Internet Marketing for Real Estate Professionals

Saturday, July 28, 2007

 

5 Directories to build targeted Traffic!

Real estate Directories are a wonderful way to get inbound links pointing to your website to help you increase your visibility in organic searches. In order to maximize your real estate internet marketing you will want as many websites pointing to you as possible.

Now, you want to be careful that you don't accidentally join a link farm, which will actually hurt your results in the search engines. Quality real estate directories will have information that is of value to customers and may even be difficult to get accepted into! Some of the most powerful quality directories are as follows:

1. Yahoo! - Yahoo actually has one of the most powerful and influential directories online. It comes at a price of $299 a year.
2. DMOZ - This is the largest human edited directory. It can take many many weeks to get accepted into this directory, but it will be well worth the wait. Make sure you submit your site to the appropriate category and the best part it is totally FREE.
3. RealEstateABC - This dedicated real estate directory has a Google PageRank of 6. It provides excellent information to customers and is easily browsed. We get visitors from this site every month.
4. Real Estate Library - This educational site with tips, reports and articles has a Google PageRank of 5 and has wonderful directory to place your website in. There are two packages of annual listings from $59 /yr to $119 a year.
5. Strongest Links - This site is not a direcotry but has a wonderful section on directories that are high quality. They list many directories and their respective costs.

There are plenty of directories out there, so take time when choosing which ones to join. Optimally you will want directories that are human edited so you can ensure that your link is viewed by the search engines.

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Friday, July 27, 2007

 

4 Ways to See if Your Website is Effective

When we want to improve the results of our real estate seo efforts we have to have something to check their effectiveness. Now there are plenty of tools available that one can pay for. What is more rare is to find a website that offers free tools. In fact we found a site that allows you to check for FREE your real estate seo efforts.

Please remember that Search Engine Optimization(SEO) will not producer instant results. When you focus on seo for your real estate website you will have long term results that will pay off. So this website is a great place to check out your real estate seo process and plan that you are working on.

A great FREE website that we came across is http://www.linkvendor.com/. Now this website is completely free and gives you some great things to monitor your website with. You can check the following with their tools:

  1. Value of a link - Wonder if you should pay a directory for a link from their site? This free tool calculates the value of a link from a website. While I would recommend using it as your only guide it is a nice guideline to keep in mind.
  2. Page Rank Check - This tool allows you to see if what Google is reporting by them is truly the value of your website. Not bad to get a second opinion and sometimes when the Google Page Rank system has issues you will have a nice place to go.
  3. Outbound Links - Tells you how many outbound links that you have. There are other tools for this but this one does a decent job.
  4. Keyword Density - Tells you what percentage a word appears throughout your site and allows you to check the search engines as well. This is nice if you are working on integrating new words into your SEO work.


There are other tools on this site. It is FREE and the guy does a tremendous amount of work on it. Check it out and we hope that it helps you improve the performance on your website. Once again the address is http://www.linkvendor.com/.

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Wednesday, July 25, 2007

 

3 Tips to Improve Your Search Results by Google!

Succeeding in organic results in Google, may be time consuming but it doesn't have to be a total mystery! Google, has a wonderful webmaster center where you can learn many of the tips to succeed. Now...hold on....you are saying "I am not a webmaster, I am a real estate agent", that's ok! These tips can be passed on to your webmaster (because they don't always know what to do) and many of them you can do yourself!
  • Submit your site to Google -sounds obvious, but I know many who forget or just don't know how. - http://www.google.com/addurl.html.
  • Sitemap - Put a simple page on your website that points to places within your website that you would like people to know about.
  • Quality Content - Make sure your content is original and is focused on a particular subject area. Remember these pages are for humans to read, not search engines :)

These are just 3 small tips to think about, but Google actually has put up an excellent page on webmaster guidelines that states what to do and definitely what not to do so you can be successful with your real estate internet marketing.

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Monday, July 23, 2007

 

Guarantee You Always Run the Right Ad on Google?

