Realtors and SEO Strategies
Being a realtor these days means standing out above the rest, doing more effective online
marketing than other realtors and SEO strategies will play an important part in building a successful website. Relying on erratic commission payments to pay the bills can be nerve-racking to say the least, so you must be proactive.
Online marketing is the most cost effective and efficient way of staying ahead. It’s only by planning today that you can succeed tomorrow, and that means having your own website and understanding SEO and marketing.
Real estate is a product just like anything else, the only difference being that it isn’t portable. 90% of people looking to buy a house start their search online and if you’re not there to help them, you will probably fail to make a significant income as a realtor.
Traditional means of advertising such as newspapers or magazines are extremely expensive when compared to the ROI you can get from your own website, they can certainly be included in your marketing campaign but you can broaden your strategy to include sites like Craigslist, Google Places, online directories, real estate blogs and find other places where potential property buyers congregate online. All of these are free.
Knowledge of SEO
Starting a website as a realtor you’ll probably come across the term “search engine optimization” or SEO. It may seem confusing at first but without implementing effective SEO, no website can succeed in today’s online marketplace.
Understanding how keywords fit into SEO is very important but not difficult. You find the most common words that people use to search for a product (in your case they’ll be property related keywords) and you weave them in to your content both in the body of the text and within headings and subheadings.
There are a number of keyword tools you can use, the Google Adwords keyword tool is extremely popular, or you can use WordTracker’s free keyword tool – a combination of both will give you good insight into what words people use to find property for sale in your particular area. For example, popular search terms may be “houses for sale in YourTown”, “YourTown Realty”, or “three-bedroom houses in YourTown”.
To get high in the rankings you must get into the habit of writing articles for your site regularly built around popular keywords. Use them in the title, subheadings, the first and last sentences of your article and repeat them a few of times in the body of the article where possible. Articles must make sense to human beings firstly and attract the search engine as well.
The nice thing about real estate you can create regular articles about the schools, hospitals, roads and other businesses in your area – anything that may be useful for someone considering moving to your city.
Remember always that your primary objective will be to help potential purchasers, not just advertise what you’ve got for sale. The more you can cultivate relationships with people, and get them to trust you, the more likely they will be to purchase a home through you. People you have already talked to on the phone and e-mailed regularly will feel like they know you – which is essential when you eventually meet and take them on tours of properties they want to see.
Personal Branding has become very important in online marketing. Your aim should be to get your face seen everywhere where your target market is. You can do this through social media and by contributing to relevant blogs and forums. By posting helpful and informative comments beside a flattering picture, people will learn to trust you. \
If there’s one aspect of realty that you specialize in, find where your target audience is and establish yourself as an expert. You can do this in a Facebook Group or create your own if one does not already exist. It could be about local parcels of fertile land suitable for organic farming or investment properties that could be converted into profitable rental units.
Backlinks are means of linking someone else’s site to yours. Google considers the amount of relevant backlinks you have when moving you up in the rankings. Every site owners aim should be to be on page 1 of the Google search engine page results (SERPs).
Obtaining relevant backlinks can be tedious but it has to be done. Join professional organizations where you could link to other realtors’ sites, you could even link to professional builders’ sites if you list undeveloped land. Take a look around LinkedIn, a social media platform that is targeted towards professionals. You will find others within your profession and you can communicate, build relationships, swap ideas, and possibly get some valuable backlinks too.
Facebook Traffic Building
Times are definitely a’ changing on the internet since the day Facebook appeared. You only have to look at the first three months of 2011 when over one trillion ads were served up on the internet and one third of those ads alone were served on Facebook. What started out as a purely social platform has turned into a marketing Mecca for some, but not every business even though Facebook is now leagues ahead of its rivals, Google and Yahoo.
Facebook CPC Rates Rising but CTRs are only .05%!
