Author Archives: Ryan Rockwood

How to Rank for your Real Estate Listings

Google doesn’t care that you are the listing agent. So what can agents do in order to rank in Google for their listings? In this informal presentation we will quickly review what it takes to rank and then present a step by step strategy you can execute.

Resources mentioned:


Video Transcript: How to Rank for your Real Estate Listings

 

Ryan Rockwood: [00:00:04] Hello everyone and welcome to the call.

[00:00:06] If you know where the chat section is or the question box please open it up right now and just say hi just chat in there.

[00:00:15] If you don’t, a lot of times on your screen there’s a little yellow or orange arrow that you need to kind of click on it will become undocked what that will allow you to do is ask questions and interact as we go along. Today’s webinar is all about how direct your listings and that inherited that is SEO for real estate websites.

[00:00:38] And so we’re going to get right into it here. I want to welcome everyone.

[00:00:42] Thank you for coming.

[00:00:43] If you’re unfamiliar with our webinars we have a lot of great trading webinars.

[00:00:50] Not the typical kind of webinar where you’re basically sold the product the whole time.

[00:00:58] There are some products that kind of tie into this and we will introduce that. But the main goal of our webinars is definitely to make sure that you understand the process.

[00:01:12] It can do it yourself if you want to. So let’s just give it 30 seconds and we’ll start off in a little bit where we’re actually teaching you stuff that we’ve done that that works for our clients. When you want to rank for your listing what we’re talking about is is basically SEO or search engine optimization.

[00:01:44] And there has been a lot going on in the world of SEO in recent years some good some bad. Lots of both actually.

[00:01:53] But things have gotten more complicated than ever. However the rules have you know for the most part the rules of SEO have remained the same and I’m sorry the idea behind a SEO has remained the same. The rules on how to achieve that and how far you can push it have significantly changed. So let’s talk about this how do you rank for anything let alone a listing whether it’s real estate your name whatever. There’s a couple elements to SEO and the first and most obvious is whatever is on the page that you want to rent for and let’s say you have a page for 123 main street. Well you’re going to want to rank for 123 main street if you have a if you have a page for 123 main street. Don’t expect to rank for Torrance real estate for sale. OK. So the rule is generally one page one key keyword all rules are made to be broken. But if you keep that in mind you’re off to a really good start. Yes you could possibly rank a single page for Torrance real estate for sale and Torrance homes for sale. But these are kind of related key phrases. Right. So if you want to rank for a listing the first thing you have to do is have a page dedicated to that listing. Now if you’re on the line and that kind of goes without saying please in the chat, say Yeah I get that just so I know kind of the level that people are on if that’s news to you.

[00:03:34] Well you know that’s fine too you might say well I thought it was OK to have it featured on my homepage it’s not bad to have it featured on your homepage. But you have to make sure that you’ve got a page for it as well. OK so that’s the general overview of how things rank. Generally it all starts with the page that you want to rank for. Next most important is next on on the continuum probably is the authority of your site itself. If you’re Zillow and you add 123 main street and you’re Bob Jones realtor and you add 123 main street to your site which do you think is generally going to be perceived as the most authoritative site. Well it’s the most site that it’s the site that’s strongest in ranking for numerous terms not really 123 main street. It really doesn’t even come into play. Right. But if you rank for tons of stuff then you have an advantage. So in that the spoils really go to the established site and in real estate that can be really frustrating because it’s our listings right. And this joker over here is ranking for it and that nothing can be more frustrating. Now the next thing that we need to talk about is links to this site that is links on other Websites that are linking to your site. Let’s talk about your profile on Facebook does it link to your url? Let’s talk about your profile on Zillow, does it link to your url? Yes. Those are all what we call backlinks very very important.

[00:05:17] And still there is you know there’s a lot of controversy now about what kind of backlinks you’re allowed to get with getting penalized. But still I think you’d have to say that if you had to pick a single factor it’s backlinks that are going to be the most important. And of course you do have to have the right kind of backlinks. Now all that to say is we can’t really jump into how you rank for your listings until you have a firm grasp on how you rank for anything. OK. So we’re going to spend the first maybe 10 minutes talking about SEO differentiating it from a local SEO and telling you how to get started on local SEO. And then we’re going to finish up with how to rank for your listings. And I think that by the time we get to how you rank for your listings it’ll probably be there but you will get a checklist that you can take from this webinar and you can hang it up next to your desk and whenever you have a listing I would encourage you to just get in the habit of doing your SEO checklist for that. So what is a local SEO? OK. There is national SEO and there is local SEO. And the distinction is somewhat blurred in real estate and I’ll tell you why. If you’re a dog walking service you really want to. It only benefits you to rank for Torrance dog walking is it. And I hope everyone in the call realizes that I’m using Torrance as your fill in city or neighborhood or whatever.

[00:06:48] OK fill in the blanks with whatever city you are in. So if you’re a dog walker and someone when you’re in Torrance and someone calls you from Chicago because you ranked for dog walker he really don’t you probably you probably can’t do much for that person if you are. However in in in dog walking and you rank Torrance dog walker that’s fantastic right. So in that sense typically the city name is considered local SEO in real estate, there is a slight difference. OK. Local SEO and real estate doesn’t really refer to the key word terms. For example Torrance real estate for sale is a national keyword term. Because people move from all over to Torrance. People from all over the country they don’t want to Torrance dog walking service. OK so that’s a local term. So in real estate it’s very important in other areas. And this is where you’ll get called up and they say oh we can do all this local SEO stuff for you and you’re like really that sounds exciting. The truth is that in other industries local SEO’s a lot simpler because you just add a city name in front of it or a neighborhood name or zip code name you get local SEO. That’s not the case in real estate. OK. All real estate is national. People want to move wherever to vary and to varying degrees. When we talk about local SEO for real estate we’re talking about where the results show up for that real estate. And I’ll give you an example. If we do a realtor nearby we’re going to see maps and we’re going to see these map results from Google.

