If you aren’t familiar with the practice of search engine optimization (SEO), now is a great time to learn about it; there have been a lot of changes recently with the way search engines read and index websites, and it doesn’t appear that the evolution of real estate SEO is going to slow down any time soon.
Google has implemented some new policies with the way they have their spiders (computer programs that read web pages on the internet with the intention of determining what content is useful and relevant to which keyword phrases) crawl websites. The result is that the way many Realtors and real estate marketers have viewed SEO up until this point, with an emphasis on keyword stuffing, and other forms of overt keyword targeting, will become obsolete within the months to come.
Search engines like Google, are doing everything they can to integrate search tools directly into browsers, and offer immediate keyword suggestions while a user is entering in what they are searching for. The result is that more often than not, people will stop typing and choose from a menu. This means that showing up high on the first page for top-level real estate phrases in your area will be key in the years to follow.
What is the best way to get real estate SEO working for you now? We recommend a holistic approach to your website’s SEO, one that strongly leans on quality of content, innovative features, and high usability. As the search engines are continuing to factor in performance statistics for websites, they will give increased preference in the rankings to websites that people seem to have the most meaningful interactions with (spend the most time on, repeat visit, don’t immediately bounce away, etc.).
So the bottom line is that if you think you can put a bunch of keywords in your META tags, copy and paste some content from Wikipedia, and sit content with offering generic home buying and selling tools, and expect to rank high in the search engines much longer, you’re going to be greatly disappointed. That is because these old strategies will not fit the new quality-oriented paradigm of online search.
The major search engines have all indicated that they intend to take aggressive steps in adjusting their algorithms to improve the overall quality of their search results. Aaron Wall alludes to this in a recent post he made about this subject of the future of SEO. This means that rankings you may have now based on the age of your website, a keyword-rich domain name, or other traditional factors may shift dramatically in the near future if you do not start taking steps towards improving the user experience on your site through real estate SEO.
For additional tips on search engine optimization, please peruse this website’s Search Engine Optimization category.
Repeat the phrase above and commit it to memory. As a site owner if you are writing and installing unique content and images to your site it is in your interest to protect your work. Plain and simple, there is a multitude of lazy people out there who pillage from other sites. Wikipedia is a fan favorite, but for certain individuals copy and pasting material from competitors is nothing new. Maybe it is the conception that the internet is free for anyone, but I think because of this people feel they can take other people’s work at will. This is not the case, nor should it ever be for that matter.
This post comes from a disheartening situation that has risen for one of our client’s on the East Coast. They put a great deal of time, effort, and money into developing a strong website with valuable content for visitors and search engines. Within a couple of months of installing their first batch of content a competitor stole many of their pages, word for word. They are currently in battled with this agent and I suspect a resolution will soon come to fruition.
I am not a lawyer, nor am I trying to claim to be one with this post. I am not offering legal advice here, but more then anything word to the wise. There is not very much material about this subject on the web, but for those interested I HIGHLY recommend reading this copyright post from Sarah Bird. She is in-house counsel for SEOmoz, a respected Search Marketing Firm. The post is extremely informational, and Sarah was very thorough in the best practices to better protect the content, images, and designs of your site. I sincerely hope you all take a look.
Your site is an investment, and for many of you it serves as an online office and feeder for more revenue. Would you all allow a competitor to come in your office and let them take whatever they like?