First of all why am I even talking about Google’s Algorithms updates to you?  That’s easy, while you don’t need to know the specific details, you should be aware how this update might effect your Real Estate Business.

Launched in late July, the update is a new algorithm to provide more useful, relevant and accurate local search results that are tied more closely to traditional web search ranking signals. Google stated that this new algorithm improves their distance and location ranking parameters.

You probably noticed by now your the local map results (some call it the 7 pack) are not on every location search anymore.  You know what I am taking about, you type “Teaneck NJ Realtor” and you would see a map with the top 7 results.  To me this seemed to resulted in more exposure for the bigger companies.  Smaller offices and agents that were on the 7 pack are now on the SERP but forced to the bottom most of the time. However in realty I think Google is refining location results based on geo-location and population density.  You tend to see the map results in larger areas.

So in essence since Real Estate is very local, this update is one you should be concerned about.

Some things that you should consider on this update;

  1. Strong Domains Matter
    1. It has been observed local businesses need to attach their brands to strong domains. While Google has not explicitly confirmed that there is a bias toward brands in their ranking algorithm, many of us  have suspected as such. So if you have a strong franchise or local brand make sure you are well optimized on your location pages.
  2. Location, Location, Location
    1. Location really matters now as Google attempts to deliver the most relavant location based SERP. This comes in the terms on how close to the center of a city you are.  If you are searching for News Real Estate Agents, the closer you are the better.
  3. Please don’t over optimize
    1. I have been preaching this for a while but don’t market yourself on too wide of a territory.  If you do, Google will notice in most cases and will drop your location based results. Limit your markets and make sure you have solid unique content and a well optimized page for each of these areas. If you can, utilize your home page for the top geo location you serve.

While like you I am not thrilled in what has transpired but let’s sit back and see how this plays out.  Google does invest a huge amount of money and time trying to bring the best possible results.  Many of the changes over the years have been a huge benefit and refining the local search is important.

Recently Twitter has recently become the new face of social networking sites. With its 140 character posts, Twitter is an easy way to catch up on trending topics and gives its users a quick and easy way to connect with its followers. But, like with many tools, you only get what you put in, so gaining followers is a vital source of expanding your reach over the twitter sphere.  Whether it be you’re new to the twitter family or you’re simply a silent ghost on your timeline, here are six easy ways to gain followers on twitter.

1. Be Original

Creating thought-provoking tweets is important. Most people quickly scroll along twitter on the bus or on their lunch break, so they tend to only see the most recent tweets. That is why it is important to tweet often and add variety (pictures, links, videos) to make your tweet stick out. Publish content worth sharing and comment on relevant news and tweets to make yourself active on your follower’s timelines.

2. Don’t Be A Hash Tag Fanatic

Hash tags are an important part of twitter. They allow the user to click on them and find more tweets relevant to that specific word or phrase. Make sure not to use too many hash tags per tweet, but also make sure you use enough (1 or 2 per tweet). Let’s say you are trying to sell a house in Orangeberg. An example tweet would be: Check out these HOT listings in #Orangeberg. This allows your users to click on Orangeberg and see things relevant to that town (possibly events, the latest news, etc.). While using hash tags it is important to remember: quality over quantity.

3. Be An Active Follower

Be sure to actively seek out new followers. Industry experts suggest that for every 10 people you follow, at least 2 of them will follow you back. Make sure that when people follow you, you follow them back. This will let them know that you are an active part of twitter and not simply a “ghost follower”. Try following influential and well known industry leaders such as real estate agents in or around your market or even nationally. These people are great for re-tweeting and gaining inspiration for your own tweets.

4. Utilize Your Bio

Your twitter bio is the italicized portion of text below your Twitter handle on your profile page. This should clearly say who you are and what you do and should tell your followers and potential followers what they are to expect from your feed. Keep it short, simple and to the point: “Orangeberg real estate professional specializing in short sales and foreclosures”. Remember, your bio is displayed on others “Who To Follow” feed so keeping it straightforward is important.

5. Publicize Yourself

As well as publicizing yourself on twitter, it is important to publicize yourself in the real world. Adding links to your account on blogs, e-mails, and other social networking sites is important in allowing peers and clients to find you. If you are giving a presentation it may be a good idea to let your attendees know in case they want to live tweet your event, which is also a good way to get your name around.

6. Be Career Focused

Tweeting about your profession and staying career focused is important. Don’t mix your personal life with work and keep your tweets directed towards real estate pros. Using the Orangeberg example, you may want to tweet about the city’s lifestyle, hot listings, and hot spots in order to gain your followers attention. Publish content worth sharing, but make sure you stay focused.

