Modern SEO Climate
Full disclaimer upfront...I am not an SEO expert nor do I have any inclination to be. What I am is a real estate agent who works hard at providing online information that helps both consumers and my peers in the real estate industry. If you are like me, and have a thirst for knowledge, then read on.
As time wears on, Search Engine Optimization becomes both more difficult and more rewarding. As individual real estate agents, it can be hard to outrank the top directory sites and all the other agents in your area. Sound familiar? Struggling to keep up or catch up? Broke the code (good for you!)?
Though the SEO landscape is still ever-changing, the monopoly Google has over the search industry has real advantages. The main one is that we really only have one set of optimization rules to follow. And Google’s Philosophy is to try and provide the very results to its users.
Basically, you can anticipate Google getting better and better at weeding out spammers and finding the best content. As things stand now, many of the last few years’ most powerful underground tactics are dead and gone for good.
What this means for Real Estate Agents
Nowadays, social media and web 2.0 signals weigh heavily in the search algorithms. They also analyze semantics and the relationships between sites. These are just a few of the factors but these weigh heavily.
Knowing that is to the advantage of savvy and knowledgeable real estate agents. Social media is a great place for real estate agents to connect with customers already. If you can provide great content to your potential clients and develop a reputation online, your search engine rankings are going to go up. Those who get the best (not most) use out of their networks though, will be able to get on the first page and stay there.
The first step is to create or be a part of as many channels as is feasible for your business. Be sure to include social media, but also other sites (like this one) that get millions of visitors every month. Lead generation and branding have always been the main motivators behind all of my profiles which has helped with online visibility.
Now, they also help my keep my top 10 rankings for my main keywords “Warner Robins real estate” and “Warner Robins real estate agent”. But in addition, if you search “Anita Clark” today in Google, my sites and profiles claim all but one spot on the first page. Pretty powerful stuff, but let’s get into the platforms real estate agents can utilize to drive search rankings–as well as traffic and engagement.
Google actively looks at social signals when ranking articles and blog posts. It also factors into their robots’ understanding of brands, trust, and authority on a site-wide basis. For newer real estate agents, this is an important factor because it is seen as typical behavior of real businesses.
You can also syndicate the content from your blog directly out through these profiles because this is also considered the norm by the search engines. This gives you instant backlinks from high authority sites. So which of these high authority social media platforms should you be using and how?
For starters, you need Google+ and Facebook Pages, not just profiles. In addition to extra marketing options, these get better search engine results for real estate agents. Both offer some of the deepest social experiences available on the Web. Twitter also gets great marks in search engines and drives engagement. And professionals in any industry would be remiss to forget about LinkedIn.
However, real estate is a rather visual industry and there are social media that cater to images and videos more intently. For this purpose, I love Pinterest and the use of Infographics. These are simply great tools to showcase all sorts of real estate related media which is likely to get more and more weight in Google’s eyes over time.
In order to get the most SEO “pop” out of your social profiles, it is best to have as many as possible well-developed profiles that are interconnected. The idea is to show Google (and your potential customers) a consistent image across the most used websites on the planet.
By linking all of these profiles together and then back to your main site, you verify each of them with each other and tie them to your most important web property (your domain name). This basically gets “juice” flowing throughout the network while cementing the trust and authority of each individual profile.
Social media profiles are definitely great channels through which to build your digital footprint, but from Google’s perspective, there is certainly more a real estate agent can do to create trust and authority.
While you may not be familiar with the term Web 2.0, you are undoubtedly familiar with many of the sites that term refers to. Some of the best known include Youtube, Wordpress.com, and Yelp. Web 2.0s are basically regular websites with highly interactive features. In this way, the line between social media and Web 2.0s blurs. But for real estate agents, the main thing is to focus on how they can be used.
Many of them, such as Blogger, Tumblr, and Youtube are great for syndication. But real estate agents have several that they should focus on more than these generic ones. There are plenty of websites that are built specifically for connecting customers with the companies who can provide what they need.
Google gives these sites a lot of weight and they even take review ratings into account as much as they can. This makes sense if they truly want to deliver the results that searchers are looking for.
So what does that mean for you?
Create as many profiles on these and more real estate specific websites as you can manage to keep active. You could start with Yelp, Realtor.com, and Zillow.
The main thing about Web 2.0 profiles and channels is that there is a high level of customer interaction on them. When I get clients through Huozz or Trulia, they tend to leave reviews. And Google takes that into account, increasing the trust and authority of those channels, which reflects back on all of my other profiles, channels, and (most importantly) websites.
If you see now the SEO power in building out your digital footprint, I’d like to leave you with a few other takeaways as well.
Where To Go From Here
Whether you are already ranked and looking to climb or completely unknown and looking to make a splash as quickly as possible, creating and connecting profiles and other channels has a multitude of benefits.
But strictly for the purpose of search engine optimization, there are a few extra points to consider:
- You need content. Both your sites and various channels need to be providing relevant and valuable content to drive engagement. Having all of these profiles with no action isn’t going to do anything for your SEO, branding, or marketing efforts.
- If your network is well built and fully connected, driving traffic or links to any part of it will boost the connected profiles and sites. For real estate SEO, driving traffic to Trulia or Zillow accounts can have a great effect in the long run than only sending traffic only to your money site.
With the basics understood, what are you now going to do to grow your online presence, build your network, and reach more consumers? The sky is truly the limit IF you take the necessary steps and put in the work.
Anita Clark, a top producing real estate agent in Houston County Georgia who specializes in first-time buyers, military relocation, new construction, and resales. She has been helping buyers, investors, and sellers with their middle GA real estate needs for the past 8 years. Check out her RESAAS profile ›
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by Karin Gage