[00:08:36] This is all what you call local SEO. But as you can see let’s say we had Torrance real estate or Torrance realty here. Is that local SEO? Because I’m not seeing maps. I’m not seeing Google Plus pages and seeing national results. Now the scope of this webinar is the true national SEO is beyond the scope of this webinar and it’s a commitment and a financial commitment that you really want to consider carefully and a very legitimate decision these days. Well everything so volatile is to not pursue national SEO to not spend your time paying someone $2000 a month to rank you for Aliso Viejo realty. OK. If you if you want to talk about that I’m happy to talk to you know and help you determine that. But first now it is we recommended page strategy. However local SEO is just table stakes for having a Website ranking for your name, ranking for your listings. You really have to have your local SEO at a minimum. Button Down is that going to help you write for your listings. If you have national SEO. Absolutely. However you have to consider a return on investment. OK. So local SEO generally like I said is location based such as realtor nearby. That’s always going to be you know local. However Aliso Viejo real estate for sale is going to be what we call organic or national SEO and the the way that it shows up in the maps is the way that shows up is like this. So if someone says hey let’s do some local SEO I can do a great package.

[00:10:36] And it’s not very expensive. You say Well super. What would the result be.

[00:10:42] And they might say well you will rank in you’ll show up in local SEO for Aliso Viejo realty which you can do is you can go you can google look Aliso Viejo Realty and see there are no local results for it.

[00:10:59] So are you showing up in the local SEO? Maybe technically somewhere on some Google database but it doesn’t do you any good. Okay. So you’ve got to be really sure about what your objectives are. Local SEO is really ideal for a lot of times if I did. Aliso Viejo Realty and I mean know it will show local results so it may show it may show for Aliso Viejo realtor It may show for realtors brokers something like that how you know some other terms but it also show for your name it’s very good. Thank you for your name and your team members and it’ll show these sorts of results. However just be really clear on what you’re after. I have a lot of clients and they get these calls all the time like we all get them right? Like, I looked at your website you’re using organic records and all stuff. I checked them just to see and they’re just they just they haven’t even looked at the site. I checked what they say is wrong and it may be wrong but it’s not what they said it was. So anyway all that to say is this is what local SEO can get you in real estate. It will you know probably not change your life per se it’s earth shattering but it’s basically anyone that wants to do organic or national SEO must get this stuff taken care of. And I would encourage most people to get this taken care of as well because it’s low hanging fruit. OK.

[00:12:33] And like I say the more things you rank for including local the easier it will be to rank for everything else. Does anyone have any questions at this point. If you do go ahead and ask any questions in the box if it’s relevant I’ll try to bring it up and address it if it’s specific. I’ll try to answer you at the end or after the call. So Google identifies your location in several ways. But the most important thing is called Google my business. That’s the most important. Now if if that kind of sounds familiar. Yes it’s really confusing. They’ve changed the name a couple times. It used to be Google Places. It used to be Google Plus business page. Now it’s called Google my business. The good thing is it is actually getting simpler and simpler. But this is the number one thing that you need to sign up for period. It’s like a no brainer in fact I feel silly almost including it but you know it’s your first action. So what you need to do is go do just google my business and go there and get set up. It’s the thing that you jump through where you need to. Here’s the you know the public facing screen. But you know the ideal is if someone is going to search for jackalope brewing company and that’s you would it be really nice if this showed up instead of well this would be great. Right. This would be great. The other one is better. And then this is kind of mad. You know it’s kind of. So it really is great for referrals and current clients. They put that in it’s just reinforced.

[00:14:17] I mean on this page I own it. OK name, reviews, directions, website. All that stuff on your go there. It’s really easy. Fill it out. You have to get reviews. You have to get reviews or you can also get if you have a cool office you can even get them to come and take pictures of the inside of your office and do reviews. It just basically lending Google’s credibility to you and everyone. All these other sites and search engines look to Google and Google My Business for that authority. So go there enter your information monitor your reviews you can view the clicks to your page how many people came to your site. You could see direction requests so you could see a little bit of analytics in there. Make sure you fill out absolutely everything in there. Period. You’ve got to fill it out. Now you’ve got to claim your listing. You’ve got to ensure that it’s complete and accurate. You have to have really great photos videos descriptions of hours of operation links to your site. And we’re getting into now because you’re filling in your information online. I have to jump ahead to something called name address and phone number or NAP. These are it’s really important that your name address and phone number is consistent across the entire web. Starting with Google My Business continuing with your website and then continuing on with hundreds of different sites that we will refer to as site patient sites. So we want again. We’re going to make sure that our name is consistent.

[00:15:58] Our address consistent, now it used to be that you know you had to be very careful if you had sweet you couldn’t abbreviate in one and sell out in another. And we’re told that that’s lessening that you don’t have to worry about that so much. But you know let me show you about how common it is to have multiple names addresses and phone numbers across hundreds of sites. You could call yourself a realtor or you could call yourself the Joe Schmo Team. OK. You could start your address block with your brokerage name or not. You could include a suite or a floor you could include a fax number an office number a mobile number depending on where you put it. We’ve got to stop that. It has to be identical it doesn’t matter which you do. OK. It doesn’t matter if you put your office or your cellphone or whatever you need to put them on all sites. And that’s also why I recommend just putting one number. Nobody wants to see my numbers for you. No one needs your fax number that bad that they need it you. You know and the risk that you’re going to have this block of text on one of these sites and not included is just too high to justify actually including it. So please pick a nice block. Whatever works for you. Put it on Google My Business then whenever you sign up for another site, go to your Facebook, go to your Trulia, go to your Zillow and check those address box. Make sure everything is the same and we’ll get into that a little bit more.

