Posted in Features on February 13, 2008
SEO, as a rule, isn’t easy. Of course, this goes double if you’re a real estate agent with hundreds of competitors in your area–all targetting the same keywords. The real estate industry is large, it’s competitive, and the average realtor has a million other things to worry about besides their SEO strategy. But that doesn’t mean you should give up–leveraged successfully, the Internet has the potential to be the largest and most profitable sales channel in an agent’s marketing mix.
The following list is filled with tools and resources that will help any real estate agent achieve their SEO goals. You can choose to learn from blogs, tutorials, or forums, and we’ve also pointed you to specific blog entries and forum threads that will get you started. You can study search engines to learn what they require from you, and you can choose among some professionals to help you refine your Web site or to take over completely. The choice is yours. The links to each tool are listed alphabetically within the categories listed immediately below. The numbering does not indicate that we favor one site over another or that they are listed in order of value. Finally, all the sites listed below are targeted specifically to real estate professionals.
Blogs | Recommended Posts from Real Estate Bloggers | Forums | Recommended Threads from Real Estate Forums | Real Estate Search Engines | Resources | SEO-Friendly Web Design | Tutorials
The following blogs are written by individuals who are in the real estate field, yet who also have become experts in the SEO realm. While some blogs focus specifically on SEO, other blogs contain a category that holds their SEO articles.
- Active Rain: This link will take you to this site’s “Blogging and SEO” category, where several real estate professionals and writers offer their perspectives on SEO and blogging practices.
- Best Practices: After a decade in real estate, Latham Jenkins brings his passion for this field and for Internet marketing and search engine optimization to readers through his blog.
- Future of Real Estate Marketing: You won’t find “SEO” per se on this blog, but Joel Burslem is a regularly quoted expert on the impact of the Web 2.0 and real estate and has been interviewed by the Wall St. Journal, BusinessWeek and the International Herald Tribune, among others. Follow his advice and SEO is the result.
- Geek Estate: GeekEstate Blog was founded by Zillow as a resource for real estate professionals who want to learn more about how they can grow their business through smart use of technology. Topics discussed here range from a review of the latest cell phone to Web site tips for search engine optimization.
- Internet Marketing, Social Media, SEO & PPC Strategies: Online Internet Marketing topics and strategies.
- Kay’s Real Estate SEO Blog: Enjoy Kay’s real estate SEO blog and get a double dose with her SEO Diva blog.
- Kevin Harper: This link takes you to all the SEO entries that Harper has written on his real estate blog. He also provides an SEO Glossary for readers and a podcast.
- OnTheAvenues: Bonnie Burns provides web site analysis and search engine optimization services specifically for real estate web sites and shows her expertise through her blog.
- Personal Insights on Web 2.0, Blogging, and Business: Drew Meyers provides his professional insights on how to utilize the ‘new’ Web to promote your real estate business.
- Real Estate Blog Lab: A former computer programmer and database administrator and current real estate assistant reated this blog “lab” for other agents to talk about topics like SEO. This is a good place to begin if you know nothing about online marketing, let alone SEO.
- Real Estate Marketing: Marketing advice and commentary for online Realtor success. Author Tim O’Keefe also manages Spider Worx, a business that specializes in helping Real Estate Brokers and Agents increase their lead count and sale conversion with marketing and SEO.
- Real Estate Marketing Blog: This blog offers SEO tips as well as upcoming courses on how to market your real estate Web site.
- Real Estate Marketing Tools & Coaching: Justin Smith is a coach for the Real Estate Tomato and employed at the Christian Real Estate Network. He offers his expertise and sound advice on blogging and search engine optimization.
- Real Estate Search Advisor: Brandon Cornett is a real estate marketing specialist and long-time Internet publisher. He has published “Search Engine Success for Real Estate Agents,” and he maintains a blog that talks about SEO management for real estate professionals.
- Real Estate Toolbox: Brian Rodgers remains “out in the trenches” so he doesn’t lose touch with what is actually going on in the industry as he writes about online marketing and SEO management for realtors.
- SEO Web Design & Search Engine Marketing: While Web design and SEO marketing is the focus, the blog is the most informative and upfront part of this site. Jeff Hendrickson also leans toward a focus on the real estate market.
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Recommended Posts from Real Estate Bloggers
The following posts cover some far-reaching territory within SEO. Learn from the experts about tools you can use and strategies you can employ to achieve the highest ranking possible.
- 7 Ways Your Site Can Be Sabotaged: Bonnie Burns from DIY SEO chronicles seven ways unknown forces can sabotage your Web site. This list provides the problems and the solutions, if any.
