to write down some phrases that I feel are relevant and that I think have search volume. Once you have this list go to Google Adwords and use the Google keyword tool to confirm your ideas and to get more (and perhaps better) ideas.

Google Adwords Keyword Tool

The Google free keyword tool is a good place to start to associate some numbers to your keywords. Enter your core keywords and run the search…

When the search has run I like to observe the following:

Competition: The relative number of advertisers worldwide bidding on each keyword. It is purely quantitative. It says nothing about the “quality” of the competition nor does it have to if you will enter into the auction. Since the focus of this post is organic (non auction) search positioning we do care about the quality level of the competition.

Global Monthly Searches: The approximate 12-month average number of search terms matching each keyword. This statistic includes traffic in all countries and all languages.

Local Monthly Searches: The approximate 12-month average number of search terms matching each keyword. This statistic is specific to your targeted country and language.

If you have logged into your Google account you will also see approximate CPC (cost per click). In the adwords program this is a number averaged over all the ad positions. It does tell you about the monetary level that competitors are willing to pay for a click.

Now it is time to focus your research a bit more and move away from more generic terms. You can select three options for specific match types based on broad, exact and phrase.

Broad: This is the sum of the search volumes for the keyword idea, related grammatical forms, synonyms and related words. For example search results for commercial real estate would show up with any searches including commercial or real estate.

Phrase: This is the sum of the search volumes for all terms that include that whole phrase. Therefore if your targeted phrase was commercial real estate anyone who typed in commercial real estate with or without additional keywords would be counted.

Exact: This is the search volume for that specific keyword idea. It means these exact words in this exact order.

It is difficult to get high position for generic terms. These terms may also be of little value as more specific phrases indicate more passionate searchers who really know what they are looking for.

Narrow down your real estate SEO keyword list to 10-15 terms that make a great deal of commercial sense for your optimization project.

Look for additional posts on keyword research as this is a very important topic.

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