By Sean Callahan
RISMEDIA, September 30, 2010—The real estate industry has seen a huge number of changes over the past 20 years with the advent of pagers, cell phones and the Internet, and a new one coming out now for search engine optimization will do the same thing with how agents market themselves online in 2010 and beyond.
Since 1999, the real estate industry has seen less than 1% of home sales come from the Internet to over 80% in the last two years.
The changes keep coming and real estate agents and brokers are doing their best to keep up by creating websites and search engine rankings to get to where the buyers are coming from.
Agents spend of thousands of dollars and more to pay for SEO work and marketing to get first page rankings for a few major keywords in Google, Yahoo and other major search engines. Pay per click offers some traffic, but the costs can get expensive and many agents are not happy with the results they get.
All of that will be changing very soon as a new IDX/MLS search engine marketing system begins to hit the real estate industry over the next 12 months.
It is a new “SEO” technology that will indeed revolutionize the real estate industry one more time and enable real estate agents in the middle to low class to compete with the “whales.”
What is it?
It is a technology that breaks down an agents IDX feed and creates thousands of Web pages all targeting long tail keywords and adds them to their website.
Why is it powerful?
Because over 70% of all keywords typed into Google looking for real estate are long tailed keywords. Long tail keywords are normally 6-7 plus word searches for real estate like:
“2 bedroom condo for sale in la jolla”
“gated home for sale in del mar”
“3 bedroom oceanfront condo for sale san diego”
Compared to short tail keywords where most agents are bunched up like:
“san diego home for sale”
“san diego real estate”
“san diego condo for sale”
This technology first grabs up hundreds of long tailed keywords and then begins to pull short tailed keywords over time.
When agents start getting hundreds of Web pages ranking in Google, they are going to start seeing much better results in the form of home sales plus the long tailed keywords normally convert into a better quality lead since the searches are much more specific.
Why will it revolutionize the real estate industry?
1. Because it is going to put agents using it at a huge advantage against agents and brokers who do not. Agents who have hundreds of pages ranking in Google will start getting better results than agents with a handful or couple of keywords. It is no longer about who can spend more, but rather where you are spending your marketing dollars that matters. The costs are low enough so anyone can afford it, which levels out the playing field for agents.
2. It is a technology that goes after where the vast majority of searches are being done online (long tail keywords) and it is very affordable. After reviewing data last week from Google Analytics, the total number of long tailed keyword searches amounted to 80% of the total searches being done. Most agents and SEO experts do not realize how many searches being done are coming from these long tailed keyword phrases.
Considering the fact you can create a couple thousand pages and target hundreds of keywords for $600 makes this affordable to the everyday agent looking for ways to maximize their marketing budget.
Also, consider the options that most real estate SEO companies offer now which is “spend $2,000-$5,000 for search engine optimization and get 3-5 keywords on the first page of Google.” The cost is much cheaper than traditional SEO packages and the results are greater because relevant data from the listings in the MLS is being used to provide the content and pages are not created from scratch. You are not just ranking in Google for 3-5 keyword phrases but rather “hundreds” of keyword phrases, which when added together become significant.
The long tailed keyword pages will eventually get rankings for short tailed keyword phrases after doing long term link building. This is a much cheaper way to get results than what the vast majority of companies are charging.
3. This is a low cost form of SEO which targets hundreds of keywords and creates a massive blanket of Web pages which are attached to the agents existing website. You keep the website you have and add thousands of pages to it. The option for starting with a new website is available as well, but many agents have had the same website for years and are happy with it, so this creates a cutting edge way to add to it and keep building it out.
How many companies offer this type of service?
The fact is there are a few companies who have versions of this technology, but they either charge $5,000 for the build out or they simply take the MLS data and paste it on the Web pages. This is not as effective as re-writing all the title lines and anchor text for each listing and re-classifying it for multiple categories.
This new technology is different because it re-writes all the title lines and anchor text, and classifies the listings according to how they are being searched for. This puts the content on static Web pages for search engines while still staying compliant with the MLS boards on how the information can be displayed.
It updates all the pages and listings as the MLS data updates and is able to transfer ASP data into static feed data and create the static feed data on the fly for anyone who is tech savvy. If you do not understand that, do not worry, since all you need to know is that It works very well and it is cheap to get started. A couple thousand Web pages can be created for $600.
Because most companies simply copy the data, they can only offer the content to one agent per market place because if they build it out for anyone else, it would be duplicate content. This new technology can spin and re-write the data so that Phoenix as an example could have 3,000+ agents all with different Web pages and content.
Not MLS limited – What do you mean?
The fact is that other companies who offer similar versions are limited to offering this service only to areas where they can get an MLS feed. With over 900 MLS boards around the country, this is very limiting since each board has different costs and access to vendors making this a real big pain to deal with. This technology can use the MLS feed when available or use GOOGLE BASE, if the MLS provider is too expensive or difficult to work with. This means that this service is available anywhere in the United States and Canada.
This technology is also patent pending, meaning the company that developed it not only has spent millions of dollars and many years to create it, but has also had a patent pending for six years on this technology. Technology patents normally take 6-8 years to get approval.
What is happening now with this technology?
After spending 6+ years to develop this technology and rolling out 500 test sites, the data is in and the results are amazing to say the least. Agents and brokers who bought up these sites are buying them up and expanding in large numbers with one broker buying up 500 more after seeing the results.
A few large website companies are also now looking at using it for their clients since many website companies need something to keep their cancellation rates low and also something to give them an edge over their competition. Everyday agents who are tired of pay-per-click and poor results with other forms of marketing are starting to invest in setting up these massive Web page grids and pull in more buyers off the Internet.
This is not the last time you will hear about this technology, but it may be the first time you are hearing about it.
The sooner you can put it to use, the faster you will see the power of this technology and how effective it is as a low cost way to target Internet buyers and traffic and start expanding the number of home sales and search engine exposure you are getting.
These SEO pages must have some link building done to ensure the best possible results.
Agents can build inbound links by doing press releases, directory submissions, building Google Web pages, blogging, posting on message boards etc.
If you do not have the time or experience to do this, buy a link building package which will do it for you. As more links are added to these pages, you will see more short tailed keywords added to the search results you are getting from Google. These pages normally take 60-90 days to begin indexing and seeing results, although agents do get traffic in the first 30 days as well.
As an Internet marketing consultant for the last 10 years, I have had a ton of success and seen a lot of new technology introduced to real estate agents, but nothing can compare to this new Search Engine Optimization technology, which is set to revolutionize the way real estate agents market themselves online and get in front of Internet buyers and sellers in 2010 and beyond.
Sean Callahan is an Internet Marketing Consultant and founder of Real Estate Marketing Nerds. He has worked with thousands of real estate agents and brokers over the last 10 years providing Internet marketing services and information. He is also a public speaker and has helped teach thousands of small business owners how to effectively market themselves online.
For more information, call Sean Callahan at 858-731-7278, visit www.realestatemarketingnerds.com.