One-Word Formula For Improving Your Real Estate SEO

real estate seoWe’re about to give you a one-word insight into part of Google’s secret sauce for real estate SEO (search engine optimization).

That word is “engagement.”

You need it to succeed on search engines and move your company up on the search results.

Now, by engagement, we don’t mean go out and ask your neighbor to marry you.

We mean how well people engage with your website.

And there are some very simple strategies you can do to boost that engagement.

So what does “engagement” mean when it comes to Google and Bing?

It basically asks this question, how well do visitors interact with your website?

For example, Google measures a factor called “Time on Site and Time on Page.” That means how long does a visitor stay on a page and on your website, in this day of “click and go.”

If the content is interesting, obviously, they will stay longer. Google and Bing like that. It’s a signal to them that you offer relevant and interesting content.

(Remember, after all, Google and Bing base their own performance and rankings on how well they send visitors to a site that answers their search questions).

Another factor is how many pages does a person visit on your site? Again, if your site is chock full of relevant information, it’s obvious that a consumer will check out several pages as they look for answers.

Then there are referrals. If you like the content on a page and share it with your friends either by email or social media site like Facebook, the search engines will see that as another signal you offer valuable and relevant information for consumers.

Are you seeing a pattern here? Yes, Content is still King.

Google and Bing have hundreds of other factors they use in choosing where to rank a website.

Some of those include:

– how your page is coded (the beauty of a WordPress real estate website)

– how many sites link to your website (not easy to do and definitely easy to mess up if you use bad “black-hat” techniques)

–  and numerous other items such as “site speed” or how fast a page loads onto a person’s screen when they come to your website. Hint: if it takes too long, not good.

In fact, we can’t name all the ranking factors because, frankly, nobody knows all of them. And even if somebody claimed to know them, both Google and Bing are notorious for constantly adjusting and changing their criteria (the secret SEO sauce).

But there is one thing many experts will agree is a key factor – engagement.

Improve your real estate SEO with real estate data

So as a broker or agent you have your basic real estate website.

You get your share of “looky lous,” people who are not looking to buy a home and just daydreaming as they flip through your pages (and probably at a rapid rate. Remember “time on page?”)

That’s fine. Someday they might become customers.

Then you have your genuine prospects who will spend a legitimate amount of time on your site, looking for answers.

Naturally, you want more of these people. They take substantial time, energy and money to acquire. And search engines can certainly make a big difference in the number of qualified visitors you attract.

One way you can “engage” all visitors is by offering them more valuable information on your website. Answer more of their questions.

Sure, you will have your listings and plenty of photos and descriptions.

But what else can you offer?

What about in-depth, current and accurate information about various neighborhoods? That will attract every visitor’s attention.

Show visitors:

  • Recent home sale trends – are homes selling in this neighborhood? What are they selling for? Are home prices going up? (That might just turn a looker into a buyer or a seller quicker than they planned).
  • How about School Information? Show visitors the schools in those neighborhoods. Then point out the number of students, student/teacher ratios, school demographics, etc.
  • What about Crime Statistics? Everybody will check crime stats. That’s a major concern for every citizen at all levels of home ownership.
  • Demographics of the neighborhoods? One part of town might attract lots of college graduates. Or perhaps, there is a large group of middle-aged people living over here in this neighborhood. This gives buyers a feel for who their neighbors will be.
  • Price Index? Hmm, I wonder how prices for apparel, food, transportation in my town compare to prices elsewhere.

Now, as you read down this list of important content for home buyers and sellers, do you see the benefits as far as real estate SEO?

All of this relevant information keeps readers engaged longer on your website.

Stops them from flipping from one page to the next.

Perhaps entices them to bookmark a page or share a link with a friend.

Know who’s watching all this activity? Google and Bing. They are going to like what they see.

If your site meets their other criteria as well, the search engines may see this as another reason to move your website up in the rankings, especially if your competitors are lacking in this area.

Every real estate pro, and frankly every businessperson knows, higher search engine rankings are golden.

We’re not going to say that adding real estate data is going to improve your real estate SEO overnight.

