Category Archives for "real estate agent coaching"
My Top Prediction for SEO in 2015
With all the talk, double-talk, assumptions and guessing about what is what with SEO these days there are a few things you can count on no matter what happens with Google and other search engines.
You will not go wrong by drilling down into your niche, flying under the radar of the big 4.
Choose terms that their SEO departments are not going after. These big guys spend over a $100,000 a day for PPC and they want the biggest bang for their buck so they are not going to piddle around with terms that you can still make good contacts, closings and income from.
My top prediction for SEO moving forward is about branding.
I believe that just as I stated about 9 years ago that it was time to start building your own personal brand on the internet because Google is all about brand.
They have a patent for their Panda algorithm that specifically discusses the importance of ranking search results.
Then add on to that the fact that Eric Schmidt (when he was CEO of Google) stated that the internet is a cesspool and that brands would be who cleans it up.
Think about why the big 4 were able to capture so many top spots on Google page one for the very terms that real estate agents for years before the arrival of those “brands” were dominating by themselves. The problem was agents were driving their sites with IDX and home search results trying to be the search engine for the home buyers in anonymity which came back to bite them because that is absence of brand.
Moving forward into 2015 there are ways in which you can beat the big 4 in organic search using SEO and I predict that this will by establishing the following brands:
1. Your name or your name + real estate agent as a brand ( if you have a famous actor's name)
2. Your company name ( if you are the broker/ owner) as a brand
3. Your niche keyword terms as a brand
There was such a misconception in the SEO world about brands for years before Panda and Penguin, etc. The focus was on generic keywords and not brands. For years, that thinking was put into practice. I have always stated from the beginning of learning SEO that creating your brands online was going to be the way that you can set yourself apart from your competitors.
Those who followed this advice weathered the storm of Panda and Penguin and of the big 4 dominance on the SERPS.
If you are not one of those, it is not too late to start establishing yourself as a brand on the internet in 2015.
We started really working to dominate our company brand on the internet about 6 months ago. Before that for years we had some competing real estate companies who share the same name as our company: International Properties and Investments LLC. One of those companies had almost the entire page of page one on google serps packed in for them.
Today I looked to see how we are doing and to my pleasant surprise, in Google incognito window and logged out of Google, we have ALL 10 spaces on page one with our company name and platforms that have our company profiles.
Get your Free SEO Field Guide – containing your checklists of onpage and offpage SEO tasks, click here.
We can teach you how to do this yourself in our SEO courses or you can order done for you packages which include our virtual assistants to help you with your marketing.
ListHub Listing Agreement Ends With Zillow
The contract that Zillow has with ListHub expired on April 7, 2015.
ListHub has had a contract and provides the data to the big Z of all of our listings.
Move.inc who operates Realtor.com owns the listing syndicator, ListHub.
Move.inc was acquired by News Corp in December.
Right now the big Z gets a few hundred thousand listings out of the 3.6 million that are displayed on Z now.
They have been getting the listings fed to their site since 2011 through ListHub.
The contract is not going to be renewed. A spokesperson for Z said that they are going directly to the MLS participants and brokers to get the data feeds and they are building their own listing syndication tool. They plan to get more listings from our MLS providers.
Florida REALTORS magazine reports:
In a statement, Move Inc. said that “ListHub has been negotiating in good faith a new listing distributing and reporting agreement with Zillow on terms that reflect the best interests of the brokerage industry. As communicated in public announcements, Zillow decided to end those negotiations and announced the launch of their own platform. Zillow chose their own route for their business model and interests.”
Z does not see any issues with converting the data over to the Data Dashboard broker feeds since many of the listings that will get shut off are those in large urban sectors. The only ones that they think might not get pulled in are some rural areas.
You can see where each side stands. We have said in the past that the business model of z was to create their own model. I think that many of the things that they “said” are going to be different than what they are going to end up doing. Something to think about…
SEO For Agents- The Story of A Million Links
If you do your own SEO for your real estate sites and blogs then you most likely know that having website domains with high authority linking to your website or blog is important and always has been.
Years ago, any link would do to help get Google bots to take notice, to crawl those links over to your site. Many real estate agents started setting up what Google calls, “Link Farms”, which are against the terms of service of Google.
Now many of those real estate agents are contacting us with calls of “Help, our site is no where to be found!”
When we are consulted about these instances and we run the scans on the sites- over 90% of them have been hit with a Google penalty because of their ‘artificial link structure'.