[00:17:40] But I just have to mention it because at this point you’re going to be adding your information to Google My Business which is a prerequisite to being able to rank for anything let alone your listings.

[00:17:55] Now one thing that’s a little bit confusing is the category options in Google My Business. The most common and the ones I recommend are the following.

[00:18:07] Real estate consulting agency. The one thing I would tell you is that everyone has a tendency to throw the kitchen sink in there. But if you don’t do rentals for goodness sakes do not include them or if you do them once you’re done with them. The reason is that I have seen Google place a greater emphasis on this and it seems like it was at the expense of this term here. In other words the Klatt started ranking for these terms and not first. And so we don’t want to confuse it. And that was 100 percent not valuable to him. So we got rid of that and changed the consultant in the first place and we got rid of this entirely. Now reviews just like anywhere on line they’re not optional anymore we’re in a you know nuclear arms race of reviews. And it’s to the point now where many people and zillions of thousands if you don’t have dozens here and a little bit of trouble. The good news is it’s it’s easier to catch up than you would think. OK. Get those reviews going. Minimum of one a month. And you know the backlog that you have on your past customers it’s often possible to get a good 20 or 50 reviews your first month you start to end these efforts. Just asking people for so on Google you need these reviews these land your Google My Business profile page greater authority which in turn grants your webpage greater authority which in turn will help you rank for your listings easier better than it sounds. OK.

[00:19:50] All that we’ve talked about here is absolutely critical in order to rank for your name. And remember that name address and phone number that we talked about. Now that it’s on google my business it’s time to put it on your own site too. Where does it go.

[00:20:05] Well it’s usually pretty obvious where it goes. And in some cases like this one the brokerage requires an additional phone number it’s just like the law. Well the real estate law anyway. So you do need to accommodate that. But as you can see over here I’ve got a phone number over here too even if I have to repeat a number. I want to block exactly like it. It is on Google My business if at all possible.

[00:20:31] I don’t want to confuse Google. It’s like the worst thing ever right. So what can you do. You can pop over to your website add that information just like it’s on google my business. But I got extra credit for you. OK. If you are watching this and you’re thinking to yourself get this right. Pretty straightforward. You know good stuff I could do this. Well let me tell you about something else. There is something else called schema and it’s basically a code around text or images it’s similar to each HTML not visible to the human eye but it’s visible to search engine. And what this schema is designed to do is to enable you to tell Google exactly what something is. If you show this to Google right here Google is pretty darn smart. And we all know they’ll probably get that this is an address and this is a phone number and this is a name but they’re not necessarily going to know what your occupation is or what this address is an address for beyond your name. OK. What Google, what schema allows us to do is tell Google, Hey Google! Here’s my name and I’m a realtor. Here’s my address and it’s a realtor office address here’s my phone number and it’s a realtor office phone number. So isn’t that like a no brainer right. It’s like a big neon sign for Google and that Google is giving us a way to do this. The problem is it’s a little bit tricky right no one wants to deal with HTML style stuff. So we’ve got a free tool.

[00:22:19] It’s a virtualresults.com for such SEO you can pop in your name your url your logo whatever you want. I think you can leave some stuff out to get generate and you’ll get a code a little code and it has the schema wrapped all around your name and your address it tells it Google is a real estate agent and so on. OK now you then you want to go put that on your site in a spot like this or have your webmaster put it on your site in a spot like this. Now I’ll tell you a secret. When they do that it’s going to look exactly like this. In other words schema is not designed to affect the reader and the user in any way and that’s kind of the cool thing about it. It’s also kind of a hassle because you can’t see but there are tools that allow you to test your page for schema. I hope that I’ve put in here somewhere in the testing tool let’s see. So I already said this is what you could do. It removes the guesswork from Google. Here’s the page on our site. I put my name in and stuff like that I put my image in and then I get this text over here and this is what I copy and paste into the site or send to my webmaster. OK. Now does this schema particular tells Google that you’re a real estate agent. It’s how it tells them your name. It tells them the office address of a real estate agent and phone number. So how cool is that.

[00:23:52] If you know it’s like low hanging fruit now you’ve got to put it on your website.

[00:23:58] As I mentioned.

[00:24:02] And shoot I didn’t include it in here but there is an online tool you can google check schema or something like that. Google has a tool and what they allow you to do is put into your URL hit check and Google will tell you if it finds some schema on that page for you. And what schema you found that that’s a good way to check that your webmaster did it. OK. Now next up we want to rank for our listings. Well we have to rank for our name. We have to rank for local SEO. We want to rank for our business if its possible we have to look for local SEO buttoned up. In other words we have to build our foundation. So what are citations? Really a fancy word for anywhere that mentions your website that your name address and phone number. OK. Other websites. This is distinct from a backlink . A citation may include a link to your site but it doesn’t have to. So it actually benefits you if you have your name address and phone number on a site even if it doesn’t have your website url. Even if it doesn’t link to you. So all that to say we’re after citations in order to boost our local SEO. So how do you get these. Well search engines use them to verify your claim of being who you are and so on. So actually let me put off how you get to them and talk for a second about what they are. A little bit more. OK.