But adding any kind of relevant data is going to help.

With massive data feeds from Home Junction embedded on your website, you can easily add quite a bit of relevant real estate data. All it takes is embedding some code. You don’t need to go out and find that data – Home Junction does that for you.

(And think of the marketing potential of telling the public about all this valuable content you now have on your site. It’s definitely a traffic driver. Check out Trulia. They just moved all of their neighborhood data up higher on their pages).

Want to engage consumers better on your website for better real estate SEO?

Provide more engaging content.

 

 

 

Real Estate Data Change By Major Website Reveals A BIG Opportunity For Local Brokers And Agents

big real estate data

A very interesting twist on real estate data took place on one of those national real estate websites recently that might represent an Achilles Heel type scenario for brokers and agents.

The twist involves the site’s re-positioning of their neighborhood data from less noticeable areas to a more prominent area near the top of the page.

In fact, on that site, consumers can easily switch back and forth from the listing…to the neighborhood data.

Why the change to put more emphasis on neighborhood real estate data?

For one, the mega company conducted a survey and found that a large majority of homeowners consider the neighborhood to be one of their top priorities when searching for a property. More than ever. In fact, many of them would be willing to give up certain amenities such as a pool or a finished basement for a great neighborhood instead.

Funny. We knew that all along.

That’s why Home Junction has focused on becoming one of the leading providers of hyper-local real estate data to broker and agents.

Use real estate data just like the major websites

But here’s where the Achilles Heel part comes in.

Local brokers and agents don’t have to look at these mega-real estate sites in envy, wishing they could provide the same valuable neighborhood data as they do.

Now, with modern Big Data technology, it’s possible for an agent in Boondock, Iowa, to offer superb, high-quality, accurate real estate data just like the big boys do.

Brokers and agents can parley that local information just like the national sites to generate their own real estate leads. But what’s great about this functionality, they get to keep all their own leads. They don’t have to pay a nickel for them.

And they can also use this neighborhood real estate data to build up their own brand as the go-to company in their market.

They can position themselves as the place with local knowledge. A big advantage every broker or agent should be exploiting against the larger sites that are based somewhere out there in the wilderness and certainly not on Main Street in Your Town USA.

Years ago the process of gathering real estate data may have seen daunting. Pull information from there. Grab information from the local Realtor’s association site (just like every other agent can do.).

But that’s not the case in today’s atmosphere of technological empowerment. Just like you can shoot a photo or a video from your phone, you can also post key neighborhood data on your website.

By just embedding a few lines of code, an agent can pull in reams of hyper-local information and display this data on any page they want.

That includes Recent Home Sales, Sale Price Trends, Local Schools, Crime Ratings, Demographics, Cost of Living Indices, Area Businesses. A wealth of stuff that homebuyers want to know (and sellers want to see next to their listings).

Because here’s another benefit that local real estate data provides. A powerful marketing tool. Don’t just show property listings in your email blasts and social media posts.

Also, show local trends in real estate. Display charts pointing out the direction of home sales each quarter. Show more charts indicating the direction of home prices (talk about a way to get sellers off the fence).

Become a resource for local business people to check the makeup of the community as far as demographics. Give journalists and bloggers some interesting tidbits on the number of college graduates in a given market. Or, let them know how the cost of food and apparel in one market compares to another.

The change that this national real estate website made is very, very revealing. They obviously see the importance of hyper-local real estate data. Neighborhood data. Their research backs it up.

Now, as a local real estate broker or agent, make your move with your own real estate data. You now have the advantage to make yourself more of a local resource than any website based thousands of miles away.

 

 

Real Estate Map Tool Can Help Buyers Who Need “Co-Living” Arrangements

co-living home buyersLet’s face it, living in urban areas or suburbs close to cities is getting incredibly expensive and using a real estate map tool is one way to help home buyers get into a home using a “co-living” strategy.

Yes, home prices and rental rates are going through the roof in some markets. San Francisco, New York and Los Angeles are seeing record highs for prices. Ironically, Millennials want to move to urban areas or close by more than ever. They are in essence, creating their own dilemma.