If you have any other suggestions for gaining more followers on twitter feel free to share your secrets with us!

The Reality of Pintrest

Pintrest has become the fourth largest social networking site to date. It connects its users through images and for a REALTOR this is a helpful tool to sell listings via visual emotions. On Pintrest you are able to set up boards and engage with your followers via comments, likes, and repins. Here are the top four tips that will help you excel when it comes to Pintrest marketing.

1. Set Up Specific Boards

Creating specific boards for yourself is important. For example, you can create a board of your neighborhood or the neigneighborhood you have the most listings for. Sell the area. Include pictures of shops, amenities and even services to get your potential buyers interested. You can even create a board that promotes your most recent listings. Show pictures and put links into the comments to draw your buyers attentions. Another idea is to create a home decor board. You can include links to how-to sites to get you followers talking. Lastly, you want to seem like a normal person so create a board that shows who you are. If you like to bake make a board dedicated to recipes. Not only do you want to sell your houses, but you also want to sell yourself.

2. Use #Hashtags

Hash tags are not only a twitter thing, but can be used on Pintrest as well. Connect with your market and expand beyond your followers. You can use hash tags for geographic locations (i.e #MyrtleBeach), listings (i.e #dreamyard), or specific images (i.e #howto).

3. Promote Yourself Through Contests and Giveaways

Using Pintrest to promote yourself through contests and giveaways is a great way to get people involved in your posts. You can have a voting contests where your followers can like an image of their favorite listings. You can have a photo contest where your followers can tag you in their favorite bathroom or yard (you can even add a vote element to create a little more competition). Or you can even try creating a video contest where your followers can submit a short video about what they like about your newest listings (you can even use this as authentic marketing material!). Adding a “grand prize” is helpful but not required. Either way holding a contest will create conversation throughout your board!

4. Cross Promote

As with all other social media sites cross promoting is important. Add a link to your profile on your Facebook and twitter profiles as well!

If you have any questions on how to set up a Pintrest board or have any more ideas on how REALTORS can use Pintrest to their advantage feel free to share!

In my last post I wrote about what is happening with your posts.  We will continue with things that you can do to leverage your posts with these changes.

Why is organic reach declining?

There are two main reasons.

The first is quite obvious: the amount of content created and shared is increasing daily. With the introduction to the glorious smartphone, sharing a photo or video with customers from across the globe is only a few  swipes away. While a couple of years ago you had the ability to see 1,500 posts every time you log on, with the increase of activity on Facebook you now have the potential to see over 15,000 new posts. So now there is far more information to absorb and far less time to absorb it.

As a result, the competition on news feeds- the place of Facebook where family members and customers are aloud to see your content- have drastically increased and now it’s becoming harder and harder for people to gain exposure. Along with increase of content there has also been an increase of likes. Since April, the number of pages likes by a typical Facebook user has increased by 50%. With each new page liked the competitions within the news feeds has also increased.

The second reason why organic reach has been decreasing has to do with how the news feed works. Recently Facebook has decided to sort through all the “potential posts” and show only those that are most relevant to you. Of the 15,000 potential posts that are available Facebook cuts that number to showing around 300.  In order to decide what stories to show, Facebook ranks all the posts from least important to most important depending on several thousands factors specific to each person.

Why not show everything?

Every time a user logs onto Facebook they only have so much time to look through their news feeds. They may be on it for an hour on their lunch break or a few minutes while waiting for the bus. Either way, content that is towards the bottom of the page will be missed- and that may be the most valuable content for them. If Facebook did allow users to chose what they want to see by showing them every single post available to them, organic reach would decrease even more.

“How can I gain reach instead of losing it?”

Avoid using meme and frequent calls to action

Being able to gain reach back is pretty simple. One of the major things you would want to do is avoid meme and frequent call to action use as much as possible. Instead of using phrases such as “click like if you agree” be more creative and let what you’re saying sound natural.

Keep a link a link and keep a photo a photo

Some Facebook users find themselves wanting to include links within the descriptions of photos, but instead a link should be posted as a link and a photo should be posted as a photo. Think about how you can deliver content in the best way for your audience to consume it.

Increase post frequency

This does not mean you should be posting 10 times a day. Instead try posting once a day for three days and see what happens. Every realtor’s page is different- you just need to see which way works best for you and your business.

What do people love/ hate about your page

Finding out what people didn’t like about your page is just as important as finding out what they did. Facebook gives users the options to “hide” a post from their view. which is basically the same as “unliking” a page. Overtime you may see a pattern that demonstrates that more people “unlike” your page when certain subjects are discussed or certain themes are used. Finding out what people didn’t like can help make better informed decisions about your content strategy.

