Real Estate Blog Marketing

I’ve spent the last few weeks talking about some simple SEO methods you can use to help push your real estate blog to the top of the SERPs. Admittedly, these were just basic strategies that anyone can employ to turn their website into a more effective marketing tool, and didn’t delve very deeply into the topic.

While the do-it-yourself SEO approach is sufficient for many real estate blog marketers out there, some of you might be looking to take your site to the next level. If you’re not satisfied with the quick SEO fixes I’ve mentioned in previous posts, you should consider paying for professional SEO services for your real estate blog.

Professional SEO specialists can address issues that you don’t have the time or know-how to handle on your own, including such topics as the coding and layout of your site to meta tags, keyword analysis, and performance predictions. The cumulative effect of optimizing all of these areas of your site can be significant indeed, with many SEO companies offering guarantees that you’ll appear on the first page of major search engine results within “x” number of months.

While some real estate blog marketers don’t care about being at the top of the SERPs, it’s absolutely critical for others — especially those who rely on web traffic to supply additional revenue in the form of affiliate marketing, advertising, and pay-per-click programs.

So deciding whether or not you should pay for real estate blog SEO services ultimately comes down to this question: What you want to gain from your website?

If all you’re after is increased exposure and name recognition, then the DIY approach should work just fine.

If, on the other hand, you are looking to make serious money from your real estate blog, either from gaining national prospects that you can’t reach through traditional means or from selling related products and services, then investing in a professional to handle your SEO would be a smart move.

Interested? Then contact Triangle Direct Media today to talk to one of our blog marketing experts about how to convert your real estate site into a consistent source of new leads, listings, and income!

A majority of real estate blog marketers tend to think that once they publish a blog post, they can immediately forget about it and move on to the next topic. While this is indeed the case most of the time, there are occasions when it pays off to revisit old blog pages and touch them up for SEO purposes.

Many SEO experts believe that part of Google’s top-secret PageRank algorithm takes into account the frequency with which older web pages are updated, which means that if you spend a bit of time changing the content of long-forgotten posts, you might see an increase in traffic, backlinks, better positioning in SERPs, and yes, maybe even a better PR to boot.

So which old posts should you target and what should you change?

For real estate blogs, it’s better to spend time reworking posts with community-related content or general information rather than your listings. These are pages that most likely bring in the most traffic already, and could really give your entire site a boost if search engine spiders start crawling them again.

Smart changes to make include: linking newer blog posts with similar content to older blog posts; using SEO-friendly anchor text to link back to your old pages; rewriting content to drop in a few great real estate marketing keywords; or even adding entirely new paragraphs with further information about the topic.

If you can squeeze in the time to edit a few old blog posts per week, the search engines will definitely take notice — and that can yield big-time SEO rewards for your real estate site!

There’s no question that Google is the most used, most trusted search engine out there, so when talking about strategies for optimizing your real estate blog, it’s in your best interest to play by Google’s rules.

Although Google keeps their page ranking algorithm a secret, almost all of the top SEO experts out there agree that the most emphasis is placed on the quality of inbound links (also called backlinks) that you have. If your backlinks come from reputable websites with similar content and page rank, then those links will help you a great deal. Also, if the links feature relevant anchor text, they can help push your own site’s authority — and SERPs position — through the roof.

So what can you do to get quality backlinks? Here are three basic, proven techniques to help get you started.

  • Link to comparable sites in your own blog posts. You ought to be reading tons of other real estate blogs regularly, so this shouldn’t be hard to do. If you come across a post you like, you can write about it on your own blog and link back to the source. Many bloggers appreciate this so-called “link love”, and might even acknowledge you with a nice backlink in return. Even if you don’t get a backlink, you’re establishing credibility and name recognition, so you can’t lose.
  • Leave comments on do-follow blogs. These blogs have removed the “no follow” tag, meaning that search engine spiders will crawl and index the link. Make sure that your comment actually adds value to the original blog post, and isn’t placed merely for the link, otherwise you run the risk of having it deleted.
  • Write excellent, well-researched, authoritative posts that other real estate bloggers will want to link to. Of course, you have the least control over establishing backlinks via this method, but it’s worth a try — and quality content never hurt anyone!

Last week I mentioned that I would be shifting the focus of my posts from content to search engine optimization (SEO) strategies for a little while. I know a lot of people find SEO time-consuming and tedious, but it’s a necessary chore if you’re serious about using real estate blog marketing as a legitimate tool for promoting your business and services.