As with any pay per click-style advertising, it’s not the clicks that matter it’s the click through rates which lead to the desired result that are important, that may be a sale, sign up or download. The industry average for click through rates holds at roughly 1% but Facebook CTRs are only half of that. With the average CPC rate for Facebook more than doubling to 49 cents each last year, advertisers wishing to use Facebook as a platform must be certain they are going to get a worthy return on time and investment.
Indeed many thousands of companies that have seen the enormous surge in Facebook advertising as a “dead cert” have come away disappointed. Costs per click are only going to continue to rise and CTRs are showing no signs of improving, so any company wishing to try their luck at Facebook advertising is going to have to do a lot of homework first.
Before spending money on advertising a company should first look at ways to improve its targeted traffic by using any or all of the tools now available on Facebook. Before you buy website traffic be certain that you have an effective landing page on your website and experiment with all the available tools. If you find that concentrating on SEO for organic search is more effective and costs less, then that is the route you should take.
Is Facebook Advertising Right for your Business?
Many companies may have a large presence on Facebook but that doesn’t mean they have hit the mother lode. They may be there because they “feel” they should be there, which isn’t a recipe for a cost-effective marketing strategy.
A good marketing strategy should always include careful data analysis. One company’s products can be more effectively marketed on Facebook than another, so the key is to experiment. Run a strict time-limited campaign, keep within a budget and adjust as necessary. Just because Facebook is the biggest doesn’t mean it’s the best for every business.
If you find a short, carefully-monitored Facebook marketing campaign is not an effective way to buy website traffic, emphasize on other areas that will be more cost-effective, drive targeted traffic and bring better returns.
Got Traffic? Traffic Building and Buying
One of the worst, nail-biting times is the period between building a website, implementing all the most effective, cheap traffic building techniques you know, and then launching a plan to buy website traffic.
Estimated Traffic and Costs per Click
One of the best free tools to turn to when trying to estimate how much keywords are going to cost you is the Google Keyword tool. It tells you monthly estimated global and local traffic and the estimated cost per click for each keyword. You can’t use this data as a definite because you won’t know the competition, or cost for your chosen keywords until your ads go live.
Then when your ads are live do this:
Find your average position after a couple of days. You must understand the difference in positions. Number 1 is not always the best, it will cost more than a number 3 position, which may be cheaper and bring you better traffic. Your budget will go further and may be more effectively used if you aim a little lower.
Effective Use of Keywords with PPC
Always keep an eye on each keyword’s status. A keyword with low search volume will be suspended by Google until such time search volume increases. It could be a new brand name so you can either do nothing until more traffic is generated that looks for that brand name, or you can cancel that keyword and choose another. Keyword status is revised and updated only once a week.
On the other hand if you have chosen a very popular keyword, your budget may be hemorrhaging rapidly. If you are converting that traffic like crazy – good, but you may want to have a separate campaign for that word as it will be eclipsing any other keywords you’ve chosen for your present campaign.
The Importance of a Budget with PPC
Check every day to see how each keyword is doing. Google makes it extremely easy for you to tweak your campaign. If you set your ads for accelerated delivery, your daily budget may be gone by midday; to remedy this just set your delivery to standard so the ads will be delivered through the entire day.
Lower your bids a little and this can help get a few more clicks out of your budget. If one keyword is outstripping all the others, isolate it into its own campaign for easier manipulation. If the reverse is happening – you have money left over at the end of the day, move from standard delivery to accelerated.
You can see how vital it is to be totally hands-on with PPC advertising, monitoring the results all the time. Weekends and certain week days can also bring vastly different results, you should monitor everything in your
Search Query Reports
These reports will start when sufficient data has been collected, usually after a couple of days. Negative terms can be a big money-waster, for example if you’re aiming at “lose fat” as a keyword search term, “not lose fat” isn’t going to be any use to you for generating income.
It may not matter how thorough you think you did your keyword research, some terms may pop up that you didn’t even see or consider and by adding these to the other keywords in your campaign you could gain greater visibility.