[00:25:35] Here are your biggest citations that are out there and ones that you probably already have set up. And just to double back and make sure that they’re set up as similar to Google my business as you can. OK. These are citations that I encourage you to do. You physically not someone you hire on Fiverr. The reason is these are your actual social media profiles that you use. We’ve got Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Youtube log in and your information Additionally link to your site whenever you can. That’s a backlink. Don’t forget about other opportunities that abound in which you can put your information online. For example often times pretty much everyone ignores a brokerage website but you’ve got a profile there typically brokerage website you may have a national website and a local website and make use of that. Zillow, Trulia, Realtor.com – all of these are profiles that you probably already have and haven’t filled out. And if you have all of them out there don’t match perfectly to your Google My Business so go there and do that. Ideally we recommend checking your citations every year. Just make it a new year sort of thing because they have a tendency to get messed up. And the reason is that people with similar names or different versions of your website and name address and phone number will get picked up by different aggregators and and passed around and spread to all these different sites and so on. Ideally you would personally check the critical ones and probably hire someone to do all the others. All the others are pretty much everything else that’s not mentioned here.

[00:27:24] Whenever you get a call and you say hey we’ve got Yahoo local wants you to join or we’ve got Angie’s List. We’ve got a great website that local people go to. Anything else. OK. Merchants Circle. They’re going to call you, Manta, Insider Pages. So you’re starting to get these all of these have spots locations that enable you to go in and add your profile or your citation. And you should do that. However this work as so many are awful and time consuming that we recommend that you do hire someone to do it. OK. However if you are a DIYer there is nothing stopping you from doing it yourself and you could download our full list at virtualresults.com/seo for you. We even have a bigger list than this. So check it out. OK. Now when you’re looking for someone to go out to all these hundreds of sites and do this for you want to think about how much it costs how many sites are you going to get on. How fast is the results. Are they guaranteed. And what happens to your citations if you cancel. OK. And so those are the biggies to check for the good news is it’s not terribly expensive to do that. It’s not terribly expensive either way. And we’ve got a breakdown on virtualresults.com of several vendors that you can that you can choose from or you could download the whole list yourself. OK. So let’s talk now about how to rank for your listings in order to rank for your listings.

[00:29:15] You need to have these other elements covered so please don’t get frustrated when you haven’t done any of this other stuff and you put up 123 main street and you don’t rank over google for it don’t do that that’s how it works. That’s how it’s supposed to work. Unfortunately Google doesn’t give a darn and that you’re the listing agent.

[00:29:36] Unfortunately.

[00:29:40] So this is how we’d love it to look when someone types in an address we want. We want the address to bring up our website. Right? Instead of Zillow and Realtor.com. So when we put that in those are expectations. Now Google doesn’t care that you’re the listing agent. What they do is they tend to rank the most powerful site for a listing. The caveat to that is that if you publish something first and by First I don’t mean a minute early I mean significantly early. You can circumvent that power pole that’s going to you know pull that ranking. So power of the site is the most is the most is the biggest factor. We’re increasing our site power by taking care of our local SEO and our citations. OK. So we’re increasing that but we can sidestep that by being first sometimes. It’s imperative that you give your site an unfair advantage over overuse signal to Google that your site should rank alongside the national providers. Let’s let’s just give an example. I get lots of people that come in and on their site they’ve got their listing and on Zillow and Realtor and Trulia and everywhere else the same listing is it basically appeared at the same time as all those other sites. It offers no additional information whatsoever and your site just isn’t really that powerful and Google doesn’t have a way to verify that you’re the listing agent that you should rank. It’s just not even in the mix. So it really makes sense. They’re not going to rank you. OK.

[00:31:34] So all these things that I mentioned timeliness, uniqueness. These are the areas that we want to kind of check off and see if we can do a little bit of damage here and take a little bit of this pie for our self. Now this is how we’d like it to show up and right we’d like it to show up here we’d like it to show up on our YouTube. The truth is it often shows up like this. Realtors, Zillow, Redfin, Trulia. So let’s talk about the most important elements and then we’ll go through them in a little bit more depth. Timing the most important thing is you’ve got to add your listing to your site prior to it appearing on the MLS. Now how soon you need to do it depends on the power of your site. I’ll tell you why it’s Zillow puts up a listing. Google’s going to crawl that listing and find it and index it in under an hour. Most real estate sites Google comes by once a day and it may take a little bit longer to get something indexed meaning Google knows about it now. Google doesn’t just know about it because you publish it. And so they’re used to how often your site is updated and they visit your site accordingly. Now Zillow is updated every couple of seconds. Your site is probably uploaded updated once a day on a good day. So you’ve got to get it in first. You do a coming soon page to do with a blog. Whatever it takes you’re going to have to get it on first. You have to have good on page SEO.

[00:33:17] You have to share the page on Twitter and Facebook. Basically the idea there is you need to get people and Google coming to your site fast in order to beat the others in the timing. Upload your video to Youtube link to the page on your site and the description on Zillow and a link to the property page if you can on syndications sites and everywhere else. Include your name address and phone number if you can include your web site so time. I think we’ve covered that. Good on page SEO. Again you get pretty much one key word one key word phrase or page. So we’re not going to try to rank your home page for 123 main street. Your title your H1 of the page. It needs to be the listing address if that’s what you want to rank for the listening interaction also be in the url. For example the /123-maple-st, This is good. If you want to rank for Maple Street. So learn how to change that. Add original content that won’t be included in the MLS description either add more content or hold content back from the MLS so that yours can have some original stuff. Google will look at it and they’ll say hey it’s a little bit different. Hopefully better it’s at least a ranking factor in your favor. Link to great related resources when possible schools things on your own site neighborhood community pages. Don’t be afraid to rank out and include everything that’s relevant. I mean everything. Throw the kitchen sink in this puppy.