In addition, Millennials is most markets have held off the purchase of any property. They didn’t want to commit to a mortgage (even though, in another ironic observation, mortgage rates are near record lows, even if they have been creeping up slightly. A rate of 4% is still incredibly attractive to the 9% rates and higher we’ve seen).

But that is changing. Mainly due to skyrocketing rents. So how can a young person afford to buy a home? One solution that is a growing is a movement  called “Co-Living.”  What is co-living? It’s a concept that basically says, “I can only afford this place if I find a bunch of roommates.” It’s a movement similar to the days of college dorms where a group of young people will all live together under one roof.

What does this have to do with a broker or agent?

Many home buyers today are looking at properties with the potential to rent part of the property out to help cover the mortgage.

It’s a smart strategy. The rental market is super-hot right now. If you own a home or condo in a decent location and can offer an attractive rate in an attractive area, you will get inquiries from renters.

This is where a real estate pro can paint a picture of how a property can be a good source of income.

Offer real estate map tools to help buyers attract renters

One of the best ways to paint that picture is a real estate map tool, such as a  widget offered by real estate data providers such as Home Junction.

Sure, you can tell a home buyer this is a great location.

But why not SHOW them how that property is an ideal location on a map embedded on your website? Get the wheels spinning in the buyer’s head on how they can also use this information to attract renters.

For example, with the real estate map tool, an agent or broker can point out a prospective property pulled from MLS data.

Then, with the real estate map tool, they can start displaying amenities within certain distances of that property.

Maybe it’s a coastal town and the property is located ten miles away from a beach.

Or perhaps it’s a hipster type town and the home is located three miles from downtown.

There’s a cool bookstore over here, just a mile away. Love Starbucks? Here are two within a five-mile radius. Like yoga, here are two places within two miles. Sushi restaurants, hip clubs, coffee houses – point them all out. in relative proximity to the home for sale.

Some of these amenities can have as much drawing power as a refurbished bathroom or a kitchen with upgraded appliances.

Alternative transportation is a big plus with Millenials. According to AAA, many young people are actually delaying the purchase of an automobile. They prefer public transportation or even commuting by bicycle. (Another way to be able to save enough money to purchase a property).

Use the real estate map tool to show home buyers how they can show renters that from this location, there are many amenities that are “bikeable or walkable.”

You don’t need to get in a car to purchase a gallon of milk. Ride your bike.

Tell them about the parks nearby. Paint a picture of the home buyer riding their bike through a wooded area or walking their dog along a river bank.

Paint a picture of a home buyer telling potential renters the same thing.

Same goes with train stations and bus stops. Few people want to drive into an urban area – roads are more congested than ever. Tolls are higher than ever. Parking a car in a city for a week eats up a day’s pay.

Transportation amenities are golden. With a real estate map tool, you can point out all the commuting amenities.

How about schools? There are quite a few single parents in society. They are all looking for inexpensive places to rent. Great schools would be an enormous draw and in fact, the main draw for them.

Provide a feed on your website with current school data. Show buyers a comprehensive overview of schools in the area with student/teacher ratios, school demographics, etc.

The challenge of convincing consumers today to purchase a home might seem enormous in current conditions. Inventory is low. Prices are high. Millennials are still reluctant to take out a 30-year mortgage.

But real estate pros know challenges come with the territory. They key is to be able to adapt to market conditions and use the right tools to address those conditions.

What’s encouraging, is that today, with big data and geo-spatial technology, real estate pros have an incredible array of inexpensive real estate data tools at their disposal. Tools they can display on their own website (and make sure they keep their clients or generate their own leads).

Some consumers will want to consider “co-living” as a home buying strategy. That’s fine. You can help them. And with a real estate map tool integrated into the local MLS, you will have the best resources at your disposal to assist them.

 

 

 

 

 

Real Estate Data Is Perfect For Starting A Conversation On LinkedIn

real estate on linkedinReal estate data can be a powerful asset when it comes to creating popular and attention-getting social media posts.

Most people are obsessed with Facebook. With more than one billion users, Facebook certainly dominates the social landscape.

