By Peyman Aleagha
RISMEDIA, April 16, 2009-Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, is possibly the most bandied-about phrase on the Web. Gurus everywhere are claiming to be able to get you top search engine positions in a hurry … at a price. Some actually can help you in this regard, but any fast results are usually based on techniques the search engines soon negate once they figure them out. So, how does the average real estate professional approach SEO for their personal or brokerage website or blog?
Here are some simple truths:
The engines want what you want - Why do you use a certain search engine? Google grew to be a dominant giant because they recognized early on that people use a search engine because they want answers, quickly and easily. The content that most directly addresses the search is what they delivered. So, if you want to deliver the very best YourTown real estate content to the Web, Google will recognize it and reward you for it. Make it relevant, and answer searchers’ questions.
SEO is a long term work in progress - Sorry, but there are no real shortcuts. Though Google and other search engines are beginning to incorporate video and podcast results in their search results, the king is still textual content. In your case, it’s a lot of content written around all topics related to real estate in your area. Create lots of content related to:
Homes and land for sale
Negotiations in real estate
Area and neighborhood specific information
Prices and statistics
Regularity and new content are rewarded - The search engines compete among themselves, just like we do as Realtors. That’s why regular and new content that is relevant to your site’s overall focus is rewarded with better search engine results positions. They’re like newspapers racing to break the story first. Never stop adding to the relevant content on your site or blog.
Ignore fast, easy solutions and do the work - This item is specific to entering your site into directories on the Web. It’s generally not productive, and sometimes costly to pay for “we’ll get your site into 1,000 directories in one day” type of sites. Only directories relevant to your site’s content and focus should be used. You don’t want your real estate site in a junk directory of gambling sites. Locate free directories that are related directly to real estate or businesses and vendors that serve the real estate industry.
Link exchanges are no longer the strategy of choice - One very tech savvy real estate broker told me how his site overnight went from third position for his best key phrase on Google to 83rd. He had more than 300 links that were provided by a third party reciprocal linking service. Once Google decided that they weren’t in favor any more, his position plummeted. All links have some value, but the pages full of “Helpful Links” aren’t really that helpful to visitors.
Links that mean something are very valuable - Unlike pages of “reciprocal” links, a link in your site text to another site, or even another page on your site, is very valuable if it takes the visitor to relevant information. The text of the link is also important. If you’re writing about local building codes, and you want to link the visitor to the county code page, don’t use “Click here.” Your link text, or “anchor text” should be something like: “more building code information here.” Your site gets credit for that relevance. If someone is linking to your site, hope that they do the same, as that’s one of the best links you’ll get.
Balance readability with keyword density - Don’t just subscribe to the-more-keywords-the-better approach. If you’ve targeted a key phrase for a page, use it as frequently as you can, but without sacrificing the readability for the visitor. They shouldn’t recognize it as “search engine fodder.”
Shorter and more focused is better - Professional Web freelance writers who understand SEO will tell you that 1,000 word pages trying to target a half dozen keywords or phrases aren’t nearly as effective as a 500 word page targeting one or two. If you have 1,000 words of text, you probably have two or more pages of information based on more targeted keywords.
With these simple truths in mind, you can avoid wasting a lot of time and money looking for the Holy Grail of SEO. You and Google both want the visitor to find what they want when they click on that search result. Build your site with that in mind for SEO success in the long run.
Peyman Aleagha is the founder and President of RealtySoft.com. RealtySoft provides Realtors with Real Estate Web Design (http://www.realtysoft.com), Real Estate Print Marketing and Free IDX (http://www.realtysoft.com/freeidx.php) solutions.
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