[00:35:01] If you’ve got a YouTube video put it on there. If you’ve got a Google map embed it you’ve got flyers photos floor plans upload pdfs photos whatever and do the SEO on those. In other words if you don’t have something significantly different than Zillow, It’s a pretty hard argument to make that you should be ranking for that. It’s pretty straightforward. So give it your best and don’t give out your best to everyone else. Break up contact with headings and subheadings of bullet points even if your content isn’t that unique. You can structure it in such a way that it will look unique. It will be broken up and when you insert some things like flyers or floor plans or something like that it’s a good opportunity to do that. Joe subheadings and bullet points and so on once you’ve shared published that listing. That’s like half the battle right. Google doesn’t know about it. Google hasn’t visited it. Google hasn’t put it in its index. It’s time to share it. Not just for the publicity but also to get google bot to come to your site. OK. They may come to your site and then just stop at your site. Then they might see another link on Twitter and they may follow it to your site. And that bot might index your site index the page or it might not. It might just crawl the page. The next one they may decide to index it and you can’t rank until you’re in the index meaning you take your url you go to Google you paste your you URL into Google if Google doesn’t display your url

[00:36:43] It doesn’t have it in its brain to share. OK. Super clear. If Google doesn’t know about it meaning it saved it and acknowledged it it is 100 percent impossible that you will show up in this or that page could possibly show up in the search results. Leverage YouTube. I talked about that posted description. Rename the video prior to upload something that includes the address and then upload it enter the address on YouTube as the video location and embed the video on your site. Also on Zillow there is a related Web site spot that sometimes you can edit. Go ahead and edit that and link it back to your page. Listings period it doesn’t matter what kind of site it is you know there’s Listhub all these others that have syndication sites. There’s I can remember the other biggie right now. There may be dozens of sites that you can go on and advertise and customize your listing critical that you link to your web pages listing you url. But even if you can’t do that you might still be able to get your name address and phone number in there. And that would be a benefit to you long after your listing is sold. OK. And these are just some examples of Web sites that you may or may not have access to depending on where you advertise what deals your brokerage has made and so on OK. For all of the info that we’ve talked about today visit virtualresults.com/seo. That’s virtualresults.com/seo.

[00:38:28] You will on that page you will find some notes from today. You’ll find the real estate schema website generator. You’ll find the list of all of those sites where you can add your own citation and you will see a couple of vendors reviewed in that just kind of like how long it takes how much it costs stuff like that you could find that information online too. Anyway thank you so much for joining us. I don’t see any questions. So I just want to thank you so much for joining for making time. I hope this has been beneficial and I hope you take action. Thank you so much. And we’ll talk to you on an upcoming webinar

The latest in real estate technology update – Feb 2017

Images above from our newly re-launched HomeValueGuides.com site, soon to be integrated within all Limelight sites at no additional charge. More info below.


Hello Virtual Results members and friends,

I hope you’ve hit the ground running in 2017 and feel as excited for the future as we do.

We have several new updates that I want to share with you:

We just relaunched HomeValueGuides.com with an attractive new interface and landing page, for your seller leads. The Home Value Report is now powered by Corelogic and completely integrated, which means almost zero setup. The report has generated a lot of praise. This feature will soon be rolled out to all Limelight sites, with no additional charge. If you are curious please checkout HomeValueGuides.com or the demo at starter.homevalueguides.com

Due to popular demand, we will soon launch a service aimed at simplifying Local SEO. To be clear, Local SEO deals with searches for your name / business or searches that show map results. Our service is similar but more comprehensive then Yext.com and costs about 50% less. You should know neither Yext or our service is a miracle cure for SEO. But there is no question that if you are going to do any SEO this is the place to start. For info when this becomes available, Join us here. Even if you can’t attend we’ll send you the info shortly when the program is ready.

Finally, we have rewritten the coding for our GoodLife Team Website Design from scratch. Our goal was to keep the remarkable design while ensuring the coding remained state of the art. The resulting site is fast and gorgeous. Check out a recent example at TheStrumGroup.com website. The GoodLife Team (GLT) Design is the result of an 8 month website collaboration between the GoodLife Team and Virtual Results. Availability is limited to 1 per market area. To check availability call 888-997-3785 x1.

Thank you for reading and have a wonderful month,

Ryan Rockwood
Virtual Results

“To our Loyal Customers – Thank You.

Please never hesitate to reach out to support@virtualresults.net – we are here to help. Do not forget you can always call or email support. “

–The Virtual Results Team

Latest training

Virtual Results is committed to a substantial amount of training this year – 2 webinars monthly (plus an encore webinar) – and you are invited. Last month we covered using Facebook to generate Seller leads.

On Feb 14 & 16, we are digging into Facebook deeper with our training called, “5 Facebook Ads Every Professional Should Be Running.” Be sure to signup here. Response to our Jan webinar was incredible with many people running Facebook Ads and receiving online seller leads for the very first time.

Also, on Feb 16th Virtual Results will hold a training, How to Rank For Your Listings. It’s a topic of eternal interest – and often frustration. The session will include a quick overview on what it takes to rank on Google and then we’ll present a step by step plan that you can execute. Join us here.

