On Page SEO Talk II

Things have changed a bit since I last spoke about this topic so I am updating my post.

Any Agent or Office planning on developing a website should always consider On Page SEO.  Simply put it is what you should be doing when creating your web pages.  You probably also should be thinking the same thing when tweaking existing pages as well.

On Page techniques predominantly consists of keyword considerations and optimizing your page to take better advantage of the major search engines.

The following suggestions are meant as a guide and the actual weight they carry in your over all rankings in hard to determine. Google and the other search engines use complex algorithms.

Content is King – Google’s has been focusing more and more on good quality and natural content more then highly structured writing where you used to focus on keyword density, proximity and word counts.  While I am not saying you want to ignore your keywords but if you write naturally the keywords will appear on the page anyway.  When you write you should be thinking on generating high-quality content that uses appropriate, relevant keywords and synonyms for those keywords, but focus more on the content than the words themselves.
Social Signals Are Even More Important Now  – Social signals now play even a more important role in your overall search engine rankings.  So if you are not using Social Media, you should.
Being Mobile-Friendly Is A Must – Google has announced on April 21st they will officially look for mobile friendly sites as a major ranking signal for all mobile enable devices.  This is important because most buyers use some sort of mobile device when looking for real estate.
Media Is In – While high quality content is a key ranking signal, this content that also features visual media elements like graphics, images, and video are becoming high performing assets for rankings. Rich text with visual elements gets priority in SERPs over web pages with just text, and video marketing on YouTube can generate a huge amount of link and social sharing traffic for your site.
So make sure your key pages such as your community pages not only have good content but you also integrate images and/or video’s as well.
While this next section is becoming less critical, never the less it is important in your overall SEO practice.
Keyword(s) In Title Tags – The title tag is the line of click-able text which appears in the SERPs for each ranking page. This is also the text which appears at the top of your browser’s window in naming or identifying the page which you are currently browsing. It’s important to work your best (most relevant, highest searched, lowest competition) keywords into your title tags as search engines will consider this over most factors when indexing and ranking your page and in general in determining what it’s about

Keyword(s) In Meta Description Tags: By writing a good description you not only help search engines better understand what your page is about but also lets the people reading your SERP what your page is about. Leaving this blank will force the search engine to write it and that could have disastrous results.

Keyword(s) in Your Heading Tags:  Heading tags let both the search engines and the people reading your page see what information is the most important to you.  People read from left to right and top to bottom, so a good H1 heading tag will be the first text they will see and having your message clear here is vital.

As your write the rest of your page, effective use of the H2 and H3 tags are used to note the less important information but the information you still deem important.

Keyword(s) In Domain Name:  Search engines do give consideration for what is in your domain name.  So http://www.markmenzella.com is not as good as http://www.bergenountyluxuryhomes.com.  The latter more closely defines what your website is about.

Taking this s bit further if you decide to use sub-domains for pages, for example; alpine.bergencountyluxuryhomes.com, this also will help the search engines better understand what your page is about.  On your sub-domains you should be as detailed as possible. While keywords in the sub-domains don’t carry quite as much weight as the top level of the domain, they’re nonetheless important and helpful to Google in identifying what your site is about.

When designing or editing your pages every little bit helps.  Using some of these things I wrote about today will give your pages more visibility to the search engines and also make the reading of the page by your buyers and sellers more interesting.

Agents Beware – Goggle is making a BIG change that will affect you

Agents Beware – Goggle is making a BIG change that will affect you

This is my 2nd post about an upcoming Google search algorithm update. The reason I am doing a 2nd one is because the change Google is making will have a huge impact on the Real Estate Industry, in my opinion, specifically on agent websites.

Coined “Mobilegeddon“, this update to Google search will happen on April 21st.

So what is Mobilegeddon? Basically it is a new algorithm change that will address the mobile friendliness of all websites on Google.

How does this affect me?

This new change will look at your website and determine how mobile friendly it is, and if it’s not mobile friendly your website will rank much lower on searches performed on mobile devices.  And since a significant amount of traffic comes from phones and tablets, this will affect you.

Google has been telling us to prepare for many years now, and I have posted many articles about it. But with this update, you now have a compelling reason to take some action.

You may have been reading some people talk about needing to move to a responsive website.  While that is our preferred recommendation, is it not your only choice.  If you have a mobile version of your website, it will also qualify as mobile friendly. If you have neither, you will be loosing traffic on mobile search results.  However, for an Agent website, I think a responsive site is the only way to go.

What a responsive website and why do we love it so much?

A responsive website is a flexible web design which improves a user’s experience based on the device they’re using. So the easy way to look at it is that your website will look good on desktops, laptops, tables and phones.  Responsive design ends the “pinch and squeeze” while trying to read the screen and makes all the images and fonts look appropriate all the time.

