The President and CEO of HMA Franchise Systems, Inc (or housemaster.com) contacted me a few weeks ago asking for some information about online promotion of Realtor websites. She said that they are having a large company gathering and they are in need of some information for their agents to give to their Realtor clients. Specifically, she was looking for information on the search engines… below is a bit of what I sent her:
Search Engine Optimization
Definition: Search Engine Optimization, also known as SEO, is the process of increasing the amount of visitors to a Web site by ranking high in the search results of a search engine. The higher a Web site ranks in the results of a search, the greater the chance that that site will be visited by a user. It is common practice for Internet users to not click through pages and pages of search results, so where a site ranks in a search is essential for directing more traffic toward the site. Here are 3 great things that Realtors should be doing to help their SEO efforts.
1. What is a Blog?
A Blog is an online diary that allows Realtors to differentiate themselves from their competition. It is a one way conversation that gives real estate agents full control over their website. There are 2 important reasons that Realtors should be blogging:
Reason #1 – In todays competitive real estate market, Realtors need to use every advantage they can to ensure that they are a step above the rest. Having a Blog today, is like having a website 5 years ago. In todays tough and increasingly competitive market Realtors need to differentiate themselves from each other. Having a website, business card, bus bench advertising, etc is just not enough. Agents need to use the internet to speak to their audience. The best way to do that is by using a Blog to write about their day to day activities.
Reason #2 – (The more important reason!) Google, Yahoo, MSN are looking for unique and up to date content. Most websites have not been updated since the day they were launched. The search engines have the ability to read “time stamps” within every page. That means they can see when the web page was updated. As an example, if you have 2 websites, one that is updated everyday and the other has not been updated for over 2 years. When the search engines come to these websites they think that the one that was updated yesterday is more relevant than the one updated 2 years ago. By having a blog, Realtors can write about their day to day activities while not only differentiating themselves from the crowd, they are adding relevant, up to date content that the search engines are looking for. It adds depth and is what all Realtors should be doing.
Craigslist.com is the best kept secret in many cities across North America. CraigsList.com is a website that was created by a guy named Craig Newmark in San Francisco in 1995. He created the website as a place for people to post almost anything for sale, rent, give-a-way, etc. The success and growth that craigslist.com has seen over the past few years has been phenomenal. It has become a great place on the internet that is getting in the way of many mainstream media outlets.
Why does craigslist.com matter to Realtors? 2 Reasons:
Reason #1 – Craigslist.com has a section in every city called “real estate for sale”. In this section Realtors can post their listings with 4 pictures and most importantly a link back to their website at NO COST (with a couple of exceptions.. SF, NY, LA) At Combustion Ubertor, we have been pushing our agents for a long time to add every new listing that they get onto Craigslist.com as the exposure is outstanding and the inbound link to their website is invaluable. I have hundreds of Realtors who are using craigslist.com as one of their main forms of listing promotion. It is an excellent tool that is providing a great service and so far has continued to be free.
Reason #2 – There is also a section within the craigslist.com website for Appartment/Housing for Rent. When training our clients we tell them about this area as many of them have investment properties…. but more importantly, many of their clients have investment properties. By adding rental listings to craigslist.com, again for FREE, Realtors can help their clients fill their vacancies. Imagine a Realtor sold you an investment property, then found a renter for it. That is what happens for Agents using craigslist.com.
Craigslist.com is an extraordinary tool that should be utilized by every Realtor everywhere.
3. Add Years to your Domain Name
Register your domain name as soon as you can, and register it into the future as far as you can afford to do so. Google filed for a patent that takes
the history of a domain name into consideration, as part of the ranking algorithm. Google is always looking for ways to make their engine better as well as stop cheaters from cheating their system. By checking the domain registration date and expiry date, Google is looking to see how serious you are about your domain name and in turn your website. If you registered your domain yesterday and it expires in 1 year,…Google thinks that you may not be serious about whatever it is that your website is about. But, if you registered your domain name 5 years ago and it expires 10 years into the future, Google thinks that whatever your website is about must be important or you would not have registered it so long ago and prepaid for so many years. It is a great way for them to add another item into the algorithm that people can’t play with or cheat with. Domain registration and expiration dates are set in stone and can’t be tampered with. So, register now and add as many years as you can.