 

Displet / Tribus Powered Real Estate Agent Websites

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We receive a lot of calls from Realtors / Teams interested in building WordPress websites powered by Displet (Now Tribus) IDX. We highly recommend Displet and have used their product for many years. In fact, since 2012 we have partnered with Displet to power the website for BHHS’ #1 Team nationwide, The McCann Team.

A Quick (Non-official) History of Displet

 

Displet is unique in that it was created a Realtor. Austin Realtor Eric Bramlett (and his developers) launched Displet (pronounced “Display”) in 2010.

The original software was coded in php and was not WordPress based. For our first McCannTeam.com site Displet created a subdomain that matched the design of the main website. Users could enter a home search on the main website but the results page would be displayed on the subdomain (similar to how IDXBroker works today).

Later Displet rewrote the entire product as a WordPress plugin. That did away with the need for a subdomain, which was significant. Being entirely WordPress-based Virtual Results had full control over design. Also, widgets enabled search forms, property slideshows, properties and search results to appear within content pages / post throughout the site.

Displet was acquired by real estate software developer Tribus in 2014. That led to increased customer support and the latest product iteration which includes an integrated IDX, CRM (included lead routing), and Transaction Management. It’s currently the only such product for WordPress. Also unique is Displet’s outreach and API to enable developers (like Virtual Results) to customize and extend the core product as needed.

The Profile of A Displet User

What’s the typical Displet user profile? That’s an interesting question. Let’s face it, there are some pretty huge players in the IDX Vendor arena. The field does narrow significantly (maybe just to Displet) when a user’s criteria boils down to WordPress-based IDX / CRM / Transaction management. But the big IDX Vendors often have significant marketing budgets, may cost less and – most importantly – enjoy enormous market share.

Market share is everything as the “typical” real estate website buying process works like this:  Realtor “Joe” finally becomes frustrated with the limitations (technical or aesthetic) of his free / low cost solution provided by the Brokerage or cheap national website provider, which offers sites as a loss leader for advertising or other services. “Joe’s” motivation isn’t typically a passion for providing great online tools / user experience. “Joe” doesn’t care about WordPress, doesn’t faithfully use a CRM, doesn’t care about Transaction Management. The greatest motivation for a user at this stage of technical sophistication is avoidance of embarrassment – “Joe” knows he has fallen behind and it’s causing him to look unprofessional. The fastest way to avoid the pain of embarrassment? Jump online, find a decent looking website, scroll to the site footer, click on the website vendor, order that website! Hence, why it all comes down to market share.

Needless to say, the above is not the usual Displet customer. 99% of the folks who contact me regarding Displet are preparing to rebuild their website for the 2nd or 3rd time. To the uninitiated, rebuilding a website for the 2nd+ time might sound horrible. But actually, folks at this stage have hit a sweet spot: they have come a long way in understanding what they actually want out of their website, they understand the critical importance of technology integration, they value and are willing to pay for a solution that meets their needs and – importantly – they also know what they don’t value (even if others do) and can avoid those costs / efforts. As a result, Displet’s potential users often actively seek out the solution as a result of other vendors failing to meet their unique battle-won website criteria. So conversations with potential and current Displet users can be pretty fun – their goals tend to be ambitious.

What Displet Users Want

 

The bottom line is users seek out Displet for leverage to achieve features only found on ground-up custom or enterprise websites.

An example would be McCann’s neighborhood based search interface, a feature costing a minimum of $100K+ in development without Displet. Why so much? Customized neighborhood boundary lines, customized neighborhood names, listing count and clustering by neighborhood, custom map design, open house version of the map – traditionally each of these items are only possible with a custom IDX written from scratch. But Displet offers an alternative, we are able to do just the custom development needed and power it via Displet. In other words, we don’t have to throw the baby out with the bathwater. So what are the most common requests we get from potential and current users of Displet? Well, they are all over the place. Here are a few that come to mind:

I am just not happy with how listings / search results are displayed. I want it to look like [example website or handdrawn mockup]. Can you do that?

Within my own CRM (not Displet) I need to view user’s website and email activity. Possible?

I need an IDX that supports SSL (https://) and http2. Can Displet do that?

I want users to be able to select one of our agents from a drop-down list on signup!  Easy Right?

I want to customize results pages or listing pages with banners/icons/text calling attention to New Listings, Price Reductions, Days on Market, Open Houses, or other listing attributes. Can that be done?

I want to route leads to agents based on day of the week, listing location, time of day, or whatever combination I dream up. Cool?

I want to create my own search interface based on neighborhood boundaries, school attendance zone boundaries, or whatever I dream up. I want to show the number of available listings. On click I want to only show listings in that unique (potentially custom) polygon. Humanly possible?

I need my Chat/Zillow/Realtor.com/Unbounce leads to be routed into my site CRM. No problem?

I want to use an off the shelf Website push notification service and integrate it with my CRM and IDX. I want to send Listing Alerts to users via push notifications. Piece of cake?

Lenders should be able to create an account, pay for our agreed on co-marketing budget, receive leads and followup to close loans -independant of the Agent’s success or failure to convert the lead to a client.

I need a team/broker solution that includes integrated IDX/CRM/Lead Routing/Transaction Management for 10 to 2600+ WordPress websites. But I also need a customized Dashboard to administer (create/edit/delete) user accounts and websites. Also, agent sites should have a custom dashboard branded to the company and only showing only the features they need most – and it should be graphically designed to look hip and fun to use.

Displet IDX core features (no customization needed)

Customization is great of course but it does require time and money – and upkeep. Take a look at what’s possible out of the box.