If you are focusing or at least are running pay per click ads for your real estate website you want to make sure that you are focusing on always running the right ad. So how can you do this? Well there is a way to make sure that your real estate pay per click ads are fine tuned and operating at the best of their abilities. We walk about a great website today of http://www.splittester.com/. This website is completely FREE and in fact tells you which ad it recommends that you run.

This post is about running ads on Google Adwords and works with their system. It may also help you with your MSN or Yahoo campaigns but the site has been designed for Google.

The great thing that I always like about the Internet is the ability to test an ad's effectiveness. In fact the greatest part is that you can test the effectiveness immediately. Now especially in pay per click advertising you want to make sure you are only spending on ads that you want to.

Hopefully everyone is always running two ads at a time. With Google Adwords you can run different ad variations for the same set of keywords. I always recommend to friends and co-workers to run two ads as Google will run the ad that it deems is the most relevant. They determine this by judging based on the CTR (Click Through Rate). This is simply (number of times the ad is shows)\(number of times the ad has been clicked). As the ads run the one with the higher click through rate will be shown more often. It is hard to judge just by this number which is the better ad. Now since we always want the best chance at success we want to always be testing new messages. If you can get a CTR rate above 1% you are on your way. It is not uncommon for us to have some of our ads have CTR rates above 15% or 17% it just depends on the words and the ad that is running.

A great site http://www.splittester.com/ helps you judge the effectiveness of your ads. This site was created by Perry Marshall and if you have not had a chance to read any of his books on Google I would highly recommend them. I hope this site helps everyone judge the effectiveness of their ads!

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Saturday, July 21, 2007

 

5 Items to Test for your Landing Pages

Testing your landing pages is what can help you to get more contacts out of the same visitors! Landing pages are where you send your customers from you online marketing like pay per click. Often as soon as we get some results that we are happy with, we stop trying to see if we could improve those results :).

For simple testing of pages you may want to consider changing the following changes to different versions:
  1. Display the same adcopy in a different format (i.e. with bullet points or bolded)
  2. Drastically different adcopy to get he same idea across
  3. Different colors on your page
  4. Change Page Titles on each version
  5. Provide a Guarantee on some versions and none on the others
The professional SEOs recommended testing anywhere from 3-9 versions! Try testing a few different landing pages with your real estate pay per click ads to see what has the greatest impact. A great BLOG post by SEOmoz, a leading SEO company in Seattle, put together an in-depth article so you can consider different aspects of Landing pages and how to convert visitors.

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Wednesday, July 18, 2007

 

5 Questions to consider before hosting your real estate agent website

Choosing a company to help you with your real estate agent website shouldn't be difficult. Although there are many different vendors out there to decide from, the best part to decide first is what you will want out of the company. Here are 5 quick checklist items that you should think about when deciding on who to choose for your real estate agent website.


  1. Will you upload new content pages for FREE? - Some vendors like Advanced Access will post up new pages for you if you send them the content for no charge. As you will want to stay up to date this is a good question to ask!

  2. What features are must have on my website? - Items like MLS Search and a form for Sellers to give their address for a CMA are must haves, but you may not need the FSBO listing tool. Write down which features you want on your website so you can see which vendor has all of the items you are looking for.

  3. What type of customer support is available? - Are they available only on week days or on weekends too?

  4. How long is the contract for? - Is it a set-up fee and the month to month? Am I locked in for a year? Find a vendor that is flexible for you and meets your budget constraints.

  5. Do they offer additional services? - Do you want to company that offers Search Engine Optimization services or search engine marketing services? Will they explain what they are doing and how will they be held accountable for the results?

Consider these 5 questions before you decide on the vendor to host your website. You will more than likely be with that vendor for quite some time so it is ok to take time to decide which will be the best fit for you.