It takes 1-3 days for Google to review ads and show them normally, so if your ad status shows as Under Review or Eligible, then don’t worry if you’re still within that time period.
Approved ads are okay, but Disapproved will mean you have to find out why and fix the problem, it’s very often a compliance issue with Google and you can try to resolve it. If you think Google is wrong you can appeal (good luck with that!) or re-submit.
Get into the habit of checking ad status immediately after looking at reports, something that is disappointing or doesn’t look right in the report may be due to an ad being stuck in the approval process, or has been disapproved.
Following these few tips and checking status and reports religiously every day when you buy website traffic via CPC will help keep your nails growing nicely and your traffic building rapidly.
SEO Marketing Trends and Your Facebook Business Page
One of the major SEO marketing trends these days not only involves maintaining an effectiveFacebook Business Page but keeping all content optimized and designed in a way to attract and retain qualified traffic. This can be a difficult task, rather like maintaining a website but more restrictive because of Facebook’s limited adaptability.
Will and I have found a number of ways that can help you customize your Facebook Business Page so it will stand out from your competitors’ pages. You have many thousands of prospects on Facebook so it makes sense to show a unique face to the world, it says “I’m unique and so is my brand.”
1.Create a Customized Facebook URL
If you haven’t already done this, now’s the time. Using your brand in your customized URL (http://www.Facebook.com/MyBrand) not only makes your Facebook Business Page look more professional but it will be easier to find and more memorable.
2. Make your Landing Page a Unique Welcome Page
Under Manage Permissions you can set your default landing page as your Welcome page after creating a custom tab. Here you should encourage your visitors to Like you, that way they get your latest posts and news feeds instantly.
3. A Picture Can Relay Information Effectively
Although this may take a lot of tweaking and experimentation you can create a Facebook photo that gives more information about your business. This will appear on every page you have, so make sure it doesn’t interfere with the look of other pages. It will also have to look good as a thumbnail because it will appear next to all your comments and posts.
4. Use Custom Tabs to Make your Business Page more like a Website
Facebook tabs load content from external sources and use an application similar to iFrames. That way you can create a page on your website that loads to your Facebook Business Page. Again this may take some tweaking, but if you keep everything under 520px you should be good. It’s best not to display the tab on your website once it’s created.
A new tab could be for:
- Lead generation (a squeeze page)
- Special Promotions or coupons
- Product or service information
- Add SlideShare presentations*
5. Photo Strip
There are dozens of creative ways to use the photo strip feature on your Facebook Business Page. Check out MacDonald’s Facebook page, Toys-R-Us or any vehicle manufacturer’s site for ideas. You get 5 photos so let your imagination run wild! It’s surprising how many businesses are not using this feature; you can give your site that “WoW!” factor by using this useful feature effectively.
By creating another custom tab you can combine content from other social media channels by using Facebook’s SlideShare application. You can combine content from YouTube and Twitter for example, or upload and share PowerPoint presentations, Word documents and Adobe PDF Portfolios.
7. Target Your Posts
One of the most effective SEO marketing trends is to customize your posts so only certain people see specific posts. For example if you run a bilingual Facebook Business Page you can target posts to people who only speak Spanish and others who speak English separately. If you understand all aspects of your target audience this can be a very efficient way to communicate with just some. This has been developed to emulate Google+ in some aspects and can better personalize relationships with different segments of your audience.
8. Running Facebook Contests
By using Wildfire you can create a contest or promotion that will work under Facebook’s guidelines. Contests and promotions are excellent ways to attract, retain and engage your audience. A coupon promotion or contest can be created as a separate tab which can also be reached through your business’s main website or blog.
Although SEO marketing trends will naturally change over time, being creative and using every available application for a Facebook Business Page can increase visibility, encourage interaction and build brand awareness.
Google Places and Local Searching
Anyone who owns a website understands the importance of being on the first page of the SERPs and this means optimizing for Google Places if you are a local business. Most people will put their search term or keywords into a browser and it is the business owner’s aim that to have covered those terms and written a well-optimized article so theirs will be one of the first websites served up to the searcher.