But as many of you know, Facebook can be kind of frivolous. You will see all sorts of content posted on Facebook – cats jumping, dogs talking and people engaged in crazy pursuits. After all, it’s a site for friends.

The same can basically be said for Instagram as well. Pinterest-  who knows, there certainly seem to be a lot more recipes than anything else.

But for those serious about doing business within their community, nothing beats LinkedIn. That’s why the site attracts 433 million users worldwide. Their stats are jaw dropping.

People on LinkedIn don’t want to see cats doing flips or dog leaping for Frisbees. They want to see interesting, business-related content.

That’s why adding a hyper-local real estate data widget to your website gives you a fantastic way to communicate on LinkedIn.

Nearly 62% of people who use LinkedIn say they have been successful in using this platform to translate online interests into offline discussions.

Data providers such as Home Junction can provide local agents with a doorway to an incredible treasure chest of interesting local information.

Real estate data can help you start a LinkedIn conversation

For example, an agent can post a notice about the latest Market Conditions. Include a chart showing Home Sales Data and the direction they are taking. Are home sales going up in a town? Flat? Dropping? Doesn’t matter. Every local business person will be interested in this.

Same with prices. Show charts portraying the latest direction of home prices. Every business person wants to see where prices are going, not just for their home, but also as an indicator for the local economy.

Go deeper. Post demographic information. Many local business leaders would love to see the median incomes in their area are on the rise.

Or perhaps, post a blog about how the number of people with bachelor’s degrees has risen. Give LinkedIn members a pie chart with an entire snapshot of the level of education in their marketplace.

Show the local cost of living index.

This is powerful stuff. The type of content that gets shared and liked. Many business people have acquaintances who are perhaps looking to relocate to your area. They will pass this information on to them.

Once you have this bevy of local data at your fingertips, you have assets that make it easy for you to reach out to other business people in your community.

Beef up your profile – tell people you now have awesome hyper-local information tools they might want to follow. Offer to answer their questions about the local market.

Join local business networking groups.

Create your own group as an administrator.

Join local groups with a common interest- say promoting a green environment. Or perhaps there is a local group filled with marketing people such as a local Advertising Federation organization.

This valuable local real estate data will give you the confidence to reach out to individual business people to network one-on-one.

After all, one of the keys to social media is not just the post you create, but the people you connect to. If you have followers or follow people who are not key influencers for your type of business, you might be wasting your time.

Create a target list of people you would like to interact with. When you ask to be connected with them, put in a note about how you would be glad to provide them with some local real estate data. Perhaps the person you are reaching out to is in a related field – a builder, mortgage broker, banker, landscaper, architect. They will see the value in connecting with you if you offer them something valuable.

Don’t just ask them to tell all their followers about you – give them a valid reason to share and like your posts. Research shows, people will share content if they think it will make them look good in the eyes of their followers.

When someone shares something, they are basically saying: “Hey folks, look at this information I just found about local real estate conditions. I thought you would be interested.” (And see how cool I am for providing it to you).

LinkedIn also has some premium services which allows you to send InMail (email messages) directly to people. Find those individuals who seem to have a high stature on LinkedIn. People with lots of followers.

Bottom line: if you have something interesting to say on LinkedIn, such as real estate data, people are more likely to spread the word about you. This will increase the number of your followers.

Those people are not just acquaintances. They are all prospects themselves.  Followers who are either homeowners who might sell their homes or potential home buyers. These are also people who know other people who are looking to sell or buy.

In recent years, LinkedIn has boomed as a social media platform. Just about anybody in any business will have a presence there. This is the networking tool of the 21s century. Work it.

They say you don’t sell on LinkedIn. You start a conversation. What a great conversation opener you will have with this in-depth, information that most people don’t possess

LinkedIn is for serious minded people. Get some seriously valuable real estate data to use as your content on LinkedIn and you will get people’s attention.

 

Real Estate Data Can Help You Quickly Become A “Thought Leader” In Your Market

real estate thought leaderA “thought leader” is a buzzword that continues to circulate in business circles today but with local real estate data, a savvy broker or agent can apply this strategy to set themselves apart in their niche markets.