Sometimes the real estate agents admit to knowing they participated in a link scheme but most do not even know. Sometimes competitors deliberately create bad links to competing sites.
One broker/owner contacted us because her site was no where to be found on Google. I suspected that she was part of a low level junky link farm because her site was de-indexed.
She is the owner of a large brokerage and a lot of agents who work for her, depend on the site's traffic for leads.
She had just spent thousands of dollars for a brand new website and was not aware of approving ANY links to her site.
The biggest problem was that she had kept her old domain. Of course, we want to keep our older domains because they most often have a good reputation with Google and the older the domain, the more trustworthy the domain is.
But links follow the domains!
So building a new website but keeping your domain won't solve a bad linking problem and won't get your site back in the good graces of Google.
She had to keep her domain because it was her brand, the name of her company!
Just as I had suspected, she was part of a linking scheme that she was not even aware of. What happened is that years ago, she had a homes.com site. Homes.com had at one time been given a Google slap and has since recovered but left a lot of agents' domains in the mud.
When we ran the audit on her site ( domain) we discovered that there were over 1 Million links pointing to her domain!
Obviously if you are not one of the big ZTRs of real estate it is not likely or natural for you to have 1 million links to your website.
What to do?
She had to run a detox and disavow project for her website. She had a choice: she could do this herself or she could hire Dave and I to do this project. Obviously as a busy broker she chose the latter.
It took some time since Google does not allow us to submit that many links to disavow at one time.
Once we ran the detox and the disavow project- and waited about one week- her site was re-indexed.
We found her on page 22 on the SERPS and then day by day she slowly climbed back into the good graces of the top 3 pages on Google SERPS. Then it was time to add on page SEO to get her to page 1.
If you have found that your site is somehow no where to be found you may have been hit with a Google penguin penalty or you may just have bad SEO practices.
Site audits are the best solution to start with. Your site audit will tell you what is wrong with your site and if you have been penalized and if you have, what the solutions may be.
If your audit uncovers bad links linking to your site you can disavow those bad links.
Text me if you need more information about site audits and detoxing your sites at 561-502-1577.
Every Listing is Won Before You Ever Step Foot in The Seller's Front Door
Sun Tzu said over 2,500 years ago in the ‘The Art of War', “every battle is won before it is ever fought.”
Before you ever step foot on the battlefield the battle has already been won.
If you want to be a listing agent or want to be a better listing agent reading Sun Tzu's ‘The Art of War' is a must read.
The battle is nearly always the one going on inside your own head.
The first step to winning the listing is to “know thyself”. You must know who you are, what makes you tick, what keeps you up at night and what you want to jump out of bed in the morning for. You must understand your limited beliefs, where they come from, deal with them and then, let them go. You must get out of your own way.
If you have any sabotaging behavior ( and all people do) ~ I can assure you that you will lose the listing before you cross the door's threshold.
I get calls from agents who are concerned about going on listing appointments only to lose the listing to another agent. When we work on discovering what is it that creates this reality for them, in most instances it is all about that inner battlefield.
It rarely is about the listing presentation itself.
Even if we can trace the losses back to points in the listing presentation inevitability those points being missed or being made are connected to the agent's mindset. It always goes back to this one pivotal point: the conversations going on inside your head and what your subconscious wants to create for you.
The second step is to know the seller. You must know the seller. Have you done your research on the property? Have you looked up the tax appraiser's report on this seller? Have you checked to see if there are any liens on the property, are they in lis pendens status? Have you checked on the MLS to see the property listing history and sales data of this property? All of these are critical to you knowing how to discuss listing the property.
Have you checked out the seller on social media? Have you checked their facebook page, twitter, linkedin and online? Finding out every single detail you can about the seller will help you connect with the seller.
The third step is sincerity. Does the seller feel like you just want a listing or does the seller feel like you care about their problems, pains and issues? Connecting with the seller on common ground is the key to building trust.
We all know that people only do business with those they know, like and trust. Be that person.
The text of The Art of War is in the public domain.
Here is a link to a downloadable pdf file of the book. Just click on the download link on this library: http://www.paxlibrorum.com/books/taowde/
Many people will take works and text that is in the public domain and add commentary to it in order to copyright and publish the works in book form.
You can buy one that is annotated on Amazon The Art Of War
from $3.99 to $7.99 for a paperback book, the audio version is $1.99 and the Kindle version is .99 cents.
If you would like the simplified text file, the MIT has one here: http://classics.mit.edu/Tzu/artwar.1b.txt.
