The New SEO for Real Estate
2011 has marked an important year. Google which controls 65% of search queries started optimizing its search engine to try to mimic "what the consumer wants." These algorithm changes have been called Panda. I have written about Panda before on my blog. Here and here are a couple of links to previous articles talking about how Panda is affecting web sites across the Internet and changing how web sites and bloggers view content.
When Google started in 1998, it was all about linking and linking strategies - backlinks and internal links. Google's initial algorithm which analyzed links resulted in many highly templated sites, link farms, and content farms dominating the search results, when the content on the pages was not what the consumer was searching for, or valuable in the least.
Fast forward to 2011. Linking strategies are still really really important, but the search engines are getting smarter and trying to mimic human tastes and search. Also, FaceBook is now the most visited site in the United States. So what does this mean for SEO for Real Estate or the New SEO for Real Estate?
Below is the SEO Pyramid created by Rand Fishkin of SEOMoz here in Seattle. The SEO Pyramid is a great simple summary of the basics needed by every real estate professional trying to understand the New SEO for Real Estate.
So what matters for SEO for Real Estate? According to Rand, it is a pyramid ordered as follows:
- Phenomenal content with a high quality user experience. In the past, a site could have great SEO ranking or domain authority without providing a great user experience. This is changing quickly and the search engines are penalizing sites that have a high BOUNCE RATE. Bounce rate is the rate by which the consumer searches, goes to a web site, and then returns to the search engine. Since the consumer returned to the search engine, the search engines assume that the consumer did not find what he or she was looking for. Consumer experience and content quality are becoming more and more important. There is no way to game this going forward.
- Keyword research & targeting: Keyword research continues to be important. Everyone should be using the keyword targeting tools provided by Google Adwords or Bing to refine and target their keyword strategies.
- Link building: Historically, most SEO experts have focused on link building strategies, i.e. link to me and I will link to you or creating interesting content that one can use as "link bait" to increase the number of backlinks to your site. Link Building is still critical to success, but content is king now.
- Social, social, social: Social sharing is at the top of the SEO pyramid now. The number of consumers that are sharing your links or your content and proactively commenting and liking your has quickly become the best signal to the search engines of high quality content and relevance to the consumer. This is really important to understand and embrace for the New SEO for Real Estate. Most of the search engines are incorporating results from FaceBook and Twitter into search results. Google with its Google Plus is proactively judging site relevance by the number of "+1's" on your web site each month. Check out your "+1's" within your Google Webmaster Tools.
So what does all this mean for the New SEO for Real Estate? It's pretty simple:
- Write great and useful content for consumers and real estate professionals on ActiveRain
- Use keyword targeting tools like Adwords before you write your blog
- Make friends and get LOTS of blog subscribers on ActiveRain to get more exposure for your content. That will increase the likelihood of your content being syndicated to social networks and being linked to by others.
- Share your content on ActiveRain on FaceBook, Google +, LinkedIn and Twitter.
ActiveRain and the ActiveRain RainMaker are great tools to help real estate professionals understand and take advantage of the changes in SEO and the Internet to grow their businesses.