Simple to follow free SEO advice

This one is all about our undying love and devotion to chasing the sweet nectar of Google Juice.  It seems as of late, all it takes for any guru out there to have willing customers lined up to hand over the gold, is the promise of that top placement for your real estate website on the search engines, the love and pats on the backs by the one deity so many business owners are praying to, the God of advertising and marketing – Google.  So many experts climbing out of the woodwork and dishing out advice on magic combinations of words, tags, code snippets and all sorts of other edibles that spiders will be forever grateful to forage on, that it may be hard to pick the right one.  Here is my unsolicited advice:

If you must pick an SEO blogging coach or expert, pick someone who won’t charge you money for doing any of the things that the search engine you are trying to rank on frowns upon, such as keyword stuffing.  Pick someone who will tell you that creating a Google profile is, indeed, a free service and takes roughly five minutes of your time, and if you don’t have one – it’s the first step in the right direction and places you on the MAP, literally.  Yellow Pages, wherever you are, also offers a free service that’ll do wonders for your eventual ranking, as does Bing, as do many other directories and search engines.

If you feel the gobbledygook of Googlespeak and spider diet is, indeed, too complexticated for you to swallow – then hire someone who will not tout any promises of a specific rank, as that would be a lie.  If an expert requires that you hand over hundreds or thousands of dollars for AdWords – run, far far away.  Yes, I know that AdWords work, but you don’t need anyone else spending your money to get your real estate website to rank, and charging you handsomely for the opportunity to do so.  It’s not magic, nor is it rocket science.

I hate to see folks who work pretty darn hard for their money willingly waste it on a promise of an easy fix, a magic bullet, and Google placement is the latest in the panacea for all financial ills.  The broker we are, the more prone we are to jump on promises of the newest, hippest redemption, the fix en vogue.  In the final analyses, it’s akin to going to a witch doctor for brain surgery.  You’ll get the surgery alright, but it just might kill you.  Google, being the Zeus-like deity, is capable of ruining your business by the same powers it can help you build one, though generally the former takes a lot less time.

Google is not magic. It’s a service to consumers, and I see very few key-word stuffing, location-misspelling, spider-feeding small business owners provide an actual meaningful service with their content to those very consumers.

So if the desperation to get to the top of Google gets the better of you, consider the humans that just might find you in that nifty silky web the spiders wove.  Consider that they are not morons, and will probably be puzzled by the misspellings of the very cities and neighborhoods you claim to be an expert on, the inane repetitions of keywords at the beginning, middle and end of those clanky sentences, and the most insulting of all – the condescension that comes off in anything written for spiders and not homo-sapiens, and the utter unoriginality of it all.

If the top ten results on Google return essentially the same information, less the colour pallete, consumers will move on to the next page, and the next.  Heck, we are only human.

As an additional word of warning: a few years ago, Google decided it was no longer returning meaningful results to their customers (that’s those people out there searching for stuff), due to too many tricksters cheating the system, thereby rendering the search engine’s only true goal unachievable.  The consequences for then meta-tag stuffers, code-breakers, auto-indexers etc. were pretty severe, as many sites ended up on the very bottom of the rankings and quite a few got banned.  The ones who stayed at the top were those whose content accurately and honestly matched what the customer was looking for. No tricks, gimmicks or quick fixes will ever give you the staying power that solid, relevant content will. A simple algorithm change will squish you out of your position.

Here are some recommendations of what you can do, on your own, time permitting, to achieve a place in the search engines:

As mentioned, if you haven’t done so already, create business profiles on Google, Bing and others, as well as business directories.  Add photos, videos where available, and of course the address, so that you end up on the map.  Link to your site from all of these.

Keyword and enter meta-descriptions not just for your website, but for each page of your site, and make sure the description and keywords accurately reflect what is on those pages.

Research the keywords that are actually used by consumers you are trying to attract.  You may be surprised by the differences in what you think people are searching for and what they are actually searching for.

Update your site or some content on it no less than once a week.  Blogging, twitter etc. are all great tools to automate those updates.

RSS feeds from your FaceBook, Twitter, Posterous or anything else you use to your site (see above).

Location is becoming more and more important to Google and its customers, so geo-tag your photos, posts and everything else you do.  This will not only help you get ranked better, but will increase the likelihood that smart devices will find you over and above anyone else, and there are many many smart phone users out there.

These are all free, easy and can be done in very little time. For all of you who are not in over-saturated-by-realtors areas – these will put you on the first page of Google within a few months.

If not, at least it didn’t cost you an arm and a leg.  If you want specific help with your real estate website and rankings, we can help for a very reasonable fee.

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4 Responses to Simple to follow free SEO advice
  1. Mark Gridley
    August 12, 2011 | 3:54 pm

    So Inna, What’s your thoughts on going after a major search term right off the bat or looking for a niche search term first?

    • Inna Hardison
      August 12, 2011 | 4:12 pm

      Mark – it all depends. Niche search phrases are easier to go after as few compete for them, of course, but it only makes sense if a reasonably number of people are looking for those terms. There are far too many people engaging in long-tail that is way too long, and while they come up at the top of SERPS for those terms, since no one is really looking – it’s useless. I would do research into what people are searching for and go for the terms where numbers make sense. It’s always different in different markets; heck, sometimes, it’s different in the same market. So research first, write second:-)

  2. Miriam Bernstein
    April 8, 2011 | 8:21 am

    Love this post and now I remember why I hired you to do my site. No chasing Google but organic rankings for the long haul are the way to go.

    • Inna Hardison
      April 8, 2011 | 7:17 pm

      Miriam – and you’ve been a great student, when it comes to dealing with content. Thanks for the compliments:-)

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