  • WordPress plugin & API
  • Select only the search fields you want. Reorder fields at will.
  • Customize listing urls, page titles and other SEO elements
  • Unlimited # of Agents can be added
  • Lenders can be added and receive cc on leads
  • Round Robin lead routing optional
  • Option to include only specific towns in search / search results (handy for large MLSes with homes in areas you may not work)
  • Zapier integration (integrate with hundreds of online services)
  • SSL Supported / Http2 photo delivery
  • Map search and user drawn polygon search support
  • Customize emails:
    • -New client signup
    • -New lead alert
    • -Saved Search Email alerts
  • User accounts for leads
    • -Signup / sign in
    • -Google+ / Facebook sign in supported
    • -Request Showing
    • -Favorite / Rate / add notes to a property
    • -Send property to friend
    • -Email alerts for saved listings
    • -Property alert email links automatically log in users to website
    • -Suggested listings sent to users based on history

 

Here are some real life examples:

 

Design Your Search Results Page How YOU Want.

Design Your Search Results Page How YOU Want.

Search Results Page Created Using Displet API

Search Results Page Created Using Displet API

fireshot-capture-005-2119-saint-albans-street-philadelphi_-https___www-mccannteam-com_listing-1

Listing Details Page Custom Design

 

Your turn

What would you change about your IDX if you could? What feature could you NOT live without? Leave a comment or question about Displet IDX Custom Solutions. We’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences. If possible, we’ll let you know if your dream feature could be created with Displet IDX.

Community page name over photo – New Feature

Today we are happy to announce another great Virtual Results website feature: Community names can now appear over your community page hero images. Here is how it looks:

community label

Now if you are saying to yourself, “Self, how do I get this?” The answer is simple. Navigate to the community page, edit, Media tab and check the box “Show community name on image!”

Dashboard > Communities > Edit Community > Media Tab > Checkbox

Community page name

As always, if you would prefer Virtual Results support to enable this feature for you, simply chat, email or call!

New Feature: Direct link to Community Listings

Today we are happy to announce another option for Virtual Results websites – a direct link to listings from Community Archive pages.

Feature - Link to Community ListingsWe’ve been hesitant to add items to these pages as users like the clean clutter-free design and navigation. But thanks to Jamie Gilman of the Cristine Clark & Jamie Gilman Team we asked our designer Chris Hesenflow to come up with a design to make it work. The truth is that if it were up to us we would probably prefer our website users to be absorbed in listings all the time. So if users wind up on the Community page and opt to get straight to the listings, that’s probably a good thing!

Here is how to add this option to your website:

Dashboard > Limelight Settings > General > Community Archive Page > checkbox (see below)

Enable link to listings

Need help or prefer to have us enable this option for you? No problem. Just chat, email or call your Virtual Results Support Team!

Geographic (online) Farming

Table of contents

  1. Create an adwords account
  2. Setup your campaign
  3. Select your Farm / Location
  4. Create your own animated banner ad
  5. Real results (what can I expect?)
  6. Download ads you can modify and use (Photoshop files)
  7. How to upload your own ad into Adwords
  8. Professional resources to get custom banner ads created / modified
     

Create a Google Adwords account or login to your existing account. If you currently have a Google account (Youtube, Gmail, etc) you may create your Adwords account with that user/pw, for convenience. Also, new accounts qualify for $75 worth of ads free from Google, after spending $25. Get your code and learn the rules for use here.

screenshot

Brand new Adwords account? Google has a (normally) helpful wizard to get you setup. Our issue is that we are not creating the normal text ad for Google. So to get past the wizard, you must complete follow the setups… add some keywords, write a simple ad, etc. Do the minimum and do it quickly, then pause that campaign and follow the directions below.

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updated wizard

 

welcome

Now PAUSE that campaign (we are not going to use that), and let’s get going!

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Now let’s start. You may see a screen like this

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Or like this… both options will work great!

create

Select “Display Network only” from the dropdown.

screenshot6

 

Select radio button “Let Me Choose” and click Advanced Search, under locations.

screenshot7

Select tab “Radius Targeting”

screenshot8

Enter an address or a town. Remember to adjust the radius! When satisfied, don’t forget to click ADD (red, middle top) and DONE (blue, bottom left) !

targeting

 

 

Start with a budget that you can comfortably maintain for 30 days. You can always change it.

screenshot12

Default settings are mostly fine. But we will limit impression to 2x per user / per day.

screenshot13

Name your ad group and set a default bid. Select demographics from “other” dropdown.

 

 

 

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For now, we will stick with the default of everyone. When you get more experienced you’ll want to return here and narrow your audience.

 

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Scroll to the bottom of the page and save/continue.

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This step is a little counter intuitive. Because we are going to use the Ad Gallery / Ad builder we will select SKIP AD CREATION at this point!

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Finally, the settings are out of the way. Let’s create some ads! Select “Ad Gallery”

screenshot19

Select General Purpose Ads.

screenshot20

 

 

 

We recommend this simple template to start

screenshot22

You may toggle through the different size options. Remember, if one size just doesn’t work you will be able to disable it! Do not hesitate to do so. It is very challenging to make an ad look good in every format. Click ‘Select ad sizes”

 

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We recommend you un check ALL sizes except 300 x 250 for your first ad – just to keep things more simple,

screenshot24

Now begin filling out the ad details. You do NOT have a lot of room to write!

screenshot25

 

Make use the “My Site” option under “Select image from:” dropdown. This is an easy way to upload photos and graphics.

screenshot26

Google found our “Headshot”. It’s OK but looks a little tiny. Select CROP image from the dropdown.

screenshot27

These images are small. Let’s zoom in on that face!

screenshot28

Note how we are using the “Recommended” dropdown? Use that until you are a pro.

screenshot29

What an improvement. Soon we’ll be getting stopped for autographs.

screenshot30

Note that some options don’t really matter, such as “Ad name” or “display URL” but you still need them.

screenshot31

Now SAVE that ad!

screenshot32

Next, head on over to Billing. You’ll need to enter your Credit Card if you want to play on Google’s team.

screenshot33

Proceed through the typical account setup.