Listing Experts Academy is the perfect program for agents who strive to be the best listing agents in their markets.
Win the battle by becoming a member today. Text me at 561-502-1577 to get started today.
Reminder: Wednesday – I will be the Guest Speaker on Realbird. This is a FREE webinar!
I will be sharing with you the latest in how to fly under the radar of the big ZTR's.
You will also learn the 9 best tips we use for SEO dominating.
And we will be going over the touchpoints and reaching out through your verticals.
Lots of great stuff to learn and apply to your blogs and websites and social media!!
We have nearly 400 registered for the webinar so far.
I hope to see you there!
Go here to register: http://goo.gl/ex2g6U
The One Thing You Can Do Right Now to Compete Against the Big Z
Now that Trulia and Z merged with Z on top their plan is to continue to compete on the SEO organic landscape with both companies in tact- so in other words- as some agents had hoped, they won't be combining their SEO under just one URL. Actually that would not be smart for business for them to do so.
Instead they will continue to have both T and Z at the top of many of the real estate search results pages.
All is not lost for us agents who want to get our own seller leads from our blogging and other networking online.
There are a few steps you should put in place before trying to rank for your keywords:
1. Know your avatar.
2. Speak in a voice that resonates with your specific avatar.
3. Drill down to find the keywords that your avatar will use to find you.
4. Make sure that you do your keyword research to measure commercial intent.
Once you have those 4 steps in place you can move on to the one thing that will help you fly under the radar of those big ZTRs.
Click here to watch this free 2 part short video tutorial on the one thing you can do right now to get on page one for keywords that sellers actually look for online.
While you are at it, please like my Facebook fan page – this is where the video is.
See you at the top!
BROKERS BEWARE: Do You Use Drones for Your Listing Photography?
When we were at our homeschool convention in Orlando we took Tristan to his first “rock concert”. It was a Christian rock band playing for the attendees of the convention. I noticed a photographer at the front side of the stage controlling a drone with his remote.
I was amazed at this technology as I watched the drone flying above the crowd taking video. I thought about how many agents use this same technology for taking images of their listings. The fly over drones take very good photos and you get a great in depth perception of the lay out of the land. I also of course, being me, thought about how everything that is invented can be used for good or evil. I thought about the intrusions in our personal lives and privacy by governments using drones. There is ying and yang.
Now, the FAA ( Federal Aviation Administration) has issues subpoenas to real estate brokers for using drones to take images of their listings. The FAA just went after several New York City brokers. The FAA is issuing fines for unlawfully using drones as drones are considered flightcraft NOT model airplanes.
The FAA does not allow the use of drones for commercial uses. Federal law outlaws this. As with most government rules, they fall behind the times and technology advances so the best thing to do for now is to stop using your drones until the FAA creates the rules for commercial uses of drones.
They do allow hobby drones and have also given police and first responders some rights in using drones.
The National Association of REALTORS® has warned real estate brokers and agents to NOT use drones for getting pictures of their listings until the FAA releases rules about using the drones. The FAA is expected to release their rules in the later part of 2015.
If you use drones in your real estate business you take the risk of getting fined by the FAA if they find out. How can they find out? Of course, your listing's neighbors can call them:). Be careful out there!
Photo credit: By Clément Bucco-Lechat (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons with permission to alter photo.
Google Announces They Dropped Rich Snippet Author Images from SERPS
If you go to the Google Structured Data Testing Tool and add your sites, you will still see a preview of your profile photo but in the search pages we will no longer see our photos pop up.
Google also dropped our circle counts. This is not just for real estate agents but for every search except we have seen some news media sources still having their logo showing up.
John Mueller from Google said they did some “experimenting” and “discovered” there was no difference in CTR. Hmmm, that is not what they said before:). Even in the webmasters tools section Google was promoting everyone to do their authorships stating that you would get better CTR.
Well, of course, you are going to get more clicks on search results with visual images than just text entries. Google is saying that this is being done to make the mobile search experience appear smoother. But then they have said things before that were not really true, so who knows!
The chatter in the SEO forums and Google + communities is that all of our author images were distracting people from clicking on the ads, the pay per click ads. Some say big brands are complaining their CTR is dropping because searchers are clicking on images of people in organic listings. That does make a lot of sense although it is speculation.
Whatever their real reasoning is, it is what it is.
One more reason to understand that internet marketing is constantly changing and we should not ever rely on any one source for all your traffic, clicks or contacts.
