16 BLOGGING MISTAKES REALTORS CAN AVOID TO IMPROVE SEO
You’re on the shopping cart, in the mailbox, in an email blast, or maybe on a Facebook update — but are you in someone’s conversation? Has your story resonated in such a way that people think about your message, your story, your brand – AFTER they shut their computer screen? Are you just another face on a postcard, or are you seen as a trusted source?
In a perfect world, your name would pop-up in those intimate ” barber shop conversations,” or even a Friday night family dinner! In a perfect world, your message would be so informative and impactful, that it would literally infiltrate the daily life of local civilians –affecting their decision-making process when it comes time to buy or sell a home. After all, that is the goal of marketing. Multiple touches creates an impression that leads to trust and eventually, conversion. But lets face it, real estate isn’t the most sensational of topics, so it often takes backseat to more stimulating topics like – the latest sci-movie, the best Saturday night hangout, the best local eatery or Kim Kardashian’s newest wardrobe pick.
Some Realtors still buy into the idea that effective marketing is one-sided, so all they do is talk about themselves! They tweet information about open houses, write short blogs about recently sold homes, and post housing pictures on Facebook – and yet wonder why they have very little interaction. This type of strategy is ineffective because the very nature of social media requires a two-way conversation.
Real estate marketing is essentially “relationship marketing.” Since real estate has always been based upon relationships, just because things in the industry have shifted to technology, doesnt’ change the importance of building trust within your community. Real effective marketing is about informing your audience, being generous with valuable information, and giving them something to think about throughout the day. When this happens– you are likely to end up in someone’s conversation and never even know about it– now we are talking “dark social.”
“Dark social,” a term coined by internet marketers, describes the reputation and promotion of your brand that is NOT trackable by metrics. Simply put, it is the “word-of-mouth” promotion that so many real estate businesses are built on. In fact, this should be the goal behind the message we spread. Leave an impression and make a statement– so when the time comes for someone to need your service, you are the first one in mind.
Right now, the most successful real estate agents online are basically walking encyclopedia’s– full of knowledge and insight about their local market. They act and prove to be the authority by showing what they know. They answer questions, provide information, create compelling visual content and broadcast it to their community.
If you are looking to improve your online presence, blogging is one of the best ways to get started. Yet, blogging can be ineffective if handled incorrectly and end up being a waste of time. Check out these 16 mistakes, and try to avoid then when it comes time to write. Do this and you will be on your way to lasting online success.
WHAT NOT TO DO WHEN YOU BLOG
1- Not Blogging
Believe it or not, not blogging continues to be one of the biggest hang-ups for real estate agents. Just getting past this hurdle is winning half the battle. There is plenty of information out there about how to effectively blog. Before you waste another second – just begin!
2- Not Being Consistent
Now that you’ve got the ball rolling– don’t stop — and don’t expect to end up on the first page of Google after one month of writing. Blogging is a long-term commitment that usually takes months ( if not longer) before you START to see a real noticeable difference. Most companies with high rankings on Google have been producing valuable content for years. Well respected search marketers note cases where great pieces of content haven’t been discovered until 2 years after creation! This is normal in the online world. Don’t approach blogging as a short-term commitment or you will be disappointed. Only consistent blogging over an extended period of time will give you the results you desire. There is no short cut. It boils down to hard work and perseverance.
3- Wrong Message
Tailoring a message that is specific to one’s audience is key to reaching prospects. Write with your potential customers in mind and become the “expert.” Answer the questions an ideal customer would ask and be generous with sharing information. Again, this is where we have to be careful about self-promotion. Promotional content is appropriate — in ration, but if it’s all you talk about – you are only hurting yourself. Try to apply the 80/20 rule where 80% of content revolves around sharing and giving away valuable information, while the remaining 20% is promotional.
4- Use Repurposing as Only Content Strategy
Sharing 3rd party content and adding your perspective on that subject is one of many good practices. But if your entire content strategy depends on “piggybacking” off of someone elses ideas, you probably won’t get far. When I say “piggybacking,” I mean writing a quick summary of a blog post, linking to that article and then hitting the submit button. What’s wrong with this strategy? One, your blog post is completely unoriginal and you have added no additional value to the readers. Not only is Google good at determining whether or not a blog post is an uninspiring copycat, if you don’t add your own opinion and offer something unique, why should a reader want to check out your blog above anyone elses? Secondly, if your blog posts is uninspiring and too short in length, Google might consider that “thin content”– and too much thin content can negatively affect a websites search ranking. Case and point, even when sharing third-party material, be sure to add your own ideas because simply summarizing is not enough.
5- Say the Same Thing Everyone Has Already Said.
“Monkey See Monkey Do” is not the best marketing strategy. You can talk about well-known subjects– but if you are addressing a popular topic — don’t be scared to approach it from a different angle. Even in the most mundane subjects, try to find the story that isn’t being told. In a world where people are bombarded with the same message being your unique self and telling a different story is one of the best ways to stand out.
6- Being Inauthentic
Authenticity continues to be a very nebulous subject for real estate professionals because agents run into the fear of “over-sharing.” Yet, people are drawn to truth and authenticity in this world of abundant misinformation. There is a professional you and a personal you. Tradition has told you to separate both, but today’s most effective marketers are able to combine the two. Copyblogger puts it this way.
“Be the real you insofar as the real you helps other people tell the story, they want to tell about themselves.”
Even when being “authentic,” remember your ultimate goal should be adding value to your audience. So “being authentic” is figuring out what “real” parts of yourself benefits them, helps them, and perhaps — even sales them! Again, your audience’s should be the focus.