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Monday, July 16, 2007

 

3 Tips to Increase the CTR(Click Through Rate) in your Ads Today

So why would you want to increase your click through rate? Well it means that more people find your ad compelling and want to see what you have to offer. There is nothing better than increasing your click through rate on the ads you run on Google, MSN, or Yahoo. So we thought we would put some of our favorite ways to increase the click through rate.
  1. Use the keyword that you are advertising on in the title of the ad. For instance if you want to advertise on the word "San Diego Condos". Make sure this shows up in the title. It could be as simple as "All San Diego Condos".
  2. Use the key word in the domain name. Users on search engines and the search engines themselves reward for the word you are advertising on appearing multiple times within the ad. So in our above example if our domain was www.LovelySanDiegoCondos.com that would be fantastic. The user would see the word they typed in multiple times in your ad. Remember you don't have to have a separate website just a domain name that points to the landing page on your website that you want it to go to. You can pick up more domain names at www.TopAgentDomains.com. Now you don't have to have a domain name for every keyword but for the top 5 or 10 you want to dominate in we highly recommend it.
  3. Make sure all your ads tell the user the benefit of going to your website not just a feature. For example a feature would be FREE MLS. The benefit would be "See all available homes without signing up". Remember it is about them not us.

We hope these three tips help you increase the performance of your ads today. Good luck on the Internet!

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Friday, July 13, 2007

 

5 Tips to create inbound links

In order to maximize your search engine optimization strategy for your real estate website you will want to have other wesbites link to your website. Increasing your inbound links is a way to increase your organic results in the search engines which will help in your overal search engine optimization strategy so you can generate more leads.

This sounds simple in principle, but it often seems difficult to know where to start to get websites to link to yours. Here are a few ideas:

  1. Directory Links - There are some wonderful real estate directories out there, like www.realestateabc.com and others where you can pay a nominal fee to have a link to your website placed on their site. We get traffic every month from www.realestateabc.com and others.
  2. Recriprocal Links - This meams to "trade" links with sites. If you link to them, then they will link to you. Make sure to keep within the same industry for maxmium impact. The effectivness of these links is steadily declining, but it can still help.
  3. BLOG Posts - Posting on BLOG forums demonstrates your expertise. Often your profile on the BLOG shows about you and a link to your website!
  4. Press Releases - Sending out press releases online can be a powerful medium. It gets your information out there and often they will want to say more about the author with a link to your website. Try http://www.prweb.com for your press releases online.
  5. Community Websites - Participate in community websites where they feature additional information about those who participate. A great example of a site that started as a real estate BLOG but has a local area is www.ActiveRain.com which has a site www.localism.com where your posts about areas are read by consumers!

Try these 5 tips and watch your success in the search engines!

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Thursday, July 12, 2007

 

Want Seller Leads? Market for them!

The Internet is all about buyers they say. Well it is true that buyers do look quite a bit and the National Association of Realtors® does state that over 75% of buyers now begin their search online. This number is only going to increase until it reaches as close to 100% as humanely possible.

Remember your real estate marketing online is about attracting the kind of client you want to work with. So if you want buyers provide information that buyers want. If you want to attract sellers than you have to give them what they want. So here is a little story we thought we would share with you.


Last night I went on a listing appointment. We received a direct call from one of our websites on Monday booked an appointment for Wednesday and signed the listing contract that night. In fact we beat out 2 other top agents in the area who send postcards, take out ads, and farm in the area. The sellers called us though after the first two agents didn’t deliver a consistent online message. The seller went online and called us! No CMA request, No direct e-mail, just a direct call.

So how did this come about? Well this happened because we give lots of information away for sellers. A free seller section, free tips (hint we wrote our own content not standard content), and lots of other free goodies for sellers including an Instant CMA tool that they don’t need us to compile information for them.

So 3 tips to make sure sellers can contact you easily:

  1. Have a complete seller section – make it easy to find and preferably have a very obvious link from the first page.
  2. Make your phone number obvious – I know that this is one we keep repeating but many websites don’t make it easy to call.
  3. Respond quickly – For live calls preferably you answer them and don’t let it go to a phone system. Have a dedicated line if you can so it doesn’t have to go through the main receptionist at the front desk. We have a direct line for local callers and a toll free line that goes right to our team.