Google also understands that many people search for a local solution to their needs and strives to serve the most relevant results for local search. By using Google Places a local business owner can achieve a high SERPs placement quite easily.
What is Google Places?
Google offers this free service to local business owners, which includes a placement on Google Maps. Not only will a pointer show where a business is located but Google Places offers the opportunity for a business owner to include information about his business, post updates and interact with his customers, all done via Google “Hotpot”.
Read the Instructions
Google always offers a clear set of instructions and rules for whatever they offer and it’s always advisable to spend a few minutes familiarizing yourself with these rules. The first thing you will need to check is whether Google Places is available in your country and city. This can be done using the mapping availability tool and you will also have to have your services available first in order to participate.
There is a simple set of steps to follow which include adding a description of your business, and then you can add photos and videos. You can list any multiple locations you may have, but you can’t place multiple listings for one business. Some or all of the features are limited to certain cities. One of these services could be getting a free photo shoot from Google or requesting a free business kit.
You don’t even need a website or blog to do this (although it’s always better for your business if you do have one.)
- You could pay and use Google Adwords to enhance your campaign.
- You can pay $25 per month to be included in Google tags. They offer a 30-day free trial to see if you like this and see how it works for your business. Your ads show up on Google Tags and on Google.
- Google Offers is a great new way to attract new customers to your business too. When you join up Google locates potential new customers for you and by offering an incentive, for which the customer prepays, you get new customers and you get paid by Google a few days after the customer pays for the incentive.
SEO for Google Places
Keywords are very important for getting found on Google places. You will have to put yourself in someone else’s shoes and figure out the words and phrases they would put in a browser to find your business, and these keywords should be placed in your titles, tags and any content you add.
Always put your best efforts into showcasing your business using the best photos and keyword-rich descriptions possible, and update as often as you can. Keep people engaged and coming back.
Hotpot allows users to add comments about your business so ensure your customers are satisfied so they leave positive comments.
Backlinks for local search are just as important as for a site that is internet-only. The more good-quality backlinks you can get from relevant sites the better your ranking will be.
Google will pay attention if your site is referenced in a good local business directory for example. Many of these local directories are free, and may just consist of a name and address, business classification and include space for a web address. Get into as many as you can, some charge a small monthly or annual fee. A local Chamber of Commerce may offer you the opportunity to add your business. The more you spread your business name around the more easily it will be found by the search engines.
Local search can be an extremely effective way to increase business, and by using Google Places people who didn’t even know your business existed will be able to find you.
Should you use PR to build links? Our Answer is No
In SEO, pagerank has always been a bone of contention and until Google actually stands up and gives us the skinny either way, we’ll just have to keep hoping we’re on the right path. The latest major Panda algo change in April of 2011 certainly set the cat among the pigeons. Many high quality sites that ranked high in the SERPs and had high PR backlinks lost ranking, while other poor-quality sites did too. So what’s up with that?
Is page rank less important as it once was? When it comes to link building then we say no, the PR of the site you link to is not important, as long as it is relevant.
Google knows how webmasters think, and I think that Google understands that they are spending too much time and effort in achieving a high PR, instead of concentrating on creating high quality content, adding it regularly, building backlinks and participating in social media.
In some instances it doesn’t matter to a business owner what his site’s PR is. The fact is he gets his leads and traffic from referrals and/or other sources, not simply via organic search. Even now if you put in a search for some specific keywords, a PR1 site may come above a PR7 site in the SERPs, it makes little sense.
Emphasis has shifted a lot recently because of social networking and Google appears to be far more interested in how your site is viewed by real people, not how it rates on a scale of 0-9 for some spurious reasons. It’s the amount of traffic, the age of a site, the quality of content, back links and popularity on social media that combined add up to building a better site. PR means little. You only have to look on Flippa to see that most website buyers seem to disregard PR - PR0 sites sell every day because they have good traffic, quality backlinks and the potential to generate income for the new owner.