- 20 Week Course on Link Building For Real Estate Websites: At this point in the game, Real Estate Marketing Blog is up to week number four. The link here is pointed at the first article. This guide is specifically designed for real estate professionals.
- Kicking a New Post to the Top of the Search Engines: Real Estate Blog Lab shows readers how to increase rankings of new blog entries.
- Multiple Categories and Onsite Duplicate Content: Justin Smith at Real Estate Tomato clears up any confusion about multiple categories and onsite duplicate content.
- OMG! You are just like Britney Spears: Real estate professionals, unlike many other industry professionals, often rely on personal name recognition to market their goods. Damon Pace, from the Incredible Agent Blog, shows readers how they can maximize the potential of a name on Google.
- Real Estate Websites With No Frames: It seems impossible to believe that Web designers still use frames, and this blog entry will tell you why they shouldn’t be used. Not only will it destroy any online marketing efforts, frames also will cut accessibility to your site.
- SEO-Friendly Website Templates: If you can’t or won’t afford an SEO-friendly Web site builder, then try a template and do it yourself! This article is a guide from Real Estate Search Advison on how to use Web site templates the right way to ensure maximum search engine visibility for your content.
- The 7 Worst Pieces of SEO Advice that WILL Kill Your Blog: Mary McKnight offers advice on how to avoid SEO scams. Plus, she reiterates what reputable SEO masters will tell you – what worked in the past to increase your search engine ranking may not work anymore. She also offers a list of SEO experts that she’s come to trust.
- The Rules: Blog Comments for Linkbuilding: Kay Frenzer, real estate SEO Diva, writes a guide on how to build effective links as you leave comments on other people’s blogs. No sense in a long article – the tips are short and to-the-point.
- Web Publishers Can Now Clone Trulia: Joel Burslem from the Future of Real Estate Marketing introduces “Trulia in a Box,” the real estate search engine’s tool that’s free for all publishers, including small newspapers and regional media (as well as bloggers) to use to create their own Trulia portal.
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The following forums may not focus entirely on SEO, but look for this specific topic as you browse. Most forums will contain a topic that centers on Web site marketing at the very least, and those topics usually carry SEO threads.
- Agents Online: Scroll down to the threads listed under “Successful Web Presence” to learn about link exchange possibilities and more.
- At Hand 24: Although not heavily populated yet, this forum does contain a topic that covers “Real Estate and Web Design.” Threads include a Web site review, Web site development, and link exchanges.
- Bigger Pockets: Look under the topic, “Real Estate Professionals,” for the thread entitled, “Real Estate & The Web.” This is where you can discuss link strategies, search engines, real estate web design, SEO, and anything else related to real estate and the web.
- Fast Real Estate Forum: If you want to find some real DIY SEO tips, visit the threads listed under “SEO & Online Marketing” at this site.
- Pro Real Estate Network Forums: An entire topic is devoted to “Search Engines and Search Engine Optimization” at this forum. You’ll find threads dedicated to search engines and link building here.
- Real Estate Discuss: This forum contains a “Website Related” topic where threads about search engine optimization, Web site design and more are discussed.
- Real Estate Forum: This forum contains several topics that deal with Web site development and marketing, including a topic devoted to DMOZ and other directories under the topic heading, “Search Engine Marketing.”
- Real Estate Webmasters Forum: A real estate forum where the real estate agents and brokers teach and learn about how to generate leads from the internet. This is the only forum devoted almost entirely to marketing, both online and off, and where SEO tactics are covered so thoroughly. This forum was created and is maintained by SEOGuy Morgan Carey.
- RealtyChat: This link will take you to the RealtyChat forums, where you’ll find a number of topics that cover SEO materials. Click on “Link Exchange,” for instance, to discover two pages of threads about this topic.
- Wanna Network?: This forum contains a topic entitled, “Real Estate Web Design Forum.” Threads include SEO, Web design, blogging, link exchanges and more.
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Recommended Threads from Real Estate Forums
The following topics and threads were chosen based upon their usefulness. If you don’t have time to browse thorugh all the forums listed above, you still may find some juice in the listings below.
- 10 Ways to Drive Buyers to Your Website: Despite what you might believe after you read this article, page rank isn’t the be-and and end-all of real estate marketing. Other tools can be used to drive traffic to your site. This post offers ten tools you can use outside search engine tactics, with some great responses that include additional advice.
- Backlinks: This thread at Wanna Network? offers tools, explanations, and methods to handle your site’s backlinks.
