Getting to the top of search engine results pages is such a hard thing to achieve these days and even more so for a realtor.
Do a simple search such as “real estate for sale Orlando” for example and you will be distressed to learn that there are over Twenty Four Million pages on the internet competing for top ten positions in the SERPS (search engine result pages)!
This article is provided so you will find the real secrets of search engine ranking.
It is specifically targeted at Google but will also work just as well for Yahoo.com and Bing.com.
Follow these ten techniques faithfully and you will see dramatic results in your position over time for specific key phrases that can convert for your real estate business:
1) Key Phrase Research
Before you do anything else you need to know what people are really typing when they do a search to find real estate and property for sale in your area.
To find out you need to spend several hours looking through the data provided by Google , Overture (Yahoo) and Bing.
To discover these gems you will need to use such tools as there are available like the Google External Key Phrase Suggestion Tool and Wordtracker.
I’ll do an in depth guide how to use these tools and determine what you really must know in a future post…
2) The Importance of Key Words in the Web Page Title
Once you know which key words and phrases people are really typing then you should create pages that match those searches and add the phrase itself in the title tag of the web page html coding.
Place your title text in between the two title delimiters:
WHATEVER PHRASE & some other words
3) Meta Tags & Descriptions
In the non visible part of the html page there are elements called the “meta tags” where you may add description and key words relating to the particular page in question.
Notice I said to the page and not to the site?
It is important to always remember that what you are trying to achieve is a higher “page rank” not a higher “site rank”…
Simply use your key phrase that is the target of your effort for the particular page judiciously in the “header” part of the html code for the page i.e. in between the part that starts “” and ends “”.
Here you will put two tags:
4) Image Alt Tags
Whenever you add an image to a web page you have the opportunity to add some text in what is known as the “alt tag” like:
5) Key Word Density
Try and achieve a “key word density” of around 1.6% to 2.8% in the visible part of the web page.
To achieve that simply divide the total number of words by the times you need to appear with your key phrase.
( Times Your Phrase Appears / Number of Words ) x 100 = KWD
E.G. Key phrase appears 7 times in a page of 498 words therefore your KWD is calculated:
4/498 = 0.014 then 0.014 x 100 = 1.4 so KWD = 1.4%
6) Key Phrases in URLs
Try to use the phrase itself as part of the Url.
If the phrase is “real estate listings New Haven CO” then either put the page in a directory called ” real-estate-listings-New-Haven-CO ” and call the page “index.html” or call the page ” real-estate-listings-New-Haven-CO.html”
Alternatively you could also consider buying the domain ” real-estate-listings-New-Haven-CO.com “.
7) Maximize the Value of the First Link
Google reads your webpage like an English speaking human i.e. top to bottom and right to left.
The most important link to Google (the one it gives the most weight to) is the first link on the left at the top.
Many people make the mistake of making this link to “index.html” or similar with the anchor text “home”.
For a realtor the word home can work but better to replace this with your key phrase and make the link to “/” and not to “index.html” (see the next tip!).
8)Avoid Duplicate Content
Google will actually penalize your site for duplicate content.
The problem is that Google cannot tell the difference between a web page at “http://www.yourdomain.com/” and “http://www.yourdomain.com/index.html” and, although they are in fact the same thing, it sees them as two different pages but with the exact same content…
For this reason it is very important not to fall into the “index.html” trap!
9) The Importance of a Good Navigational Hierarchy
Google is very much for making the user experience the best that it can be and for this reason loves a site that is easy for the user to navigate.
To ensure that your site benefits from this preference you need to make the “family tree” of your site very intuitive to use by creating and using sub categories where appropriate and by then ensuring that the top(s) of each tree have easy to follow links that descend into those subcategories.
Obviously the top of the tree should begin on your index.html page.
Create then a “site map” of all your pages (there are many tools available for free to do this like this one http://submitgooglesitemap.com/) and submit this site map to Google at http://www.google.com/webmasters/tools
10) Competitive Key Phrase SERPS Analysis
You need to understand that the top ten sites that appear in Google’s results do so for a reason (or in reality for several reasons) and that it is because they best fit the filtration system applied by Google known technically as the “algorithm“.
Google applies logic and a convoluted recipe that dates back to its original patent over ten years ago where it scores a page or “ranks” a page based on several criteria (many of which are not overtly disclosed!).
The key to your success is in analysing the results that do exists and reverse engineering the possible “whys?” using diligent research to discover what evidence there exists on the web that could show the “hows” of a particular SERP result…
The most important thing is to know (and to understand) what your competitors are doing to achieve high rankings.
Again there is not enough space here to show all the techniques necessary here but essentially you need to work out what back links the page enjoys and then to reproduce the same quantity and quality of those back links to your own site and then add some more…
11) Good Quality Back links
Perhaps the most important part of SEO is in the development of good quality one way links or “votes” pointing to your web pages.
This is one of the most time consuming elements of search engine optimization as it requires literally thousands of these back links if you really want to succeed and finding thousands of site owners willing to link to you without you offering to link back to them is a very difficult thing to achieve as you can imagine.
Not only do you need to get several of them they also need to come from reputable places and getting the wrong kind of back link can actually lead to getting your site blacklisted in Google if you are not careful.
Do not be tempted to fall for the many offers to “submit your site to x thousand directories” or similar as more often than not you will end up with the wrong links from, very much, the wrong neighbourhood.
The key is to do it yourself or to employ a search engine optimization specialist who knows what they are doing. What you cannot afford to do though is ignore it as it is the area of SEO that can and will make the most difference.
12) The Importance of Video and Virtual Tours for Real Estate SEO Purposes
Making videos and submitting them to the right places can make a huge impact both short and long term to the success of your real estate business.
The success of video sites such as YouTube and DailyMotion to name but two shows just how popular video on the web is becoming. More and more people are expecting realtors to have video and virtual tours on their property listing pages…
The good news from an SEO standpoint is that there are three wonderful benefits of this and they are:
a) Virtual tours really do help to sell listings and can make the difference between buying an MLS listed property through your business or someone else’s..
b) The back link “votes” you can get from the more popular video portals is tremendous and, simply put, the more video/virtual tours you create and submit the more votes you can get…
c) Google, having paid $1.6Bn for YouTube is actively seeking many ways of incorporating video into its search results and more and more we are seeing videos and virtual tours on the first three pages of results.
(By the way if you aren’t on the first three pages of results you may as well forget it!)
Following these simple yet time consuming techniques will allow you to compete strongly with most of your competitors as long as they are not actively employing the services of a competent SEO specialist (most don’t) and, thus, you should be able to rank highly in time.
Yes it does take time I am afraid but with the correct strategies you can and will beat your competitors to those elusive inquiries and ultimately to sell more real estate through your web site.
Unfortunately there is no magic wand or silver bullet to achieving real estate search engine optimization but careful research and due diligence will and does prevail time and time again allowing you to seriously generate more inquiries and more sales.
By: Roger SEO Grant
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