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Your ad will likely be running within 60 minutes.

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At any time you can modify your budget. Just click on the Budget/day.

screenshot37

Also, feel free to click the GREEN circle and then Edit/Pause to turn your campaign off!

screenshot38

 

 

 

What sort of results can you expect? It really depends on how large the radius, dense the population and your budget. However, in one campaign we have selected a 1 mile radius in a high end southern California neighborhood. The ad and the results from the past 30 days are below shown below (ad is edited for agent privacy)

Untitled-1

 

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 Want to get started but need some help? Use our ad templates. Customize with your own images/messages!

Just Listed / Just Sold Ad – Download

Just Sold - 300x250r


“Neighborhood expert” banner ad. Examples below. Download high resolution ads –  neighborhood expert.

banner728x90 banner300x250 banner250x250 728x90banner 300x250banner 250x250banner


 

 Featured Neighborhood(s) ads. Click to download Featured neighborhoods

120x600 160x600 200x200 250x250 300x250 336x280 468x60 728x90

 

 


Ready to use your own ad, such as one of our provided templates?

Adjust the ad creation process and upload your images (see screenshots below). Again, we recommend starting with just 1 image size until you are comfortable with the process.

upload1

upload2 upload3


Resources to customize these ads or create your own masterpiece from scratch:
*Disclaimer, we are not affiliated with nor do we necessarily recommend these vendors. List is provided as a courtesy only. 

Banner Ad Queen – Renown display ads, particularly for direct response high conversion offer ads

$20 Banner Ads – Good low cost banner ads

Fiverr.com – Incredible & abysmal quality ads (and a lot more) starting at just $5

Dot-Realtor Domains: We are one week in. What has been your experience?

dot realtor domains

Ever buy a first model year car? You know it’s risky but you just can’t help it. It feels like your life is going to CHANGE somehow once you’re behind the wheel. And once you are in that new car life is totally glorious – until the left blinker gets stuck on.

Ah, such is the risk and reward of the early adopter. This week, I experienced some ups and downs with the launch of the new Dot-Realtor Domains. Actually, it was mostly downs. I spent a lot of time on hold listening to their Musak. But to their credit, I was able to get a hold of someone eventually. They couldn’t really do anything about my problem but it’s still nice to talk with someone, sometimes.

We setup one domain without a hitch at http://michaelmccann.realtor but we have been waiting about 3-4 days (should take 3 minutes) to see http://mikemccann.realtor go live. Dot-Realtor insists everything is setup correctly on their end. I’ve been speaking to a nice person over there named Beverlee. Just in case, their support number is 1-800-874-6500. Hopefully you won’t need it.

The point of this email today is just to update everyone the process and share my setup tips. I even have a quick video to share, showing you exactly how to login and configure your new Dot-Realtor domain.

One tip I have to share that may or may not be grounded it fact: Don’t test out the Dot-Realtor Email forwarding feature. I have sneaking suspicion that is what has caused my grief. (I know, it doesn’t make any sense).

Enjoy the video and feel free to share your site(s) and your experience. How has the process gone for you?

Your friend in Real Estate Online Marketing,

Ryan Rockwood
888-997-3785 x703

Hear It Direct Shows Real Estate Agents What Consumers Want From Them

Real estate professionals will hear directly from the consumer – the people who want to buy and sell homes – at a unique forum, “Hear It Direct” in Dallas, Texas on May 21st, 2012 at the Dallas Marriott at Legacy Town Center.  Hear It Direct is designed to create the consumer as the keynote speaker of the event –unlike most events in the real estate industry.  Featuring panels of real home buyers and sellers from all over the U.S., Hear It Direct targets what consumers want and expect from agents.  The unfiltered discussion is set up to discover how to really focus and best address the needs of consumers in today’s housing market.

Hear It Direct’s concept reshapes the real estate business, creating a consumer-centric, consumer driven approach to home buying and selling.  Agents and market forecasters can gain insight and learn how to create value and trust through attending this groundbreaking one-day experience.

Developed by real estate leaders Sue Adler and Robert Hahn, Hear It Direct, was created to share the new consumer-driven real estate model with the industry.  Hear It Direct, Texas is the second in a series of events delivering the message of what people want from real estate tools, the agent they work with, and the home searches they conduct on their mobile devices.

Sue Adler was recently recognized as one of the leading women in the real estate industry by the Women’s Council of Realtors® and has been one of the top selling Realtors in New Jersey since 2005.

Tickets and an informative custom research report plus a DVD series recapping the event will be made available through the Hear It Direct website at http://www.hearitdirect.com/events/. To learn more about Hear It Direct, please contact 973.869.9357.  The Hear It Direct conference is scheduled for May 21st, 2012 in Plano, Texas at the Dallas/Plano Marriott at Legacy Town Center located at 7121 Bishop Road, Plano, Texas 75024.  The event runs from 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM and will include a networking Happy Hour afterwards.  The cost for the entire day is $99.