URL Factors That Are More Important than PR
- Having a search engine friendly/keyword-included URL
- Site structure including ease of navigation
- Longevity of the URL
On Page Factors:
- Content relevance
- Meta tags
- Keyword density and optimization
- Backlinks, internal and external
Off Page Factors
- Links from directories
- Press Releases
- Blogs, RSS feeds
- Likes, reviews and ratings from social networking sites, including YouTube.
These days the search engines appear to be adding more weight to things that really matter to the everyday user, ranking continues, but it looks like it may disappear entirely in the not too distant future.
Backlinks will always be an important part of how Google “sees” and assesses a website’s authority but more weight will be put on the social side, and a site’s interaction and participation in social media, such as how many Likes and Retweets content has.
These combined components are far more important than pagerank, because bottom line most sites owners want to make money, not win a prize.
Business Blogging, Traffic Building, SEO Management
According to Rebecca Corliss, a writer for HubSpot, nearly 70% of companies attributed an increase in traffic building and lead generation to business blogging. Included in her results was a study by two MBA students from MIT and Babson who also found that three-quarters of businesses stated that search engine optimization was the main factor in their increased success and somewhere around 50% of those surveyed attributed increased success to participation in social media. Paid search advertising such as PPC came in at 16%.
Using these results, it may be time to rethink your company’s marketing strategy. As the end of 2011 rapidly approaches it is probably time to take a look at all your company’s marketing strategies as a whole, examine and analyze available data and make some changes. If you don’t have a blog and have been getting lukewarm results from paid advertising then it’s probably a strong call to action to rethink and implement different marketing strategies.
Adding a company blog to an existing website is not difficult. It can simply be added as a sub domain which will cost nothing. Business blogging is an interactive way of communicating with customers, answering questions and providing vital and fast customer service. A successful blog will encourage traffic building and with correct SEO management the blog can increase brand awareness.
By answering customer’s questions and needs, articles can be written and posted on the main website that address these concerns, and people can be sent directly to the information they need. A member of staff should be trained as to company policy and how to answer comments effectively and quickly. Negative comments also need special handling; they shouldn’t be deleted and ignored. Successful companies need to excel in customer service and if something isn’t working within a business this should be brought to the attention of management.
By looking at the results in the first paragraph above, a combination of business blogging, active SEO management and regular participation on social media will help enormously in brand awareness and traffic building for any company.
Linkbait Strategies – the Way to Effective Traffic Building
One of the major components of the search engines’ algorithms is looking at a site’s
backlinks, their quality and number, so when traffic-building backlinks are created, using linkbait content of any description is highly valuable.
I don’t like the word “linkbait” much because it sounds, well… fishy, but if you want to keep increasing your site’s visibility and ranking linkbait is the chum that attracts the search engines and new visitors alike.
Traffic Building using Linkbait Strategies
Building traffic is all about using all the available forms of content such as:
- Written content
- Info graphics
- Blog posts
- Social media posts
- ALT tags in pictures
When creating any of the above content, as long as the content in itself will be valuable to a reader or visitor then they should contain linkbait in order to obtain HIGH QUALITY links.
John has a website about How to Cure Acne. He has discovered a product that really works and writes an informative article entitled “How I Discovered the Best Acne Cure Ever,” and posts it on his blog or website. He also sends it off to Facebook after a couple of days.
This article becomes very popular with lots of Likes and people are sharing it with others they know. Someone with a similar site, maybe in the skincare niche, picks up on John’s article and links to it in order to share it with her readers.
Traffic increases to John’s site and hundreds more relevant sites link to his original article. The search engines take notice of the new activity and ranks his site higher. All John did was write one quality article, and that’s the essence of a good linkbait article or content, it was written in a way that people wanted to share it.