- Determining a Site’s PR: We’re running on the assumption that you know how to determine a site’s page rank. If you don’t, then this thread at the Real Estate Webmasters Forum will help you learn how you and your competitors rank.
- Free SEO Tracker: An individual was searching for a free keyword tool, and a few people responded to the inquiry with some relevant information that you may find useful.
- Link Building 101: This thread, located under the Search Engines and Search Engine Optimization topic in Pro Real Estate Network Forums, calls attention to how links and link building can help page and site ranking. How to release press releases, how to list in real estate agents directories, etc.
- Net Success: In this thread at Agents Online, users talk about various ways to gain ranking on different search engines. Additionally, you’ll find other topics that deal with new technology as well as other online marketing tips.
- Real Estate & The Web: This is the best topic on the Bigger Pockets forum for Web site marketing. You can ask for a Web site review, ask questions about page rank, and more. It appears that you will receive an answer, although you’ll find more lurkers than experts in most cases. One thread in particular, Stolen Blog Material, might interest you in that the issue was posted and resolved in short order with appropriate actions and results.
- SEO Tools: This post lists several dozen SEO tools that the average person has access to and can use to help rankings in search engines.
- Social Networking: Instead of being thread-specific with posts from the Real Estate Webmasters Forum, we wanted to point to an entire topic that covers everything you want to know about social networking. Is it worth your time and effort? Will trends change? Discover answers to your social networking questions here.
- Some thoughts on SEO Basics: This is a ‘sticky’ thread posted under “Search Engine Ranking Tips” at the Real Estate Forum. This post puts the Web site structure in focus as one part of SEO success. Outside keywords and links, structure is rarely mentioned; yet good Web site structure, or accessibility (separating code from content), is one way to obtain higher site rankings.
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Real Estate Search Engines
Despite the fact that it seems new real estate search engines are proliferating faster than rabbits, it can’t be denied that people are using them. So this list is not exhaustive, but it’s a reminder that you might submit your site to search engines beyond mainstream search engines. This list doesn’t include Yahoo! Real Estate, MSN Real Estate, AOL Real Estate, or Google’s new algorithm that leads viewers to certain properties when the appropriate keywords are utilized. Some ‘search egnines’ listed below are advertising sites in disguise. So, be sure to do your research before you submit your Web site, articles, press releases, or listings.
- DotHomes: This search engine originated in the U.K., spread to South Africa, and now has made its debut in the U.S. Only agents can list, and agents must have a Web site so the search engine can crawl through it to pick up listings for free.
- HomeGain: Brokers and agents can sign up so that potential customers can find you through a localized search.
- HomePages: You can “lock up your neighborhood” with this company, but there’s no indication of the price for that lock. If you’re interested in listing your properties with this search engine, then you need to contact them to learn more. This was one of the first professional sites (after HousingMaps – a mashup of Craig’s List and Google Maps) to use maps as the primary display and navigational vehicle for real estate listings. This site provides complete MLS data.
- HomeThinking: Homethinking users are here to decide which Realtor to buy or sell their home with. They don’t fill out a form for you to contact them, as they expressly contacting you. Real estate professionals can purchase advertising for specific positioning.
- Move.com: Launched in May 2006, Move.com is a comprehensive real estate search engine with exclusive access to REALTOR.com’s® listing content, as well as new home and rental content from all over the Web. So, if you’re connected to REALTOR.com’s® listing content, you don’t need to lift a finger to become listed (see below for REALTOR.com’s® ‘s search engine).
- NeighborhoodScout: This site focuses more on neighborhoods than on actual listings. This is a web-based patent-pending neighborhood search engine that uses neighborhood statistics to build neighborhood profiles that allow individuals and families to instantly find the best neighborhoods for them, in any part of the United States they choose. When you join as a partner in their Realtor Network, your listing could lead people who want to live in your area to your door.
- REALTOR.com®: This real estate search engine is probably the most popular if for no other reason than it’s been around the longest. You must be a member of REALTOR.com® to take advantage of this search engine.
- RealtyTrac: This search engine focuses on foreclosures. Agents can join the “RealtyTrac Agent Network” to promote your services through this search engine to those who seek help with buying and selling property.
- Roost: a new real estate site that bears a strong resemblance to Oodle. It now will enter the very competitive online real estate market for consumer and realtor attention. A potential difference between Roost and its competitors (e.g., Trulia, Zillow) is that it is working with the MLS databases to attempt to get complete for-sale coverage in the markets it serves, which are currently 13 major US metro areas. It also has FSBO listings.
