There are too many real estate websites on the internet today that are not marketing themselves properly due to lack of knowledge or an outdated mindset on internet marketing. This article will hopefully give you real estate professionals a new perspective on how-to view search engine marketing (SEM) as a whole.
Below you will discover what I call the 7 Deadly Mistakes To Avoid for Your Real Estate Website:
7. Have A Marketing Plan & Follow It!
6. Flash Is NOT Discoverable By Search Engines
5. No Natural Updated Content Systems (Blogs)
4. No Sitemap? Not Crawler-Friendly?
3. Link Building Too Fast = Negative Results
2. IDX & Iframes KILLS Your Website’s SEO
1. Mobile-Friendly (iPhones, Blackberry, iPads, RIM’s Playbooks etc)
Have A Marketing Plan & Follow It!
A marketing plan gives you something to focus on so you can track your progress. Treating a website like a separate business or as your sole medium for advertising will give yourself a new perspective on how you view marketing it. In your plan you should consider the following: Goals (“250/visitors/day by jan-01-2012”), Advertising Mediums (“facebook, twitter and linked in”), Completed Leads (“5/leads/month by jan-01-2012”). By having these three aspects within your plan it will clear up any gray areas.
Flash Is NOT Discoverable By Search Engines
Flash is nice but it should consist of more than 5% of your overall website content. It should not be responsible for your navigation bars or any important links. The reason is a search engine crawler can not penetrate flash code and thus will not be able to find your pages. This is probably the most frequent mistake that I have witnessed. The rule here is limit flash.
No Natural Updated Content Systems (Blogs)
This may seem like a new concept to many of you but it is vital to the success of your real estate website and having it viewed on the first page of Google for your desired keyword/keyphrase.
Naturally updated content systems are things like blogs, forums, surveys, news sections or anything that is frequently updated. This gives Google a reason to rank your website higher because you are giving them more and more content to index.
No Sitemap? Not Crawler Friendly?
Sitemaps are like maps for search engine crawlers to quickly be directed to the pages you want [and do not] want them to index (store in the search engine). Without a sitemap the crawler simply goes to your website and follows the links on each page so if you’re website link is not easily discoverable the crawler will miss it entirely. Remember a crawler is a computer script/robot and not human so even though it may seem like an obvious link to you it may not be visible to the crawler. The rule of thumb is to always make sure your website is easily crawlable by search engines and there are many free tools online to see how crawlers view your website. Simply Google, ‘free crawler viewer’.
Link Building Too Fast = Negative Results
When considering link building as a part of your search engine optimization (SEO) campaign it is vital to remember;
Too much & too fast = negative results
When a website builds links at an “unnatural” rate it is red-flagged, so to speak, by the SE’s and that particular site is actually bumped.
Of course there are ‘blackhat’ (unethical) ways to build links fast and get one Google’s first page within one cycle however there is no telling how long that will last.
Building the links the old-fashion way will certainly be the best way to get ahead. For example, press releases accomplish building backlinks as well as exposure and not to mention that search engines absolutely love it when authoritative websites link back to you.
IDX & Iframes KILLS Your Website’s SEO
IDX is great for real estate websites to make them look populated as well as giving your visitors a broader range of listings to view. But let’s face it 9 out of 10 of the real estate websites that use IDX do not have them incorporated correctly that is why you will notice your IDX features do not blend right into your page or the IDX feed is too basic.
Aside from the designing blunders that IDX brings to the real estate website it also negatively scores your website to search engines because the IDX is not crawlable/discoverable. Depending on the type of IDX you use (Iframes or Hard-Coded API) it varies on how your website is discovered.
For instance Iframes are absolutely the worst method for IDX integration as your website is not getting the credit for the content and in actuallity your website is being hurt in the rankings for not having your own unique/natural content. The reason is Google and other search engines love original content for their cache/index and if you’re not adding to it you’re hurting it.
Hard-Coded API’s are only better than iframes because they only take a bit of the content from a website database whereas an iframe steals the entire website. Of course this hurts your website, greatly, because again Google sees your website as a director of traffic rather than a producer of traffic.
The most recent analysis I have read regarding the percentage of users whom use their mobile devices to use the internet consists of almost 22% of ALL the traffic on the internet!
This number is alarmingly high and proves that your website must be mobile-friendly for all popular formats: iPhone, iTouch, iPad, Blackberry and RIM’s Upcoming Playbook.
Many online real estate website providers do *not* have their websites ready for mobile devices even though that is where the industry is headed. So make sure you are ahead of the curve by having your website be mobile-friendly.