John’s article was a simple example, and there are other ways of attracting massive amounts of traffic:
- Be the first
- Stand out from the crowd
- Build relationships with others in your niche
A well-constructed and engaging quiz can be a fun, interactive way to attract visitors. Make it interesting and simple and people will pass it around. In the acne example above John could get each visitor’s age range, list products that people have already tried, those they have had success with, and ask how having acne has affected each person’s personal life.
When the results are posted, John’s acne sufferers will see others of similar age, how he’s not alone, and which products he could try to alleviate his problem and there’s an affiliate link to each one.
People love to help each other and a quiz will bring a big spike in traffic and encourage repeat visitors. Using these linkbait strategies they will have shared John’s quiz on social networking sites with their friends or emailed a link to people they know.
Contests are a great way to get people engaged and coming back, offer something useful for free and you will gain peoples’ attention.
Following on from the quiz above, John could write an eBook around the results of his quiz and offer it as a free download. It could be entitled “The Top 10 Best Acne Cures Ever”, very precise and share-able.
Be the First
By subscribing to other authority sites via email or RSS feed John can be the first to hear breaking news about medical discoveries for acne. He can write a good quality article encompassing the news and post it before anyone else does.
Stand Out From the Crowd
The acne niche is extremely competitive, so how can John use more linkbait strategies to increase traffic? After running his quiz, he may have gathered a few rather unconventional acne treatments. By writing an article around these weird remedies he’ll be doing something that few others will do. Posting an article entitled “How Turnip Juice Cured my Acne” will be bound to result in an increase in traffic. (If someone actually did say turnip juice worked, be sure to ask their permission to use her case as an example.)
Build Relationships with Others in your Niche
Two heads are better than one as the old saying goes, and although building a relationship with someone who is essentially a competitor it’s a great traffic building strategy and can double exposure for both sites. Many internet marketers do this, they will share their emails lists, and feature each other on their videos, and this is all content that can be linkbaited by both marketers offering complementary products. Guest posts on other’s sites are also easy ways to gain very valuable backlinks.
All your videos, articles, eBooks, email campaigns and social media participation should contain linkbait to encourage traffic building. Careful linkbait strategies should be inherent in all types of content you create.
5 Ways to Get Your Content Viral
Every website or blog owner wants his baby to be on the first page of the Google results. It can be a hard slog getting there but if you can get your content to “go viral” then you’ll get a big boost. The term “going viral” means that thousands of people have run across your content and then shared it with their friends and colleagues.
In order to do this you have to be either incredibly lucky or you have to plan well to make this happen.
All your content should be well-written, useful and informative and if you can add your own personality or a twist to the subject then it’ll be something that readers will want to share with others. If you’ve choose a topic to write about it’s an idea to look at other people’s content and the way they’ve done it. Is it dry and boring? Could you make it better?
You should really aim for excellence with all your content right from the first article, although it it’s a good idea to be established if you want your content to go viral, but this isn’t going to be under your complete control.
If you’ve established yourself as an expert then your content is more likely to be shared on a regular basis anyway. Posting content on other people’s sites as a guest blogger will bring you even more name recognition so you can gain added exposure.
There are a number of ways for wording content so that it is much more relevant and engaging for your reader.
If you know anything at all about attraction marketing you know that one of the reasons for writing content is to build relationships with your readers. By using the word “you” you are appealing directly to your reader and her needs, but the content still must satisfy whatever the reason was for her visiting your site in the first place.
Don’t Do It!
If the majority of other people’s content is focused on the positive side of a topic you could always focus on the negative side. So if your site was about gardening and you were writing about different kinds of fertilizer for example, most sites will tell you if you use XYZ fertilizer you will get beautiful blooms. Instead of following that same tack you could tell people what will happen to their rosebushes if they don’t use a certain kind of fertilizer, then you can show some pictures of some really sick looking plants that haven’t been regularly fertilized. You get the idea?
Perhaps your site is about natural cosmetics. You could definitely spin the negative side of using ordinary cosmetics as they contain so many carcinogenic substances. Instead of just saying your reader will have healthier skin than anybody else by using natural products.