- Trulia: According to this Web site, they’ve sent 20+ million visitors to their partners’ businesses since they launched in about 2004. Additionally, they claim that more than 1/2 million agents and 90+ of the top U.S. real estate brokerages use this search engine to place their links. It helps to have a Web site to link to, but Trulia also allows linking to other online listings. This search engine aggregates broker lists.
- Zillow: Post your listings on Zillow for free, and your photo and contact information appear with your listing. This company also maintains a Virtual Sold Sign™ program (VSS). VSS allows your branding and contact information to remain a part of your sold listing’s page on Zillow.
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These resources are aimed at those individuals who want to find an SEO professional to handle their search page rankings. Every site listed here focuses on the real estate market. Even so, you might compare businesses and get references before you begin to work with any one of these companies.
- AMLA SEO Real Estate Services: This company (Association of Multiple Listing Agents) does one thing – they claim to put you on page one in Google for the keywords that matter to your business.
- Austin SEO Guy: Brandon Cornett has helped clients from various industries improve their search engine visibility — often dramatically. He focuses on the real estate industry, as he has written hundreds of articles and several e-books on the subject of real estate search engine optimization.
- Boston Logic: Take note of Boston Logic’s real estate SEO services, which are derived from their years of experience in the online marketing and real estate industries.
- OptiTrex: Consider this company your personal virtual assistant. Their “Real Estate Search Engine Optimization (Real Estate SEO)” program is customized to deliver results, so they give your company more leads from buyers and sellers.
- Real Estate SEO: This company’s Real Estate Search Engine Optimization (Real Estate SEO) program is customized to deliver results, and they promise to give your company more leads from buyers and sellers.
- Real Estate SEO: A Smarter Approach to Search: This company provides expert SEO services to improve your real estate website’s search engine ranking and traffic levels.
- Realty SEO: The Realty-SEO three step process includes an in-depth marketing analysis of your current web site standings,search engine presence, html code structure, and search phrase popularity. This analysis allows this company to optimize your site for the most relevant phrases and terms.
- SEM Worldwide: This company’s SEO experts have extensive experience servicing the highly competitive real estate, mortgage, legal, and retail industries and also have general experience working in these industries.
- SEO Real Estate Services: This company offers a website review designed to provide the information that you need to determine your next step for achieving top search engine rankings through ethical search engine optimization.
- Social Media Systems: This company takes a bit of a different approach – theysell Social Media Marketing, which includes and results in SEO, traffic and sales. You write content, this company edits, sends your work to Real Estate Magazine (RISMedia.com), and this link leads to higher rankings. This is not a free service.
- The Kosloff Group: The mission of The Kosloff Group is to drive top line revenues for their clients by developing quality real estate web site design, search engine optimization, and web site marketing services and strategies.
- VKI Studios: VKI Studios specializes in real estate Internet marketing and has created a step by step process that will help you sell more houses.
- Voyager International: Bart at Voyager International only accepts six new clients per year for SEO marketing, so you might be on a waiting list depending on your area as Bart only accepts one broker or agent per market. Typical engagements are two to three years and results are 100% guaranteed.
- Website4Me: This company’s real estate SEO services go beyond typical optimization, as they claim to have one of the largest online network of real-estate sites.
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SEO-Friendly Web Design
This list contains businesses that design real estate Web sites with an eye to SEO management. We suggest that you get references and compare services before you decide to work with any one of these Web design businesses.
- Agent Image: In addition to custom real estate web design, Agent Image offers a range of services to help support and maintain your real estate website. These services include Web marketing, TrafficPro lead generation, and SEO services.
- Agent Website: Agent Website was developed by individuals with first-hand Real Estate experience who recognized a need for high quality, yet reasonably priced internet marketing services for Realtors and real estate agencies.
- Baytech: Baytech designs Web sites with an eye to SEO. Additionally, they specialize in the real estate market.
- Builder Consulting: This Web site design company focuses on some of the larger names in the real estate industry for their projects. Founded in 1995 and nationally recognized for its Web & Technology solutions, Kansas-based Builder Consulting offers advanced solutions for companies planning to accelerate their business processes and activities through technology and the Internet.
- Collins Internet Website Solutions: Collins Internet is a Colorado website design firm that creates, clean and professional websites for businesses, Realtors and non-profit organizations. Our mission is to provide top-notch services at competitive prices to our clients and maintain high levels of customer service.
- HoopJumper: HoopJumper’s real estate Web sites feature Industry Best MLS Search Tools, SEO, Top Producer® connectivity and individual attention to logos and other artwork to provide you with a professional edge.