These 3 tips will make sure that you not only get the appointment but will set the stage so you can get the listing! We hope this helps you succeed and get more listings from your website!

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Wednesday, July 11, 2007

 

Want to Improve Your Real Estate Marketing? Content matters

It always amazes me that people don't have anything new to add to their websites. They wonder what they should do what marketing they should do for their real estate career. Often the easiest thing is right before their eyes or it is already in the mind. Real Estate Marketing online should focus on the content.

Now this may sound obvious but it isn't always the case. We speak literally hundreds of times a year before different groups of Realtors and most can tell us everything that is going on in their particular market but yet none of this is available on their websites. So we just wanted to cover a few tips on real estate marketing that works online that might not work easily in other mediums such as magazine ads, flyer's, or radio.
  1. Neighborhood Information - This is one of the easiest things to put on your website because you already probably know a whole bunch of things about the neighborhood you farm in. Post this information to a neighborhood blog. You can get one for FREE at www.blogger.com. We recommend getting your own personal domain from a company like www.TopAgentDomains.com.
  2. Statistics - Some MLS systems generate this in easy reports others you have to run reports manually. Customers want to know the average days on market, list to sales ratios, how many homes are available. You mine as well be the source!
  3. Event notices or news - This is easiest to do with a blog. Post that there is going to be a work party cleaning up a park, that a street is being worked on, that a church is doing a fundraiser. You can literally become the source for information in your neighborhood.

The three tips above will help keep your website fresh and more importantly keeps your real estate marketing at the front edge of the Internet. If you can even do a post or two a week you will be ahead of 98% of all other real estate professionals who think they are doing real estate marketing better than you are! Good luck and we hope that this helps you succeed online.

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Discover Hidden keywords with Wordtracker

It is often difficult to find out what keywords are being searched for on the internet. There are free tools out there so you can see what searches are being done, but they often rely with you guessing different combinations of words, which can be tiresome! We have put together a resource on our website so you can learn more Wordtracker with a FREE 3 page report.

If you are taking real estate search engine optimization seriously, then you will want to try a tool like, Wordtracker. They have memberships starting at just 1 week so you can develop a powerful word list! We have been using Wordtracker for quite awhile, and here are some of the highlights of how it works.


  • Searches over 300 million searches to determine what searches are actually being made

  • Visits 200 related websites based off of the term you type to find related terms

  • Gives you the actual search volume of keywords for the last 90 days

  • Allows you to save projects so you can keep track of your words while you are developing new content and PPC campaigns

Using a tool like Wordtracker can maximize your SEO efforts for your real estate website. The added benefit is you can use the same words for your BLOG postings and online ads. Give it a try for a week or try their FREE trial and see how many keywords you can discover!

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Tuesday, July 10, 2007

 

5 Reasons to choose a Real Estate Internet Marketing Solution

Often times we get people asking us about different Internet Marketing Solutions for Real Estate Agents. There are 100's if not thousands of choices out there. The hard part is determining which one is going to work for you. We can say with near 100% accuracy that every company, firm, or individual that approaches you about their solution will have a testimonial on how their package has worked for one of their clients. They key is will it work for you! So in order to determine what is the best real estate Internet marketing solution we thought we would give you the 5 things we recommend you look for in a solution so you can determine if it is going to be a good fit.



  1. Will you use it - This is the biggest reason to reason not to purchase a tool. If you can't see yourself using it the way you are being told to you it is probably not the tool for you. Remember to ask questions about if the marketing solution can be used a different way in a successful manner. If you are told yes ask to speak to those agents who are using it.

  2. What is the ROI (Return on Investment) - If this question cannot be answered or you get answers like "It is about branding" or "It all depends" then we would recommend shying away from it. Agents who have read our e-book (which is free) and is available at http://www.onlinerealestatesuccess.com/free_E-book.shtml see returns on investment from 8 to 17 times return. Most agents who take our recommendations in the FREE courses we provide average at least a 10 times return on money they spent.