Bad News Travels Fast
If you watch the news regularly most of that news is bad and for some reason people talk about bad news a lot. I’m not saying being completely negative will help you go viral but in some situations it can. Human beings are strange like that.
Experienced internet marketers know the use of scarcity as a spur, limited time offers are favorite so you can incorporate those. If you don’t get this free e-book by Friday then the price goes up to $50. Kind of negative but effective.
Create a Buzz
If you’re in a niche where everybody says the same things and you disagree, then there are probably thousands of other people that will agree with you. Instead of taking the road most traveled go for it, create a buzz – and to add another cliché – upset the apple cart. You’re not a robot so instill some of you into what you write. Jazz up your articles with some pictures that will also cause comments. When you’re doing your keyword research try adding a negative to your word – you may be surprised what comes up.
The most successful Internet marketers don’t do what everybody else does – they stand out. One of the best ways of doing this is with the use of video. Many videos on YouTube have gone viral because of their quirkiness and originality. If you can get your message across in the same way without being offensive, rude or negative then you’re probably onto a winner. I’m just not sure how you could maintain professionalism this way, but the younger generation is not as hung up about such things. Just don’t do anything you’ll regret or that will terminate any relationships you’ve already built.
Even some of the losers on America’s Got Talent have gone on to have successful careers. They followed the rules of the game but didn’t win because the judges didn’t like them. Many of the contestants were liked by millions of people at home and in the audience. Appeal to a certain segment of people and you will be successful.
Think Outside the Comment Box
Blogging is a great platform but only if you can encourage other people to participate. The search engines love active blogs too and if you can get an active group of members who are constantly discussing your subject then you know there’s going to be clashes of personality and ideas. By having social bookmarking buttons right next to your comments some of these crazy comments will get through to social sites, which is exactly what you want. Edit and moderate as required.
Me, Me, Me!
If you can encourage people to talk about themselves then that generates interest with other readers who may also be encouraged to participate. If you title your posts in a way that elicits comments it will be better than having a title that just states a fact, for example “The Best Way to Make Spaghetti Sauce” may do better as “How do You Make Spaghetti Sauce?”, it immediately encourages participation.
Even if you don’t use social sites such as Facebook or Twitter for marketing it can still be a useful tool for bringing traffic to your site. I know of one extremely successful blogger who doesn’t use any social sites but still draws thousands of visitors from them simply because of his personality and the things he says and teaches people.
Add social bookmark buttons to your site very close to the comment section if you have a blog -- make it easy for people to share your content.
If you’re not using video on your website or blog then you’re missing out. Hundreds of YouTube videos go viral every month. Video keeps visitors on your site longer, are a big part of self-branding and can help to explain aspects of your business to your visitors quicker.
People don’t like to read these days and will be far more likely to watch a video and share it with others. Inject your unique personality into your videos and you are more likely to have a video go viral than someone who makes a boring presentation about the same product.
Building a Website and Keeping Your SEO Strategy Intact
Once you have an idea for a website your planning should always include using effective SEO techniques. There are many free tools out there to help you, and if you use WordPress then many SEO tools can be obtained as plug-ins just don’t use too many!
In the case of websites and blogs speed doesn’t kill, the faster your site loads the better it is for visitors. Everything you add to your site will slow it down and there’s a temptation with WordPress to add every free plug-in there is available. Plug-ins and advertisements all slow down a site, they load one at a time. By using the Alexa toolbar you can check to see how quickly (or slowly) your site is loading.
Slow loading sites can be penalized by the search engines so keep an eye on that aspect and if it seems to be slowing down find out what’s going on and fix the problem. There are many sites online where you can check the speed of your site for free and immediately see what the problem is.
URLs Should be Words Not Random Numbers
In WordPress this is easy to do, simply go into permalinks and change to the custom structure /%postname%/. Every time you add a post or page your title will be appended to the URL instead of having something that looks like /?page_id=69 which means nothing to the search engines and even less to a reader. Make sure that when you’re making additions you always make them to the www. version of your site, if you change between that and the no-www version of a site you may encounter problems with duplicate content.