Understanding Keyword Research and How it Relates to Your Content
It is best if you can create a balance between doing your keyword research and actually blogging, adding value and content.
If you are very analytical person you might get really hung up trying to discover the exact and best keywords for you to develop your content. This can really hold you back. I like the saying”Good is good enough”.
While you should not start a website or blog blindly without any knowledge or thought into what your keywords would be and without any research into whether anyone is actually looking for keywords that you're blogging about, you shouldn't overthink it either.
I find that many business owners, agents and brokers who hire me to do keyword strategy sessions with them are on the wrong track as to which keywords they really should be writing with.
So for instance buyers will type into Google totally different keywords phrases than sellers will. Do you want buyers or do you want listings? That is the first decision to make.
The first thing that you need to decide is who you're going to be writing to. A lot of people start to randomly type into Google keyword tools different keywords just to see which ones are the most popular, the most searched, have the most traffic and the least competition.
You can buy all the different types of software that they are selling on the Internet to do keyword research with and even use Google's Adwords but none of that is can make a difference if you're speaking to the wrong audience because you're just going to get a high bounce rate.
Before you start any keyword research, the first order of business is to develop your avatar. This is the one thing that most people will not do. And even if they do they only scratch the surface. You really need to go deep with this. Successful marketing campaigns create avatars that are very specific down to even the way that their avatar looks, what they say, what they eat and drink. They put a face to their avatars by cutting out of picture they have found that is that look of their avatar in the demographic that they're going after.
In Listing Experts Academy we have two modules dedicated to working on your avatar. That is how important this process is for marketing online.
Engagement, transparency, authenticity and tuning into your avatar's frequencies is how you will connect with your target market.
Developing credibility and expertise in your niche is more important than keyword research. When you really get to know your avatar you will instinctively know what keywords they use when they type phrases in Google to find you.
Once these steps have been finished you want to make sure that your keywords have high commercial intent within your niche.
You don't need high-volume keywords if you have high commercial intent keywords. More on that in another blog post. For more information click to learn about Listing Experts Academy– including a set of 4 free tutorials to help you develop you get more listings.
Marketing in 2014 is all About Your Avatar- Dove Gets it Spot On
We started blogging on ActiveRain in 2007. It will be 7 years this year. During the past 7 years Google has made numerous updates to the way that their algorithm finds content on the internet and how it verifies the validity of that content, quality of that content and authority of that website.
The one thing that has remained a constant has been: write good quality content that your reader would like to read.
That has not changed in the last 10 years. For SEO purposes you still need to add keywords and become an authority site.
But once your blog or site is found~ there must be a reason for your reader to stay there to read what you wrote.
Companies, agents, writers and marketers who get this one part right will weather any SEO storm that Google decides to send out.
Your avatar is the one person who wants to buy a house from you ~ not hundreds of people who want to buy a house in your market.
Your avatar is the one person who wants to sell your house with you ~ not hundreds of people who have a home to sell.
Once you know and understand your avatar~ you then write directly to your avatar invoking emotion, establishing a relationship of trust and helping the avatar to understand and know you.
This goes back to the original reason that never changes of how people buy: know, like, trust.
An example of this that I found recently was the Dove company. They have really embraced social media that speaks to their avatar and they have done a brilliant job of this.
In this particular campaign the Dove company speaks to their avatar ~ who is a woman who is prettier than she believes herself to be. So the avatar is a middle aged woman who does not have the greatest self esteem. There is a lot more to their avatar but we won't go into the entire phsyche of the avatar at this time.
This video to the Dove avatar is effective and invokes emotion. It touches a woman in her heart and soul. This connection develops an emotional attachment that can even become one of defending Dove creating a “fan”. This video has nearly 62 million views.
Steve Jobs and Apple did this same marketing strategy brilliantly. Apple “fans” ( including myself) are more than just buyers, we become salespeople for Apple and don't even get paid a commission to do so. That is a raving fan.
You may need to get your tissue ready as you watch this video from Dove. While it is hard to watch this video from just purely a marketing standpoint, because it will draw you in emotionally, try to. I had to watch it a few times before I could separate the emotion from the strategy. But once you can do this, I want you to see HOW Dove is speaking and connecting with their avatar. The engagement is key.
Engaging your avatar and forming that relationship with you is how you know you are adding the right content so that when your ideal prospect finds your blog or website, they will stay to read what you spent your time writing.
And as an aside ~ If you don't think you are pretty or beautiful then you most definately must watch this video. You should show this video to your daughters and your sisters.