The first step in do-it-yourself SEO is to figure out which keywords the major search engines already associate with your real estate blog. If your blog has been around for a while, then you should be well established for certain phrases, which you can verify by checking your stats program. Even the most basic stats packages will tell you what words and phrases visitors are using to find your site.

If you’re brand-new to real estate blog marketing or would like to start optimizing for different keywords, then all you have to do is choose a handful that reflect the bulk of your business. A good keyword phrase usually incorporates the type of property you sell most often, along with your major farm area.

Thus, if you’re based in Raleigh and deal mostly with commercial lots, then “commercial lots Raleigh”, “commercial real estate Raleigh”, and perhaps “commercial property Raleigh” would be good keywords to target.

Notice that the name of your farm area generally follows the real estate keywords. While this can be a bit cumbersome to fit into grammatically correct sentences, it is how most people input the terms into search engines.

Once you’ve picked out a handful of keywords for your blog, start writing on-topic articles that contain the keyword phrase a few times. Articles of 200-400 words are best. Also, it’s important to refrain from using the keyword phrase too many times in a single article in order to avoid the appearance of “keyword stuffing”, a practice the search engines frown upon. Two to four times per article should be sufficient.

You can monitor your progress with your target keywords by searching for the terms yourself to see where your blog comes up in the SERPs (search engine results pages). If you’re doing things right, you should see your rankings improve over time!

For the past six months or so, I’ve been giving you tips about how to fill your real estate blog with great content designed to attract and retain readers. If you’ve been taking my suggestions to heart, you’ve probably developed a decent following by now, or at the very least, have more readers today than you did in January.

Now that you’ve got the content part taken care of for a while, I think this would be a good time to start talking about a few things you can do to optimize your real estate marketing blog for search engines. SEO is a broad topic that I could spend years on, but I’m just going to introduce it briefly today, and give more specific strategies in upcoming weeks.

Contrary to popular belief, online retailers, affiliate marketers, and AdSense gurus aren’t the only ones who need to be concerned with SEO. Anyone who has a website should care how major search engines such as Google, Yahoo, and MSN view their pages because this is what largely determines how readers will find you. The higher you rank with search engines, the more traffic you’ll get on your site. After all, nobody views page 12 of a Google search; they usually stop at page 2 or 3.

While many of the SEO strategies I’m going to tell you about in coming posts can apply to any type of website or blog, a fair number will be of particular importance to real estate marketing blogs. As such, be sure to keep checking back here to learn how to optimize your site and drive your traffic through the roof!

In my last post, I talked about how creating neighborhood profile pages on your real estate marketing blog can help attract readers by providing them with useful, relevant information. This week, I’d like to discuss yet another way to utilize the demographic data you already have at your fingertips: You can use this information to draw specific types of buyers onto your site — and perhaps your client list as well.

The first thing you need to do is consider your territory and determine what types of buyers you generally get. Are you in a warm, stable climate that sees a lot of retirees? Are you in an affordable, safe area that draws young married couples with children? Are most of your buyers interested in sprawling properties with seven-figure price tags?

Although you might see a mix of these types of buyers from time to time, it’s likely that one demographic stands out above the rest in your territory.

Once you’ve identified the demographic(s) that best describe your past buyers, the next step is to start creating posts tailored to their interests. For instance, retirees might be interested in golf courses, classes at the community center, travel agencies, health care facilities, and similar services.

Young married couples, on the other hand, would be interested in the public school system, private school alternatives, day care options, sports camps, restaurants, movie theaters, and shopping malls.

These are just very broad strokes, of course, but the more detailed information you provide for the kinds of buyers that typically flock to your territory, the better your chances of reeling in new readers and clients!

One of the keys to generating and sustaining significant amounts of traffic to your real estate marketing blog is to offer readers truly useful and relevant information that goes well beyond simple listings. You have to give first-time visitors to your blog a reason to come back, and you have to continually provide fresh content to keep regular readers interested. It’s a tall order for sure, but not impossible to achieve.

For instance, creating neighborhood profiles is an excellent way to give your readers the useful information they crave. A neighborhood profile presents a broad range of data about certain areas — which can be extremely helpful to prospective home buyers.

