#WWGD? What would Google do?
I think this is a question we all ask ourselves when creating an online presence. After all, getting on Google’s good side determines if your real estate business will pop up at top-of-mind for your customers when it comes time to buy.
It’s not uncommon to feel like you’re helpless to Google’s every whim.
My only fear as your real estate marketing partner is what you’ll do because of it. I’ve worked with too many clients who’ve poured hundreds - if not thousands - of dollars into pointless SEO campaigns with scammy marketing agencies.
The hard truth is that SEO in real estate is a beast to manipulate. Just being honest, I rarely give the go-ahead to a client who wants to pursue a purely SEO strategy.
In this week’s video I go over exactly what dangers & mistakes are involved in pursuing a strictly SEO-driven campaign for your real estate marketing and what I recommend you pursue instead.
Let’s talk SEO setbacks…
My hesitations towards pursuing SEO have nothing to do with SEO itself. Optimizing your web presence for search is 100% something you need to be doing with your marketing. Where I draw the line is when real estate agents & professionals want to develop a strategy completely supported in SEO.
There’s a difference between relying on SEO completely and having a holistic, big-picture marketing strategy.
Back when the internet started - heck, even less than a decade ago - SEO was much more powerful than what we see today. This is because there was a lot less content making its rounds in the webisphere.
(To have your mind-blown on how much content & data is created every single day, you can check out this article on Forbes.)
All this new content makes it more difficult to stand out from the competition. Tie that in with the fact that free social & search platforms like Facebook, Instagram & Google make a large percentage of their revenue from advertising dollars.
Meaning web companies want businesses to spend money on their platforms and we see that reflected in their algorithms.
So if you’re purely relying on organic SEO to drive your real estate marketing it’s going to be very difficult to get found, drive leads and get your listings found without some sort of higher strategy.
MONEY IS AN SEO OBSTACLE
When it comes to breaching the front page of Google you have to pay to play in a world where front page ad space goes to the highest bidder.
If I were to look up right now “homes for sale in Philadelphia,” there are large companies like Zillow, Trulia & Realtor - not to mention your main brokers like Remax and Keller Williams - with the capital to flex deep pockets and invest in those key words. Traffic coming from these ads contributes to their organic SEO rankings which gives them a boost higher up the Google totem pole.
What does this mean for the average Joe & Joana agent? It means it will be difficult for the rest of us to compete without relying on something outside of SEO and search ads.
TIME IS AN SEO OBSTACLE
Ranking organically on Google takes a whole hell of a lotta’ time.
Less than five years ago, the name of the game was quantity. It seemed as if everyone’s strategy was to create as much spam as possible to annoy their Facebook friends with. You had to produce new articles at 300 words each no less than three times a week. Then you had to blast it out on Facebook twice a day, Twitter twenty times and Instagram daily.
Then the algorithms caught on.
Modern algorithms are much more concerned with the QUALITY of your content than the QUANTITY.
In 2019, your real estate content needs to take it much deeper. SEO rankings are looking for more originality and larger pieces (think 2,000 word count blog articles) as well as a cohesive strategy behind the content you produce.
Creating a deep strategy purely based in SEO at this level is going to take time. It’s going to take time to create and time before it begins to rank.
A SATURATED MARKET IS AN SEO OBSTACLE
It’s easy to get lost in the noise with the amount of content that exists on the internet. Not to mention, it seems like everyone’s just regurgitating the same articles over and over again - and Google can tell.
SEO algorithms take the level of engagement toward your content into context when ranking your online channels.
When you rely solely on SEO, these are just four of the biggest hurdles you will come up against. And if you don’t find a way to get over those hurdles then there’s almost not even a point of performing SEO in the first place.
Not to mention, what happens to your web presence when the algorithms change?
In 2015, Mobilegeddon had everyone running for the hills and scrambling to fix their websites. I watched firsthand as websites based solely in SEO became completely irrelevant.
I don’t say any of this to scare you away from optimizing your websites and online channels. I spread the word simply to make you think of your presence as something bigger than the sum of its parts.
Let’s talk about SEO solutions…
I would never leave you hanging. I have a couple tricks up my sleeve to help you overcome these common SEO hurdles so you can reach the masses.
GOING OMNICHANNEL IS AN SEO SOLUTION
You’re probably wondering, “what the hell is omnichannel?”
Omnichannel marketing is an approach that uses different marketing platforms (ie. Facebook, Instagram, email, etc.) and develops a delightful customer experience for each of the different platforms.
That doesn’t mean you’ll take the same piece of content and distribute it across every platform on the Internet. What you’ll do is identify where your customer is online, develop a strategy based around that and choose the appropriate channels to engage.
Leave Google to us.
You do what you do best - selling real estate.
Let’s walk through an example: you’re targeting young families looking for rural homes with lots of land. You’ve identified that they watch a lot of YouTube and Instagram videos. With an omnichannel approach to marketing, you would record a long video for YouTube (the primary video you want them to consume) while then tweaking a short, teaser version for Instagram where your desired audience has a higher chance of discovering you.
One last note on omnichannel marketing: your digital marketing is simply an amplification of what you do in person and not a band-aid for it. If you aren’t providing stellar service for your customers in the real world, no amount of digital marketing can cover that up. It WILL follow you to the web.
OPTIMIZE YOUR SEO FOR BEST PRACTICES
Just because we’re here talking about the dangers of relying on SEO for marketing your business doesn’t mean you should neglect your SEO. You still need to optimize your web pages, social media and other online channels according to SEO best practices.
This means performing tasks such as properly titling web pages and that the bio in your social media channels explains who you are and who you cater to.
KEEP THE BIG PICTURE IN MIND
SEO is a marketing tactic. This is entirely different from the marketing strategy as a whole. The marketing strategy is made up of tactics and the big picture strategy is what determines what tactics you’ll implement.
Let’s compare SEO to football. You playbook is the marketing strategy where as a single play is marketing tactic. You implement a series of plays (tactics) from the playbook (strategy) to score a touchdown (achieve your goals).
WRITE FOR PEOPLE FIRST
Always write for people first and search engines second.
We’ve all done it (I’m guilty here too!) where we’ve wanted to perform so badly that we fail to write with humans at top-of-mind. So we stuff in our keyword every chance we get and produce a piece of content that sounds robotic or just reads awkward.
While your content exists within the web and you want it to make sense for search engines to understand, this will be accomplished simply by following those SEO best practices. There’s no need to stuff in keywords or write titles and headings that aren’t natural for humans to read.
I hope knowing that SEO isn’t everything helps you feel more liberated. There are many strategies you can create to marketing your real estate business in a way that best suits you. If you’re ready to take the next step and want to discuss how, book your complimentary discovery call and let’s show the algorithms who’s boss.
Ashley is the co-founder and marketing + tech brain behind Shore to Summit - an education & marketing service platform for real estate professionals.