By basic definition, a thought leader is someone who is seen as an authority in their field and carries considerable influence.

When it comes to thought leaders, most people will think of high-profile personalities such as Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Elon Musk, Seth Godin or Tony Robbins.

But the beauty of this concept is that you don’t have to have an enormous following to be a thought leader. You also don’t have to be a millionaire…a journalist with their own TV show…or the author of a best-selling book.

You don’t need to be nationally-recognized, a popular celebrity in your state or even a big-wig in a major city. The size of the sphere of influence does not have to be that large at all.

In essence, a broker or agent can become the “thought leader” in just their neighborhood. And they can achieve that status by embedding hyper-local real estate data feeds into their website.

The actual role of a thought leader is kind of vague. While the term was first seen in literature as early as 1887, the whole concept has been bantered about and applied in multiple ways with each decade.

But there are some basic characteristics that give a business person this coveted status.

Real estate data establishes authority

Here are some tips on how to achieve the mindset of a “thought leader:”

In-depth knowledge: this factor is a given if you are going to be a leader in any field. For real estate, you not only need to know the business, you need to know your marketplace. That means doing a deep-dive into all the information you can find about that marketplace.

One of the best ways to do that is to acquire a real estate data feed from credible data providers such as Home Junction.

This is a quick way to gain tons of expert knowledge. Imagine, with just a few lines of code, you can have access to an enormous database of hyper-local information.

That includes Real Home Sales, Home Sale Trends, Demographics, Cost of Living Indices, Home Value Assessments, School Information, etc., etc. etc.

Sure, lots of brokers and agents in your market have great websites, listings, fancy photographs, etc.

But you can go much, much further with all this real estate data. That’s a big step to standing out in the home sales field.

Credibility: sure, people can boast all they want about how they are experts in their area. But how do they back it up? BS only goes so far.

Thought leaders not only speak about their marketplaces with assertiveness, they back up their words and comments with facts.

In this era of “fake news,” consumers are more skeptical than ever. Showing actual real estate data to back up your comments is a major strategy when influencing people.

For example, an agent might attend a Rotary meeting or any kind of meeting for that matter. They might get up and talk about their years as an agent, the changes they’ve seen, blah, blah blah.

Now think about the agent who gets up to speak, touches on some of the same subjects, but then pulls out reams of hyper-local real estate data about recent homes sales or the demographics of the local area.

That person also displays big charts showing trends with Property Sales Data or a pie chart showing Cost of Living Indices for apparel, transportation, food costs, etc.

Who is going to be recognized as a true thought leader?

It doesn’t have to be a room full of people either. You could be making the same presentation in front of two very important people, a couple who are seriously considering listing their $750,000 home with you.

Consistency: the next big factor to establish authority is to display yourself as an expert consistently over time. Thought leaders are not just one-hit wonders. They don’t just make a big splash one time and think they are going to ride that wave for the rest of their careers.

Real thought leaders consistently demonstrate their authority. They speak before different groups. They are quoted in local newspapers. They publish important information on their website and in their blogs. They continue to have compelling, fact-filled posts on social media sites. Their emails are always filled with interesting and informative content, not just fluff.

The beauty of real estate data feeds, is that there is a never-ending source of high-value material that an agent can access and share on a consistent basis.

Profit: because one of the other characteristics of a thought leader is that this is a person who actually profits from what they preach. This person is not an academic or a journalist. They are not theorists. A thought leader is someone who actually walks the talk. They have been able to use their authority to make a living.

With this in-depth expertise and data, they are able to offer top-notch service to their clients…and it pays off.

The influence and the information they deliver is real. It’s credible. It’s valuable. If it wasn’t, they wouldn’t be making money from it.

This strategy of constantly offering a  flood of valuable information will eventually lodge deep into the minds of consumers, prospects and influencers in the target area.

At that point, this agent will emerge as the “go-to” person in their field. The thought leader.  And over the years, that position has proven to provide a very high return on their investment of resources, time and dedication.