- Montecito Media: Montecito Media specializes in producing business websites and designing custom Internet marketing plans for all businesses, but they do focus on the real estate market.
- Park City Web Design: Park City Web Design focuses on Web design that is SEO-friendly, and they also cater to the real estate market with multimedia presentations for exclusive real estate properties and luxury resort developments.
- Real Estate Trafffic Pros: This company offers to build Web sites for real estate professionals. They also offer SEO services and a full array of marketing tools including business development. This company was founded by an account executive for REALTOR.com.
- Real Estate Webmasters: This company offers templates to those just starting out, and more robust SEO-friendly sites to long-time real estate experts. They utilize an IDX solution that integrates MLS directly into a Web site.
- RNC Internet Services: Doug Towes, former realtor and founder of RNC, designs Web sites for usability and “stickyness” using principals and techniques deemed to be optimal by the Software Usability Research Lab at Wichita State University. He focuses entirely on the real estate market.
- SalemGlobal: SalemGlobal’s mission is to build and market the best and most cost effective interactive online presence for your business. Although they specialize in many businesses, they also focus on real estate, including lead generation and commercial property.
- SEO & Internet Marketing: SEO & Internet Marketing specializes in Web site design and SEO marketing for real estate professionals. They seem to focus on realtors in North and South Carolina, but a stop by their site wouldn’t hurt anyone interested in demanding quality from any other Web site developer. You can use this site as a comparison against what you want from other Web site developers.
- SEO Realty: This company offers Web design and redesign, where their writers will develop search-engine friendly copy for your site. They also provide SEO services specifically to real estate agents.
- The Marketing Shop: The Marketing Shop.com specializes in Real Estate Web site marketing, advertising, SEO and more. This is a boutique agency that caters specifically to the real estate market.
- Webeddy: This company states on the front end that they “work way too hard and too many hours, and if we can’t laugh a little it’s just not going to be fun for either of us.” So gear up you laughbox if you want this company to build and manage your real estate Web site and its SEO marketing.
- Webfodder: This link will take you to Webfodder’s real estate section, where they show you how they build SEO-friendly sites for agents and brokers.
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The following stray tutorials were discovered in our searches. They come from SEO sites that don’t focus on real estate, or from real estate sites that don’t focus on SEO. As time goes by, surely this list will grow!
- A Basic Real Estate Web Site Plan For Visitors and Search Engines: Jim Kimmons, a real estate broker in Taos, New Mexico, provides a series of articles on how to optimize your Web site for SEO and for visitors.
- Craigslist and YouTube Make Great Roommates: Yes, this article is dated. But, the premise is current – if you aren’t using YouTube to market your sites, then this article will explain why you should. While this article doesn’t address SEO directly, you can realize cloning potential through using another site to market your expertise.
- Effective Online Real Estate Advertising; Look at What This Sarasota Realtor Has Done: This article is a bit over the edge, as it’s more of a directory for specific services than an informative instructional piece. But, it’s an excellent article to lead you to SEOAware, where you can find numerous articles to help you refine your SEO skills.
- Improving an East Bay Real Estate Site and Putting a Blog in a Realtor’s Hands: SEOigloo provides great insight into how they rebuilt and improved a real estate Web site to become SEO-friendly.
- Improving SEO on WordPress Websites For Real Estate Agents: Writer Angela Parker begins a series of SEO articles for real estate professionals with this article.
- Optimizing Real Estate Web Sites for Search Engines: This is a free article on how to optimize a real estate website for search engines provided by YAERD.org.
- Real Estate Paradigm Shifts in Keyword Research for SEO: An SEO expert offers insights into how shifts in customer behavior can alter how your keywords work – or don’t work – for your site.
- Real Estate SEO for Beginners: What is search engine optimization and how do real estate agents profit from basic knowledge about SEO? This article was written by Toby Munk from Aspen Real Estate.
- Rebuz: With at least 60,000+ visitors and 230,000+ page views per month, this site can offer tremendous marketing potential for real estate professionals. Find a place on their pages through paid advertising or through press release submissions. You also can submit your site for listing in various categories.
- SEO Explained: From the Echo Forum, a site that focuses on real estate. This short article explains keywords succinctly and offers links to popular SEO tools.
- Terrific Real Estate Search Tools: An article by Gary Price at Search Engine Watch that talks about search tools which are specific to the real estate industry.
- Top 10 Myths of Real Estate Search Marketing: This is just one of many articles written for real estate professionals by the folks at The Marketing Shop.
- Using HubPages.com to Improve SEO: This is a YouTube instructional video about how to write an article and make the links work for you to increase page ranking.
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