  3. Ability to cancel at any time - Any tool that you buy should allow you to cancel at any time. This means the person is confident in the product that they provide. They should provide you with a Guarantee on how it will work if they don't allow you to cancel.

  4. The person selling it should have used it - It is always preferred if the person selling it to you has used it and successfully so that they can show you how to do it right.

  5. They support it - If there is no support, either online, phone, or in person we would recommend not signing up for the product. If they just give you a box of software and tell you to go at it be wary. They should at least have a comprehensive online help to make sure you can get started.

While we didn't put it in our list we recommend speaking to other agents about how the real estate Internet marketing solution you are about to choose has worked out for them. Ask them to tell you what they don't like about it, what their problems have been, and if they are still a client and why. Remember it's your money and spend it wisely. You can often find many free sources of help or very inexpensive help. Also know that there are some great tools out there and if you use them as instructed, believe they will work, and do how you are recommend you can make it work if it fits your personality! Good luck and if you have questions don't hesitate to write them and we will see what we can do!

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3 Tips to Convert More Real Estate Internet Leads

Often times we have people who get 30, 40, or 50 leads a month but they aren't getting any new appointments out of these leads. These agents are doing the necessary components of real estate Internet marketing to get the leads but failing to convert to appointments so they can producer more commission income.

Now first ignore anything you have heard about Internet buyers not being ready for 6 months, 9 months, or more. The reason we say that is there is today business in the leads that you are receiving. In fact the whole concept of your website and marketing your real estate business is to find clients who need help today, tomorrow, and 6 months from now. What some agents who respond to real estate Internet leads don't realize is that those people may be requesting on other agents websites as well. We hope that isn't a surprise to anyone. After all buyers or sellers just want information and they want it quickly. So how do you make sure you get to them before they leave and go to another agents website?

We have found there are 3 big tips that agents can follow to convert more real estate Internet leads.
  1. Respond within 7 minutes - now the quicker the better. The Internet generation likes to get there information quickly and if they can't get it quick enough they will move on. It is all about the information that they want so give it to them.
  2. Don't use auto responders - These are e-mails that are generated automatically when people sign up. People know what they look like. You are better off writing templates and then customizing them to people's requests. Our team gets over 250 leads a month and still people get a personal response.
  3. Call them if they gave you a phone number - Now this may sound obvious but some agents don't. Call them and ask them about what they need. It's not about you so don't sell them just ask them questions. In fact ask them to come on in and meet with you. Trust us this works and they will come in!

We hope these 3 tips improves your real estate Internet marketing that you are doing and that it will help you convert more of your real estate leads that you get from your websites. Good luck and don't hesitate to visit the scripts section so you can get some ideas of what to ask or say to these prospective clients.

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Saturday, July 7, 2007

 

5 Tips to maximize your Real Estate Internet Marketing

Real Estate Internet marketing is much like other forms of marketing in the fact, that the entire goal is to generate leads and generate business! Having a successful online presence requires that you have some key aspects to your website. These 5 tips will help you to maximize your real estate marketing online.



  1. Make it east for customers to search your MLS

  2. Make it easy to contact you! - Sounds crazy, but your phone and e-mail should be easy to find

  3. Powerful calls to action - give people a reason to sign up

  4. Unique Content - stand out from the crowd by writing your own information

  5. Provide a Home Value tool - you want to get the sellers who are searching online!

Following these 5 tips will help you to get contacts out of your website visitors. Your real estate internet marketing efforts will not get wasted if you practice these tips.

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Thursday, July 5, 2007

 

SEO Efforts with a Sitemap = Success in Search Engines

In order for you to succeed with your SEO efforts, you will want as many of your pages visible to Google, Yahoo, MSN and the other search engines as possible! Now, you have probably read that the search engines have "spiders" constantly searching the web for new pages, but they won't always get to all of the pages on your website. So...how do you ensure that the search engines see more of your web pages?