Whether it’s a tablet, desktop, smart phone, or laptop, your website will be able to adapt to any device and provide your visitors with a cohesive, consistent experience.

Are “RE/Advantage” websites responsive?

Yes we have developed a full line of responsive websites designed just for Agents.

What is next?

If you do not want to lose your rankings, you should consider making the move to a responsive design, because your competitors surely are!  If you are not, you will see an impact on your rankings.

How do I know if my website is mobile friendly?

The easiest way is to post a comment here and I will check it for you or feel free to email me at mark@readvantage.com.  I will review it for you and let you know.

My website is NOT Mobile Friendly –  what can I do?

Really the only option is to upgrade.  There is no band-aid fix here.

To help everyone out, we are offering a special promotion on our full suite of responsive designs.  Just reach out to me and we can save you up to 50% off on one of our designs.  Out of the box, our designs are more cost-effective than some of the other offerings out there and our monthly charges are some of the lowest around.

Here is an example of a responsive website:  http://www.erikrussellhomes.com.

Time is running out!

Please contact me or any of our sales consultants to get more information.  If you want me to take a look at your website just email me at mark@readvantage.com or post a comment below.  For more information and pricing on responsive websites for REALTORS click here.

I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Headlines that Kill: 5 Hacks that will get people reading.

If you are writing your own copy for your Real Estate website or blog, headlines can make a difference.

An article I read in CopyBlogger said; “On average, 8 out of 10 people will read headline copy, but only 2 out of 10 will read the rest. This is the secret to the power of your title, and why it so highly determines the effectiveness of the entire piece.”

So what’s up with that?  Well most people skim the page and only read on only if your your content is compelling.  So if you have a dull or indecisive headline you may get people simply hitting the back button.

Don’t panic, instead before you write your next page or post think about trying these tips.

Tip #1: Make it compelling

Your headline must state what the page is about and state is clearly.  It also should be compelling.

For example here are 3 headlines I came up with for this post and how they progressed until I decided on the final one.

#1: 5 Tips for Writing a Headline

#2: Headlines That Work: 5 Ways to get people reading.

#3: Headlines That Kill: 5 Hacks that will get people reading.

They all essentially say the same thing but #3 will probably get more attention.

For any post, you’ll want a nice balance among common, uncommon, emotional, and power words. A structure like this helps your post remain readable while commanding attention from your audience. Read on and I will discuss an easy way to analyze this.

Common words should make up 20–30% of your headline.

Common words are ones you use all the time. Common words pull your headlines together in a way that makes sense for readability.

Since commonly occurring words provide the basic structure of your headlines, they should make up about 20–30% of the words in your headlines.

Some common words are; a, about, after, these, what, you, your, things

Uncommon words should be about 10–20% of your headline.

Uncommon words are unique enough to grab your readers’ attention. These words provide substance in your headline.

A mix of 10–20% uncommon words in your headlines should do the trick.

Some uncommon words are; actually, awesome, here, right, social, year

Emotional words make a good headline at 10–15% density.

Emotional words in your headlines entice your audience to click through to read your post. And once they’re reading your posts with emotional headlines, your readers are more likely to share them.

You have a good headline if 10–15% of the words in your headline are emotional.

Some emotional words are; attractive, blissful, confessions, danger, dollar, spotlight, value, wonderful, zinger

Power words: Use at least one in your headline.

Like emotional words, power words are usually phrases that are well-known for inciting action. Power words are uniquely different than emotional words because they are a bit out of the ordinary.

These words inspire an emotion or call to action without a lot of context. Power words are typically rarely used words or phrases that almost guarantee some clicks through to your blog posts.

Great headlines have at least one power word in them.

Some power words are; for the first time, make you, what this, you will see, what happened,

Tip #2: Make sure you are addressing what your readers want, not what you do.

Remember you are writing the headline to entice your readers, so make sure you understand what your target audience wants and give them it.

Remember you cannot force them to read on, so your headline must be compelling enough to make them want to read on.

Tip #3: Consider a few

There are great tools such as Google AdWords Planner. With this you can type your keywords in and get some ideas on what your headline might be.

Don’t forget to research first. Use Google to research what others have written.

Once you have all this data in front of you, some ideas should begin to formulate into your head.

Tip #4: Test It!

Try using a headline testing tool to A/B test your headlines.  The one I like is CoSchedules Headline Analyzer.

This tool will give your headline a rating and based on that rating you can then make changes.

If you’re using WordPress, you have even more options. Plug-ins like KingSumo allow you to type in a few different headlines so you can test them on the fly, in the real world. After a few minutes, the program will select the dominant hed for you.

