If you’re like most Realtors®, then you engage in real estate blog marketing for the purpose of generating qualified leads that you can later convert into transactions. You load your blog with high-quality, relevant content, update it frequently, and throw in the right keywords, giving you prominent placement in search engine results. But if you don’t have a good search form on your site, then you’re losing out on thousands of dollars in potential commissions.

The key to any real estate blog search form is a section where the prospective client can fill in contact information so that you can follow up with either a phone call or an e-mail to pursue the lead. Your search form should prompt for this kind of information whenever a reader requests details about a property that go beyond a basic MLS listing or further consultation with an agent.

More often than not, readers are perfectly willing to provide their full name, current address and phone number, e-mail address, and what kind of services they’re interested in (buying, selling, relocating, investment opportunities, etc.) in order to gain access to the information they’re seeking. Once you have this customer data, you can follow up as necessary.

Having a good search form on your real estate blog might seem like an elementary marketing component, but you’d be surprised at how many folks don’t take this extra step. You can bet they’re not generating many leads with their generic forms!

So today, take a moment to review the various calls to action you have on your real estate blog and make sure you have a way of getting contact info from your readers.

In past entries, I’ve talked about some of the different purposes that real estate blogs can serve, and have given suggestions about the type of content best suited to each purpose. Articles for a real estate blog focused on lead generation probably won’t address the same topics as articles for a blog used primarily for property listings. Nevertheless, one thing that all real estate blog marketers have to worry about is promoting their websites. After all, if nobody’s reading your content, then you’re just wasting your time.

Unfortunately, promoting real estate blogs is a bit tricky. Traditional, non-niche bloggers (i.e. those that just write about their daily lives) can promote their blogs through various free traffic exchange services or blogrolls where the basic idea follows a quid pro quo format. You visit my site, I’ll visit yours.

But this doesn’t work for real estate blogs — unless you’re just interested in the number of visitors you get rather than the quality of those visitors. Let’s face it: you’re not going to generate many qualified leads from simple traffic exchanges.

Instead, real estate blog marketers need to focus their promotional efforts in very specific ways in order to get decent results. For example, search engines will likely be your number one referral source, so it’s important to make sure that you’re listed in all of them — not just the “big three” of Google, MSN, and Yahoo. There are also lots of directory sites available (DMOZ being the most popular), and these can provide some good traffic as well. In most cases, all you have to do for inclusion is submit your URL and wait for the review process to run its course.

Another excellent way to promote your real estate blog is to list your URL on all of your business cards. Then, whenever you hand your card out at a convention or conference, or to prospective buyers and sellers, you have an opportunity to draw in more readers.

And finally, you should list your blog URL in any print advertisements that you take out in local or national newspapers. Inserting a website address in your ad shouldn’t change the price much, and the return you get in terms of more readers will be well worth the few extra dollars you might have to pay.

In a perfect world, top-notch content would be enough to bring in droves of new readers every day. As things are, however, you’ll have to spend quite a bit of time promoting your real estate blog in order to attract the kind of traffic you want.

If you’ve been reading and implementing my tips on how to turn your real estate blog into a powerful marketing tool, then you’re well on your way to building a successful website. Or are you? How can you tell if the adjustments you’re making are having a positive impact on your site? The only way to be sure is to periodically assess your real estate blog’s performance to see if it’s hitting all the right benchmarks.

Periodic assessments (every two to three months or so) will reveal the strengths and weaknesses of your blog, thereby giving you an idea of what you’re doing right and what still needs improvement. Your stats program is critical to this type of analysis, but in order to put the raw data into context, you have to consider what your real estate blog marketing goals are. Some of the most common goals that Realtors® list include:

  • Promoting name/brand awareness
  • Driving traffic to their site
  • Increasing the number of inquiries from potential clients
  • Increasing sales
  • Earning additional revenue from pay-per-click affiliate programs

Once you’ve established your goals, then evaluating your blog’s efficacy becomes a piece of cake. Is your company becoming more well known in real estate circles, both locally and nationally? Is the number of visitors to your site steadily increasing each month? Are you receiving more telephone or email inquiries from people interested in your services?

If you’re answering “no” to these questions, then it’s time to redouble your efforts at providing high-quality, relevant content for readers, as well as to promoting your site as heavily as possible.

If you’re answering “yes” to these questions, then congratulations are in order. Your real estate blog is indeed becoming a terrific marketing tool that is bringing you new clients and putting money in your pocket — which is no small feat.

Just remember not to get too complacent about your blog’s performance because Web readers are a fickle bunch and will quickly go elsewhere if your site stops delivering what they want!

A problem that anyone who writes about a niche field like real estate frequently encounters is how to deal with jargon or specialized terms. On the one hand, it’s important for you to present yourself as an expert, and an easy way to do that is to use proper terminology in your discussions about various aspects of the industry. On the other hand, however, the last thing you want to do is drive readers away from your site because they don’t understand a single thing you’re saying. The best compromise in this case is to create your own glossary of real estate terms.

Creating a glossary of real estate terms doesn’t have to be a massive undertaking. Instead of trying to cram too much in at once, simply list 20-30 terms that you frequently use in your posts (go back and reread a few weeks of your archives if you have to), and either give the definition from an official reference book or try to explain the term in your own words if the definition is a bit complicated. Once you get the glossary started, you can continue to add terms as necessary.

I recommend saving your glossary as a static page that is easily accessible from every other page on your site. That way, readers can quickly get to the definitions, and just as quickly return to the main article. Better yet, whenever you use a real estate term that appears in your glossary, you should create a hyperlink to the definition. Readers will appreciate the effort, and will keep coming back for more.

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!

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