Author Archive | Brent Carnduff

The Challenges of SEO for Real Estate

With 92% of home buyers using the internet during the buying process (NAR 2014), and many sellers entering the market first as buyers – a strong internet presence should be a priority for real estate agents.

Using internet to find seo optimized real estate site

Unfortunately, even with so many agents ignoring their online profiles, Real Estate may still be the most challenging industry in which to develop a presence through Search Engine Optimization (SEO).

SEO Challenges for Real Estate Industry

Search the most common, broad, real estate search terms (i.e. Real Estate + Your City) and you’ll quickly discover that the the Big 3 – Zillow, Realtor.com, and Trulia – own the top positions on the Google Search Result Page rankings.
Real estate seo

Even beyond the Top 3 positions, you’re competing with major sites like homes.com, craigslist, yelp, hotpads, Redfin, big builders like Toll Brothers, and major Real Estate Brands such as Remax and Century 21.

Doesn’t leave a lot of room for the individual agent, small team, or independent brokerage.

Making matters worse, Google has reduced the number of “Local Results” (those associated with Google Maps) from seven to three, while increasing the number of Paid Advertising (PPC) links on the Search Engine Results Page (SERPs). In addition, the Keywords that produce local results have been limited to those that represent a search for an agent (i.e. REALTOR, real estate agent, real estate agency, real estate company, etc.).

Can SEO work for Real Estate Agents?

It depends . . .

I do believe that agents can be successful with SEO under 2 conditions:

  1. They are committed to it: A “little” SEO won’t be of much help, you need to be committed to creating new pages and new content regularly and for the long-term.
  2. They use the right strategies: success will require a combination of broad and long-tail keywords, keyword silos, local SEO and barnacle SEO.

SEO Strategies for Real Estate

1. Broad Keywords: I still recommend using Broad Keywords (i.e. real estate + your city) on your website. Individual agents or brokerages do still show up occasionally in the search results, Google is constantly updating and changing their algorithm, it will help Google better understand your business overall, and you never know what long-tail keyword you’ll end up showing up for because of your primary keywords.

2. Long-Tail Keywords: Long-tail keywords are phrases that are generally comprised of multiple words, they are typically more specific then broad keywords, and are searched less frequently (i.e. How do you buy a HUD home?). Amazingly, even today 15% of all searches are phrases that have never been searched before on Google. Creating a niche market is another great way to focus on longer-tail content.

3. Local Search Optimization: Optimize for your geographical location through website mark-up, registration with “local” search engines, and creating local content.

4. Create Content: You must be committed to creating unique content regularly – at least weekly, but daily would be better! This can be in the form of blog posts, videos, podcasts, etc.

5. Create Content Silos: Use internal linking and content creation to create themed silos. This will help boost your topic authority in the eyes of the search engines.

6. Barnacle SEO: If you can’t beat them join them. Make sure that your profile is prominent on the major sites that dominate the search rankings.

7. Link Building: Backlinks – links on other sites (high quality and topically relevant) that link back to your site are still the most valuable authority indication to the search engines. Realtors need to create link-worthy content and promote it to other bloggers and publishers.

8. Citation Creation: Citations are additional business listing sites that you can register your business on. While not a huge influence on SEO, they are easy to set up and every little bit can help . . .

Check back soon, or sign up to receive our blog in your email inbox (see sign up box in upper right hand corner), future blogs will cover each of these concepts in greater detail.

 

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Developing a Digital Real Estate Agency: Update #1

Digital Marketing for Real Estate

During our journey to building a digital real estate office, my intention is to share not only the steps that we take, but also to produce regular progress reports outlining any progress (or lack thereof) towards our goal of 3000 monthly visitors, and the end of prospecting :-).

My hope is that this blog will not only be a journal of our experiences, but become a place where new and experienced real estate agents can come together to share their marketing/sales successes, failures, questions, and concerns.

Establishing a Baseline

Now 5 months into our switch to Keller Williams and the start of our Real Estate adventures, this first report will summarize our efforts to this point, establishing a baseline from which to measure future progress.

Continue Reading →

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I don’t want to be a Secret Agent

A little over a year ago, in June of 2015, my wife and I moved from our small town home in the mountains of Idaho, to the Las Vegas area.

We knew it would be a big adjustment – moving to a big city, desert climate, and away from our friends and family, however, I didn’t realize the impact it would have on my business.

Secret Agents

Our move to Las Vegas was percipitated by an offer to join a Property Management/Real Estate team here – my wife would become a full-time member of the team (she had always been interested in Real Estate), while I continued my business part-time, and provided marketing services for the team. In time, we would take over ownership of the business and pay the current owner a “retirement annuity” – seemed like a win-win situation.

My Business

Until moving to Las Vegas, my full-time job was online marketing through Advisor Web Marketing – I worked with financial advisors, and specialized in Search Engine Optimization. To help with “Brand Awareness” and to provide an outlet for my SEO interests,  I created this blog.

While on the surface things seemed to be going well with business this past year – new AWM clients, hired as a writer by Search Engine Journal, invited to speak at NAPFA, then FinCon, and XY Planning Network (all long-time goals of mine), it was a very challenging year.

I found it very difficult to manage a business “part-time”, while trying to learn and grow another business. I like to be very focused and engaged in my work, but found I was being stretched between them, not giving either the attention I wanted, or that was required. I was blogging far less frequently than either deserved or needed, and was generally not feeling good about either business.

and then . . .

Have you heard the two cliched warnings: “Don’t go into business with family”, and “Get it in writing”? Yeah – so had we, yet we foolishly (and regretfully) ignored both.

We quickly realized that things here were not as we expected they would be in Las Vegas, and were miserable. We tried to continue to negotiate changes, and to get them in writing, but by that time, had lost all leverage – we were already moved, and now were dependent on the owner for our livleyhood. Finally, in May of 2016, less than a year after our move, we quit.

Now What?

Although we didn’t know how all of the peices would fit together, Katie and I quickly moved our real estate licenses over to Keller Williams and dived into trying to make real estate work.

At a minimum, I would market for her as she worked to build up a real estate business, while I continued to work with Advisors. Another option would be for us to both jump into real estate full-time. There were pros and cons with each choice and I agonized (dramatic but true : ) over them – changing my mind and direction almost dailey. What would be best for me, my wife, our future life vs getting through now? If I went into real estate, what about all of the time I’ve spent creating a business, and my goals to continue speaking and writing about marketing?

The Decision

Finally, after 3 months of indecision, I/we have a plan. : )

I am a REALTOR® with Keller Williams of Southern Nevada.

Advisor Web Marketing: I will continue to work with a small number of advisors, but the big news at AWM is that I’m going to be creating an DIY SEO course for advisors. I’m hoping to have it ready by the time I go to FinCon in Septemeber, and will use that site as a platform for continued education and to sell the courses.

Brent Carnduff Blog: For most of the decision making process, I assumed that this blog would be shut down (as you may have noticed, I have not been writing/publishing here as of late). However, finally, with the help of some friends, decided how I could continue to use this blog. My plan is to continue to write about SEO and digital marketing, but from the real estate perspective.

While there are numerous 3rd party marketing support platforms in real estate, and most agents have a website and Facebook page, very few are effective at online marketing – most do not even try. The industry is still strongly based in traditional prospecting – cold calling and door knocking – as the best way to build a business. My hope is to change that, or at least offer a viable alternative to those that are not comfortable with traditional prospecting.

There . . . I’ve done it! I’m no longer a secret agent (worst thing for a real estate agent). Hope you’ll join me on my adventures in marketing and building a real estate team.

Thanks for reading.

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