Answer: Create a Sitemap

Creating a Sitemap using FREE tools can help the search engines see over 90% of your website! This little used feature will give your website more exposure in the search engines, because more of your pages are visible to them!

A wonderful Free Tool to create your site map is http://www.xml-sitemaps.com/ . By simply inputting your web address you can create your FREE XML Sitemap.

Once you complete your Sitemap, you will want to upload it to Google's Web Master Tools, or to Yahoo's Site Explorer! Getting your web pages visible using the Sitemap will get you maximum impact for your SEO efforts as a Realtor!

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Tuesday, July 3, 2007

 

Perfomance on Google Matters - Check your ads

Often in the old advertising world of long ago you had to mail items out and wait to see how the response rate went or you waited for the magazine ad to go out and you waited to see if you got calls. If you didn't get any calls you changed the ad. But this process took weeks at best. It is expensive testing and you were having to deal with designers, copy write people, and the publisher as well. Now don't get me wrong magazines are not dead and we are not writing them off. But the beauty of Google and Yahoo is that their system allows you to check instantly whether you are doing things well.

In fact you get to know almost instantly how things are going. Set-up an add, select keywords, set a budget, and 5 minutes later the faucet is open. If you get a bunch of people clicking and visiting your website but now buys or sign ups you should look at your website. No one clicking your ad, then look at the copy. The great part is you can do this in minutes on Google.

Try different things, look at others ads, and most of all test. So if you want to know how your ad is performing just log into your Google Adwords account and check. It will tell you what your CTR(Click Through Rate) is. Your goal should be to keep this over 1%. Your sign up rate should be over 4%. If you aren't acheiving these than look at your ad or your copy on the landing page. In future posts we will highlight some changes you can make to landing pages.

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Monday, July 2, 2007

 

Are you running the right ad?

It is always amazing when people say "I have the perfect ad, can't get any better, no way, no how, never going to happen." Now this could very well be the case but then you ask that person how do they know and they have no idea they just say they do.

Luckily if you advertise with Google Adwords they give you an option that allows you to run two ads at the time same for the same set of key words. Now the ads aren't literally running at the same time but what Google does is alternate them. Google keeps doing this until it determines which is the better ad. Now since Google is a system and not a person it judges your ad based on the number of times that someone clicks on it. The more people click the more that Google determines that this ad is "more effective". Now we always say you should double check things. There is a fantastic website that allows you to do just that. In fact it will even tell you which ad it feels is the better ad.

You can visit this website at www.splittester.com. This website is 100% free and gives you a great tip on how to make sure that your ads are performing at their best.

Just make sure that you always have two ads running at all times and you can make sure that you always have the best ad running. When one starts to fall too far behind in performance check it out against splittester.com. If it agrees with Google sounds like you need to delete the ad and write another one to take its place! Good luck and happy ad writing!

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Increasing your Popularity Leads to more customers!

Although it has come under some debate, the importance of inbound links it is still a large portion of the popularity determination of a website. Especially as more and more pages are uploaded onto the web I can only imagine that inbound links will continue to be a large portion of determining relevance for people searching.

In that vain, I wanted to provide a few tips on how you can easily build links and give you a great resource that gives you 101 Ways to Build Link Popularity!

Make your content easy to understand and easily accessible! - Sounds obvious, but the reason people will link to you is because you provide quality content so take some time to write good copy.

Directories - There are many, many directories out there that can give you a quality inbound link for a page with a high PR. Check the page rank of the page so you can make sure it is being spidered! Here are a few out there that you can start with.

http://www.realestateabc.com/
http://www.linkre.com/

http://www.reals.com/

Building quality inbound links is a process that takes time and will certainly help you increase your exposure in the search engines. On our sites dedicated to Long Beach Condos and Long Beach Real Estate we are still always working on increasing our inbound links as a portion to continued success on the web. It takes some time but the dividends will pay off :).

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