You may have no idea what heading means, and that’s probably ok if you’re in the Real Estate industry. If you’re in to SEO/SEM or are looking for an easy way to increase traffic to your website a quick Google search will lead you to all three of these sites: Stumbleupon, Delicious and Digg – but are they worthwhile for the Real Estate Community?
These three sites are considered, Social Bookmarking Sites, meaning they allow users to submit links to places on the Internet they find interesting. These links are then placed into the sites directory of user submitted links and the entire network could comment on them. It’s an easy way of generating an influx of referring traffic to your site with minimal effort. But does it convert?
From several articles I have read online as well as my own personal use, when a site offers a product for sale, such as a digital download or a subscription based service the traffic from these social bookmarking sites doesn’t seem to convert. My most recent experience yielded over 900 visitors within a single day, and 1,400 over thee days, yet none of them purchased a single copy of my eBooks. On the other hand, I had a press release go out to a popular online gaming site and received 13 visitors of which 2 purchased eBooks from me.
So what does this mean for real estate?
Much like my questions and comments on Twitter, I think social bookmarking is a great way of generating traffic, but since real estate isn’t something people can click on and buy instantly, you’re chances of having that traffic convert are even less than others. However, it is a great way to show clients how much exposure their property is receiving, but what’s the point if it’s not ending up in a sale or lease of the property after months of high traffic?
So how does one get traffic to convert, or better yet, how do we increase the rate of conversion on any links we have? That’s where SEO/SEM come into play.
Statistically the conversion rate of visitors to sales has always been a very low percentage, so the goal becomes to increase the amount of traffic so incredibly that even with a 0.001% conversion you’re able to sell your products. Below are the most common examples of typical SEO/SEM:
Article Submission – submitting articles you write to online webzines is a great way to advertise your site, as you can include a link to your site in the articles “about” or “signature” block.
Blog Commenting – commenting on other peoples blogs can be good or bad, if you are there just to drop a site link people will know and it doesn’t always reflect kindly on you.
Directory Submissions – If you have a real estate blog submit it to a real estate blog directory, it’s a pretty simple concept. If you have a site about flowers, find an online flower site directory and submit it there.
Craigslist – many people have a love/hate relationship with this site, but at the end of the day search engines seem to pull content from this site quite often, so posting ads about your product or services here is a good way to get yourself noticed in search engines like Google quickly.
Emails – even if you don’t have an email list to market to, just put your site’s URL in the signature of your emails, the people you talk to on a daily basis will see it and maybe even take a look or ask you about it. Think of this as an easy in for Word of Mouth.
Forums – not quite as popular in all circles, but there are many forums available for a number of topics, if you happen to be involved in one, such as the CrackBerry forums for BlackBerry users, it’s a good idea to include your site’s URL in your forum Signature, so as you talk to others they keep seeing your site.
Press releases – these aren’t just for local papers anymore. All PR sites now place their releases online where search engines and subscribers come to view them. Include your web address in any press release you send out.
RSS submission – if your site is a blog or you generate an RSS feed for it, there are many RSS syndication sites out there that want your feed, Syndic8 is the first one that comes to mind.
Reciprocal Linking – this is probably one of the least used methods of SEO/SEM, but it can have very successful results if done right. You basically find other site owners who run sites similar to yours, but do not compete directly with you and the two of you add links to each other’s site on your pages. It can take some time, but if you have at least 10 sites in your head that come up as places you could cross link with, that’s a great start.
But what about Meta Tags and Search Engine Submission?
Here is my answer in a nutshell, for Meta Tags websites have smarted up a lot with them and the days of the late 90’s where people stuffed a gazillion words and sentences into the code of their site to inflate rankings is dead and gone. Here is all you need to do with them: for keywords don’t use more than 15 terms and for the description, a one liner, sentence, is fine. Anymore than that and most current search engines such as Google, Yahoo and Bing will toss out the rest anyway so it doesn’t help you. As far as submitting your site to a search engine, once you’re site is working the way you want and you have a good amount of content on it feel free to stop by free services such as AddMe and SubmitItExpress. If you’ve taken advantage of at least 60% of the above suggestions you won’t need to pay anyone for SEO/SEM.
I really see no reason why anyone couldn’t invest a single Saturday afternoon and complete all of the above, but if you are really busy and would like to hire me to do your SEO/SEM, feel free to drop me a line. email@example.com
– Michael G. Hurston