Analyzing outbound links to determine which source is the most well received is a perfect way to figure out how you can better your posts to increase your organic reach. Try focusing on engagement during your posts- users tend to look at posts that can involve them.

Try out new things

It seems simple enough but most users tend to forget that practice makes perfect. Try testing different times of the day for different content (i.e marketing a home sale in the morning and posting a video blog in the afternoon).  Figuring out what is most beneficial to your users at certain times of the day is a simple and beneficial way to increase your organic and total reach.

Let me know what you have done to help keep your reach increasing as Facebook continues to make changes to its social network.

The National Association of Realtors and Move Inc. has announced it’s preliminary injunction against Zillow and its chief industry development officer, Mr. Errol Samuelson. On July 1st, Washington state Supreme Court judge Barbra Linde granted the preliminary injunction against Samuelson which forbids him from preforming many of the duties he was hired for. The lawsuit developed after Samuelson quit his job and was sued for alleged breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, and misappropriation of trade secrets. Judge Linde says that Samuelson embezzled Move’s and NAR’s secrets by acquiring them using improper means and copying information without proper permission. It has now been ruled that until the case is over Samuelson can’t directly or indirectly use, disclose, or rely on any NAR or Move confidential information and Zillow is not aloud to use any information previously obtained from Samuelson.

You can find the complete details at Inman News.



Recently, Facebook has provided its users with specific algorithm changes and at the same time over the past few months users have seen a significant decrease in their page’s overall Total Reach- specifically, organic reach. For business pages that are looking to keep their ad budget as low as possible, increasing organic reach is vital.

Wikipedia defines organic search results as listings on search engine results pages that appear because of their relevance to the search terms, as opposed to their being advertisements. In contrast, non-organic search results may include pay per click advertising. In this case the pages of Facebook

To better understand how you can better protect yourself from letting these changes get the best of you, we first need to understand what is actually happening on our news feeds.

What’s happening with your Facebook Posts?

Facebook presents your posts to you by showing you the number of likes, comments, and shares as well as how many people viewed your post. So, what does “250 people saw this post” actually mean?

Facebook adds up how many people saw the post ( paid advertisement or a simple share by a family member) to give you the total number of people who saw your post. People who saw your post for free, whether it be by stumbling upon it on their news feed or any shares, is known as organic reach while any additional exposure you have paid for is knows as paid reach.

  • Organic Reach = Those who saw it because of  shares and free distribution
  • Paid Reach= Those who saw it because you paid for it
  • Total Reach= Organic Reach + Paid Reach (This is where Facebook develops the number for “250 people saw this post”)

On December 2nd 2013, Facebook announced their efforts to decrease meme content as well as place a significant emphasis on links in order to improve its news feed’s quality content, which in turn raises the bar for any page of the platform. In doing so, Facebook users experienced a significant decline in their organic reach.

What is “meme content”?

Facebook is looking to weed out meme photos that are hosted somewhere other then Facebook. Essentially, they are targeting lower quality imaging sites.

A portion from the Facebook blog site says:

“Starting soon, we’ll be doing a better job of distinguishing between a high quality article on a website versus a meme photo hosted somewhere other than Facebook when people click on those stories on mobile. This means that high quality articles you or others read may show up a bit more prominently in your News Feed, and meme photos may show up a bit less prominently.”

Those most at risk to this are viral image hosting sites like 9GAG and Memecenter, which are essentially outside image hosts that provide Facebook-ready sharing headlines.

In part two I will be discussing why organic reach is decreasing and how you can benefit yourself and your Facebook business page.

REALTOR.com announced that they will no longer feed portals such as MSN and the likes.  Instead they will be focusing on there own infrastructure and building there desktop and mobile products.

“We are no longer focused on Internet portals for traffic acquisition,” said Barbara O’Connor, chief marketing officer of Move, in a statement released from REALTOR.com.

“The growing popularity of searching real estate listings across mobile platforms, coupled with the  success of our brand and social marketing campaigns, has proven to be the most effective and efficient way to attract transaction-ready consumers to our services,” said Barbara O’Connor, chief marketing officer of Move, Inc. “We are no longer focused on Internet portals for traffic acquisition.”

For over 10 years MSN has served up listings from REALTOR.com.  It’s not clear yet if  Zillow, Trulia or other portals like Homes.com will step in and try to provide listing data vacated by REALTOR.com or if they will follow suit and also pull the data and begin to solely focus on their own integrated marketing strategies.




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