They are never really perfect

There is always room for improvement and don’t be afraid to come back and rework your content.

Good luck and if you know of any hacks or experiences you have had, let me know, I would love to hear from you.

Google putting more emphasis mobile-friendly websites

The last time I spoke about this was when Google announced the Pigeon update but as of April 21st, Google is taking mobile a step further.

If you don’t have a mobile-friendly site, Google will most likely drop your rankings.  With 9 out of 10 home buyers relying on the Internet, why would you not want to be mobile friendly now a days is the question?  If you are not sure if your website is mobile friendly just drop a comment below and I will let you know.google-mobile

Google Webmaster Central says:

“Starting April 21, we will be expanding our use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal. This change will affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide and will have a significant impact in our search results. Consequently, users will find it easier to get relevant, high quality search results that are optimized for their devices.”

If you do not have a mobile friendly real estate site, now is the time to start thinking of one.  If you would like more information on mobile friendly sites, click here.

Did You Know You Might Be Losing Leads?

Did You Know You Might Be Losing Leads?
 
If you were to ask somebody what the difference is between a responsive and mobile website, chances are they wouldn’t have an answer. Well the difference could be actually costing you customers.
 
A responsive website is a flexible web design which improves a user’s experience based on the device they’re using.
 
Whether it’s a tablet, desktop, smartphone, or laptop, this design will be able to adapt to any device and provide yourFB-banner visitors with a cohesive, consistent experience.
 
This year, mobile internet searches surpassed all desktop internet usage! You need to be sure your website is mobile friendly but at the same time remaining desktop compatible. With a responsive website your website can be BOTH!
 
We will build you one of our Semi-custom Responsive Websites for 50% off! PLUS you don’t have to pay us a dime for the first 60 days
 
Right now we are offering all of our valued clients and friends 50% off a new responsive website design. 
 

Snap-what?

Snapchat!

It’s one of the newest social media craze of 2014. Snapchat is an image capturing application that allows you to send pictures or videos to contacts, but here’s the catch- the picture totally disappears after a few seconds!

So why use it?  Well for one thing Snapchat has over 200 million users.  They do have a younger fan base having about 30% of their users over the age of 24 but each month that number grows.

“How can this help me generate leads?”

With Snapchat REALTORS are able to send their clients and prospects pictures of popular properties and because it requires no downloads, it doesn’t eat up your e-mail space. Look at it as a quick way to visually engage your audience.  You are doing all the work and sending them quick images. This keeps your clients and prospect engaged and wanting to see more of the property! You can also for example, send videos of you personally walking through the home or pictures that disappear within ten seconds of master bedrooms or landscaping. You can even send “priority clients” pictures of a property for a limited amount of time even before a brokerage makes it public.

“Why can’t I just send them a quick text about the property?”

Urgency appeals to younger generations who thrive on immediate gratification. With Snapchat sending your clients a quick ten second picture of a beautiful master bedroom keeps them engaged and wanting to see more far better than a plain text.

Keep this app on your radar, you’ll see more of it this year.

Have you use Snapchat in your Real Estate business yet?  We would love to hear from you.

Today’s Agents Need Quality Not Quantity

So many of my real estate clients always ask me why they can’t compete with Zillow or Trulia.  Do you know what I tell them?  I say “Why would you?”  You have no business trying to compete with these portal sites.  These companies spend millions on attracting traffic but they spend most of there time by attracting quantity, not quality.  They do this because the traffic they need, is to fuel there ad campaigns which bring them revenue.  So instead of trying to see what there secret is, you need to create your own.  And you do this by producing QUALITY content and going after the more specific keywords.

Don’t use the buckshot approach but instead be selective.  Choose your target audience carefully and go after leads and build content based on your niche.

It takes time…

You cannot be an overnight success.  It takes time to build your pages and authority up.  Put in the simplest terms I can think of, Google simply wants to deliver the most relevant pages on any given search term.  Your objective is to be the most relevant.  Getting there is the trick.  Here are some basic tips;

  1. Understand your website/blog is fluid and evolving.  You need to always be adding new content or refreshing old content.
  2. Make your website/bog relative to your keywords.  In other words focus on your niche and don’t stray away from it.
  3. You want to be the content king of your market.  You want Google to choose you because you have all this relevant content.
  4. If you keyword(s) aren’t on the page, it is impossible for Google to choose you to be relevant.
  5. Consider having not only a website but a separate niche blog like “Loving Life in Ridgewood” and focus on that hyper-local content.

Confused what to do and where to turn, shoot me your website URL and I would be happy to give you some tips.  Good luck!