May 082014
 

If you are a regular reader you already know that there have been big changes in the past year in how search engines rank commercial websites, including real estate websites. Recent articles here have outlined what the changes have been and in case you missed them you may want to read The State Of Real Estate Web Promotion In 2014 and The State of SEO for Websites in 2013 and 2014.

Those articles mention how Google now favors the big national listing aggregators and larger Broker sites for the most popular ‘money’ keywords such like “mycity real estate”. These larger sites are “brands.” Last year Google began favouring “brands” in their results. Brands are more trusted and must be a better result to put in the serps according to Google.

This article delves deeper into what a “brand” is in the eyes of search engines and how you can strengthen your own brand and thereby improve your search engine rankings.

For Realtors’ websites it is pretty hard/impossible to compete with the big brands if you are in a mid-sized to larger market area. If you are a Broker in a small market area and your personal site and company site are one and the same then Google often recognizes you as a Brand and you can place well.

I have seen agents in some mid-sized market areas place well by making it look like their website is the actual company/office site (when the office itself is of sufficient size and does not have its own effective presence). Locals who search for the office in Google end up at the agent’s site and this just reinforces the agent is the company brand in the eyes of Google.

Over the years it had become possible for agents to shift large portions of their marketing to the internet and rely almost exclusively on the internet and in particular search engines for their business. You would think concentrating on internet marketing would be just what one needed to do in order to be considered a “brand” by search engines, right? As it turned out, internet marketing alone does not make for a successful internet presence.

Real estate is local. A “brand” has to be well known in the local community being served in order to be worthy of consideration for better search engine placement. Links to your site located on pages that are focused on your local area is one way of building a brand that is connected to the market served. Having links to your site from well regarded directories that target your local market area would be one way of doing that. Having links from other websites and blogs that focus on your area would be another way. The Page Rank that your website has should come from links on pages that are about the area you serve.

Some of these local websites and blogs that link to your primary website could also be your own. For example, if you have a blog or other websites located on different domains than your primary website some carefully placed links would be helping to build your “brand”. That is where Multi Site Branded Content Marketing Package can be helpful.

For a Realtor to be considered a “brand” there also needs to be evidence that the local community considers the Realtor to be a brand. Remember, Google knows where pretty much every searcher is located. People from your local community have to searching specifically for you – you are your “brand”.

Keep in mind that the address bar in browsers now double as a search bar. When someone located in your market area has a good old fashioned “just sold” card in their hands and is typing your website url into their browser’s address bar it actually is seen by Google as a search. Not only that, it is a search of the best kind! This is a search specifically for you from someone located in the area where you want to build your “brand”.

To build your brand and thereby improve your search engine positions you need to do what Realtors used to do – send stuff out and advertise in your local market area making sure your website’s url is included so local people can find your website by typing in your url. You need to step up your conventional marketing to support your internet marketing.

This is especially critical in this smartphone era where people have a mini computer with them wherever they go. They can type your url into their mobile browser while they are right in front of your ad on the billboard, poster, bus bench, flyer, newspaper ad etc. Every local person who types in your url provides evidence that the local community considers you to be a “brand” and helps to raise your search engine profile.

In summary, nowadays linking is still important but you need to concentrate on acquiring links from pages where the content refers to your market area or at least your state or province. The days of just acquiring links from everywhere and anywhere are gone. Also, just having your name or website mentioned in articles, blogs, and websites about your market area can help to build your brand even if it is not linked (or if the link is no follow).

Conventional marketing methods may be more important than they have ever been. Your conventional marketing will build your brand in your market area the same as always but now also on the internet in search engines. Aside from generating phone calls, your conventional marketing will generate search engine searches and traffic and be helping to build your online search engine presence.

Ranking in search engines now depends on the strength of your brand and you can use these tips to build that strength!