A typical profile might include data such as unemployment figures, area job growth rates, education statistics, median age, median property value, population, and even seasonal climate information. You can dress up the presentation of these numbers by putting everything in orderly tables, charts, or colorful graphs, and you can update the figures as needed.

Since this neighborhood profiles will likely be accessed far more than other articles, it would be a good idea to save them as static pages to your blog rather than as regular posts.

As a Realtor®, you probably already have access to this data, so it shouldn’t take long to write up several profiles. If you don’t have any data on hand, you can easily check with a local government office or do a bit of online research. Either way, your efforts should result in more traffic to your site.

If you work in real estate, then the topic of foreclosures probably comes up several times per day. In the current economic climate, there’s just no getting around the fact that people are defaulting on mortgages and losing their homes in record numbers all across the country. The question that savvy real estate blog marketers should be asking themselves is, “How can I capture a share of all the search engine traffic that is being generated by people looking for information about foreclosures?”

The answer is by making your foreclosure posts stand out from the crowd. For instance, you can bet that The Wall Street Journal and other financial newspapers will cover all of the hard data and broad analysis about the foreclosure problem, so folks will likely flock to those sites if they’re merely looking for numbers, percentages, and trends.

Instead, you’ll have much more success by approaching the topic from an angle that your readers would be interested in. (By the way, you do have an idea of who your readers are and what they’re looking for on your site, right? If you followed my advice about studying your blog stats, then the answer to this should be yes!)

Some relevant points you can make would be: telling your readers how to avoid foreclosure altogether; giving your readers advice about how to extricate themselves from a pending foreclosure by working out a repayment plan with the lender; or even how to make a profit by purchasing and reselling foreclosed properties.

It’s not too late to start writing about foreclosures and boost traffic figures for your site, so just come up with an angle that your readers will find compelling and go for it!

A question that real estate blog marketers often ask is how can they consistently develop interesting content that will keep readers coming back again and again. After all, if people are primarily looking for information regarding property transactions, then chances are they won’t return after the purchase or sale is made.

While this is indeed true in many cases, there are things you can do to retain a significant portion of your readership — or at least maintain steady numbers by drawing in just as many new readers as you might lose.

One terrific strategy for attracting and retaining readers is by sharing your expertise on the subject of real estate in the form of weekly or monthly Q&A posts. Everyone has questions about various aspects of the home buying or selling process that they would love to see answered, so opening up your blog to reader questions would be beneficial to all involved. Your readers will get free advice, and you’ll get more readers — a true win-win situation!

All you have to do is set up a separate email account to receive mail from readers (unless you don’t mind your regular account being overrun with spam), make a post on your real estate marketing blog announcing the new feature, and then wait for the questions to come in. If response to your new Q&A feature is a bit slow at first, feel free to generate your own questions to get things started, and then be sure to promote the feature a bit more. Once readers are aware of the valuable service you’re providing (for free), they’ll want to participate.

By answering relevant real estate questions from readers a few times per month, you’ll continue to establish your reputation as an expert in your field and will also generate goodwill points for being open and accessible. Give it a try!

Although the bulk of your clients and readers are probably content with learning about the ins and outs of residential property transactions, it’s important to recognize that at least some of them are interested in commercial properties as well. Having a real estate blog puts you in a great position to reach out to this commercial crowd and draw in new readers — and perhaps a few new clients as well. How do you do this? Simply by making several posts a month that deal specifically with commercial or investment properties, of course!

A good way to start off would be by focusing on the business district of your city or town for a post or two. Talk about any available storefronts or office space, and if possible, tell about the previous occupants. Did the businesses fail because of low foot traffic or did they move on to bigger quarters to accommodate better than expected growth? Prospective buyers want to know this kind of thing before setting up shop.

Another good topic to talk about is taxes. Does your state or local government offer any tax breaks or incentives to entice new businesses to come to the area? If so, be sure to let your readers know about them and what they have to do to qualify.

Many people are also interested in investment or rental properties such as apartment complexes or duplexes, so be sure to highlight any good buys in your area. If your agency is actually handling any of the rental property transactions that you choose to talk about, then let prospective buyers know they can call you for rent rolls (lists of current renters and the amounts they pay) and vacancy rates for the past five years. If you’re not personally handling the transaction, then you might want to talk about the general state of the rental market in your area.

Just remember that even though residential properties are your bread and butter, there’s no reason to neglect commercial properties altogether. You might be surprised at what kind of clients come out of the woodwork when you start writing about this stuff!

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