Using Flash on your site can look great but not to the search engines because they can’t read what’s inside a Flash file. If there’s anything really important like keyword rich text that you want to include, make sure it’s not put inside a Flash file as it won’t be read or indexed. If you use Google’s new Instant Preview feature any flash file will show up as a blank area.
These tags go from <H1> down to <H6> and its good SEO practice to use header tags to break down content into digestible chunks. The H1 tag should only be used once, and if you can use a keyword within that title then you’ll get maximum SEO juice for that. If you use WordPress and SEOPressor it will remind you to use a keyword in your first <H1>, <H2> and <H3> header.
Categories and Topics
With a new website it’s a good idea to have a plan set out for what you will use as your category titles and use keywords in them if possible. If an article falls into the area of two different categories, you can always use internal linking to send readers to the page in the category in which you did choose to list it. Make sure that you stay on topic when you add content.
Use one page for one topic, or the reader may become confused. By having a well-designed page a reader should be able to navigate the site easily. It is hard to categorize and title a page accurately if the content wanders around and isn’t focused. Remember that content should also be focused on specific keywords too.
Correctly used internal links are important in SEO. They will ensure that:
- The bots can find all pages on your site
- Match the relevancy of a page to a keyword
- Increase the page rank of that internal page
External links are by far one of the most important aspects of SEO where ranking is concerned. This is a vast subject but link building should be a daily task. Google wants link building to look natural. Getting a small number of back links every day is better than one day getting 100 back links and then none at all for the following week that isn’t considered “natural”. Aim to get quality back links from sites relevant to your own and with a higher page rank.
The use of ALT titles is essential for getting a picture found in Google’s images search, and again if you use SEOPressor within WordPress it will remind you. If you don’t, it’s essential to add a keyword within the ALT title of your picture. Don’t bother putting any tags within an image as search engines just can’t read it. You can certainly title the picture using a keyword.
Don’t put important information that you want to be found by the search engines inside a header or footer image – although it can be read by a human it cannot be seen by the search engines.
Because WordPress is built on a blogging platform many of the designs do not provide good and easy navigation for visitors. This is why categories and topics have to be preplanned. If a visitor cannot easily find what she’s looking for then she’s going to leave. It’s not easy and internal linking will help but it still no substitute for a clear and precise menu.
If a visitor doesn’t stay on your site for more than a few seconds this will give you a high “bounce” rate and will score against you. This is one reason why the use of video is so effective – it retains visitors longer.
SEO and Content
There’s a fine balance between posting a well-SEO’d piece of content that the search engines will love and one that the reader will find enjoyable. Use your main keyword in the first sentence and the last sentence and in an average 500-word article use it another three times in the body of the text. Images should be unique to each post or page and also contain your main keyword in the ALT TAG. Each header and sub-header should contain your keyword, but the overuse of keywords is regarded as “keyword spamming” by Google so be very careful.
Using a “squeeze” page as a home page is not a good idea unless you’re an internet marketing “guru”. Many of their websites begin and end with a squeeze page – they are not interested in SEO in this instance (although all of them preach its importance!) - you probably went straight through to their squeeze page from an advertisement or forum. It may work for them but for normal business websites using a squeeze page as a home page is a complete turnoff for the average visitor.
Better to have an explanatory, static opening page to your website. If you have a blog that’s set up to look like a website you’ll have the choice of choosing a static page (not a post) or having your latest blog post, or a summary of your latest posts on your opening page. It’s a good idea to experiment to see which one works best for you.
Bots Love Blogs
Even if you do have a static website it’s easy to incorporate a blog. An active blog attracts the search engine bots because content is constantly changing and dynamic and it can also help you rank for keyword phrases or long tail keywords. With an active blog that’s kept on topic other people are actually adding content to your site for free.