7- Don’t Assume Your Audience is Smart
You can never over explain a topic, especially in real estate. Being too general can alienate the “newbies” who are totally unexperienced in the real estate industry. If a reader finishes your blog post with more questions than answers– you were too general. Google takes into consideration user experience, and when it looks like the user had to leave your website too soon because they DIDN’T get their question answered, that could negatively impact your ranking. When writing, leave no room for question and be as thorough as you can.
8- Using Too Much Real Estate Jargon
Ballon payment, LTV, APR, amortization, Contingency, turn-key– the list goes on. One of the best ways to confuse your audience is to use words that only someone in the industry is familiar with. If you are going to use real estate jargon, make sure you clearly explain it in your article. Otherwise, it is better left out in place of a description.
9- Only Talk About Yourself
I mentioned it before, but it is worth repeating. When all someone does is talk about themself, they alienate most of their audience (except for maybe their mom ). With so many messages going around today– most people are only concerned about the things that benefit their life and contribute to their goals. Too much self promotion is a turn-off in-person and online.
10- No Visual Content
Our brain processes visuals 60,000 faster than text — and in a society where everyone has a short attention span, we want to deliver our message as efficiently as possible. A message that is translated through visual is also more easily retained and tends to last longer in a person’s memory bank. Visual content performs significantly better than text alone on social sites — often times generating more shares, engagement and audience interaction. As much as possible, include visual content.
11- Compromising Quality for Quantity
Never sacrifice quality at the expense of quantity. Contrary to popular belief, longer more informative blog posts receive more social shares and are often better ranked in search engines. Research shows that blog posts with over 2000 words usually rank higher than blog post with less words. The reason for this could be two-fold. Longer blog posts tend to have more quality backlinks, and they are more likely to answer questions (something Google search engine values). People are also more confident in longer blog posts and willing to share them with their social networks. While quantity does not guarantee a high ranking, (domain authority is a dominating factor), it greatly increases the chances of your article ranking well.
12- Fear of Failure
Sometimes, Realtors feel the pressure to write “perfect” before they select the publish button. Surprisingly, perfectionism has it’s downfalls. Of course we never want to appear sloppy– but if fear of saying things the wrong way or appearing incompetent completely paralyzes any attempt to produce- fear has gone to far. In writing, the best teacher is experience, so you have to begin before you can progress to the next level. Don’t let fear be a roadblock. Remember the goal of blogging shouldn’t be to look highly-intelligent, but to be a trusted resource that benefits your audience.
13- Too Many Places at One Time
Sometimes less is more. I am a supporter of many social platforms– but it’s important you don’t spread yourself too thin. I always tell my clients — it’s better they choose one platform where they can be consciously engaged, involved, focused and build community, instead of being on 5 sites and inactive. Every social platform has its pros and cons. The best social platform is whatever works for you. Once you find a social platform you like, stick with it, get involved and begin to share all that you know!
14 – Not Optimizing for SEO
There are a few simple things you will want to do to optimize each blog post for SEO.
Title Tag (SEO Title)- This is the title of the page and describes what it is about. This is also the title that appears in search results as seen in the example below.
Please not that the title tag CAN be different from the title of the article itself. In the example below, see the two different titles being shown.
The Title Tag – Can Realtors Be Successful Without Zillow or Trulia
The Article Title – Can Realtors Be Successful Without Trulia, Zillow or Realtor.com?
In this case the title tag was shortened to stay within character guidelines within the search engine results page (SERP). But there are no limitations within the article itself so the title can be as long as you want it to be. Two titles are shown ONLY when you make that distinction within the blog post’s settings. Otherwise the title tag and name of article will appear the same way.
KEYWORDS –Include a Keyword in the title tag when possible. Also, be sure to incorporate keywords and keyword phrases throughout the body of your text whenever possible.
URL STRUCTURE – Using a descriptive URL with keywords and subjects vs. generic numbers that are non-descriptive are easier on search engines.
IMAGE ALT TEXT- When using an image, be sure to name it under the title and alt text. Images are also searchable online so optimizing your photos for search is one good way to optimize for website for SEO.
Meta Description – This is not important for SEO but is one of the best ways to attract click-throughs. A catchy and informative meta description will determine whether or not a prospective client clicks on your article link.
15- Not Promoting
Someone can write an “epic” blog post, but if no one ever sees it– it’s like it never existed. After creating an article, the second most important step is getting your message in front of people’s eyes. Once you have spread your blog post across various social platforms, insight people to read your article by providing a catchy image and headline.
16- Bad Headlines
Only 8 out of 10 will see your headline, and only 2 out of 10 will actually read your article. With those type of statistics, its more important than ever to create a catchy and captivating headline. Again, if people never end up reading your blog post, no matter how insightful, informative and interesting it is– it won’t bring you the results you desire.
A simple formula by Copyblogger to create great headlines is this:
Number or Trigger Word + Adjective + Keyword + Promise.
Since 90% of people use the internet during the course of their real estate transaction– you want to ensure your name and real estate business extends to the cyber world. The best way to secure a strong online presence is through a healthy and robust content strategy. Avoid these tactics to maximize your blogging efforts, optimize your site for SEO, and ultimately – gain customers!
What mistakes have you noticed in the real estate world of blogging? If this article helped you in any way, please share and feel free to leave comments below. We would love to hear from you!
- Proof a Fish is Smarter Than Your Audience - January 29, 2015
- How to Write Successful Real Estate Headlines for Increased Sales - September 30, 2014
- 16 Blogging Mistakes Realtors Can Avoid to Improve SEO - August 21, 2014